Whether you prefer paddling miles of unspoiled shoreline, kicking back at a local winery, or immersing yourself in history, you’ll find adventure around every curve of the road in King George County, Va. Located just over an hour from D.C. and Richmond, this is a quiet spot close to major cultural centers.
Bordered by the Potomac River to the north and Rappahannock River to the south with smaller creeks and streams dotting the landscape, spend your days exploring scenic Virginia waterways. Head to Machodoc Creek Marina for tandem kayak, standup paddleboard, and canoe rentals for some paddling in the sheltered Machodoc Creek or launch into the Potomac for some of the best fishing around. To access the Rappahannock, the public launches at Hopyard Boat Landing and Wilmont Boat Landing offer plenty of opportunities for seeing osprey and heron, fishing for blue catfish and largemouth bass, and soaking up the surroundings. Between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers alone, King George features 131 miles of shoreline to discover by boat.
If you prefer to explore the area on land, there are miles of shaded trails meandering through old growth forests. At Caledon State Park, connect several loops for miles of hiking and biking or take one of the trails out to an overlook on the Potomac River. Boyd’s Hole Trail is a popular option with a kayak and canoe landing on the water. For the adventurous traveler, the park offers six hike-in and paddle-in primitive camping sites for a night or two by the water. Walk, run, or bike the 16-mile Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail, a rail trail built on an abandoned historic but short-lived rail line. Keep your eyes peeled for an array of wildlife sightings, from blue heron and egrets to bullfrogs, dragonflies, and turtles. You can even try your hand at the Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail 50K scheduled for August 7, 2021.
Follow one of the established history or art trails to dive deeper into the culture of the area. History buffs should check out the Civil War Trail with stops at Mrs. Quesenberry’s House, Cleydael, and Mathias Point. Dive further into American history at Belle Grove, James Madison’s birthplace that now serves as a bed and breakfast. Take a drive along the Northern Neck Artisan Trail, which features dozens of studios, galleries, farms, restaurants, and more throughout the area. Pick up a unique piece to put in your home, view towering murals, and visit with the artists who call this part of Virginia home.
What better way to finish up your day than with a drink at one of King George’s wineries. Sit on the porch and soak up the views at Backporch Vineyard with a flight, glass, or bottle of wine. Unwind at The Estate at White Hall Vineyard amidst rolling hills and beautiful gardens located at a historic home. Keep an eye out for upcoming food trucks and live music on the weekends at both vineyards.
Get outside in Virginia’s Northern Neck and experience for yourself what makes King George County a must-visit this year.