With temperatures reaching near-record numbers this summer, many Fairfax residents have been running to the nearby lakes to cool down — taking advantage of all that Burke Lake, Lake Accotink and Lake Fairfax have to offer.
“Summer is always a very popular time for our lakes and each offers a great variety of things to do,” said Brian Laws, operations manager for the Fairfax Park Authority. “All of them have a pretty nice trail network running through them.”
Plus, there’s camping, fishing, carousels, boating and a host of other water activities that the area’s three major lakes offer.
All three lakes are open to the public from sunrise to sunset. Here’s a look at what you can do at each of the three.
Burke Lake7315 Ox Road
Fairfax Station, Va.
With 888 acres, Burke Lake is the largest lake park in the area and boasts a 218-acre lake that is a favorite spot for Fairfax anglers.
“If you’re a fishing type of person, Burke Lake is the place to be,” Laws said. “The lake has muskies, catfish…and you will see fishermen out here real early to take advantage of what the lake offers.”
Rowboats and canoes are available to rent, but their purpose is supposed to be for fishing. The lake itself is not supposed to be used for recreation.
The site also offers outdoor volleyball courts, ball fields, an 18-hole par-3 golf course, a driving range, horseshoe pits and a clubhouse with snack bar. There also is a large picnic area with grills.
“One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to laze around Burke Lake,” said Christine Reilly of Centreville. “I love that the park is so close by and wish more of my friends would embrace and use it. Another fun thing to do is grab a few friends to take a boat or two onto the lake and just layout or fish.”
Children will enjoy the miniature train, the carousel, miniature golf and the on-site ice cream parlor.
There is no entry fee for Fairfax County residents, but a charge for non-county residents on weekends and holidays only.
Lake Fairfax1400 Lake Fairfax Drive
Reston, Va.From dawn to dusk, residents can take advantage of the 476 acres of Lake Fairfax Park, including its 18-acre lake.
The lake was purchased by the Park Authority in 1966 and the popular outdoor pool complex, the water mine was added in 1997.
“Lake Fairfax is the most action packed lakefront park because of the water mine,” Laws said. “It has a lazy river and slide features and is a great time for all, primarily the younger crowd.”
A large campground is available and is set up with electricity and is accessible for the large RVs that come from out of town. While Burke Lake is more for the overnight family camping, Fairfax Lake is aimed more for those who want to spend a few days.
The park also offers soccer fields, a carousel, paddleboats and a tour boat that takes people through the waters.
“There’s fishing year round and in the fall they do a trout re-stocking,” Laws said. “There are also overnight campground facilities and picnic areas, so a lot to enjoy.”
Lake Accotink7500 Accotink Park Road
Springfield, Va.In the heart of Springfield, the 493 acre park was purchased by the Fairfax Park Authority in 1965 and has been a favorite spot for boaters and swimmers ever since.
“This year we added some brand new pedal boats that are wheelchair accessible and hand cranked,” Laws said. “We’ll be adding those to Lake Fairfax soon, as well.”
A tour boat offers sunset tours through the 55-acre lake and wetlands. Plus, boats and bikes are both available to rent to further discover the park’s beauty.
Children love the historic merry-go-round, which is the oldest operating carousel in Fairfax County. The nine-hole mini-golf course also is a favorite of many.
There’s also a playground, sand volleyball court and basketball court, snack bar, pavilion shelters and picnic areas with grills that may be reserved for large parties.
Situated along the cross county trail, the park has a 4-mile loop for hiking and biking.
“All of our parks offer unique views of waterfowl and marsh life,” Laws said. “Fairfax County is happy to be able to offer such great park facilities.”