Belay On: Indoor rock climbing in Northern Virginia

Burn off energy and challenge the whole family at these local indoor rock-climbing facilities.

rock climbing
Photo courtesy of altanaka/AdobeStock

Indoor rock climbing provides a unique twist on health and fitness for all ages. Burn off energy and challenge the whole family at these local indoor rock-climbing facilities.

Burke Swim and Racquet Club

Kids over 5 can climb safely and worry-free with Burke Swim’s auto-belay system. The climbing gym features leveled walls to challenge everyone from beginners to advanced climbers. Membership is not required to participate, but call the gym to make a reservation.

Earth Treks Climbing Center
Crystal City

This quickly growing franchise has a location right in the heart of Crystal City, just minutes away from the Metro, shops and restaurants. Families can learn together at the Introduction to Climbing Class, designed to teach both kids and adults basic climbing skills. Earth Treks also holds classes, climbing teams, parties and special events. Insider tip: Speed up the check-in process by watching the orientation video and filling out the waiver online prior to arrival.

Sportrock Climbing Center
Alexandria & Sterling

Visit one of Sportrock’s two locations to participate in open climbing time, classes and camps. Kids over 5 can register online for a spot during Open Belay time. Sportrock also hosts a chapter of Catalyst Sports, which offers climbing clinics every month for those with special needs or physical disabilities. The Alexandria location is expanding this year, and with over 35,000 square feet of climbing space, the state-of-the-art facility will have the tallest climbing walls on the East Coast.

Vertical Rock Indoor Climbing Center

With climbs and instructional courses tailored to all skill levels and most age groups, Vertical Rock will get your family on the ropes and utilizing the proper safety techniques like seasoned pros. The facility’s packed calendar of events includes open climbs, camps, climbing teams, birthday parties and more. Plus, almost every Friday night is Kids Night on the Rocks, where kids can enjoy a night of supervised climbing while parents take the night off.

Worth the Trip:
Laurel, Maryland

Climb masterpieces, not mountains, at this Maryland facility. The walls at ClimbZone are works of art with themes such as New York City, Mount Rushmore, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Tetris, making each wall a unique photo op for families. The auto-belay system is user-friendly, and kids as young as 3 can climb on the lower-challenge walls. Besides the walls, ClimbZone also has bounce houses, a toddler play area and tables for eating.