Tucked away in DC’s northeast quadrant, the U.S. National Arboretum is nestled along side busy NY Avenue but you wouldn’t know it from inside the park.
The unassuming entrance through a neighborhood off of Bladensburg Road leaves you wondering if you came to the right place. There’s an abundance of parking, not nearly enough flowers to greet you and typically only a handful of fellow hikers.
Then you see what Christine and I saw as you walk past the parked cars: a beautiful open pasture filled with flowing grass and families playing throughout acres of open meadows.
If you have children who can move on their own two feet – this is the oasis for them. Pack a Frisbee, picnic and some blankets and you’ve got yourself a great afternoon. You can even bring your dog! And to top it off, there are public bathrooms for those tiny humans who are fortunate enough to be able to go diaper-less.
We were taken aback by the seemingly endless possibilities for where to go on our hike and after some deliberation found ourselves heading along a paved road that took us through a tree-guided tour of this beautiful park.
The grounds are well maintained and full of a colorful variety of flora. You can bike, jog, or walk the Arboretum but I’d recommend keeping little tikes in a stroller if you are going to veer away from the open meadows and take one of the paths because they permit cars to drive throughout and while driving slow, they are often passing you on the paths.
There are some trails within wooded areas that are nice to do and would be great with small explorers and bird watchers. We did one but it had small stairs at different points so it made it slightly tough with the stroller.
We ended up doing five miles with RJ in the Bob – stopping once for a bottle break on one of the many park benches we found. He loved the day and had much to talk about as we made our way over hills and around pastures. I’m sure to him it all made sense too!