When the weather is warm, taking a bike ride is one of life’s greatest pleasures. A bike ride can be fun alone, with a friend, and as a family. The following bike rides are great for families – some of which are more challenging than others, but all of them are lovely and scenic. Look online for trail parking lots, and also hours that the trails are accessible. All of these areas offer great sightseeing and picnic options. Looks like it is time to dust of your wheels and hit the road!
Sligo Creek Trail
Sligo Creek trail runs from Wheaton through Takoma Park to Hyattsville, for 10.6 miles. It is a great trail for families because it passes multiple parks and playgrounds, as well as areas for barbequing or picnicking. Even better, it ends at the Wheaton Regional Park, which has an ice rink, lake, mini train, and merry go round the kids will love. You can also visit the popular Brookside Gardens grounds and conservatory.
Capital Crescent Trail
This gorgeous trail is largely paved, which means it is easy for kids to navigate. It is wonderfully scenic, and offers minimal interaction with car traffic, so it is also safe for young bikers. The Capital Crescent Trail runs from Silver Spring to Georgetown, through Bethesda. This gives you an opportunity to stop off in Bethesda for a snack or cold drink, or keep going until Georgetown, where you can enjoy a relaxing waterfront brunch or an ice cream cone from Ben and Jerry’s.
Mount Vernon Trail
This picturesque trail runs from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Estate. The well-maintained trail is perfect for bikers with stamina, as it runs nearly 18 miles. It offers spots for picnicking, and passes through Old Towne Alexandria, where you can stop for a snack or meal. You can also veer off to visit the National Harbor, where there are restaurants and shops to visit.
The U.S. Arboretum
This gorgeous spot in D.C. offers an easy, relaxing 3.5 mile loop, which is perfect for families with small kids who are just starting out with biking. You can bring food to enjoy a picnic and also take time to stop and view the bucolic gardens and exhibits. See the website for information on different exhibits and to find out what the designated picnic areas are.
Baltimore and Annapolis Trail
It may be a little ways out of the city, but this charming trail is worth the trip, especially for families with kids. The 13-mile trail includes the Planet Walk through five miles of the trail, where there is a model of the solar system, with information about each of the planets. The trail starts in Annapolis and ends in Glen Burnie. There are options for making the trail shorter or longer, which you can find on the map on the trail website.
Priya Konings is a freelance writer and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.