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5 hikes to #OptOutside in NoVA on Black Friday

If you would rather spend your time walking through the woods than scouring the shelves, here’s where to get a breath of fresh air after Thanksgiving.

© Maridav / stock.adobe.com

In 2015, REI Co-op kept its doors shut on Black Friday, the biggest retail shopping day of the year in the United States. All of the company’s locations refused to open and, instead, motivated customers to “opt outside.”

Now in its fourth year, the company has taken its initiative a few steps further, by sponsoring local clean-up events from Seattle, Washington to Jacksonville, Florida, giving consumers a list of 52 things for the next year (one per week) that can help save the planet in a variety of ways. 

For more holiday content, check out our Holiday Headquarters, fit with local Christmas tree lightings, outdoor holiday attractions and more. If you’re in search of more outdoorsy content, subscribe to our semiweekly Parks & Rec e-newsletter. 

If you’re looking for ways to #OptOutside this year, there is not a REI Co-op-sponsored cleanup in the DMV area, but there are some great hikes to enjoy. We told you about the best five hikes in Northern Virginia for a summer day back in June. Here, find a few (in alphabetical order) that will help you get some head space after the holiday, and make those Thanksgiving leftovers even more enjoyable after a day of walking, hiking and seeing the sights. 

Manassas National Battlefield Park
Trails range from .5 mile to over 5 miles; Easy to varied difficulty
Thanksgiving is a holiday often rooted in tradition, and at times, a great time to explore history. Whether it’s personal history, family history or the history rooted in your hometown, there is always something new to learn. For those feeling historic this year, take your search outside at Manassas National Battlefield Park. The 5,100 acres of land has more than 40 hiking trails, and has a series of loop trails that were key areas for the First and Second Manassas Battlefields. Find the location where on a July day in 1861, the Union and Confederate armies clashed for the first time, the historic Thornberry House, a statue dedicated to the memory of the patriots who fell at Bull Run and so much more. // Manassas National Battlefield Park: 6511 Sudley Road, City of Manassas

Mason Neck State Park
Trails range from 1 mile to over 7 miles; Easy to challenging difficulty
Hiking doesn’t just have to be about getting in some outdoor exercise. If you’re into bird-watching, (or birding, as referred to by the Northern Virginia Bird Club) Mason Neck State Park is Northern Virginia’s best location for catching a glimpse of a wild bald eagle. It also features three paved trails and over 8,000 acres of national, state and regional park land for visitors to enjoy. Take the mile-long Bay View Loop Trail to see the last of the fall color on the trees, or the Great Marsh Trail, where there’s ample free parking and a paved pathway, making the marsh views and peaceful outdoors accessible for everyone, even pets! // Mason Neck State Park: 7301 High Point Road, Lorton

Scotts Run Loop on the Potomac Heritage Trail
Trails range from .5 miles to over 5 miles; Easy to challenging difficulty
Scotts Run Nature Preserve is a small oasis not far from the nation’s capital, and if you have family visiting the DMV during the holidays, it’s worth taking a trip to the woods to see the sights that the 336-acre preserve has to offer. The Scotts Run loop trail has a cliffside view of the Potomac River, a small but beautiful waterfall, and several options to make the hike more challenging, if needed. If you climb the Stubblefield Falls Overlook, beware of slick, leaf-covered rocks, especially if it has recently rained. The trail does offer a view of the Potomac River surrounded by fall foliage, and it’s only a half-mile from the Scotts Run waterfall. // Scotts Run Nature Preserve: 7400 VA-193, McLean

Seneca Regional Park
Trails range from .2 mile to 1.5 miles, Easy to varied difficulty
“Let’s take a slow walk,” is one common saying on Thanksgiving Day that comes right before dessert. Not only does it allow you a chance to let the fullness of dinner subside (and to enjoy more pie later), it makes an opportunity to reconnect through deeper conversations while walking around the neighborhood. Head to Seneca Regional Park for that same opportunity to bond and connect while exploring the Potomac River and the remnants of George Washington’s Potowmack Canal. The park is also equestrian-friendly for those looking to ride rather than walk. // Seneca Regional Park: 101 Seneca Road, Great Falls

Sky Meadows State Park
Trails range from 1 mile to over 7 miles; Easy to challenging difficulty
If you want to experience a slower, more relaxed pace of things over the holiday weekend, find scenic views, woodlands and rolling pastures at Sky Meadows State Park. A little over a 45-minute to an hour drive from Northern Virginia, the park boasts 1,860 acres of a historic farm in the Crooked Run Valley. There are 22 miles of hiking trails, 9 miles of bike training and access to the Appalachian Trail. When John Edmonds purchased the land in 1780, he built a one-and-a-half-story house, which is still standing today, after almost 240 years. Along the journey (whether short or long), visitors will get scenic views of the Eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. // Sky Meadows State Park: 11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane

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