Thousands of students come to the Nation’s Capital every year to immerse themselves in the history of the United States. Located directly across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, Fairfax County perfectly positions student groups to experience the monuments and memorials, but also the living history in Virginia. Even after the sun sets and museums close, students can keep the fun going with a plethora of after-hours activities, ranging from laser tag to murder mystery dinners.

Fairfax County checks off all the boxes for tour operators as well; group-friendly dining options are abundant in the area, while more than 100 hotels are additionally available to fit every groups’ needs.

“Only in Fairfax County can you step back in time in an 18th century president’s home and then jump into the future by viewing spectacular spacecraft all in one day,” said Linda Horowitz, national and international sales manager for Visit Fairfax. “From art to artifacts, biking to boat rides, and history to hiking, students will love connecting with America in Fairfax County!”

Visit Fairfax

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fairfax

Walk in the footsteps of the nation’s first president, George Washington, at his Mount Vernon home. As the most visited historic estate in America, Mount Vernon offers students a glimpse into 18th-century plantation life with beautiful grounds, intriguing exhibits and immersive programs. Don’t miss Be Washington, an award-winning interactive experience where students face leadership challenges, or The Situation Room, a high-intensity role playing crisis simulation.

George Mason University

Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fairfax

George Mason University, the largest university in Virginia by enrollment, offers hands-on immersive STEM experiences. Learn about emerging career fields like forensic science, data science, bioinformatics climate dynamics, environmental science, geoinformation science and others. Half-day and multi-day programs are available and feature a campus tour, meeting faculty, lab work and collaboration with current George Mason students.   

Workhouse Arts Center

Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fairfax

Explore a former prison turned vibrant art space at the Workhouse Arts Center. The campus is home to more than 65 working artists and offers student groups a variety of artist-led workshops including ceramics, drawing, eco art, glassblowing, theater improv and dance. The center is also rich in history; visit the on-site Lucy Burns Museum to learn about the women imprisoned a century ago demanding the right to vote. Take part in a thrilling interactive murder mystery meal. 

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fairfax

Marvel at rockets, planes and satellites at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. It is the companion facility to the museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and together the two locations house the largest collection of air and space artifacts in the world. The center offers free STEAM lab experiences; one-hour programs combining demonstrations, experiments and hands-on activities for both middle and high schoolers.

River-Sea Chocolates

Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fairfax

River-Sea Chocolates is an intimate, family-owned chocolate factory that crafts artisan chocolate using premium quality cacao sourced from small-scale sustainable farms around the world. Make your own custom chocolate bars or enjoy a bean-to-bar factory tour to see, smell, touch and taste the entire process of chocolate making. This educational voyage touches on factors that contribute to social and environmental impacts of cacao trade. The bar decorating class allows students to let loose their creative side.