Gravelly Point Park

Outdoor Activity / Park
Gravelly Point Park Just west of the city of Arlington, and less than two miles south of the heart of Washington, DC, the glorified lawn that makes up Gravelly Point Park might not seem like a worthwhile destination – until the vigorous roar of... Washington, DC United States 38.8665777761272 -77.0393943786621
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Gravelly Point Park - Outdoor Activity | Park in Washington, DC.
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Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Just west of the city of Arlington, and less than two miles south of the heart of Washington, DC, the glorified lawn that makes up Gravelly Point Park might not seem like a worthwhile destination – until the vigorous roar... ... read full review

  • Neighborhood:

    Arlington, VA
  • Address:

    George Washington Parkway
    Arlington, VA 22202

    Get Directions

  • Metro:

    Blue, Yellow Lines: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

  • Hours:

    Daily 6am–10pm

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot

Party Earth Gravelly Point Park Review

The Scene

Just west of the city of Arlington, and less than two miles south of the heart of Washington, DC, the glorified lawn that makes up Gravelly Point Park might not seem like a worthwhile destination – until the vigorous roar of...

Just west of the city of Arlington, and less than two miles south of the heart of Washington, DC, the glorified lawn that makes up Gravelly Point Park might not seem like a worthwhile destination – until the vigorous roar of a 747 explodes overhead.

Built within spitting distance of Reagan National Airport, the park is often touted as the best place in the country to watch planes, which can include more than thirty takeoffs and landings an hour during peak traffic.

Couples, groups of friends, and families gather daily along the park’s southern knoll, their audible gasps silenced by the behemoth flying machines that seem to barely clear the runway fence a few hundred yards away.

On pleasant days, a stretch of the eighteen-mile Mt. Vernon trail that runs through the park gets crowded with pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists, while footballers and rugby teams frequent a large lawn in the center, and lovebirds settle in on blankets to admire the iconic monuments and landmarks visible just across the river.

Open skies and free entry make the park a hot spot to watch Fourth of July fireworks, though a relaxing atmosphere and casual setting entices outdoorsy types all year long, whether they show up to fish or just toss a ball around.

No matter who’s in the park, their senses will fly high when the planes roar overhead, making Gravelly Point Park a unique experience for those seeking a laid-back day outside – interrupted by a few dozen 900,000-pound hunks of gravity-defying metal.

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Tip from Jonah:

You can only access the exit for Gravelly Point by going north on the George Washington Parkway. If you’re traveling south, you will have to go through the airport to turn around.

  • Crowd

    Mix of outdoorsy locals and tourists, couples on dates, groups playing sports and Frisbee, runners, bikers, and a boom box contingent in the parking lot, all ages.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Front row seats for the takeoffs and landings (depending on wind direction) of 747s, every one to nine minutes.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    No food. No alcohol permitted in park.

  • Prices

    Free.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual: shorts, t-shirts, jeans, flip-flops, hats, running gear.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Since northern winds cause planes to land on the far side of the airport, the experience is best when the winds are coming in from the south and planes fly directly overhead. Saturday and Sunday afternoons, which normally coincide with the most airplane traffic, are most crowded.

  • Close By

    The Pentagon (1400 Defense Pentagon), headquarters of the Department of Defense, offers free daily tours (advance reservations required).

Gravelly Point Park User Reviews

Average rating:
Fun picnic and date spot
Chris M. Sep 5, 2012
I was taken here for a date and did not know that Gravelly Point even existed and had a great time. It is a large expanse of land so it is easy to find a spot to layout your picnic blanket away from too many folks. Of course, there will not be any peace and quiet because of the planes flying overhead, but that is the point. There are lots of parks in Northern Virginia and DC for a picnic, but it is a lot of fun to see all the planes taking off. Great for a somewhat unique date, especially early on in a relationship. All these planes going to different places is a great spark for conversation so you can see learn more about your date. Do they like to travel, where do they want to live, have they heard of other countries, are they scared of planes, do they have good eyesight, etc. All can be answered at Gravelly Point. Hot in the summer, of course, but fall picnics can get pretty windy out by the water so make sure you bring an extra blanket to stay warm.
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