Updated: Aug 10
Summer 2020 has been one for the books. With schools and other business shutdown due to COVID-19 the summer sure doesn’t look like is used to. Because of shutdowns, camps for kids are closed and they’re lacking the daily social activities they would normally receive during the summer months. Not only are adults feeling the stress from COVID-19, kids are feeling the stress as well. With most parents now working from home, home schooling, cooking, maintain a household and among other things, parents are left with trying to come up with creative ways to keep kids engaged and trying to instill some normalcy in their lives.
As a parent, it’s been a challenged but I’ve been looking to resources in the immediate local area researching activities to relieve some of the kid stress. I recently discovered the Great Falls Park in Virginia https://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm. If you’re located in the DMV area, its short drive to the park. It’s a Virginia landmark that’s managed by the National Park service. Our recent trip to the park was nice and it was good to get away for a few hours to enjoy nature, to disconnect and to get in some exercise. The park is great way to get the kids out for the day, but if you’re planning to visit, here are 5 things to consider before visiting.
Arrive early – The Park gets full quick so plan to arrive early. Like you, everyone is searching for a
quarantine outlet so most people are reverting to the good outdoors and nearby parks. Amusement parks would be the normal go to for summer fun but since most are closed, people are being creative and considering nature parks instead. Not only does getting there early gets you a great parking spot, it’s also good to explore the park before it gets too hot. The sun is normally at its peak by mid-afternoon so arriving early will give the opportunity to enjoy a nice breeze prior to the sun making its debut.
Carpool – Car pool would be a great option if you’re able to do it. There is a $20 fee to park so it would be great if riding with the entire family was an option. Of course, all while experience social distancing. It’ll save you a few bucks as well as saving you a lot of time. There may be a small fee for entry however, the entry fee is included in the $20. Also, make you sure you have cash available for payment. I know….who has cash these day, almost no one but cash is the preferred method of payment for parking and entry fee.
Pack Snacks/Beverages – Unlike you’re average amusement park that’s loaded with a food/snack vendor at every turn, this park isn’t like that. There are no food vendors of any kind on the grounds. The visitor center is closed due to COVID-19 so you’re on your own with trying to figure things out. Come prepared with cool drinks and snacks to get you through the day of hiking/walking from overlook to overlook. My suggestion is to pack a small cooler with water, fruit, sports drinks, protein bars, fruit snacks and few other items to get you over until you can eat a full meal.
Wear comfortable shoes/breathable clothing – The park has walking and hiking trails with uneven terrain filled with rocks and gravel. It you don’t do anything else, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and breathable clothing!!! You will be walking up and down hills and rocks so it’s imperative that you have feet support. Since it’s dead of the summer and temps are sure to be hot, wearing loose and light clothing is best. Let it be something you don’t mind getting dirty. There’s a lot of dirt and dust when walking the trails so wearing you Sunday’s Best wouldn’t be ideal for this type of park.
NO WIFI - Be prepared to disconnect from the outside world during your visit. There’s no Wi-Fi and you can barely receive a cell phone signal. So if you thought you were going to go LIVE during your visit, you’re sadly mistaken.
Use your time at the park to be present and enjoy the people you’re sharing this experience with. But don’t fret, you will survive without
Wi-Fi, you can always capture pictures and videos to be posted at a later time.
Enjoy your time at the park and don't forget to take plenty of pictures for the gram!!