Prince William County, a great place to get out and play

06/08/2010  | 

When the runners in the premiere 17.75 Marine Corps Marathon race begin on June 12, 2010, they’re following the path of heroes from the American Revolution to today’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just 29 miles from Washington, DC, Prince William County/Manassas, Virginia provides a new perspective in an historic environment. More known for its Civil War history and military heritage than its parks and recreation, Prince William is a great place to get out and play!

A world-renowned site for golf due to hosting the President’s Cup, there are 11 courses open for public play. For family fun, Prince William County is the motherlode with three water parks, bicycling, boating, canoeing, camping and some of the best bass fishing on the Potomac.

Mother Nature blessed the area with wetlands and waterfront, rolling fields and farms, and mountain foothills.  Sixty-two federal, state, county, city and town parks welcome visitors. Virginia Bluebells create an ethereal carpet along Bull Run after the Cherry Blossoms fade away. Hikers take to the 25 miles of trails through the 5,000 acre Manassas National Battlefield Park. Besides its history, the battlefield is fertile ground for bird-watching.

For hiking, camping and bicycling, outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the 37 miles of hiking trails and 21 miles of on and off road bicycling opportunities at Prince William Forest Park. The quiet, 15,000 acre reserve is a great place to get away from it all. It’s so remote the OSS trained there during WWII

Leesylvania State Park is a great place to launch your boat, picnic or watch American eagles soar overhead. With its sweeping vistas of the Potomac and sandy shore, it’s a quiet place to picnic, read, and get away from it all.

Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a wetlands wonderland for watching migratory birds. Once a Federal facility, Occoquan Bay is now open from sun-up to sunset. A mile-long wildlife drive takes you to the center of the refuge where you might spot whitetail deer, ospreys, bald eagles or 218 other bird species. Miles of hiking trails include interpretative signs that make the experience educational as well as exceptionally tranquil!

Anoter waterfront site is located at the Julie J. Metz Wetland Bank in Woodbridge. Located on Neabsco Creek, the wetland attracts herons, wood ducks mallards, gulls and hawks. An informational sign leads you to the trail through the marsh.

The Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail guide contains detailed maps and instructions to the area’s six featured sites. The sites include the Town of Occoquan which is a great spot to stop, shop and dine, as well as wander along the river! The guide also includes directions to the Chopawamisc Wildlife Viewing Area at Quantico Marine Base. Beyond the natural beauty, the town of Quantico is the only American community completely surrounded by a military base. Located on the Potomac, the town includes a railroad station, shops, restaurants and a number of barbers specializing in short cuts!

Take a break with a quiet paddle down the Occoquan River from Lake Ridge Park in Woodbridge.  Or, go for livelier and louder outdoor fun at one of the Prince William attractions. Catch a rock or country concert at Jiffy Lube Live, more classical fare at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts. If you feel the need for speed, drive over to Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas. There’s also the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd with Potomac Nationals, Carolina League Baseball at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium.

Of course, there’s a number of people who consider shopping a sport. Prince William provides plenty of opportunity to indulge. From Potomac Mills to Old Town Manassas, from Occoquan to Haymarket, there are treasures indoors as well as outdoors!

From battlefields to bird-watching, from baseball to bargain-hunting, Prince William County/Manassas, Virginia is the perfect place to spend the summer. 

For information on planning your personal Prince William County itinerary, contact The Prince William County/Manassas CVB at 800-432-1792 or visit
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