News & Politics

4 Great Outdoor Dates Around DC

These itineraries are perfect for (nature) lovers.

Our Favorite Parks

About Our Favorite Parks

This article is a part of Washingtonian’s feature: Our Favorite Parks. Our editors and staff pulled together the best regional parks where you can take a walk, have a picnic, play with the kids, and enjoy the great outdoors.

For Buttermilk Pancakes and Bonsai

Start the morning with fluffy pancakes at Ari’s Diner (2003 Fenwick St., NE; 202-290-1827) or a crab or smoked-fish omelet for Sunday brunch at the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse (1356 Okie St., NE; 202-529-3300), then stroll through the azaleas and dogwoods, take a selfie at the Capitol Columns, and marvel at the bonsai trees at the nearby National Arboretum  (3501 New York Ave., NE; 202-245-4523).

For Woodpeckers and Wine

You’ll spot woodpeckers throughout Sky Meadows State Park in Virginia (11012 Edmonds Ln., Delaplane; 540-592-3556), especially in the old-growth trees on Corporal Morgan trail. Other trails—22 miles in all—range from steep wooded climbs to easy valley jaunts. Afterward, go winetasting at a nearby vineyard such as Delaplane Cellars (2187 Winchester Rd., Delaplane; 540-592-7210).

For Drums and Drinks

Time a visit to Meridian Hill Park (16th St. between W and Euclid sts., NW)—also known as Malcolm X Park—around 3 on a Sunday to witness a 40-year-old tradition: a drum circle. Dance—or just sway (we won’t judge)—and take in the lively scene. Then have a drink on the rooftop terrace of Jack Rose Dining Saloon  (2007 18th St., NW; 202-588-7388).

For Blazes and Bordeaux

Take your pick from seven blazed loop trails or three short paths to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, Maryland. The trails, ranging from a quarter of a mile to seven miles, all reach the 1,282-foot peak, which looks out over farmland and forested foothills. Later, savor Bordeaux-style wines at nearby Sugarloaf Winery (18125 Comus Rd., Dickerson; 301-605-0130), which has both indoor and outdoor tasting areas and large patios to sit and sip.

This article appears in the May 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

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Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.