happyly approved

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve

6401 George Washington Parkway, Alexandria, VA 22307

Daily 6 am to 10 pm.


hike, parks

A cute nature escape that is accessible for every age.

This 1.8-mile National Park Service maintained trail (out and back) is a convenient distance for a little exercise and fresh air. There are beautiful points to stop on 485 acres, including several cute little beaches to relax and even picnic. The ultimate destination reached by a long wooden boardwalk is a lofted overlook with a beautiful view and a sandy beach below. The majority of the trail is wide, (except for a few points and the walkway at the end on the way to the large overlook) allowing a wide berth for passing groups. 

There are so many great views overlooking the marina, and at certain points, you can see MGM off in the distance. The wildlife viewing is awesome, and we watched two Bald Eagles take off and land near their nest several times directly above us. There is a birdwatching tour with a resident expert every Sunday morning at 8 am to learn more about Dyke Marsh's birdlife and there are also walks guided by a National Park Ranger throughout the warmer months, so check the website for more information and be sure to bring your binoculars.

We highly recommend exploring the marsh by boat, and you can access boat rentals or a ramp at Belle Haven Marina. 

We took a bike ride on the Mount Vernon Trail before visiting Dyke Marsh and left our bikes right next to the entrance when we embarked on our relaxing, scenic hike (no bikes are allowed past the entrance). There is a large parking lot next door by the Belle Haven Picnic area, easy walking distance from the entrance with available restrooms, water fountains, and trash cans.

Include a bike ride on Mount Vernon Trail which runs right past Dyke Marsh if you have a lot of stamina, as the hike itself is less than two miles. You can ride toward Old Town and stop at Jones Point Park where there are great lots under the bridge to ride freely, a large area to wander, and two great playgrounds. There are convenient places to picnic along the trail to break up your exercise.

Alternatively, The Haven Pizzeria is just a couple of minutes away, and they have a great Custard Stand adjacent to the restaurant to reward the kids after an active, outdoor day.

The closest metro station is Braddock Road. 


Bird Watching Picnic River views Nature Scenic Walk
Thoughtfully captured by:
Randi Banks
Randi (Betts) Banks grew up in New York and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She moved to Washington, D.C. more than thirteen years ago with her husband, Eaghmon, and they love to explore the area and seek out adventure, now with their two young children along for the ride. Growing up right near the beach, they are happiest when on or near the water, so exploring the rivers, lakes, and streams in the greater DC area is a favorite pastime for their family. In addition to serving as one of the Washington, DC area ambassadors, Randi is also the Editor in Chief and Co-founder of happyly.
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A playground, separate climbing area and space to wander near Old Town, Alexandria.
A park with beautiful river views.
Perfect space for little ones close to Old Town.

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