Summer is here and it’s time to get the kids outside in Spotsylvania County. There’s just so much to do, like paddling, hiking, swimming and fishing. If you need ideas, we’ve got ideas. Take a look at these 25 must-do activities to add to your summer bucket list of fun.
1. Play a round of disc golf. Let the discs fly on 18-hole courses around the county, many of which are free, like Loriella Park. There is also a nationally-ranked course called The Block House that’s just $7/game on weekdays and $10/game on weekends.
2. Try a tree tops course. Make a beeline for the Adventure Center at Wilderness Presidential Resort where you’ll get harnessed up to walk tight ropes, conquer cargo nets and tiptoe across wooden bridges before flying through the trees on a zipline.
3. Order the Milkshake of the Week. Kids will go ga-ga when you order up a massive milkshake from the Battlefield County Store. Milkshakes are topped with sprinkles, frosting, cookies, sometimes an entire slice of cake.
4. Watch planes take off and land. It’s a must to stop in the retro-style Robin’s Nest Café at Shannon Airport for a bite to eat and a front row seat to watch small planes take off and land. Ask for a free paper airplane kit to make your own plane.
5. Tour Shannon Air Museum. Get out of the heat and into a climate-controlled hangar to see rare aircraft and historic memorabilia. Call ahead or book a one-hour walking tour when you arrive for a look at planes from many years ago.
6. Score a hole in one. Choose a putter and a ball for 18 holes of mini golf at Wilderness Presidential Resort. At just $1/round, it’s hard to find a better deal when you’re looking for family fun. As a bonus, you don’t need to be a resort guest to play.
7. Hit the beach. Pack your beach towels, folding chairs and sunblock for an afternoon on the sandy beach at Lake Anna State Park. Bring your floaties too to laze away the day on Lake Anna. Arrive early on weekends. The beach fills up quickly.
8. Get out on the water. Rent a single kayak, double kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Lake Anna Outfitters to take out on the lake. No-wake zones allow junior paddlers to stay afloat on calm waters in shallow coves.
9. Take a hike. There are lots of hiking trails across Spotsylvania County, including more than 15 miles of multi-use trails at Lake Anna State Park. A kid-friendly pick is the Railroad Ford Trail, a two-mile loop that runs along a peninsula southeast of the beach.
10. Stay the weekend at Wilderness Presidential Resort. Book a staycation in a cabin on the lake at this massive resort in Spotsylvania County. There’s so much to do too, like disc golf, swimming, paddling, gem mining and archery.
11. Paddle a Corcl boat. What’s a Corcl boat you may ask? It’s a circular watercraft that looks a lot like a snow saucer. Resort guests can take one out on Cool Spring Lake at Wilderness Presidential Resort. Sit cross-legged to paddle the calm waters.
12. Cheer for high-speed stock cars. Spend your Saturday evening at Dominion Raceway, which hosts car races around the oval nearly every week from early-April to mid-October. Most Saturdays, the green flag waves at 7 pm.
13. Visit with a herd of goats. Kids will love to have a meet and greet with the goats at Wilderness Run Vineyards and 1781 Brewing Company. More than a dozen goats are penned off adjacent to the parking area waiting to say hello.
14. Cruise in a pontoon boat. Motor along the waterways in an easy-going pontoon boat, like one that can be rented from Shipwreck Boat Rental next to Hunters Landing at the Cove. Stop in the convenience store for snacks and sundries before you get on the water.
15. Catch a big one. It’s a must to go fishing at one of multiple freshwater lakes and reservoirs in Spotsylvania County. Good picks include Ni River Reservoir and Hunting Run Reservoir for reeling in small mouth bass and crappie.
16. Go fruit picking. Head to Millers Farms to pick your own strawberries, blueberries and sweet corn. There’s always something fresh and ready to be picked in the fields. Stop in the on-site market for cheeses, free range chicken, eggs and local honey.
17. Pitch a tent. Pack your tent and sleeping bags in the car for a weekend spent camping under the stars, roasting marshmallows and reveling in nature. Family-friendly campgrounds to check out include Lake Anna State Park and the KOA in Fredericksburg.
18. Tour a battlefield. Brush up on Civil War history at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. Walk across battlefields, take a driving tour, and of course, become a Junior Ranger. Complete an activity booklet to earn a patch.
19. Get the Burger of the Week. After a morning or afternoon spent exploring Spotsylvania County, re-fuel at Harry’s Alehouse. Order up the Burger of the Week or choose from eight other burgers on the menu, like the Guac Burger.
20. Ride on a train. At the Rappahannock Railroad Museum, you and your kids can get schooled on the history of the railroad. You can also take a ride on the Little Yellow Train, an open-air train that tours the railyard. Only open on Saturday mornings.
21. Pan for gold. At Lake Anna State Park, sign up for a one-hour gold panning program with a park ranger who will expound on the history of gold in Virginia. The park also offers ranger-led tours of the Goodwin Gold Mine.
22. Watch the boats. It’s easy to laze the day away while watching the boats cruise the waterway from The Cove at Lake Anna. The outdoor decks offer the perfect vantage point while eating lunch or dinner. Adirondack chairs out back allow you to get closer to the action.
23. Bowl a few frames. When the summer heat gets to be too much, take the fun inside at Penny Lanes. Here you’ll find bowling, arcade games and delicious food, like spicy tuna rolls and grilled chicken tacos. They’ve got kids meals, too.
24. Hit a bucket of balls. For golfers and golfers-in-training, head to New Post Golf Range to see how far you can drive the ball. There’s also plenty of space to practice putting and chipping. The short game is equally important.
25. Have a picnic. Spotsylvania County is home to more than 10 public parks with family-friendly amenities, like picnic tables, playgrounds, basketball courts and hiking trails, like Hunting Run Recreation Area and Chewning Park.
How many of these activities will you add to your summer bucket list? We can’t wait to see you checking them off one by one in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.
By Erin Gifford (www.GoHikeVirginia.com)