Parks in Prince William County, VA

Parks in Prince William County, VA
A sprawling county located about 30 miles to the south and west of Washington, D.C., Prince William can proudly boast of parks brimming with outdoor activities, including fishing, cycling, tennis, soccer and boating on the Potomac River. Picnic sites offer vistas of sandy shorelines and cool forest glens. But what really sets Prince William County parks apart are the many trails that offer rich hikes through history.

Prince William Forest Park

One of Virginia's most historic parcels of land is Prince William Forest Park. Within its 15,000 acres of woodlands are 37 miles of hiking trails and 21 miles of cycling roads and trails. Scenic Drive, a paved four-mile loop through the park, features a dedicated bike lane for the youngest of cyclists. The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including more than 100 species of birds. Fishing for largemouth bass and channel catfish is a popular park activity on Quantico Creek. Hiking trails range from a short wildlife viewing walk (.2 miles) to the South Valley Trail (9.7 miles), where the beaver are abundant and you might also spy deer and fox. Several of the trails will take you over historic bridges, a reminder of the rich heritage of the area, which was home to early Algonquian tribes. In addition, Revolutionary War Generals George Washington and the French Comte de Rochambeau marched through the area during the war, and Depression-era kids used the site as a summer camp in the 1930s. There are four different campgrounds in the park, and more than 100 rustic cabins are available for rent from mid-April through mid-October.

Prince William Forest Park
18100 Park Headquarters Road
Triangle, VA 22172-1644

Ben Lomond Regional Park

Splash Down Water Park is the big attraction at Ben Lomond Regional Park. A lazy river, two four-story water slides and a lap pool lure thousands of kids each summer. But this Prince William County park offers much more, including soccer fields, tennis courts, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, sand volleyball and horseshoes. Beyond the fields in the park, pick up the two-mile trail that promises a quiet, scenic walk along Bull Run, the tributary of the Potomac that flows south to the Occoquan River.

Ben Lomond Regional Park
7500 Ben Lomond Drive
Manassas, VA 20109

Leesylvania State Park

Sitting right on the shores of the Potomac River about twenty-five miles south of Washington, D.C., Leesylvania State Park offers another historic place for hiking, picnicking, fishing and boating. With more than 500 acres of parkland, this Prince William County park features five hiking trails that lead through a thick forest alongside the river, including a piece of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. You'll hike by overlooks of the Potomac, including Freestone Point, a Civil War gun battery. Boating and fishing are especially popular at Leesylvania. Fisherman bring up largemouth bass, catfish, perch and striped bass (a state license is required). Although there is a natural sand beach at the park, swimming from the shore is prohibited due largely to boat traffic. Wading, walking and sunbathing are permitted.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, Leesylvania was the home of Virginia's legendary Lee Family. Henry Lee III (Light Horse Harry) was born on the park land that in Colonial times was known as the Leesylvania Plantation. The Revolutionary War hero was the father of Robert E. Lee of Civil War fame.

Leesylvania State Park
2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Dr.,
Woodbridge, VA 22191-4504

Article Written By Ann Oldenburg

Based in the Washington, D.C. area, Ann Oldenburg has been a reporter/editor/author since 1990. She has written for publications including "The Washington Post," "USA TODAY" and "TV Guide." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.

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