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(2023 - Winter/Spring Issue)


The last few years have led quite a few of us to focus a little more on ourselves. We look for relaxing walks in nature. Maybe we’re trying to eat a bit healthier (while still having room to indulge just a little). If being cooped up during the last three years taught us anything, it’s that good old-fashioned “me time” is more precious than ever, and a wonderful place to enjoy that is in Northern Virginia.

Active Exploring

Some may be surprised to learn that Arlington, Virginia, just across the river from Washington, D.C., has been named the fittest city in America for the last five years. Once on-site, however, it’s easy to see why. Fitness and wellness are a way of life here, and visitors can join residents as they jog, walk or bike along any of the community’s kilometres of off-road trails or dedicated road lanes. Drop in for a boxing class, join a free community yoga session, or take advantage of the mild climate and get outside to explore.

Locals and visitors love travelling the Mount Vernon Trail, which starts at Theodore Roosevelt Island and traverses 29 kilometres along the banks of the Potomac River, offering amazing views of the D.C. skyline while travelling south past the cobblestone streets of Old Town Alexandria and towards Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate.

For serious enthusiasts, try an equally scenic trek along the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park Trail. This rail trail stretches 72 kilometres from Arlington County through Fairfax County and concludes in western Loudoun County. Along the way, visit small towns, coffee shops, breweries and more.

For a more intense experience, visit either of the two Fairfax County locations of The St. James complex, which combines state-of-the-art sports facilities, high-performance workout studios, and premier entertainment and lifestyle experiences.

Relax and Rejuvenate

Of course, nothing says pampering like a little time in a spa, and there are numerous opportunities throughout Northern Virginia. The luxe Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg has added a slew of new wellness options. The Eastern-influenced wellness resort with its Spa Minérale offers therapeutic massages and wellness bodywork in acupuncture, cupping and Eastern-style Gua Sha, Anma and Table Thai massages. The luxurious spa at Middleburg’s Salamander Resort is pampering at its finest. Picture private stone treatment terraces, aromatic steam rooms, set amid sun-lit relaxation spaces and a secluded spa courtyard with an infinity-edge pool and cabanas. Also in Loudoun, King Spa is a spectacular new Korean-style day spa situated over three sprawling floors, and Alexandria’s Fountains Day Spa, located in a sunny, centuries-old townhouse, offers the best in skin and body therapies, from couples’ massages to specialized hand and feet treatments. Nearby, the Synergy Float Center provides a one-of-a-kind way to wind down through flotation therapy. Outside of Old Town, swing to Alexandria’s Del Ray neighbourhood, known for its Wellness District of holistic health businesses.

A Celebration of Nature

And of course, one of the easiest ways to celebrate a little self-care while also getting outside for a little nature time is to explore the varied outdoor recreation experiences throughout Northern Virginia. Whether you’re new to hiking or an avid trailblazer, Prince William County has 100 square kilometres of scenic parks and hiking trails as well as paddling, kayaking, or even scuba adventures.

While known as D.C.’s Wine Country, Loudoun is also well-known to nature lovers, with access to the Appalachian Trail, horseback riding, kayaking and cycling. In Fairfax County, take a stroll to marvel at the majestic rapids at Great Falls Park, where visitors can view the falls crashing over a series of jagged rocks. Fairfax County is also home to the only public, traditional Korean Bell Garden pavilion in the Western Hemisphere at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.

Being closer to the hustle of D.C. doesn’t mean a lack of outdoor opportunities. Alexandria’s walkable lifestyle is enhanced by its ample biking and self-guided walking trails across themes such as architecture, art, history and more, many of which wind along the waterfront with breathtaking views of the Potomac River. Similarly, Arlington’s vibrant, walkable neighbourhoods are home to 445 hectares of parks and open space that were recently recognized among the top four in America’s 100 largest cities.


For more travel information about Northern Virginia visit NorthernVirginia.org.

For travel planning, learn more about Alexandria, VisitAlexandria.com; Arlington, StayArlington.com; Fairfax County, FXVA.org; Loudoun County, VisitLoudoun.org and Prince William County, VisitPWC.com.

For more information on Virginia tourism, go to Virginia.org.

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