Our Kids Top 50 Ideas for Summertime Fun in 2018!
Ok, ok… while we send you our newsletter each week, we thought this would be a fun LIST to help you plan out the summer with your children. Mix it up and choose activities from a different state than where you’re located — or stick close to home. Either way, have a fantastic summer and thanks for being part of the Our Kids comunity!
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1. Take an Adventurous Hike. If you’re looking for a new stomping ground, check out the top trails here. And, grab a copy of the book Best Hikes with Kids, Washington, D.C. The Beltway & Beyond. If you’re tired of your same old hiking rut, consider purchasing this book authored by local mom, Jennifer Chambers. You’re guaranteed some exciting new ideas to get you inspired to be outdoors. Read the Our Kids review.
2. Day Trip I. Head over to see the beautiful butterflies and flowers at Brookside Garden. Their Wings of Fancy exhibit is open through September.
3. Play Inside. Beat the heat and head inside. Visit Our Kids Indoor Play Area guide for all your options and try out somewhere new. Some fun options include Monkey Joe’s in Germantown, Badlands Playspace in Rockville, or SkyZone in Gaithersburg. Venture out and check out Kiddie Crusoe in Timonium and BusyBees in Chevy Chase!
4. Minor League Baseball is the way to go! Tickets are low-cost and the venue is just right for families. Luckily in Maryland there are several teams to choose from – Frederick Keys, Bowie Baysox and Southern Maryland Bluecrabs.
6. Go Berry Picking. Our Kids has a comprehensive list of Pick Your Own Farms. Strawberries blueberries, and blackberries great ways to kick off your summer and then go peach and cherry picking later on. Head on over to Butler’s Orchard, Homestead Farms, or Wegmeyer Farm.
Butler’s Orchard in Germantown
7. Go Climbing. There are several great options. ClimbZone in Laurel is an exciting option for kids ages 3 and up. Visit the Sandy Spring Adventure Park for an incredibly fun, outdoor adventure. There are 13 trails, 26 zip lines and 6 difficulty levels, K2 Trees plus the Monkey Grove and Labyrinth. The park is best for ages 5 and up. Other options include Terrapin Adventures or Go Ape.
8. Visit Glen Echo Park. Take in a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Puppet Co. Playhouse or Tinker Bell at Adventure Theatre. Visit the awesome playground and carousel while you’re there. Plus while there, combine it with a visit to the Glen Echo Park Aquarium.
9. Make Time for History. Head to Woodlawn Manor in Sandy Spring and take the Underground Railroad Experience Hike. It’s a 2-mile round-trip adventure sure to please most history buffs. Read the Our Kids Review. Alternatively, visit the Accokeek Foundation and explore the beauty and heritage of this 18th century agricultural farm. Start your visit at the Visitor Center and bring a picnic to enjoy.
10. Get Wet. From the Water Park at Bohrer Park to the South Germantown SplashPark and Mini Golf, to the spray fountains at Rockville Town Square and Downtown Silver Spring. Bring a picnic and blanket along and enjoy!
11. Have fun at National Harbor. There is so much to do at National Harbor, from a ride on The Capital wheel to trying out a watersport, not to mention fun and family-friendly dining options. Be sure to take the whole family to enjoy SummerFest at The Gaylord that runs through September 3rd!
12. Buy Local. Visit a local farmers market and prepare a meal with your children from your purchases. Rockville Farmers Market, Silver Spring FRESHFARM Market, Greenbelt Farmers Market and Cheverly Community Market are a few of the many options available. Or visit the Our Kids Farmers Market Guide for a full list.
13. Sing and Dance! Let kids romp while listening to some of the area’s best kid musicians. Gaithersburg Morning Concerts for Kids and the RIO/Washingtonian Little Tots Series are great FREE ways to entertain the kids. You can also head to Congressional Plaza for their monthly Mommy & Me and Daddies Too! programs.
14. Day Trip II. Head to Calvert Cliffs for some shark tooth hunting or over to Greenbrier State Park to enjoy a relaxing day at their man-made beach! But arrive early this is a hot destination and the park will not let more beachgoers in when they hit their capacity.
Greenbrier State Park in Boonsboro
16. Head to the Movies. Check out the Our Kids Summer Movie Guide – there’s bound to be something playing that your kids would enjoy seeing. And better yet, many of these options are free or very low cost.
17. Get Back to Basics. Blow bubbles, make a fort, play hopscotch, jump rope, play tag, look for rollie pollies, roast s’mores, or catch lightning bugs.
18. Slip & Slide your way to a waterpark! There’s tons of fun to be had at one of the FIVE NOVA Parks water parks. Make it a day, pack a lunch and let the wild rumpus start. Options are: Pirate’s Cove (Lorton – Our Kids Review), Atlantis (Centreville – Our Kids Review), Great Waves (Alexandria – Our Kids Review), Ocean Dunes (Arlington) and Volcano Island (Sterling – Our Kids Review). You also must visit the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax Park. They renovated in 2015 and it’s a huge hit! Read the Our Kids Review!
19. Go to a Children’s Summer Concert. Spend a Saturday at Burke Lake Park, Mason District Park or E.C. Lawrence Park for one of the Arts in the Parks Children’s Summer Concerts. They all start at 10am and are free! There’s also a series on Wednesdays at Frying Pan Park.
20. Bowl for Free (in some locations). Register online and kids 15 and under can get a weekly voucher for three free games per child per day through September 3, 2018. Shoe rentals not included. Locations include: Bowlmor Bethesda, AMF Annandale, AMF Marlow Heights, AMF Capital Plaza Lanes, AMF College Park Lanes, Bowlmor Rockville, Bowlero Centreville, AMF Laurel, AMF Waldorf and AMF Dale City Lanes.
21. Watch a Military Parade. You have two opportunities to catch our amazing military men and women perform. Sunset Parades take place on Tuesdays at 7pm. at Iwo Jima and the Twilight Tattoo takes place on Wednesdays at 7pm at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington.
22. Take Me Out to the Ballgame – minor league style. It’s family-friendly and a great alternative to the big leagues. Head to the Potomac Nationals game (Our Kids review) in Woodbridge. Tickets start at $6 and there are always different deals and promotions going on. Be sure to check their website.
23. Do the Discovery Trail Map. Celebrate the 275th Anniversary of Fairfax County and participate in the Park Authority’s Discovery Trail Map. The journey features 12 distinctive sites that give students age 17 and younger the chance to discover each site’s unique features. Visit eight or more sites and get a prize package to more summer fun and get entered in a drawing for one of four bicycles! The theme has a historical bent to it to celebrate the milestone.
24. Get Crafty. If you’re in a crafty mood, head over to Upcycle Creative Reuse Center for their drop-in program on Thursdays. Participate in Michael’s Camp Creativity, an arts & crafts program every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in June and July. Register for the session you want, it’s just $5/session or $12/three sessions. Another option is to head to Greater Reston Arts Center for their Explore More program or TGIF Free Fridays.
25. Go on a New Hike or Climb. Try Go Ape at South Run Park in Springfield. You’ll have a great time in the trees and the course is a fun way to exercise and bond with the family. Alternatively, grab a copy of the book Best Hikes with Kids, Washington, D.C. The Beltway & Beyond.
26. Watch the Planes. Head over to Gravelly Point Park and watch the planes take off from Ronald Reagan National Airport. Pack a picnic and a soccer ball and make it a morning or afternoon activity. Alternatively, head to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly to see planes up close and personal. Spend time in the Observation Tower to watch real planes flying into Dulles International Airport. If you have older kids, definitely try out the FREE Smithsonian TechQuest: Astronaut Academy program.
Gravelly Point Park in Arlington
28. Day Trip II: Go on a real adventure and experience the Virginia Safari Park for a real up close and personal view of animals as they come up to your car!
29. Sing and Dance! Let kids romp while listening to some of the area’s best kid musicians. It’s a summer rite of passage to go to Wolf Trap Theatre-in-the-Woods! There are also the Little Tots programs at Fairfax Corner and Virginia Gateway which are great FREE ways to entertain the kids.
30. Indulge in a Sweet Treat. Kick up your feet with an iced latte while the kids enjoy a concert or play with toys at one of our many family-friendly coffee shops or cafes. View the complete list. Or, check out the sweet food activities this summer at Mount Vernon!
31. Ride a Train, Ride a Carousel and Go Camping! You can do all three things at one place – Burke Lake Park. The carousel is open daily through Labor Day and is $2/ride weekdays and $3/ride weekends. The train is open daily through Labor Day and is $3/ride weekdays and $4/ride weekends. Consider camping — it’s an essential experience for kids and Burke Lake is a low-key place to try it out. You can read the Our Kids Review before going.
32. Play Inside. Beat the heat and visit one of the many local Indoor Play Areas. So many options – you can try out some newer places on the scene — Basic Play in Arlington, Jumping Joeys in Falls Church (and Arlington), Luv 2 Play in Leesburg and some oldie but goodies – Busy Bees, Rebounderz Sterling and Sport Bounce of Loudoun.
33. Watch a Movie Outdoors. Our area has so many summer movie programs to take advantage of. Many are free, and some are very low-cost. For older kids, check out the Rossyln Outdoor Film Festival. For the entire family, Cinema Del Ray, Movies on the Potomac and Starlight Cinema are great options!
34. Get Environmental. Head to the National Geographic Museum to take in their exhibit Titanic: The Untold Story.
35. Watch a Professional Tennis Match. The Washington Kastles is a high-energy tennis experience and one that tennis fans will surely enjoy. Matches are held at The Kastles Stadium at the Smith Center and tickets start at $15. Home matches will take place from July 15th to August 2nd, so be sure to put this on your to-do list.
36. Soar with Butterflies. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History allows you to walk along with butterflies in their Live Butterfly Pavilion. Tickets are required and are $6/adults; $5/children. Tuesdays are free! Combine your visit with a showing of the IMAX film Flight of the Butterflies 3D, which is great for all ages.
38. Tour Nationals Stadium. Do you have a child who loves baseball? A tour of the Washington Nationals Stadium might be just the ticket. There are two options: Game Day Tours at 10:30am or Non-Game Day Tours, which have a bit more flexibility. Tours are $15 for adults and $10 for children.
Washington Nationals Stadium in DC
39. Be a Tourist. We live in a wonderful city, so why not take advantage of the many free monuments and attractions in downtown DC? Visit the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Washington Monument (be sure to purchase your tickets in advance), the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II Memorial. You can walk to all of these and get the kids tired or take one of the many tourist tours (i.e. DC Ducks or Big Bus Tours.) Or, write to your representative to get an insider view of the White House or the FBI Buildings.
41. Folklife Festival. This year the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, held June 27 to July 1 and July 4 to 8, 2018 celebrates resilient communities around the world.
42. Play Outside and Cool Off! Head to the Chevy Chase Sprayground & Playground and cool off at this fun spot. Dry off and then have fun on their playground. Other fun options for playing outside: Beauvoir School Playground, Forest Hills Playground, Lafayette Park and Sprayground and Yards Park. A complete list of playgrounds and spraygrounds can be found here.
43. Sing and Dance. Let kids romp while listening to some of the area’s best musicians. From concerts at The Yards Park and the U.S. Air Force Band to Jazz in the Garden, we’re lucky to have a lot of option. For a complete list of summer concerts, click here.
45. Day Trip! Barely a 50 minute drive from DC, Annapolis makes for a fun day trip for the kids. You can take a trip on Pirate Adventures of the Chesapeake or for the older kids take a tour of the US Naval Academy. Walk around downtown for lots of people watching and grab a bite to eat from one of the local seafood restaurants.
46. Go Bowling. Pinstripes in Georgetown offers a Tots Playtime every Monday to Friday from 10am to noon. The program is for ages 12 and under and is just $3/child per game with a $4 shoe rental. Parents bowl for free.
47. Plant Fun. Head to the United States Botanic Garden. It’s free and fun for kids of all ages. You can hit up the children’s garden or ask for a Junior Botanist kid’s backpack of exploration (ages 9+).
48. Start a new hobby! The National Postal Museum is a hidden gem. Visit the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery. Everything you wanted to know about stamps and more is here and there are hands-on activities for children. And, enjoy their free storytimes on Mondays at 10:30 and 11 am through the summer.
National Postal Museum in DC
50. Go Fishing. Break out the fishing pools and join the Anacostia Riverkeeper’s with their Friday Night Fishing which June 15 and runs through August 17. From 6-8:30pm this catch and release program at the dock at Diamond Teague Park is great for all ages!