Less than an hour from Alexandria is the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area (Maryland) where you can view and marvel at these beautiful sunflower fields. The Area is a part of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the purpose of the planting is to provide a food source for mourning doves and other wildlife for hunting season in the area but it feels like the flowers for planted just for our eyes! For my first visit to a sunflower field, I chose McKee-Beshers. Visiting is a great outdoor activity for all ages and a way to explore another awesome part of the DMV area. These sunflower fields are truly a sight to see!
There are several farms and areas in Maryland and Virginia where sunflower fields are planted for viewing during the summer and I chose to first visit McKee-Besher due to its accessibility near Alexandria (I also love viewing all the magnificent homes you pass going through Potomac) and because it is free to the public.
You can find all the coordinates to travel to the the fields and more information about the Area here. The main website even provides picture updates so you can make sure the sunflowers are full bloom before your visit.
How to Maximize Your Visit
The fields are planted in the spring and bloom in the summer so be prepared for the weather; as a public wildlife area (wetlands), you can visit any time of the day and I suggest the early morning or close to sunset to beat the heat. The fields are spectacular in any light.
There is accessible parking but be mindful that this is a natural, wildlife area and wear comfortable shoes (for example, with the recent rains, the parking area was muddy and full of muddy pools of water so I wore rain boots to cover my feet and legs), prepare for the heat and humidity, have your own drinking water handy, and wear sunscreen and bug repellant. There is little to no shade, no public restrooms, or seating near the fields.
There is plenty of space for social distancing yet have a mask handy!
Explore the Area where you can walk along the banks of the Potomac River and trails for hiking and bike riding.
There is a scene in the classic film The Color Purple (now streaming on Hulu) where the character Shug Avery walking through a field of purple flowers tells the character Celie "I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it." She was expressing her opinion of how God loves admiration of His creations. Having visited and seen a field of sunflowers for the first time my sentiments are the same. While the reason for planting these fields isn't directly for the visitors who flock to see them when the flowers bloom, we can all get the benefit of experiencing and acknowledging their beauty.
Are you exploring the wonders of your local area during this time? Let me know what you've discovered below!