Prince William County is a scenic region of Northern Virginia with a variety of interesting attractions and things to see and do. Located just 35 miles south of Washington, D.C., nestled between the Potomac River and the Bull Run Mountains, this area is home to Civil War battlefields, museums and historic sites, performing arts venues and endless outdoor recreation opportunities. Here is a guide to help you plan a great day trip or weekend getaway.
The former railroad community and independent city, that lies within Prince William County, is a charming historic town with shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. Stop by the Visitor Center at the Historic Manassas Train Depot and gather information about the region's attractions and the surrounding area. The Manassas Farmers' Market, located in Old Town, offers fresh produce on Thursdays and Saturdays. At the Manassas Museum, learn about the region’s history from colonial days to the recent past.
The state-of-the-art attraction uses interactive technology, multi-media exhibits and thousands of artifacts to bring to life the values, mission, and culture of the Marine Corps. The museum is located on a 135-acre site next to the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia, a short drive south of Washington, D.C. You will need at least half a day to fully explore the exhibits and outdoor memorials. Stop in the Tun Tavern for lunch or a snack and enjoy the colonial era decor.
The 5000-acre park preserves the historic site of the First and Second Battles of Manassas during the Civil War. The Henry Hill Visitor Center includes a museum that displays civil war era uniforms, weapons and artifacts. The park orientation film, “Manassas: End of Innocence” tells the stories of the two famous battles that took place here. Visitors can take a guided tour by a Park Ranger or a self-guided tour of the battlefield.
The wineries, breweries and distilleries in Prince William County offer tastings in a variety of unique settings. While there are dozens of places to check out in the region, visit some of the newest hotspots. Effingham Manor Winery is a historic home and a national historic district offering award-winning Virginia wines and a manor house that dates back to 1767. Farm Brew LIVE is an 8-acre campus that features craft beer, craft food and live, local music. Included on the campus are 2 Silos Brewing Co. and tasting room, The YARD outdoor live music venue, The Pit BBQ and beer garden and La Gringa Food Truck. MurLarkey Distilled Spirits offers a wide array of spirits that are inspired by its Irish heritage.
The 15,000-acre forest is administered by the National Park Service and is the largest green space in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. The park offers 37 miles of hiking trails, 21 miles of bicycle-accessible roads and trails, 4 campgrounds, and over 100 cabins. It’s a great destination for viewing wildlife and fishing.
The historic town, located on the banks of the Occoquan River, has a wonderful collection of antique shops, art galleries, craft stores, restaurants and specialty shops. Twice a year the town hosts a juried arts and crafts festival that attracts thousands of visitors. Be sure to stop by Mom's Apple Pie for a tasty treat. At the far end of town, visit River Mill Park and take a walk across the bridge to take in a panoramic view of the river.
Surrounded by the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers, the refuge includes a one-mile wildlife drive and over three miles of hiking trails. This unique place to explore is home to 650 plant species, 218 bird species, 55 butterfly species and robust wildlife communities along tidal shorelines, marshes, meadows, and woods.
The 25,000-seat outdoor concert venue in Prince William County, Virginia hosts a wide variety of performers throughout the summer months. Past performers have included Tina Turner, Coldplay, Celine Dion, Rush, James Taylor, Stevie Nicks, Aerosmith, The Who, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and many more.
The outlet shopping mall draws visitors to Prince William County from around the region to shop at more than 220 discount stores including Nordstrom RACK, OFF 5th Saks Fifth Avenue, Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Nautica, Banana Republic, Gymboree and much more. Visitors enjoy numerous dining options, an AMC 18-screen movie theater, a children's play area and much more.
Visit Historic Rippon Lodge
The oldest standing house in Prince William County, built circa 1747 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sits on a scenic hilltop overlooking Neabsco Creek only about 30 miles from Washington, D.C.. George Washington and his family often stayed as a guest at Rippon Lodge. Tours are offered May through October by appointment. Special events, programs and tours are offered throughout the year.