Visit This Serene Oasis Just 30 Minutes From DC

This article is part of our daily Regional Highlights series which features unique businesses, attractions and events around the South (outside of Georgia.)

If I say “Washington DC” then you probably don’t think about camping, hiking and historic cabins, right? But Prince William Forest Park (a National Park) is only about 30 minutes from the nation’s capital… and a world away!

Visit This Serene Oasis Just 30 Minutes From DC
Photo courtesy of Prince William Forest

Prince William Forest Park protects the largest piedmont forest in the national park system and the largest green space in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

It gives area residents and visitors a unique opportunity to camp in, hike through and explore 15,000 wooded acres filled with wildlife and more than 300 years of human history.

The town of Dumfries and the land that is now Prince William Forest Park were important areas during the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Only 30 miles from D.C., it was a strategic point that the Confederate army hoped to control, though it always stayed under the Union flag. Free African Americans settled here in the 1830s, and remnants of their communities remain.

Then later, spies and radio operators in the OSS (U.S. Army’s Office of Strategic Services) in World War II (later, the CIA) trained here. In fact, you might want to plan your summer vacay next year around Spy Camp, ideal for kids 9-12 yo.

With 37 miles hiking trails, 21 miles of bicycle-accessible roads and trails, 4 campgrounds, and over 100 cabins, recreational opportunities are endless.

We love the cabin facilities, with options that sleep 4, 6 or 10 people. And get this…. they start at only $50/night!

Each cabin includes individual beds and mattresses, a picnic table and a cooking grill. So you’ll need to pack some bedding and pillows (which is fine if you’re roadtripping, right?) They have electric lights and ceiling fans to keep you cool.

They are awesome – but remember they are rustic. They do not have electrical outlets, so you’ll want to charge your phones in the car, with solar chargers, or with extended power blocks. They don’t have kitchens… and you’ll have to walk to a community bathroom. It’s kinda like camping, but with a mattress and roof instead of a tent.

What else is there to do in the area?

  • See a Fredericksburg Nationals minor league game. It’s about an hour away and a great way to see up nd coming Washington Nationals players up close.

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Visit This Serene Oasis Just 30 Minutes From DC