It’s the first Virginia state park to focus on honoring and interpreting the history of the state’s native Indian tribes. It was named Machicomoco, which means ‘special meeting place’, to reflect this dedication.
Another important aspect of this area is that it is located about 10 miles downriver from Werowocomoco, the once home of Chief Powhatan and his daughter Pocohontas.
The natural beauty of this park includes maritime forest, marsh, wetlands and an estuarine habitat. Visitors enjoy kayaking, fishing, camping, bird watching and learning more about the history of this important area.
The park has picnic areas and 2 large picnic shelters with tables and grills. Come prepared, there isn’t any place to purchase ice, food or drinks within the park at this time. There is a gift shop at the main entrance that sells guide books, maps and souvenirs.
An open air pavilion offers an interpretive area for learning more about the history of the Virginia Indians – their culture, movement and how they are a critical part of our history today.
A path of history showing significant occurrences that happened to the Indigenous peoples of the area leads to this pavilion. Surrounding this area are native trees, shrubs and other plants that were used by the Indians for food, medicine and ceremonies.
While exploring this picturesque waterside park you’ll gain a new respect and appreciation for nature and maybe learn some Algonquian words along the way (from placards placed at rest and reflection areas).
Whether you plan to visit for the day or spend a few relaxing nights you’ll enjoy your visit to this peaceful park.
Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Machicomoco State Park:
Trails at Machicomoco State Park
The park has 3 trails that make up a total of 6 miles when combined together. Here’s a closer look at each of these trails:
- Forestry Trail – An easy 2.4 mile trail that starts at the interpretive area and follows a gravel and grass path through the wooded area and around the wetlands. Great views of the Catlett Islands and many bird species.
- Interpretive Trail – An easy .7 footpath made of gravel, oyster shells and grass heads out to the lookout point and passes Timberneck House along the way.
- Loop Trail – An easy 3.3 mile paved multi-use trail that parallels the main road.
Boating at Machicomoco State Park
Bring your own kayak, canoe, paddle board or other small non-motorized boat to enjoy some time exploring the waterways.
No rentals are available inside the park at this time but there is a cartop launch for small boat use.
Boats must be hand carried or hand wheeled to access the launch which is located at the end of a 150 foot pier.
There are no shoreline launch spots available inside the park. This is because the waterway is part of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and access to the Catlett Islands and surrounding marsh areas is prohibited.
Water access is closed completely from November 1 to January 31 to protect the migratory waterfowl wintering here.
Fishing at Machicomoco State Park
Machicomoco State Park has a set of small floating docks on the Timberneck Creek. This is the only place within the park where you are permitted to fish. Popular catches from this creek are white croaker, red drum and blue skate.
Remember to pick up a Virginia saltwater fishing license.
Wildlife Viewing at Machicomoco State Park
The diverse wildlife habitats inside the park range from woodlands, fields and various wetland areas. Butterflies and dragonflies appear everywhere during the summer and especially among the wildflowers in the open fields.
Songbirds, waterfowl and birds of prey frequent the air, trees and ground throughout the park. Some you may see during your visit are bald eagles, hawks, doves, cardinals, osprey, great blue heron and eastern bluebirds.
You’ll also see many squirrels, deer, wild turkeys and frogs. And you may spot snakes, turtles, rabbits, raccoons and some other wildlife while hiking, boating or camping.
Camping at Machicomoco State Park
If you want to spend a few nights inside the park and really get a chance to explore the area you can camp or stay in one of the yurts. All sites are seasonal and open from the first Friday in March until the first Sunday in December.
A main campground area has 13 campsites with electric and water connections and space for tents, RVs and popups up to 60ft. The park also has another 14 campsites that are walk-in tent only sites. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring and lantern holder.
The 3 yurts are located in the main campground area. Each yurt sleeps 3 and has a dining table, chairs, sofa, large wooden deck, picnic table, a grill, fire ring and water spigot.
There’s no electricity, heat or air conditioning and no smoking, cooking or pets allowed inside. Bring your own linens and extra sleeping bags if needed.
Pets at Machicomoco 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 Machicomoco State Park
If you’re interested in discovering places to shop, eat and learn more about this historic area check out these nearby places:
- Visit Gloucester – Gloucester County has a lot to see and do –shopping, restaurants, historical sites.
- Visit Yorktown – Lots of history here! Plus shopping, restaurants and a beach area.
- Visit Colonial National Historical Park – History programs on the beginnings of the English colony and the battle for independence.
- Visit the Jamestown Settlement & American Revolution Museum at Yorktown – More history!
Machicomoco State Park
3601 Timberneck Farm Rd
Hayes, VA 23072
Open Daily 8am to Dusk
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Machicomoco State Park: