Burke Lake Park7315 Ox Road
Fairfax Station, VA
Website ~ Map Link
Bottom Line: There is a ton to do at this wonderful 800+ acre park and we only scratched the surface in our visit. There is a playground in the park (actually several), but the playgrounds aren't really the selling point. In fact, the one closest to the train and carousel is not that great, but the other park features more than make up for it. 5/5 stars.
Things To Do: hiking/bike trail (4.7 mile loop), playgrounds, open space for picnicking, train ($), carousel ($), mini-golf ($), boat rentals ($), camping ($), fishing, frisbee golf
Fees: Park entrance is free to Fairfax County residents. On weekends (Sat/Sun), April through October, non-residents pay $8/car. There are additional fees for other park features such as: the miniature train, carousel, mini-golf, boat rentals, and camping.
Note: This review focuses on the park, not the playground area in particular. There are several playgrounds within the park and I've only been to the one closest to the train area.
Burke Lake Park is an 888 acre park featuring a 218-acre lake with fishing, boating, rowboat rental, camping, a miniature train, a carousel, outdoor volleyball courts, open fields, an 18-hole par 3 golf course, clubhouse with snack bar and driving range, disk golf, horse shoe pits, an ice cream parlor, picnic areas with grills, 3 playgrounds, trails, amphitheater, and miniature golf course. Swimming and windsurfing are prohibited.
If you’ve never been, Burke Lake Park needs to be on your summer to do list.
Last Wednesday, my little guy still had his PDO program and my older child still had elementary school, so I took the opportunity to take my middle child to Burke Lake. Our nearly 5 year old is an avid bike rider so I thought the lake trail would be a great place for him to get some riding in. Some friends of ours recently biked the trail, so I figured my guy could handle it as well. I just hoped I could handle it.
I don’t have any pictures of our ride around the lake because I didn’t carry my camera. Or my water bottle, which was a shame since it was incredibly humid and “warm” out. The shade made it bearable, otherwise I would have had to jump in the lake (which is prohibited). We were both pretty exhausted – S. would ride ahead a little ways and wait for me to catch up. We finally made it around to the marina where we got water from the fountain and enjoyed the lake view.
I was so proud of how well S. did and he was pretty proud of himself too.
A PDF of the trail map is available on the county web site. The trail is paved in a few places, but is mostly dirt/packed cinder. It is 90% shady, with just a couple of places where the treeline breaks. This is a good example of what the path looks like:
After our exercise, we took a ride on the little train.
Then we had time for a quick stop at the playground before we had to bust back to Arlington to pick up little brother from his school program. The playground that it is in the train/carousel/ice cream parlor area is not ideal for little kids – it seems geared more for older (elementary) aged kids. But S. still enjoyed it. The park has two other playgrounds that are better, I believe, but I haven’t checked them out.
We had a great outing and I was glad to spend this time together with my middle child. I highly recommend Burke Lake Park for a variety of fun and hope you get a chance to get there this summer!
Find more parks by visiting my main Arlington Parks & Playgrounds page.