If you are looking for a safe outdoor adventure this winter, look no further than Lorton, Virginia. Situated just 20 miles south of Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River, Lorton offers travelers a unique opportunity to visit, explore, and discover hidden gems in their own backyard.
Begin your Lorton adventure on Mason Neck—a peninsula that is home to wildlife such as bald eagles, deer, owls, and so much more. On Mason Neck, you’ll find Mason Neck State Park, Pohick Bay Regional Park, The Stables at Meadowood, and George Mason’s Gunston Hall.
Stop at Gunston Hall, the historic home and estate of George Mason. Here, you can explore the 550+ acre campus featuring a visitor center, walking trails, reconstructed outbuildings, archaeological dig sites, and Mason’s 1755 Georgian-style mansion.
The visitor center is a great place to start your visit or to take a break from exploring the grounds to browse the newest exhibition, Revolutionary Rights. The visitor center also features a Museum Shop where you’ll find snacks, locally made merchandise, books, and the perfect souvenir to remember your visit.
Take a tour of the house with knowledgeable guides or explore the grounds on your own and use your smartphone to learn all about the “forgotten founding father.” The newly restored one-acre riverside garden offers a multi-faceted perspective into the lives of all those who lived at Gunston Hall including those who were enslaved.
From Gunston Hall, head just down the road to Pohick Bay Regional Park. This park provides lodging opportunities such as cabins, camping, and RV sites (take advantage of a 25% discount on lodging during weekdays). In addition, they offer daily boat and recreation rentals, hiking trails, picnic areas, waterpark, and a miniature golf course.
Beyond Mason Neck, there is so much to see including the new National Museum of the United States Army and the Workhouse Arts Center. Once the site of a former prison, the Workhouse Arts Center is now a National Historic Landmark home to visual and performing arts. Visitors can browse through the galleries free of charge or walk the campus and find hidden artworks throughout the property.
For more park adventures, visit Occoquan Regional Park. This 350 acre park is located just 9 miles from George Mason’s Gunston Hall and features a waterfront plaza, 5k loop trail, batting cages, and kayak rentals.
Finally, don’t forget to visit the Historic Occoquan District while you are in the area. This former mill town hosts more than 100 art, antique and specialty stores and eateries. Visitors can enjoy dining and shopping opportunities along the river in this historic and quaint town—it’s only 15 minutes away from George Mason’s Gunston Hall.
Whether you are looking for a quiet retreat in nature, a weekend winter hike, or a fun educational field trip with your family, Lorton has opportunities for everyone to adventure safely this winter.
Cover photo: Occoquan Regional Park, photo courtesy of NOVA Parks