I’m a big proponent for getting outdoors no matter the time of year, and when it’s a sunny, 60+ degree day during the winter, well, that’s a no-brainer. The recent spate of warmish weather around Christmas was a perfect case-in-point, and we headed to Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria to enjoy it one afternoon.
Huntley Meadows is not a new KFDC destination or recommendation; in fact, it’s included in the big outdoors list. It’s another one of those parks that exist in an unexpected place. It seems that one minute you’re driving through a typical suburban area, the next you’re in the middle of a natural haven.
There are trails, wildlife sightings, and plenty of nature to explore on the 1,425 acres of woods and wetlands throughout this park in Alexandria. Dirt trails wind through the clusters of tall trees, while a boardwalk takes you over the marshy areas, with cattail and cord grass sprouting up around it. During the warmer months, you’re practically guaranteed to spot turtles of all sizes, frogs, great blue herons, cardinals, and a variety of other birds. Keep following the boardwalk, and you’ll eventually come to a lookout, where you can take in the vistas.
The entire hike is just over a mile, and there are lookouts and benches where you can stop for breaks and snacks along the way to make it a few hours’ outing. Be sure to stop in the Visitors Center for interactive exhibits and photos of the area.
Huntley Meadows Park is located at 3701 Lockheed Blvd in Alexandria. It’s open daily from dawn to dusk, and the Visitors Center is open every day but Tuesday 11am – 4pm from December 1 – February 28, and 9am – 5pm weekdays the rest of the year (weekend hours vary so be sure to check the schedule). Admission is free.