A small town girl making the big city home. She loves everything DC, and is slowly introducing her one-year-old to the world of Smithsonians, monuments, cherry blossoms and the DMV. A perfect day in town would include breakfast at Eastern Market (or Founding Farmers), checking out the National Gallery of Art, a burger and/or shake at Good Stuff or sandwich from Taylor Made, the two mile walk around the monuments, and cupcakes from Sprinkles (or Georgetown Cupcake if the line isn't forever long) to go.

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Burke Lake Park: My Summer Oasis

I grew up in a very small town, and despite my love for the city I now call home, some days I just need some peace and quiet. Burke Lake is one of my favorite places to escape the summer heat and play for the day.

I know there are quite a few little lakes in the DC area, and maybe some day I’ll visit them all. For now, however, I am completely at home at Burke Lake in Fairfax County.

DC Mama- Burke Lake Park Collage

Stroller, carrier, walking, running. We’ve conquered the Burke Lake Park Trail more ways than one.

Here’s why I love Burke Lake Park :

  • Hiking around Burke Lake’s Loop Trail is great exercise. The loop is 4.7 miles long, and mostly unpaved (loose gravel for most of it). The trail is more than wide enough for two jogging strollers, perfect for an outing with friends.
  • The park’s playgrounds. When we finish walking, we play. On weekdays we’ve been, the playgrounds are usually uncrowded and offer plenty of variety we can’t get at home.
  • The train. I think toddlers just come wired to love trains. Tickets are $2.50, with kids under two riding for free. The train runs daily every 30 minutes from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The ride covers about 1.75 miles in about 10 minutes.
  • Hand-dipped ice cream. The park is debuting a new ice cream parlor this year. I’m just waiting for the perfect summer day to check it out.
  • Burke Lake Park is free on the weekdays, making a perfect outing for some mommy/daughter time.

There’s so much more to do at Burke Lake that I honestly feel like I’m just scratching the surface every time I go (sometime more than once a week!). There’s also a carousel, mini golf, a fitness trail, a separate entrance just for fishing, campgrounds, and a top rated fitness trail. My husband has also been spotted at the 18-hole golf course a time or two.

Burke Lake Trail Map (image via Fairfax County)

Burke Lake Trail Map (image via Fairfax County)

My Tips for Visiting Burke Lake Park:

If you go, plan to head over mid-morning, and pack a picnic. Also remember bug spray, as you are near water, trees and may run into a few buggy areas on the trail. Bring a couple bucks for the miniature train, carousel or ice cream. It can also get hot (and there aren’t drinking fountains on the trail), so plan accordingly with water and snacks. I’ve hiked around the trail several times with a baby carrier, but would more than recommend bringing an all-terrain or jogging stroller. My umbrella stroller has made it, but is a bit more work that those stroller with larger wheels.

Burke Lake Park Facts

  • 7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, Virginia; 703.323.6600
  • The park is open daily between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, from sunrise to sunset. After Labor Day, the park facilities will only be open on the weekends until October 28, weather permitting (except for the campground which is open daily until October 27, the last day to camp). All park facilities are closed after October 28, until April. Park grounds will remain open from sunrise to sunset. The park is closed on December 25th.
  • The park is free to enter on weekdays for all visitors. On weekends/holidays, the fee is $10.00 per car or large capacity van, $5 per motorcycle, $40 per bus. Burke Lake Park is always free for Fairfax County residents.
  • The miniature train fee is $2.50 per rider over 2 years. The carousel is $1.75 per rider over 2 years. Parents must purchase a ticket if riding. The train and carousel are open every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The train’s first ride is at 11:15, with the last ride at 5:45. The carousel’s first ride is at 11:30, with the last ride at 5:30. The train and carousel run every 30 minutes. During peak visitor times, the two may run off schedule.
  • More information about Burke Lake Park is available here.

More Summer Parks, Picnics and Playdate Ideas

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