Spring is such a beautiful time of year. Not just for how nice it feels outside (especially after those tough, cold and sometimes darker days of winter) but also because spring brings so many beautiful wildflowers in a variety of settings.
Wildflowers in Northern Virginia are abundant. And whether you want to go on a hike, visit a garden or visit a farm to see them, this Northern Virginia wildflower guide will give you all the great spots to go to!
Flowers by Month
While you might like everything that’s blooming, not all flowers are at their peak in all the months of spring. So if you want to have the best chance of seeing your most favorite wildflowers, here are the best months to see specific wildflowers:
March: cherry trees, iris, magnolias, crocus and marcissus
April: daffodils, tulips, cherry blossoms, magnolias, peonies, azaleas, Virginia bluebells
May: daffodil, tulip, rose, zinnia, peonies and others
Spring Flowers in Northern Virginia
Bull Run Occoquan Trail
Location: Bull Run Regional Park | Centreville, VA
When to Go: mid / late March to early April
The Bull Run Occoquan Trail is designated as a National Recreational Trail (TRL) and it connects 4 regional parks in Northern Virginia (including Bull Run Regional Park).
The Bluebell Trail, is a 1-mile loop trail and is home to the beautiful Virginia Bluebell wildflowers. This is actually where you will find the most Virginia Bluebells in the state and they will surround you on both sides of the trail!
What makes this is a great spot is being able to see these wildflowers covering the ground beneath the tall trees out in nature.
Upper Garden at Mount Vernon
Location: Mount Vernon | Mt. Vernon VA
When to Go: spring to late summer
The Upper Garden at Mount Vernon is just one of Mount Vernon’s several gardens, yet here you’ll find spring blooms including fruits and vegetables.
- A variety of fruit trees (apples, apricot, banana and more)
- The beautiful blue flowers: Alpine Squill
- Vegetables (like asparagus broccoli, peppers, beans and more)
- Black-eyed Susan
- Boxwood (the southern garden hedge plant)
Basically, if you’re looking to visit one place that has TONS of flowers blooming…this is a great choice!
TIP: keep an eye out for any newborn lambs that may come in the spring season!
Shenandoah National Park
Location: Shenandoah National Park | East Luray, VA
When to Go: Early March to late June
Shenandoah National Park has over 850 species of flowers and in the spring there are plenty of wildflowers to see .
Some of the wildflowers you can expect are: a variety of red, white and yellow Trilliums, Mountain Laurel, bluebells and other wildflowers.
Conway Robinson State Forest
Location: Conway Robinson State Forest | Gainesville, VA
When to Go: Starting in March
The blue-purple blooms of Great Blue Lobelia are the big attraction of Conway Robinson State Forest for spring wildflowers. They thrive in wet soil for keep an eye out near any wet, muddy trails.
This is one of my favorite places to take the kids especially when they are interested in nature, plants, trees, etc. The tall trees make you feel like you’re farther away although the faded traffic noise in the background reminds you that you’re not.
The nice part about the forest, is that you don’t have to venture off the path to see the wildflowers in bloom. They’re often right there along the trail.
Location: Riverbend Park | Great Falls, VA
When to Go: Mid/Late March to Mid/Late April
Riverbend park along the Potomac Heritage Trail, is another beautiful place to see the amazing Virginia Bluebells. They are actually the most common flower that blooms in Riverbend Park.
There is pink, white, and blue ones but you are fortunate if they bloom all at the same time. None the less, it’s still as beautiful when it’s all blue.
Location: Burnside Farms| Nokesville, VA
When to Go: April to see tulips
Burnside Farms celebrates their annual spring festival in April depending on exactly when the tulips decide to bloom.
The festival is usually 3 weeks long and you have the opportunity to go pick some!
Fun tip: Burnside Farms also has a summer festival where the public can pick their own sunflowers. This is usually in July and August.
Location: Scott’s Run Nature Preserve| McLean, VA
When to Go: Early to mid-April to mid-May
Many people think of Scott’s Run Nature Preserve for hiking down to the waterfall but in the spring you get the added bonus of seeing the Virginia bluebells and trillium from around early to mid-April.
On the hike you’ll also see: stargrass, buttercups, golden alexanders, and lyre-leaved.
Typically around early to mid-May the wildflowers can be seen covering the cliffs of the preserve.
Washington & Old Dominion Bridle Trail
Location: W&OD Trail| Vienna, VA
When to Go: April
The Washington & Old Dominion Bridle Trail is where you’ll find common milkweed growing. It does well in swampy areas and the best part…it’s part of the monarch butterfly diet. Who doesn’t love to see flowers and butterflies?
Location: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens| Vienna, VA
When to Go: March – May
The Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is home to a multitude of flowers (no surprise, since it’s a garden afterall!). The garden is filled with magnolias, tulips, bluebells and so much more.
This is actually one of our favorite places to see the Cherry Blossoms away from the crowds.
According to Meadowlark Gardens, here is what you can expect to see in the spring months:
- March & April – Daffodils, Bulbs, Tulips, Magnolias, Flowering Cherries, Potomac Valley Native Wildflowers, Rock Garden, Conifers Collection, Lenten Rose. Check out the Daffodils near the Woods Gazebo and Lake Carolyn Irises & Cherry Trees.
- May – Scillas, Azaleas, Rhododendron, Dogwoods, Lilacs, Siberian Irises, Bradford Pears, Flowering Plums, Butterfly Garden, Crab Apples, White Garden, Tulips, Potomac Valley Native Wildflowers, Peonies, Alliums and Flowering shrubs. Don’t miss the White Garden near the Atrium & Peonies behind Lake Carolyn.
Location: Sugarland Run| Herndon, VA
When to Go: April to November
At Sugarland Run in Fairfax County, you’ll find meadows of these golden yellow goldenrod wildflowers.
Other than wildlife showcase of these months, you can also see pretty wildflowers blooming around so it’s a great combination of an experience.
The kids will enjoy a few stream crossings where they can hop across concrete pillars.
Besides just the wildflowers, don’t forget to keep your eye out for all the wildlife. This is a great place to see Great Blue Herons!
Cub Run Stream Valley Park
Location: Cub Run Stream Valley Trail | Centreville, VA
When to Go: Spring and fall
Tickseed Sunflowers and bluebells alongside native and migratory birds are a sight to see at Cub Rub Stream Valley Park during spring (bluebells) and fall season (sunflowers).
You’ll be amazed by fields packed by yellow blooms near the stream as you go through your hike along the paved trails.
Location: Merrimac Farm | Nokesville, VA
When to Go: Mid-April
Did you know Merrimac Farm has one of the largest colonies of Virginia bluebells in the area?
They run along Cedar Run for nearly a mile. Best to visit in mid-April. Every year there is a Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area.
Location: Leesylvania State Park| Woodbridge, VA
When to Go: Late March – early April
State parks are great places to get into nature and see wildflowers as they’re meant to be and Leesylvania State Park is no different!
The spring woodland wildflowers typically show up around late March to early April. Once they bloom, they’re not around too long.
The park has some “no-mow” areas so that the native wildflowers can flourish.
Spring Flowers in Washington DC
Rock Creek Park
Location: Rock Creek Park| Washington, DC
When to Go: March and April
Details: Spring beauties and bloodroot on March, as well as Virginia bluebells, and trout lilies by the end of March.
Rock Creek Park in Washington DC is a great spot for the spring ephemerals that you’ll find in April.
You’ll find many of the native eastern North America wildflowers including:
- Trout lily
- Dutchman’s Breeches
Bloodroots typically only last a few days.
While you’re there, visit the fun Rock Creek Park Nature Center.
Location: Tidal Basin | National Mall Area, DC
When to Go: Late March – Early April
Enjoy the annual bloom of the cherry blossom trees. You can walk or bike around the path beside the water at the Tidal basin while you are under the beauty of the cherry blossoms.
These are some resources for seeing the annual Cherry Blossoms:
- 23+ Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in DC (Without The Crowds)
- National Cherry Blossom Festival: What to See & Do With Kids
US Botanic Garden
Location: United States Botanic Garden| Washington, DC
When to Go: April – August
The good old red roses will never go out of fashion and if you are also one of the people who loves them, then head to US Botanic Garden from April to August where they are showcasing different varieties of it.
As you can probably imagine, being a garden, there are tons of flowers in bloom and there is such a great variety to see.
Have you ever heard of a lollipop flower? Well, it’ at the US Botanic Garden!
You can always see what’s in bloom here.
Location: Franciscan Monastery| Washington, DC
When to Go: April
The Franciscan Monastery is one of my favorite places to go every spring. It seems like one of those places you wouldn’t expect to go for the flowers. Here there are tons of tulips of various colors which are the main attraction but you’ll also see:
- Cherry trees
Enid A. Haupt Garden
Location: Enid A. Haupt Garden | Washington, DC
When to Go: March – May
The Enid A. Haupt Garden is a 4+ acre public garden located in the Smithsoanian complex and it is the place to go to see the Magnolias in full bloom in the spring.
The magnolias tend to bloom before the Cherry Blossoms every year and late March is a good time to look for them in their peak.
Location: Dumbarton Oaks| Washington, DC
When to Go: Mid-April through Mid-May
If you are a wisteria blooms type of person then this is the place to be! It is said that there’s no other place like Dumbarton Oaks when it comes to wisteria blooms.
A canopy of purple-petaled flowers drape over walls and trellises in several areas of the grounds which add to the experience.
US National Arboretum
Location: United States National Arboretum| Washington, DC
When to Go: Late April – Mid-May
Mark your calendar to visit the US National Arboretum between late April and mid-May. This is the time of year to see azaleas blooming in red, pink, purple and white. You won’t be disappointed!
It’s not just the azaleas, you’ll also find:
- Cherry trees
The peak time for the Azaleas to bloom is typically at the end of April but that can vary by up to as much as 2 weeks depending on the weather. You can find the full bloom calendar here.
Location: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens| Washington, DC
When to Go: March – April
The different seasons bring different blooms and experiences to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
In the spring, visit to see the cherry trees and dogwoods which also attract migratory birds. Bring the kids to see the regulars: geese and ducks who live in the ponds and marches at the gardens.
READ NEXT: 43+ Spring Fairs & Festivals Near DC
Spring Flowers in Maryland
Location: Brookside Gardens| Silver Springs, MD
When to Go: March – May
At Brookside Gardens, there is always something blooming through the year! Some of the biggest reasons people visit are to see the azaleas, magnolias, dogwood and others.
During the spring here’s what you’ll see depending on which month you visit:
March: Anemones, Cornelian cherry, crocus, daphne, forsythia, Japanese andromeda, rhododendrons, sweetbox, and winterhazels.
April: Azaleas, crabapples, daffodils, dogwood, grape hyacinths, flowering cherry, magnolias, quince, perennials, purple-leaf plum, redbud, tulips, and viburnums.
May: Azaleas, bulbs, clematis, dovetree, flowering shrubs, fringetree, Japanese dogwood, perennials, red buckeye, smokebush, viburnums, and wisteria.
Location: Seneca Creek State Park| Gaithersburg, MD
When to Go: April and May
What flowers are blooming at Seneca Creek State Park, you ask?
Large whorled pogonia, round-leaved orchid, columbine as well as trailing arbutus are a sight to see during mid-April. There are hiking trails to explore the woodlands and on Rocky Trail you’ll find the trailing arbutus.
If you don’t feel like hiking the trails, another option is to just stroll around the lake.
This huge state park has wetlands, woodlands and fields which means it is home to lots of beautiful things to see.
Location: Sherwood Gardens| Baltimore, MD
When to Go: Late April – Early May
Sherwood Gardens is home to where 50,000 tulips are planted. Yes, you read that right…50,000!
The best time to see the tulips is typically between the end of April and the beginning of May.
If that’s not enough, you can also see dogwoods, flowering cherries, and magnolias bloom throughout the gardens.
There is also an annual Tulip Dig where you can dig up the previously planted tulip bulbs. See their event calendar for more details.
While this is a private garden, there is no admission charge.
Location: Bladensburg Waterfront Park| Bladensburg, MD
When to Go: March – May
Bladensburg Waterfront Park runs along the Anacostia River. This is a nice place to pack and enjoy a picnic. There is only roughly a 1/4-mile aved trailed along the river where you see some flowers in bloom.
Unlike some of the other locations, there is also a small playground, some gazebos and picnic tables.
Location: Antietam National Battlefield| Sharpsburg, MD
When to Go: April – May
Civil war and spring flowers come together at the Antietam National Battlefield. The best place to see spring wildflowers in the battlefield is along the Snavely Ford Trail, which is 1.8 miles.
Along the trail you can see Trillium, Dutchman’s breeches, blue cohosh, and wild ginger.