(Last Updated On: October 3, 2022)
A view of the Widewater State Park small boat launch from above the Potomac River

Widewater State Park small boat launch from Above. Photo: Photo courtesy of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation / CC

Widewater State Park is located in Stafford County only an hour outside Northern Virginia. This 1,089 acre public recreation area lies along a peninsula where the Aquia Creek and the historic Potomac River meet up.

Visitors enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, camping and picnicking in this picturesque park.

This Virginia State Park lies on non-contiguous parcels of land surrounded by private property.

The idea behind creating this state park was to provide the community with access to outdoor recreational activities while preserving nature and natural resources for future generations to enjoy.

Activities

Widewater State Park is currently in its development stage and steadily growing. This lush green and forested park along the river and creek has paved walkways, picnic areas, playgrounds, river access, primitive campsites and a visitor center with gift shop.

Future plans include expanding the camping area to include modern sites and cabins, and expanding the trail system and adding an equestrian trailhead.

At this time there are no designated swimming areas within the park because swimming in the river is hazardous (swift currents, sudden drop-offs and unseen obstructions). But boating and fishing are possible in the river and creek.

The visitor center displays the park’s natural and historical features. One of these exhibits focuses on John Smith and the Native Americans of the Chesapeake region.
Here are some more activities that you can do during your visit to Widewater State Park:

Boating at Widewater State Park

Currently there are two car-top boat launches available inside Widewater State Park, one on Aquia Creek and the other on the Potomac River. A motorboat launch will be added as part of the park’s development.

For now you can use these launches for canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.

Rentals are available nearby at Potomac Boat Rentals.

Fishing at Widewater State Park

Widewater State Park is a great place to fish! During your visit you’ll have the chance to catch largemouth bass, catfish, striped bass and perch along the Potomac River, Aquia Creek or in Long Pond.

The river is tidal here and considered fresh so you will need a Virginia freshwater fishing license.

Trails at Widewater State Park

Widewater State Park has 2 one-mile hiking trails at this time. The park is still under development so in time there will be more (as well as an equestrian trail system). Be aware of the areas under construction and obey all signage, hiking in these areas is prohibited.

Here are the two current trails inside Widewater State Park:

  • Long Pond Trail – Easy 1.75 mile hiking trail that starts near the visitor center and connects with the Holly Marsh Trail that leads out to the Potomac Picnic Area. The Long Pond Trail passes through the forest and along sections of Aquia Creek and Long Pond (you’ll notice an area scattered with bricks, this helps prevent erosion along the shoreline).
  • Holly Marsh Trail – Easy .9 mile hiking trail that borders Holly Marsh. This shaded trail has a nice wooden bench along the Potomac for visitors to rest and admire the beauty of the river. Start with the Long Pond Trail to get a longer hike throughout the park.

Wildlife Viewing at Widewater State Park

Along the two bodies of water – Aquia Creek and Potomac River – and throughout the woods you’ll see many birds, mammals, reptiles and other signs of life. Waterfowl, songbirds and raptors are in abundance inside this serene park.

Keep an eye out for bald eagles, osprey, hawks, great blue herons, cardinals, robins, eastern bluebirds, squirrels, deer, rabbits, turtles, snakes, frogs, dragonflies and butterflies.

Camping at Widewater State Park

Widewater State Park has tent-only primitive campsites at this time. These sites are only accessible by boat. Call the park at (540) 288-1400 for more information on these campsites.

The park’s master plan calls for cabins and modern campgrounds (tents and RVs). For RV and modern campsites nearby check out these two locations:

Pets at Widewater 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 Widewater State Park

For shopping, dining, outdoor adventure and more check out nearby Stafford and also Fredericksburg.

Stafford County has many interesting places to visit as well as family friendly activities:

  • Aquia Landing Park – 2846 Brooke Rd, Stafford

    Beach, woods and wetlands

  • Smith Lake Park – 370 Doc Stone Rd, Stafford

    Lake access, boating, fishing, pavilions, swimming pool and full-service campground.

  • Stafford County Civil War Park – 400 Mt Hope Church Rd, Stafford
  • Patawomeck Park – 25 Chopawamsic Pkwy, Stafford

    Playgrounds, ball fields and picnic area.

  • Government Island – 191 Coal Landing Rd, Stafford

    Historic area with hiking trails. This quarry site provided the Aquia sandstone for the construction of the White House and the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

    A nature trail and elevated boardwalk leads through the woods and wetlands offering a view of a variety of habitats for native and migratory birds as well as other wildlife.

  • Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve – 81 Raven Rd, Stafford

    Large forest area with wetlands and trails. This 2,872 acre preserve is a natural habitat for eales, fish and migrating birds.

Park Location

Widewater State Park
101 widewater State Park Rd
Stafford, VA 22554
Phone: 540.288.1400

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Widewater State Park: