This scenic river side park, Westmoreland State Park, is located in Montross, a mere 2 hour drive from Washington, DC and the Virginia Beach area. Horsehead Cliffs, inside the park, offers visitors a panoramic view of the historic Potomac River.
Westmoreland State Park is also one of the original state parks built by the CCC during the 1930s. And the park is minutes from George Washington’s birthplace and Stratford Hall, the birthplace of Robert E Lee.
Visitors to this historic Virginia state park enjoy boating, fishing, trails, hunting for fossils and staying in the park’s rustic log cabins.
Whether you visit Westmoreland State Park for a day or a week you’ll find plenty to occupy your time. While here you can take a hike and hunt for fossils of ancient shark teeth along the Potomac River. Or check out the Discovery Center’s wildlife and fossil exhibits and interactive displays.
Murphy Hall, high atop Horse Head Cliffs, has space for special events, conferences and meetings and features spectacular views of the river. The visitor center has a gift shop and displays that focus on John Smith’s expeditions in the area as well as information on the Civilian Conservation Corps and fossils found inside the park.
Here are some more activities that you can do during your visit to Westmoreland State Park:
Fishing at Westmoreland State Park
Fish year round for bass, crappie, bream and catfish from boat, shore or fishing pier within Westmoreland State Park. The offshore breakwaters are a particularly good spot for anglers. Remember to pick up a Virginia freshwater fishing license ahead of time.
Boating at Westmoreland State Park
Canoe, kayak, paddle boat, paddle board or tube during your visit to Westmoreland State Park. Power boats are also permitted and boat ramps are conveniently located within the park. The Osprey Boathouse has kayak and stand-up paddle boards for rent seasonally as well as ice, bait and tackle.
Kayak interpretive trips are offered seasonally at the Osprey Boathouse. These guided trips educate guests on the park’s natural and historical features: cliffs, birds, fossils and the Potomac River. For more information call (804) 493-8821.
Swimming at Westmoreland State Park
Westmoreland State Park doesn’t have any designated swimming areas or guarded beaches. Swim carefully and at your own risk in the river.
Trails at Westmoreland State Park
Westmoreland State Park has more than 6 miles of trails spread throughout the woods, along open grassy sections and down to the beach area on the Potomac River. All 7 trails are open for hiking and one trail is also open for bikes (the CCC Fitness Trail). The Conservation Corps Trail also has 7 fitness stations.
Here are a couple of popular trails inside Westmoreland State Park:
- The Beach Trail – Moderate .4 mile trail along the Potomac River. Observe the flora and wildlife on this coastal plain and also witness how the changing river levels affect the land.
- Big Meadow Trail – Easy 1.4 mile trail that leads directly to Fossil Beach. This path is wide and flat enough to pull a wagon along as it winds through the woods and down to the beach area. The climb back up is steady but not too steep.
- Laurel Point Trail – Moderate 2.3 mile trail with a lot of steps that lead down to a pond.
- Rock Spring Pond Trail – Easy 1.2 mile paved trail that leads out to Rock Pond. Benches at Rock Pond offer a peaceful spot to relax and watch for many species of wildlife.
Wildlife Viewing at Westmoreland State Park
Along the Potomac River you’ll see bald eagles, osprey, hawks, great blue herons and many wintering waterfowl. Cardinals, robins, eastern bluebirds, squirrels, deer, rabbits, turtles, snakes, frogs, butterflies and many other species may be seen in this peaceful park.
Camping at Westmoreland State Park
Westmoreland State Park has campsites, camping cabins, log cabins and rustic cabins for guests wanting to spend the night inside the park. A camp store, bathhouses and laundry facilities are conveniently located within the park.
Here’s a closer look at each of these accommodations:
- Campground – The camping season runs from the first Friday in March through the first Monday in December. The park’s 3 campgrounds have a combined 133 campsites: 42 E/W with space up to 40’; 74 standard sites (no E/W connections) with space up to 40’; 1 group tent-only site (no E/W) for up to 40 people; and 3 separate Buddy sites for groups up to 24.
Camping Cabins – The park also has 6 camping cabins that are available between April 1 and mid-October. These basic cabins have 4 walls, a roof, screened windows, 1 electrical outlet, 2 ceiling fans with lights and 4 single beds (sleep up to 4). These rustic cabins have 2 sets of bunk beds, a table and chairs and a porch with 2 rocking chairs.
They do not have a bathroom, kitchen, fireplace, heat or air conditioning. Each cabin also has a sheltered picnic table, fire ring and lantern post outside. Guests may use Campground A bathhouse.
Cabins – The 26 rustic cabins are open year round for reservations and consist of various sizes and types. These include: 3 one-room log style efficiencies that sleep 2; 4 one-bedroom log style that sleeps 2 but allows up to 4; 4 two-bedroom log style that sleeps 4 but allows up to 6; and 15 two-bedroom rustic style that sleep up to 6.
Each cabin has a fully equipped kitchen and combined dining and living room area with rustic furniture. Some cabins have decks and screened porches. All cabins do not have a dishwasher, washer/dryer, telephone, tv or linens.
If you’re planning to stay in a cabin you will need to bring your own linens, pillows, warm blankets (it can get very chilly at night), food, dishwashing liquid, dish towels, coffee and
filters, salt and pepper, bath towels and toiletries and activities such as board games, cards, magazines and books.
Be sure to have your reservation number(s) or confirmation letter when checking-in. Guests may bring air mattresses and sleeping bags for guests up to maximum occupancy.
Pets at Westmoreland 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. An extra fee is charged per pet per night for cabins.
Open Daily Dawn to Dusk
Park Office/Visitor Center Hours:
Open Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm
- The boardwalk and observation tower near Fossil Beach are closed for safety concerns. (Fossil Beach is accessible by Big Meadow Trail.)
- Big Meadow Trail no longer connects to Turkey Neck Trail.
- The swimming pool is permanently closed (due to mechanical issues that can’t be resolved).
- The Potomac River Retreat is no longer available for rent (due to critical infrastructure issues).
Westmoreland State Park
145 Cliff Road
Montross, VA 22520
Here is a short YouTube video with some aerial footage of Westmoreland State Park:
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