River Farm Park

Hidden Gem: River Farm Park

By. Piper S.


Now that gardens are buzzing with life, my daughter and I recently joined some friends for a morning picnic at one of our favorite spots in the DMV, the little-known River Farm Park in Alexandria, VA. Instead of playground structures, the park offers a stunning children’s garden comprised of over 12 small gardens designed to stimulate children’s interest in nature. Gazebos, playhouses and tunnels are surrounded by climbing trees, floral mazes and intriguing sculptures, encouraging imaginative play and exploration. Amidst the pleasantly shaded children’s area are several adult and child-sized picnic tables, perfect for a get-together with friends or family.

We brought bubbles and sidewalk chalk for use on the outdoor chalkboard. After playing in the children’s garden, we followed the path down to the Potomac River, where the children could watch the boats passing by. As the season progresses, the meadows along the path will sprout up, offering an array of native wildflowers, butterflies and insects–perfect for a garden treasure hunt!

This park is one of our favorites not only because of its simplicity and beauty, but also because we never encounter more than a few other guests. The tranquility of the park is a welcome getaway from Waldorf, and absolutely worth the drive across the bridge. The children’s garden is also re-curated throughout the year, so the themes and structures offer new adventures with each visit.

Location: Just south of Old Town Alexandria, River Farm Park is easily accessible from George Washington Memorial Parkway, just a short jaunt from the Beltway.

Cost: FREE! Parking and admission are both free. River Farm is open year-round Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays through September. River Farm is closed on national holidays.

Will we go back: Definitely! We plan on bringing bikes next time to bike the paved Mount Vernon Trail, which runs along the Potomac and provides outstanding views! We will also consider bringing a magnifying glass, binoculars, and sketch pad so that my daughter can document her discoveries.

Connect with River Farm Park and the American Horticultural Society