Geography of Arlington County, Virginia

By | March 5, 2024

Arlington County, located in northern Virginia, is a dynamic and vibrant region characterized by its urban landscape, historic sites, and diverse communities. From its bustling urban centers and iconic landmarks to its scenic parks and green spaces, Arlington County offers a unique blend of city living and natural beauty. In this detailed exploration, we’ll delve into the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other notable features of Arlington County.


According to Pharmacylib, Arlington County is situated in the northern part of Virginia, adjacent to Washington, D.C., and the Potomac River. It covers an area of approximately 26 square miles (67 square kilometers), making it one of the smallest counties in Virginia. Despite its small size, Arlington County is densely populated and highly urbanized, with a mix of residential, commercial, and institutional development.

The county is primarily characterized by its urban landscape, featuring high-rise buildings, bustling streets, and vibrant neighborhoods. Arlington is home to several urban centers, including the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, Crystal City, and Pentagon City, which serve as hubs for business, entertainment, and transportation.

Despite its urban character, Arlington County also features several parks, green spaces, and natural areas, providing residents and visitors with opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. These include popular destinations such as the Theodore Roosevelt Island Park, the Potomac Overlook Regional Park, and the W&OD Trail.


Arlington County experiences a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot and humid summers, mild winters, and moderate precipitation throughout the year. The climate is influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, as well as its location within the mid-Atlantic region.

Summers in Arlington County are typically hot and muggy, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 90s Fahrenheit (around 24 to 34 degrees Celsius). Heatwaves are common during the summer months, with temperatures occasionally exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). Humidity levels can be high, especially in July and August, making the heat feel more oppressive.

Winters in Arlington County are generally mild, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to low 40s Fahrenheit (around 2 to 6 degrees Celsius). Snowfall is relatively rare but can occur occasionally during the winter months, typically in the form of light to moderate snow showers. Most precipitation falls as rain, with occasional winter storms bringing a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain to the area.

Spring and fall are transitional seasons in Arlington County, with mild temperatures and changing foliage making them pleasant times to visit. Spring brings the blooming of cherry blossoms and other flowers, while fall showcases the vibrant colors of changing leaves.

Annual precipitation in Arlington County averages around 40 to 45 inches (about 1,000 to 1,140 millimeters), with rainfall distributed fairly evenly throughout the year. Thunderstorms are common in the summer months, occasionally bringing heavy rain, lightning, and gusty winds to the area.

Rivers and Lakes:

Arlington County is bordered to the west by the Potomac River, one of the most iconic waterways in the United States. The Potomac River serves as a natural boundary between Virginia and Maryland and is a prominent feature of the region’s geography and history.

While Arlington County does not have any natural lakes of significant size, it is home to several smaller bodies of water, including ponds, reservoirs, and streams. These waterways provide habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as fishing, boating, and birdwatching.

One notable water feature in Arlington County is the Four Mile Run, a stream that flows through the central part of the county, connecting the Potomac River with the Washington Channel. Four Mile Run is bordered by parks and trails, including the Four Mile Run Trail, which provides opportunities for walking, jogging, and biking.

Vegetation and Wildlife:

Despite its urban character, Arlington County is home to a variety of vegetation and wildlife, thanks to its parks, green spaces, and natural areas. The county’s parks and greenways provide habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species, including trees, shrubs, wildflowers, birds, and small mammals.

Arlington’s urban forest includes a diverse mix of tree species, such as oak, maple, hickory, and pine, which provide shade, oxygen, and habitat for wildlife. The county’s parks and natural areas are also home to wetlands, meadows, and riparian habitats, which support a variety of plant and animal life.

Common wildlife species in Arlington County include white-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, and a variety of bird species, such as cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers. The Potomac River and Four Mile Run are also home to fish, turtles, and other aquatic species.


In conclusion, Arlington County, Virginia, offers a unique blend of urban living, natural beauty, and historic charm. From its bustling city streets and iconic landmarks to its scenic parks and green spaces, the county’s geography reflects the diverse character of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Whether exploring the urban landscape, enjoying outdoor recreation, or immersing oneself in the region’s rich history and culture, Arlington County has much to offer for residents and visitors alike.