One of the most visited day-use parks in Virginia, Leesylvania State Park, is located a mere 25 miles from Washington, DC in Prince William County.
This small public recreation area lies along the historic Potomac River on its own peninsula. Fishing and boating are popular attractions to this Virginia State Park, since it is almost completely surrounded by water.
This area, once the ancestral home of the Lee and Fairfax families, was visited by Capt. John Smith in 1608 while he was on his voyage of discovery. Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.
Locally the area is known as Freestone Point, named because of the sandstone that early settlers built with.
The park is mostly a day-use area but it does have a few primitive campsites as well as a group camping area ideal for scouts and other groups. Even though there isn’t much space to stay overnight there’s still enough to do here to fill up a few days.
The park offers events such as nature walks, fishing tournaments, canoe tours, concerts, day and overnight camps for Junior Rangers and historical programs. And there are many picnic areas and playgrounds to make your day more enjoyable and comfortable.
The Breakwater Store (open Fridays through Sundays, Memorial Day to Labor Day) has snacks, ice cream, bait, tackle, t-shirts and souvenirs. And the Visitor Center has a gift shop, historic and nature exhibits and an environmental education classroom to explore.
The Visitor Center also has a small meeting room that can be reserved and there are also large picnic shelters and an amphitheater available for special events and gatherings.
Boating and fishing in the river and creeks is very popular at the park but swimming is not allowed due to swift currents, debris, heavy vegetation and sudden drop-offs.
Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Leesylvania State Park:
Boating at Leesylvania State Park
Boating is very popular at Leesylvania State Park. The park has a seasonal marina and store with boat rentals (kayaks and canoes).
A cartop launch for smaller boats is located on Powells Creek and another boat launch area with 2 ramps, sailboat hoists and ample parking is located on the Potomac River. Year round boat storage is available across from the marina.
If you’re interested in sailing – Northern Virginia Sailing School has sailboat rentals and lessons available inside the park.
Fishing at Leesylvania State Park
Excellent bass fishing can be found along the Potomac River!
The park has a 300 foot universally accessible fishing pier and overnight boating and pier fishing are allowed between March 1 and October 31.
Other freshwater fish you may catch here are perch and catfish. The Bait Shack, near the pier, is open on weekends all summer.
Remember to pick up a Virginia fishing license and also a permit if you will be fishing or boating overnight.
Trails at Leesylvania State Park
There are 5 hiking trails inside Leesylvania State Park. Many of these easy to moderate trails offer impressive views of the historic Potomac and natural features inside the park.
A part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs through the park as well as the remains of a Civil War Confederate gun battery (at Freestone Point).
Here are a few of popular trails at Leesylvania State Park:
- Lee’s Woods Trail – This 1.6 moderate trail starts near the entrance to the picnic area and loops through a historical section of the park on its way to Freestone Point. This historical section includes the cemeteries, garden and location of the original homesteads of the Lee and Fairfax families.
- Bushey Point Trail – An easy 2.1 mile universally accessible gravel trail that follows along the river past picnic and fishing spots and out to Powell’s Creek. Along the way is a 20 station fitness section which includes a pull up bar, parallel bar and other exercise stations for strength training in nature.
- Powell’s Creek Nature Trail – An easy 2.2 mile self-guided nature trail to learn about watersheds. Guide books are available at the trailhead.
Wildlife Viewing at Leesylvania State Park
The Potomac River, Powells Creek and Neabsco Creek are all great places to see waterfowl such as ducks, geese and loons. You’ll also notice bald eagles, hawks, osprey as well as eastern bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, robins, cardinal and blue herons.
Many frogs, snakes and turtles may be spotted near the water’s edge. You may see squirrels, deer, raccoons and possibly rabbits along the trails throughout the park.
Camping at Leesylvania State Park
The park has one group primitive campground and 4 primitive campsites accessible only by boat. All sites are secluded from the main part of the park but are within walking distance to park activities.
The small tent only group area is located in a field at the southern end of the park. This site includes several picnic tables, benches, a water spigot and a large fire pit. A large field adjacent is ideal for recreational activities.
Four tent-only primitive campsites are available for guests arriving by canoe or kayak. These sites are near a small boat launch for easier access. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring and lantern hook.
If you’re looking for an RV campground check out Prince William Forest RV Campground only 8 miles from Leesylvania State Park.
Pets at Leesylvania State Park
Pets are allowed inside the park but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet or in an enclosed area. Please clean up after your pet and do not leave them unattended at any time.
Attractions Near Leesylvania State Park
There are a lot of fun and interesting things to do nearby. Prince William Forest National Park has camping, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. And if you are a bird watcher, Occoquan National Wildlife Refuge is a refuge for many migrating species.
If you are a student of history, don’t miss Manassas National Battlefield Park. This historic battleground from the civil war is worth a visit.
Leesylvania State Park
2001 Daniel K Ludwig Dr
Woodbridge, VA 22191
Open Daily 6am – Sunset
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Leesylvania State Park: