Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Burke, VA

  • Published 2023/03/13

Burke is a small unincorporated community in Fairfax County, Virginia, home to about 44,077 residents as of the 2022 census.

Despite its reputation as a sleepy town near Alexandria, one shouldn’t overlook it as it offers plenty of recreational and sightseeing opportunities.

The area is home to several historic sites, green spaces, and parks perfect for picnics and pleasant weather all year round.

Sounds enticing, right?

If this is your kind of weekend getaway, here are the 15 best things to do in Burke, Virginia, to help you get started with your itinerary:

Buy Korean Groceries at H Mart

Exterior of H Mart

Andriy Blokhin /

Craving Korean noodles, kimchi, and a cold bottle of soju?

Head to H Mart and purchase all your Korean grocery needs.

Conveniently located at Burke Village Center, the grocery caters to all your late-night or last-minute daily essentials: food, alcohol, beauty products, and baby products.

It is also situated near Colonel Silas Burke Park and trails like the Pohick Stream Valley Trail and Liberty Bell Trail, so you can shop here before resuming your biking trip or before going for a picnic.

At H Mart in Burke, find instant noodles, savory and sweet Korean snacks, Korean tea, kitchen utensils, and skincare products.

If you’re going on a picnic, you can also buy instant food and cooked rice for a fulfilling meal.

Grab a Bite at Lil Cow Cafe Bistro

Lil Cow Cafe Bistro is a family-owned and operated cafe serving delicious home-style food at affordable prices.

Conveniently located at Rolling Valley Mall, this is the best place to grab a bite in between shopping trips or a pick-me-up to start your day.

On top of its food and pricing, the cafe also takes pride in its friendly service, treating customers like long-time friends rather than paying clients.

At Lil Cow Cafe Bistro, enjoy gourmet subs, salads, cheesesteaks, and artisan sandwiches freshly prepared daily.

You can also make your own sub by choosing your preferred cheese and toppings for a personal touch to your dining experience.

Pair your dishes with your choice of hot coffee, iced coffee, or a sweet frappe.

Shop for Local Products at Burke Farmers Market

Burke Farmers Market is the best place to shop for locally-grown produce and homemade products.

Held seasonally at Burke Centre, the farmers market features some of Burke’s local growers and farmers, helping the town’s economy while promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents.

In addition, the farmers’ market products are freshly harvested and free from harmful chemicals and pesticides.

Aside from fruits, vegetables, and plants, you can also purchase seafood, baked goods, ready-to-eat food items, herbs, and more.

Support local and buy your daily essentials at Burke Farmers Market, browsing from one stall to another and checking out the products that are in season.

As you hop from one vendor to another, you can buy kombucha, coffee, ice cream, pastries, and other food to refuel.

Follow the Liberty Bell Trail

The Liberty Bell Trail is a multipurpose trail that runs along Pohick Creek.

It is an asphalt trail with trailheads at the intersection of Burke Lake Road and Coffer Woods Road and Burke Road near Liberty Bell Court.

Surrounded by trees and shade, it’s an ideal place to enjoy peace and quiet in the middle of Burke.

Bike along Liberty Bell Trail or go for a relaxing walk or jog from one point to another.

Since the trail is primarily flat, beginner bikers can also use the trail as practice ground before taking on more challenging trails in the area.

Attend the Burke Centre Festival

The annual Burke Centre Festival is one of the most anticipated community events in town, usually held in September at the Conservancy Festival Grounds at Burke Centre Parkway.

This signature event celebrates anything and everything about Burke and its residents, fostering a sense of community, even among tourists.

Burke Centre Festival provides a weekend of fun family activities, socializing, and appreciating Burke’s small-town charm.

At the festival, find food and drink stalls from local vendors, amusement park rides, Midway-style games, classic fair games, and other community booths.

Kids will also love the caricature artists, giveaways, puppet shows, magic shows, and live performances.

For the adults, sip on delicious wine and beer as you listen to the live music and soak up the festive atmosphere.

Enjoy Various Outdoor Activities at Rolling Valley West Park

Rolling Valley West Park is the best place for all sorts of recreational activities, making it an all-in-one destination for families.

The park has a baseball and softball field, a soccer field, a basketball court, a tennis court, a children’s playground, and a wide space for other activities.

You can play frisbee or catch, have a picnic, do yoga, or lay a mat and read a book in the open space.

Rolling Valley West Park is also near Rolling Valley Mall, so you can make a quick stop at the mall for snacks before heading to the park for a picnic.

If you’re traveling with your dogs, you can bring them to the park as long as they are on a leash.

Indulge in Greek and Italian Specialties at Spartans Family Restaurant

If you’re craving homemade pizza, steak wraps, or anything Greek and Italian, look no further and dine at Spartans Family Restaurant.

Located at Burke Village Center, it is a family-owned restaurant focused on exceptional service and good food in a casual setting.

From breakfast to dinner and drinks, Spartans Family Restaurant has you covered with Greek and Italian classics, some with an American twist.

Start your day with a healthy omelet, challah, or old-fashioned French Toast, or try their chicken souvlaki, Greek bifteki, or a Greek burger for lunch or dinner.

In the mood for Italian cuisine?

Go for the chicken or eggplant parmigiana, caprese flatbread, or pastrami and cheese.

Bike along the Pohick Stream ValleyTrail

For a longer biking trail, choose the Pohick Stream Valley Trail.

It spans three miles, starting from the parking lot near the Burke Centre, passing through Sideburn Branch, and near Pohick Creek.

The trial is ideal for biking, walking, jogging, or trail running, and it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter plenty of tourists and residents on your way.

Top it off with its serene surroundings and shaded paths, and the Pohick Stream Valley Trail is easily one of the best trails in Burke.

At the end of the trail near Coffer Woods Street, you can go on a longer adventure and follow the Liberty Bell Trail.

Visit Burke Nursery & Garden Centre

Get inspiration for your backyard garden at Burke Nursery & Garden Centre, located along Burke Road.

It offers anything and everything you need to start a vegetable or herb garden or improve your lawn.

You can find annual and perennial plants, trees, shrubs, and ornaments like ponds and statues to complete your dream garden.

If you’re not sure where to start planning and designing your prospective garden, the landscape architects at Burke Nursery & Garden Centre will be glad to help you out.

They also hold free gardening seminars on select days every month.

Chill Out at Lake Barton Park

Situated near Burke Centre Shopping Center, Lake Barton Park provides a scenic respite, offering tranquil trails and other park facilities.

Guests can bike or jog along the trail surrounding the lake to get an overview of the area.

There’s also a volleyball court, basketball court, and a few benches surrounding the lake.

Visit Lake Barton Park for a quiet bike or jog across the park or bring the family over for a relaxing picnic.

Since it’s near Burke Centre Parkway, it’s easy to access the park.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Day Trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Mansion at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

John M. Chase /

From Burke, travel 30 minutes southeast and explore the historic George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the former plantation of the first president of the U.S.

Located in Mount Vernon, the American landmark boasts 500 acres and features a Palladian-style mansion, well-maintained gardens, museum galleries, a distiller, and a gristmill.

With its vast grounds and breathtaking views of the Potomac River, you can easily spend a day at George Washington’s Mount Vernon to make the most of your visit.

People on the grounds of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Lissandra Melo /

Take a guided tour of the estate and learn more about the story of the estate during George Washington’s time and how its legacy earned it a place on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

After exploring the premises, stop by the food court for a quick meal or enjoy traditional American dishes at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.

View of Potomac river from George Washington’s Mount Vernon

LouieLea /

Surround Yourself with Nature at Fountainhead Regional Park

Kayaking at Fountainhead Regional Park

John M. Chase /

Located 16 minutes from Burke, Fountainhead Regional Park at Fairfax Station is the best place to visit for a much-needed change of scenery.

From the tall skyscrapers and larger-than-life billboards of the metropolis, explore the wooded forests and go on a relaxing boat ride around the park.

The park has around 2,000 acres of rolling hills, a mountain biking trail, equestrian trails, a fishing pier, and a stream that flows into the Potomac River.

Welcome sign of Fountainhead Regional Park

ZeWrestler, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a day trip to Fountainhead Regional Park and enjoy a multitude of outdoor recreational activities, whether you’re an adventure junkie or one who wants to relax in nature.

Cast a line at the fishing pier, take the challenge, and follow the mountain bike trail, or go for a relaxing walk around the park.

On the other hand, water activities include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and boating.

Daytime view of Fountainhead Regional Park

Aneta Kaluzna, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sample Different Wines at Paradise Springs Winery

Paradise Springs Winery houses some of the best award-winning wines in Virginia, located in Clifton, bordering the Bull Run River.

Located 23 minutes from Burke, this is a must for wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts.

Take a tour of the historic cabin and learn about its history, and see other places like the vineyard, wine production facility, and barrel room as you sip on their wines.

For a deeper appreciation of their wines, join a tasting session and sample some of their best hand-crafted wines while your expert educator lets you in on some stories and facts about the wine.

You can also buy a bottle or two to bring home as a souvenir.

Aside from tours and tastings, Paradise Springs Winery hosts social events like Bingo Nights, Trivia Nights, outdoor movie screenings, and exclusive gatherings for members of their wine club.

Spend the Day at Burke Lake Park

A fishing pier at Burke Lake Park

Mike Kuhlman /

Enjoy different recreational activities at Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station, located less than 15 minutes from Burke.

Encompassing the massive Burke Lake, the 888-acre park offers various activities and sights for every kind of traveler.

Golf enthusiasts will also love the amenities at the park, including an 18-hole par-3 golf course, a miniature golf course, a driving range, and a clubhouse.

Geese on Burke Lake Park's water

Al Orfali /

At Burke Lake Park, get your ice cream fix at the ice cream parlor, fish at the marina, let your kids ride the carousel and train, or go on a nature walk.

The park also offers some of the best hiking or walking trails in the country, including unpaved trails suitable for cyclists and pedestrians and the Burke Lake Loop Trail which trails around the lake.

People walking along Burke Lake Park

Al Orfali /

Explore George Mason’s Gunston Hall

Garden of George Mason's Gunston Hall

Bill Chizek /

George Mason’s Gunston Hall is an 18th-century Georgian mansion that served as the former home of George Mason, one of the United States Founding Fathers.

The plantation is a perfect example of Georgian architecture and is widely considered to be one of the best homes in colonial America.

It boasts elegant interiors that combine English rococo, French, neoclassical, and chinoiserie styles that stand out among other plain houses.

Exterior of George Mason's Gunston Hall

Carolyn M Carpenter /

Take a tour of the rooms, halls, and chambers at George Mason’s Gunston Hall and get a glimpse of what life was like for upper-class Virginians back then.

Outside the house, walk around the garden and see the reconstructed outbuildings, which include a kitchen, laundry, and dairy.

Gunston Hall is less than 30 minutes from Burke and is also a 20-minute drive from George Washington’s Mount Vernon, so you can visit the two sites in one day.

Trail lined with trees at George Mason's Gunston Hall

Carolyn M Carpenter /

Final Thoughts

Located a few minutes from Alexandria, Burke offers a number of tourist attractions and places of interest.

You can relax and take a breather at one of its parks, follow the trails, or attend festivals.

That said, check out this list of the best things to do in Burke, Virginia, for a memorable weekend!

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