With national, state and local parks, Prince William & Manassas are known as the outdoor capital of the greater Washington, D.C. region. Explore parks where history and nature unite and allow visitors to not only enjoy pristine scenery but connect with the places and events that shaped our nation’s history.
Day One: Take a ride down the Occoquan River aboard a Miss Rivershore boat. Learn the history of the area while watching for Eagles, herons and other wildlife. Tours are offered weekends or weekdays by appointment. After your boat ride, explore the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Occoquan rivers, the refuge is home to 200-plus species of birds, 600 species of plants and 65 species of butterflies. Connect with history and nature at Rippon Lodge. The 43-acre site includes one of the oldest homes in Prince William County, formal gardens and walking trails that provide stunning views of the Potomac River. Continue your outdoor adventure with a meal on the deck of Madigan’s Waterfront. There, enjoy stunning views of the Occoquan River and some of the freshest seafood in the area.
Day Two: Enjoy Leesylvania State Park, which was once home to Henry Lee III, a Revolutionary War hero who fathered Civil War Confederate General Robert. E. Lee. Situated on a peninsula bordered by the Potomac River and Neabsco and Powells creeks, Leesylvania is known for its excellent fishing, beaches and canoe opportunities. Fish for trout, catfish and perch by boat or by land on a 300-foot fishing pier. Starting Saturdays in May, cruise along Powells Creek on a guided canoe tour where you can spot blue heroin and an active beaver dam. Take a break to enjoy the onsite café then tackle the new fitness trail. The roughly two-mile trail includes different stations where people can focus on balance, strength training, cardio work and stretching.
Continue to Prince William Forest Park, which boasts the largest greenspace in the Washington D.C. region and 8,000 years of human history. While at this park, walk or bike some of the 40-plus miles of trails and discover some of the 150 historic structures on the property. Spend the night at the park in your own tent or rent a rustic cabin. Built in the 1930s, the cabins were once used by the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.