First: Tips for dog parks
Off-Leash Dog Parks
Fairfax County, Virginia, has a number of off-leash parks, with rules. Parks closest to Tysons are listed below.
• Baron Cameron Dog Park, 11300 Baron Cameron Avenue, Reston. About 7 miles from the Sheraton. Review and maps of the Baron Cameron Dog Park
• Blake Lane Dog Park, 10033 Blake Lane, Oakton. Open dawn to dusk. About 7-9 miles from the Sheraton, depending on route. I suggest 123 through Vienna and Oakton (avoid rush hour). Review and maps of the Blake Lane Dog Park
• Chandon Dog Park, 900 Palmer Drive, Herndon. Open dawn to dusk. About 12 miles from the Sheraton.
• Vienna Dog Park is at Moorefield Park, 700 Courthouse Road, Vienna (adjacent to Nottoway Park), less than 5 miles from the Sheraton.
• Behind the Sheraton is a neighborhood of townhouses and at its edge is Ash Grove Park (see Sheraton's Local Area Map; the park is at the end of Ashgrove Lane). Dogs are allowed in all Fairfax County Parks on a leash, but not in the Ash Grove plantation. This 18th -century home and other historic landmarks are a reminder that no matter how slick Northern Virginia may look, the heart of the past throbs beneath its surface. The Sheraton was built on Ash Grove land.
• Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. Dogs must be on a leash and cannot enter the theater (sorry, budding thespian dogs). Do not bring dogs during a performance. About 3 miles from the Sheraton. 1551 Trap Road,
Vienna; (703) 255-1800
• Great Falls Park. Spectacular views of the Falls of the Potomac; no swimming. Guidelines for Pets. It’s less than 7 miles from the Sheraton and you should have little traffic. Take Route 7 West, right on Towlston Road. Follow Towlston to Old Dominion Dr. Go left on Old Dominion, which will dead-end at the park's entrance station. 9200 Old Dominion Dr., McLean
• Chesapeake & Ohio National Historic Park. You can hike with your (leashed) dog along the C & O Canal, a wide, flat towpath. One of the closest access points from Tysons is the Carderock Recreational Area, in Maryland. (This map of the entire park shows at bottom left Tysons Corner [Route 7-Dulles Access Road-495] and Carderock.) You can get on the Canal at several places, but Carderock is fairly close to Tysons and has restrooms, picnic tables, and adequate parking. On a weekday, leave the Canal by 2:30 p.m. to avoid Beltway rush-hour traffic. About 9 miles from the Sheraton.
• Sully Historic Site. Sully reflects the history of Fairfax County. Leashed dogs are allowed on the property, but not in buildings. 16 miles from the Sheraton. 3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly; (703) 437-1794
• Manassas National Battlefield Park. Leashed dogs are allowed in the park—the site of two great battles of the Civil War—and the hiking trails, which cover open fields and woods. The park has 6 self-guided hikes on interpretive loop trails. About 23 miles from the Sheraton. 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas
Ticks and Mosquitoes
Watch out for ticks, one souvenir you don’t want. If you have sensitive skin like mine, the mosquitoes will love you. I always carry bug spray and cooling gel.
This post was originally written for participants of the BlogPaws 2011 conference. Information is accurate as of August 2011.