Exploring the Hidden Gems of Dulles, VA

Dulles, Virginia is a bustling city located in the heart of Loudoun County. Known for its proximity to Washington D. C. and its international airport, Dulles is often overlooked as a tourist destination.

However, for those willing to venture off the beaten path, there are plenty of unique and off-the-beaten-path tourist spots waiting to be discovered.

The National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Dulles is the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. This museum is an extension of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and is located just a few miles from Dulles International Airport. While many visitors flock to the main museum in Washington D.

C., the Udvar-Hazy Center offers a more unique experience. Here, you can see some of the most iconic aircraft and spacecraft up close, including the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Enola Gay, and the Concorde. In addition to these famous pieces, the museum also has a variety of interactive exhibits and simulators that allow visitors to experience what it's like to fly a plane or land on the moon. It's a must-visit for any aviation enthusiast or history buff.

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Observation Tower

While you're at the Udvar-Hazy Center, be sure to take a trip up to the observation tower.

This hidden gem offers stunning views of the surrounding area, including planes taking off and landing at Dulles International Airport. The observation tower also has a variety of telescopes and binoculars available for visitors to use, making it a great spot for plane spotting. It's also a great place to watch the sunset over the city.

The Claude Moore Park

If you're looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Claude Moore Park. This off-the-beaten-path park offers over 350 acres of natural beauty, including hiking trails, picnic areas, and a fishing pond. One of the highlights of the park is the historic Lanesville Ordinary, a restored 18th-century tavern that offers a glimpse into life in colonial Virginia. The park also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and nature programs.

The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park

The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts.

This 45-mile trail runs through Loudoun County and offers scenic views of the countryside, as well as opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The trail also passes through several small towns and villages, making it a great way to explore the local culture and history. Along the way, you'll also find picnic areas, playgrounds, and even a miniature train ride for kids.

The Oatlands Historic House and Gardens

For those interested in history and architecture, the Oatlands Historic House and Gardens is a must-visit spot in Dulles. This 19th-century plantation house offers guided tours that take visitors through the grand rooms and gardens of this stunning estate. In addition to the main house, the property also includes a greenhouse, a carriage house, and several outbuildings that offer a glimpse into life on a Virginia plantation. The gardens are also a highlight, with over 200 years of history and a variety of plants and flowers to admire.

The Algonkian Regional Park

Located along the Potomac River, the Algonkian Regional Park is a hidden gem for outdoor recreation.

The park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, fishing, boating, and even a water park. One of the unique features of this park is the opportunity to rent a yurt for overnight camping. These circular tents offer a unique camping experience and are perfect for families or groups looking for a different way to spend the night.

The Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets

If you're in the mood for some shopping, head to the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets. This off-the-beaten-path shopping center offers over 110 designer and brand-name stores, including Coach, Nike, and Michael Kors. In addition to great deals on designer goods, the outlets also have a variety of restaurants and cafes, making it a great spot to grab a bite to eat after a day of shopping.

The Village at Leesburg

The Village at Leesburg is another hidden gem for shopping and dining in Dulles. This outdoor lifestyle center offers a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as events and activities throughout the year. In addition to shopping and dining, the Village at Leesburg also has a movie theater and a bowling alley, making it a great spot for a day out with friends or family.


While Dulles, VA may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a vacation, it's clear that there are plenty of unique and off-the-beaten-path tourist spots waiting to be discovered.

From aviation history to outdoor recreation to shopping and dining, there's something for everyone in this hidden gem of a city. So next time you're in the area, be sure to venture off the beaten path and explore all that Dulles has to offer. You won't be disappointed!.