Hot weather and high gas prices are causing people to re-think their summer travel plans, keeping closer to home. Here in Northern Virginia, we have the opportunity to visit a large number of local attractions that those from other parts of the country travel thousands of miles to see. In addition to the magnificent offerings in the District of Columbia, there are some great places to visit in Northern Virginia. According to About.com, here are the top 10 attractions to visit in our area:

Hot weather and high gas prices are causing people to re-think their summer travel plans, keeping closer to home. Here in Northern Virginia, we have the opportunity to visit a large number of local attractions that those from other parts of the country travel thousands of miles to see. In addition to the magnificent offerings in the District of Columbia, there are some great places to visit in Northern Virginia. According to About.com, here are the top 10 attractions to visit in our area:

1. Arlington National Cemetery

More than 250,000 American servicemen as well as many famous Americans are buried at the 612-acre national cemetery, located just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital. Arlington National Cemetery is Northern Virginia’s most popular attraction and one of the area’s “must sees.” Walk the grounds and see the graves of notable Americans such as Presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Robert Kennedy. See the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visit Arlington House, the former home of Robert E. Lee.

2. Mount Vernon Estate

George Washington’s family home, located along the shores of the Potomac River, is the most scenic tourist attraction in Northern Virginia. Visit the mansion, the outbuildings, the gardens and the new museum and learn about the life of America’s first president and his family.

3. Great Falls Park

The 800-acre park located along the Potomac River, is one of the most spectacular natural landmarks in Northern Virginia. Enjoy the wonderful view and a variety of activities such as hiking, picnicking, kayaking, rock climbing, bicycling, and horseback riding.

4. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The Northern Virginia location of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum displays the massive space shuttle Enterprise, the Lockheed SR-71 and numerous aircraft, spacecraft and other artifacts. There’s an IMAX theater and a variety of exhibits for children.

5. Iwo Jima Memorial

The U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial, honors the Marines who have died defending the United States since 1775. The 32-foot-high sculpture of the Iwo Jima Memorial was inspired by a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of one of the most historic battles of World War II. The impressive memorial is one of Northern Virginia’s most prized attractions.

6. U.S. Air Force Memorial

The Air Force Memorial, honoring the millions of men and women who have served in the United States Air Force, symbolizes flight and the flying spirit with three stainless steel spires that soar 270 feet high and represent contrails of the Air Force Thunderbirds as they disperse in a “bomb burst” maneuver.

7. Wolf Trap National Park

America’s National Park for the Performing Arts hosts a wide range of performances ranging from pop, country, folk and blues to orchestra, dance, theater and opera. The Northern Virginia concert venue offers performances and educational programs all year long.

8. Manassas National Battlefield Park

The 5000-acre park preserves the site of the First and Second Battles of Manassas during the Civil War. The Henry Hill Visitors Center features a 45-minute orientation film and a museum exhibiting civil war era uniforms, weapons and artifacts. The Northern Virginia attraction offers a variety of activities, scenic vistas, and walking trails.

9. National Marine Corps Museum

The state-of-the-art museum uses interactive technology, multi-media exhibits and thousands of artifacts to bring to life the values, mission, and culture of the Marine Corps. It is located on a 135-acre site next to the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia. The museum is a part of the Marine Corps Heritage Center, which is a complex of facilities that also includes a memorial park, parade grounds, artifact restoration facilities, and an on-site conference center and hotel.

10. Claude Moore Colonial Farm

This 18th century living history farm features self-guided tours through a recreated pre-Revolutionary tenant farm. Costumed interpreters portray tenant farmers, and farm animals roam the grounds. The park is open April through mid-December.

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