In addition to the amazing historic destinations that help you reach your daily Fitbit goal of 10,000 steps, you might be looking to add a little fun and entertainment into the routine. These places in Virginia have enough space to get your 10,000 steps while also providing additional thrills. Reach your daily goal while actually enjoying yourself at one of these fun-filled locations.
The Boardwalk—Virginia Beach
Photo credit: Sam Dean, @sdeanphotos
Fun Factor: Provides a front-row view of the Atlantic Ocean the entire three miles.
Only steps away from the Atlantic, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk spans three miles down the coast. Bikers and roller-bladers frequent the Boardwalk, but many enjoy a leisurely stroll on the paved walkway. Aim at getting your 10,000 steps in during the morning and you might be lucky enough to spot a few frolicking dolphins breaching the surface of the ocean’s gentle waves.
Frying Pan Farm Park—Herndon
Fun Factor: Visit with cute farm animals after your walk.
Frying Pan Farm Park preserves the way of life common in Fairfax County during the 1920’s, when the area was primarily farms and rural lands. This historic yet still working dairy farm houses a number of animals, including pigs, horses, goats, cows, and sheep, but it also has a stunning nature trail on the property. The trail loop is about 1.5 miles long, winding through open wildflower sections and shady forests. Do a few circuits on the loop, then walk through the animal park to visit with the cute farm animals.
Similar Site: Maymont in Richmond
State Arboretum of Virginia at Blandy—Boyce
Fun Factor: Trails through the wooded Arboretum, as well as meadows and wetlands.
Part of University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm, the State Arboretum of Virginia at Blandy contains over 5,000 trees and shrubs from around the world, and they are constantly planting more trees through school groups and other volunteers. The nature center has over half the world’s pine species, a Virginia Native Plant Trail, herb garden, and an expansive assortment of perennials. In addition to the Arboretum, the farm has four walking trails that range from three-quarters of a mile to two miles in length. Each pathway features a different natural environment, and you’ll get your 10,000 steps through woodlands, meadows, and even wetlands. The lands act as habitats to a wide array of wildlife, including songbirds, turtles, and quail. Leashed pets are welcome, so bring along your four-legged friend and walk these free trails together.
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center—Chantilly
Photo Credit: April Greer
Fun Factor: See the Space Shuttle Discovery which flew more than 148 Million miles during its 39 missions.
The National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a 760,000-square-foot museum in northern Virginia, features the world’s largest collection (when combined with its sister site in DC) of iconic air and space craft. The two huge hangers house thousands of aviation and space artifacts. Although you might not believe that you could make it to your daily goal, you’ll quickly hit your steps without even realizing how far you’ve really walked! Don’t miss seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery and the fastest jet in the world, the SR-71 Blackbird.
Image COurtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens and easily walk 10,000 steps in between riding the park’s thrilling roller coasters. In addition to roller coasters and rides, the park is full of lush greenery, animal sanctuaries, and a variety of European zones that transport you across Germany, Ireland, and England within a few thousand steps. While many of these 10,000 step destinations cater mostly to adults, kids will love to come along when you visit this exciting theme park.
Similar Site: Kings Dominion in Doswell
Roanoke River Greenway—Roanoke
Fun Factor: Path off the Greenway leads to Mill Mountain Star. Also can walk by Black Dog Architectural Salvage, a 40,000 square foot warehouse filled with architectural antiques that was in the DIY Network show Salvage Dogs.
Lace up your favorite sneakers and hit the Roanoke Valley Greenway, a paved continuous path of over 20 miles, which weaves beautifully through Virginia’s Blue Ridge. The Greenway is pet-friendly and conveniently located near a variety of communities and neighborhoods, including parks and playgrounds, making it enjoyable for visitors of all ages. After taking the trail to the scenic views from the Roanoke Star, head to Black Dog Architectural Salvage and explore a 40,000 square foot warehouse filled with architectural antiques. With tons of outdoor adventure and miles of paved paths, you’ll reach 10,000 steps while exploring all that Virginia’s Blue Ridge has to offer.
The Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium—Virginia Beach
Fun Factor: Conquer aerial trails in the largest forest climbing park in the nation.
Although this option isn’t free, it is a truly one-of-a-kind way to get your 10,000 steps for the day. Located only a few miles from the Boardwalk in Virginia Beach, the Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium challenges you to push your physical limits on their treetop trails. Not for the faint of heart, the pathways consist of wooden platforms, zip lines, and other obstacles that connect the aerial pathways. But don’t worry if you aren’t the most fit person; there are a total of 15 trails ranging in difficulty, from beginner levels that are closer to the ground and easier to cross, to the most challenging, advanced courses that seasoned athletes may prefer.
Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge—Cape Charles
Photo credit: Julie McCool, @funinfairfax
Fun Factor: 400+ aviary species in the park for avid bird-watchers.
Within the National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, there is a 2.5 mile trail that can be used for both hiking and biking. Walk the trail both ways to reach your 10,000 steps and along the way, keep your eyes peeled for a few of the 406 known bird species that occupy the park. During the fall, the park is the scene of a colorful aerial migration, with millions of songbirds and Monarch butterflies and thousands of raptors converging for the long journey south.
Natural Tunnel State Park—Duffield
Photo Credit: Kyle LaFerriere, @laferriere.photography
Fun Factor: Walk to the Natural Tunnel, a passage carved through a limestone ridge over thousands of years.
Natural Tunnel State Park has over four miles of trails throughout the park, but what makes this destination unique is the huge open tunnel as tall as a ten-story building that runs through the limestone ridge. William Jennings Bryan, America’s 41st Secretary of State, dubbed Natural Tunnel the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. The trail that leads down to the tunnel entrance is only about a third of a mile down, but the terrain makes the hike more difficult. For an easier start to your steps, take the chair lift down to the tunnel entrance. Although visitors are not allowed to walk through the tunnel, there are cave tours available in other parts of the park. Additionally, handicapped visitors can use the park’s 1,600-foot boardwalk to reach the natural tunnel.
Don’t let your exercise plan get boring this year; add a few of these fun spots to your workout plan and reach your daily goal of 10,000 steps in new and exciting places.