Blake Walsh

21 Best Things to Do in Leesburg, VA

  • Published 2022/08/16

The unassuming town of Leesburg, Virginia, is a Loudoun County treasure sitting right next to the scenic banks of the Potomac River.

Since it was settled in 1740, it has remained a small and rural town steeped in history because of its proximity to Washington D.C.

But for the past few decades, it has undergone much development and growth, turning it into Virginia’s largest town.

Because of this, there is a unique blend of history and modern attractions in the area.

Ancient homes, picturesque parks, and water recreation facilities—many destinations are in store for the young and old alike.

So for your upcoming vacation, why not spend a weekend in this charming town?

Here are the 15 best things to do in Leesburg, VA:

Have Fun at the Potomac River

View of  Potomac River

Jon Bilous /

The Potomac is a wide and calm river steeped in history and beautiful riverbank sceneries.

If you want exhilarating adventures, you can try kayaking and paddle boarding along the shallower areas on the banks of Leesburg.

You can also try fishing here; you might bring home large fish, such as catfish, perch, and largemouth bass.

Ferry boat ride at Potomac River

Rui Serra Maia /

Visit the Wonders Hidden in Rust Nature Sanctuary

There is no shortage of natural attractions with grand and historic buildings here in Leesburg, and one of these is Rust Nature Sanctuary.

The 68-acre attraction comprises shaded trails, a panoramic pond surrounded by tall reeds, and wooded areas filled with local flora and fauna.

But one of the most striking features of this destination is the Rust Manor, a majestic home frequently used for photoshoots, weddings, and other events.

The property’s pristine facade and timeless architecture blend seamlessly with the greenery of the surroundings, turning it into a hidden paradise that you shouldn’t miss.

Marvel at the Majestic Structures of Oatlands Historic House & Garden

View of Oatlands Historic House & Garden

Malachi Jacobs /

The unmistakable immaculate facade of the mansion in Oatlands Historic House & Garden makes you wonder how such a beautiful home was constructed way back in 1810.

The location itself is an estate composed of various historical structures like carriage houses, barns, and cottages.

But the proud house really takes all the attention; you’ll find your eyes wanting to catch a glimpse of it even when you’re out exploring the grounds.

View of Oatlands Historic House & Garden

Joe Benning /

The tall columns, elegant windows, and precise architecture make it an attractive National Historic Landmark, open to visitors from March to December.

If you want to see the equally regal interiors, then join a tour and see all the old furniture, artifacts, and photographs displayed in the rooms.

It’s the perfect destination if you have a bit more time to explore places outside of Leesburg’s town proper.

Driveway of Oatlands Historic House & Garden

Robert A. Powell /

Play With Adorable Creatures at Leesburg Animal Park

Colorful parrot at Leesburg Animal Park

2265524729 /

If you’re bringing kids or simply love to be around animals, then Leesburg Animal Park is a must-add destination when planning your itinerary.

Home to a wide range of exotic wildlife from all over the world, this small zoo has various habitats that give its residents an enjoyable and comfortable stay.

You’ll find majestic zebras, curious lemurs, colorful parrots, and tropical iguanas.

Deer at Leesburg Animal Park in Virginia

2265524729 /

If you want to play, feed, and interact with animals, then head to the petting zoo inside the park.

You’ll get a chance to touch aged tortoises, camels, llamas, and even friendly goats.

Another favorite sight here, especially for kids, is the Pumpkin Village, which is open during fall.

There are horseback rides, haystacks, field tours, and a whole lot of pumpkins—orange, green, smooth-skinned, bumpy fleshed, and unusually shaped vegetables scattered in various parts of the park.

Explore All the Attractions of Morven Park

View of Morven Park

Acroterion, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Morven Park is a large, 1,000-acre park brimming with stories of Leesburg’s past.

Aside from the scenic forests and lush grounds, the facility is home to the Morven Park Mansion, Winmill Carriage Museum, and the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.

These structures offer a glimpse of life from many centuries ago, featuring practices like foxhunting as well as carriage riding and horse rearing.

View of Morven Park

Acroterion, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The park also has miles and miles of beautiful nature trails, horse-riding routes, and athletic fields.

The famous Morven Park International Equestrian Center itself is often the venue for horse trials, dressage, and other equestrian competitions on the national level.

Iron gate at Morven Park

Wirestock Creators /

So there’s something for everyone in this spacious park, whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or sports player.

Make this the first destination on your itinerary so you’ll have time to see all that it has to offer.

Learn the County’s History at Loudoun Museum

Loudoun County as a whole is full of culture and heritage, and it’s celebrated here at the quaint Loudoun Museum.

Recently renovated, this facility houses permanent and changing exhibits that all revolve around the region’s history.

You’ll see the county’s past come to life in your very eyes in this log cabin-style structure.

Some of the collections here include ancient maps, well-preserved textiles, and even furniture used by people who have long since passed.

There are also artifacts that highlight events of the Civil War, from which the county played a major role when Virginia seceded from the Union.

And while the museum itself is small, the sheer number of items on display will keep you curious and wide-eyed for hours.

So if you want to learn about the state and the county’s vibrant history, then this is the place to be.

Tour the Halls of George C. Marshall’s Dodona Manor

George C. Marshall's Dodona Manor

Karen Nutini, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dodona Manor was the home of General George Catlett Marshall, a former secretary of defense who served during President Truman’s administration.

The name of the house itself comes from the ancient Delphic shrine, which shared the same abundance of oak trees on its grounds.

In an effort to bring the home to its Marshall-era appearance, the George C. Marshall International Center restored it and turned it into the attraction that it is today.

The sprawling grounds, tiled patios, and a clean, cream-colored facade make this home stand out.

And within the interiors, the belongings and Marshall and his family are displayed in solemn rooms, serving as markers of the lives these prominent people had.

Visit the halls to see a glimpse of the life of a man who had a major influence during the Second World War.

Smell Fragrant Blooms During the Flower and Garden Festival

Leesburg’s Flower and Garden Festival is an annual event that brings throngs of people from all over the state and nearby Maryland.

It’s the town’s way to welcome the arrival of spring, and you’ll typically see more than 150 vendors gathering together to welcome locals and visitors alike.

You’ll find stalls selling the prettiest blooms, rare plants, gardening tools, artisanal pots, outdoor furniture, and other unique landscaping products found nowhere else.

It’s a haven for gardeners and the so-called “plant parents” of today’s generation.

Aside from the gardening products, the festival also has live music and many other family-oriented activities that you can join in.

There are also many food concessionaires offering local favorites for those who need more fuel to explore the stalls.

Immerse in History at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

View of Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

Bryan J. Scrafford /

When in heavily involved locations during the Civil War, you can always expect a place where a notable battle was fought.

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park is one such place, sitting right next to Potomac River.

What makes it unique is that it is the only site north of the Capital where the Union lost a battle.

Canon firing at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

Ron Cogswell, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lincoln’s friend and US Senator Edward D. Baker died here after suffering a humiliating defeat from the Confederate Army.

The battlefield has been restored so that visitors can see a glimpse of how warfare worked back then, so you’ll see many implements of war scattered within the rather serene park.

Nature trail at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

ConceptJunkie, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Canons, tombs, and markers dot the grounds, and you can join a guided tour to see and learn all about these artifacts.

But aside from the historical aspect, the park is known for its verdant grounds and riverside scenery.

You’re more than welcome to just stay and enjoy the peaceful ambiance and explore the park’s trails.

Run for Your Life at Shocktober

If you want the adrenaline rush of exploring a haunted location and being chased by monsters, then definitely visit Shocktober.

Hosted at the Arc of Loudoun, this Halloween destination is filled with nighttime terrors, otherworldly creatures, and horrifying monsters that will give you an exhilarating experience.

Wherever you end up, whether it’s the dark corridors of the mansion or the spooky grounds surrounding it, there’s no shortage of terrifying sceneries and ghosts crawling at your heels.

So bring your friends and have fun while being chased by zombies and bloodthirsty beasts.

Best of all, the proceeds of your ticket help fund the Arc of Loudoun, a nonprofit for people with disabilities living in Leesburg.

Not only are you enjoying a terrifying experience, but you’re also supporting the underserved members of the community.

Fish at the Pond in Olde Izaak Walton Park

View of  Olde Izaak Walton Park

Nat Thanapohn /

Olde Izaak Walton Park is a 21-acre attraction perfect for a fun day outdoors with your family.

Aside from the wide grounds and patches of forests, the most prominent attraction here is the large pond with scenic views.

It’s a favorite spot of local birds and waterfowl, so you can expect ducks swimming and hunting for food in the smooth, mirror-like surface of the pond.

View of  Olde Izaak Walton Park

Nat Thanapohn /

If you want to join in their hunt and catch your own, then head to the fishing pier and bring your own hook and line for largemouth bass and black crappies swimming in the depths.

For those bringing their furry friends, the facility has its own dog park where pets of various breeds and sizes can play and socialize.

But if you’re just looking for a peaceful place to spend an afternoon, then you can try exploring the trails that crisscross the park and check out the local wildlife.

Wooden pedestrian bridge at Olde Izaak Walton Park

Nat Thanapohn /

Work Up a Sweat at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center

Those who are into sport and athletic activities will have a grand time at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center.

This 71000 square foot facility is the town’s premier destination for many physical recreational activities.

From tennis courts to baseball diamonds, there are many places here to work up a sweat and get your heart pumping.

For those who want to do a few swimming laps, the are two indoor pools in the center with attentive lifeguards and modern amenities.

At the fitness center, you can try the gym equipment and do some cardio exercise or resistance training.

After a strenuous workout, why not visit the gazebo overlooking the verdant grounds of the park?

It’s a pleasant and relaxing sight that will help you cool down after hours of physical activity.

Sample Delicious Beverages at Stone Tower Winery

This area of Virginia has an ideal climate for growing lush grapes, so there are many vineyards and wineries scattered along the less-populated areas surrounding Leesburg.

One of the most establishments here is the Stone Tower Winery, and it’s a must-see place for wine lovers.

The expansive grounds and buildings are already sights to behold on their own: majestic views that enthrall every visitor upon entering the estate.

Grapes at Stone Tower Winery

Byron Key /

But of course, most people here come for the wines.

You can join a wine tasting tour and sample some of their signature beverages.

The full-bodied, fruity, and aromatic bottles here are of high standards, and you’re going to taste the added layer of flavors that the Virginia Soil brings to these drinks.

Before you go, buy a bottle or two to bring home and open during special occasions.

Book a Tee Time at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, the Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club is an excellent place to practice your skills and ace a hole in one.

The 18-hole course is a lush and well-maintained facility boasting babbling streams, stone walls, and scenic but challenging rolling terrain.

With the Catoctin Mountains in the background, the course offers gorgeous views that add to the experience.

You’ll find yourself enjoying the scenery as much as your gameplay.

After your round, make a stop at Hunter’s Grill, the golf club’s own restaurant.

There’s a selection of satisfying comfort food like wraps, sandwiches, and wings for those feeling peckish after their game.

See the Potomac From Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

View of Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

John Mantell /

If you don’t want to get wet but still want to witness views of the Potomac River, then head over to Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park.

The winding nature trails and wooded areas of the park are ideal for relaxing family outings, but the main attraction here is the uninterrupted views of the river.

It’s the perfect spot if you want to take stunning landscape photos to share with friends or on your social media feed.

The colors are especially beautiful during fall, with orange, yellows, and browns adding another level of beauty to your shots.

Go Crazy and Shop Endlessly at Leesburg Premium Outlets

Leesburg Premier Outlets is a shopping destination in Northern Virginia, offering more than 100 different stores.

Visitors may browse a variety of premium products and luxury retail stores.

The shopping center has recently renovated pedestrian areas along with the entire food court and bathroom facilities.

Renovations include the up-to-date courtyard, lounging, dining halls, fire pit sculpture, kids’ play area, and digital directories.

Visit Leesburg Premier Outlets to find the best selection of high-quality goods, footwear, travel accessories, and clothing for every occasion!

Try Everything at Historic Downtown Leesburg

Tourists visit from around the world to the Historic Downtown Leesburg for its eclectic blend of tourist attractions.

Downtown Leesburg is where you go every day since it is one of the state’s best-preserved and most scenic downtowns.

Discover historical monuments, museums, a thriving food scene, a wide choice of breweries, award-winning vineyards, boutiques, antique stores, and businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to huge corporations.

Quaint architectural town centers with more than 250 years of hospitality and history surround the establishments.

In Leesburg, Virginia’s downtown historic area, they are a community that stands in for the independent stores, restaurants, and businesses that no shopping center can compare.

Participate in a Guided Tour at Willowcroft

See awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Loudoun Valley at Willowcroft.

Willowcroft’s particular attention to detail, both within the vineyard and the winery has often produced wines that have won national awards.

Visit the serene location for the award-winning wines and the winery’s rustic charm housed in an ancient red barn.

All year long, tastings and gourmet snacks are offered from Friday through Monday.

Additionally, Willowcroft hosts frequent guided tours and events; two sizable entertainment areas are available for private events.

Make Use of the Picnic Area at White’s Ferry

With almost 800 daily passengers when it is running, the historic White’s Ferry in Leesburg, Virginia, built in 1786, continues to be a key transit route between Maryland and Virginia.

The white ferry is honored after a Confederate Civil War General, Jubal. A. Early.

From 5 am to 11 pm daily, excluding floods and freezing conditions, the ferry transports vehicles, including trucks, cars, and passengers.

Groups use the ferry for various events; a pavilion is provided for bigger gatherings.

Furthermore, you may rent boats, canoes, and picnic areas.

Groceries, snacks, and drinks, including beer, are available in the store.

Relax Your Mind, Body, and Spirit at Lansdowne Resort and Spa

The sole goal of everything at Lansdowne Resort and Spa is to let individuals experience the joy of life – long learning.

A haven for golfers, a sanctuary for meetings, and the ideal getaway for families and couples all come together at Lansdowne Resort and Spa.

Discover fascinating health opportunities and unwind to the core of your being.

You can also plan on having a successful workout or a friendly game of golf.

Lansdowne Resort and Spa provide traditional spa services, cutting-edge therapies, and salon services.

The Resort and Spa offer a peaceful retreat for your journey with their exquisite facilities, furnishings, amenities, and breathtaking views.

Soak in the Environment at Casanel Vineyards & Winery

The family-run Casanel Vineyards & Winery is accompanied by a small but committed team striving to provide its patrons with the greatest wine and experience possible.

The primary goal of Casanel Vineyards & Winery is to pursue their love of high-quality grape cultivation.

They have the ideal environment thanks to their distinctive terroir, situated in the center of the Middleburg AVA in Leesburg, Virginia, to produce their winemaking style and tastes.

In the basement, their underlying ideals are harmony, grace, and discipline.

Casanel Vineyards & Winery wants to highlight the distinctive characteristics of each wine while showcasing what its grapes can achieve in the bottle.

Final Thoughts

History and nature blend together in Leesburg to create a town filled with hidden wonders, storied buildings, and gorgeous attractions.

Reference this list when planning your trip to this charming city so you won’t miss the top spots!

© All rights reserved.