Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Bristow, VA

  • Published 2022/09/27

Nestled within one of the most historic regions in the United States, Bristow is an unincorporated community located about 40 miles from the nation’s capital, Washington D.C.

It also forms a part of Linton Hall, a census-designated place in Prince William County, Virginia.

The community has undergone a series of names since its establishment in the 18th century.

It had been called Briscoe, Bristoe, Bristoe Station, and Bristow Station until it officially received its present name in 1906.

Thanks to its strategic location, Bristow also played a significant role during the Civil War, hosting numerous encampments for the Confederate army and scenes of several battles.

Owing to its relatively affordable cost of living and refreshing environment, the areas population multiplied between the 2000s and 2010s.

Today, Bristow is a thriving suburban community with several historic attractions and recreation areas.

Here are the best things to do in Bristow, Virginia:

Spend Quiet Time at St. Benedict Monastery

Stained glass windows in St. Benedict Monastery

Nancy Bauer /

Located near Linton Hall Road, the St. Benedict Monastery evokes a soothing atmosphere as soon as you enter its premises.

The Benedictine Sisters of Virginia established the monastery, a monastic community serving the state for more than 150 years.

The monastery is also open to visitors as a venue for community service and worship.

Stained glass windows in St. Benedict Monastery

Nancy Bauer /

It contains a chapel with beautiful stained glasses.

There’s also a cave, several beautiful sculptures, and a lovely garden.

As one of the most comforting sites in Bristow, St. Benedict Monastery is the ideal place to reflect and meditate.

Stained glass windows in St. Benedict Monastery

Nancy Bauer /

Learn History at Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park

The Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park is a 140-acre historical site where two Civil War battles occurred.

The first one was the Battle of Kettle Run on August 27, 1862, which resulted in a Confederate victory.

The second and much bigger clash was the Battle of Bristoe Station on October 15, 1863, culminating in a Union victory.

Today, the historic grounds are one of Bristow’s most popular tourist attractions.

On the historic site, you can find a few relics from the Civil War, most prominently a cannon.

The site also contains markers with descriptions of key events and gravestones of the soldiers who perished in the battles.

The historic site also features 1.7 miles of trail, making it a perfect spot for short trekking trips as well as horse-riding

With its deep historical significance and pristine natural environment, Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park is a must-visit in Prince William County.

Go Strawberry Picking at Yankey Farms

Yankey Farms is Prince William County’s go-to place for fresh farm produce and fun farm activities.

The farm, located along Bristow Road, draws many visitors for its fun seasonal activities

It has become a favorite family recreation spot in spring thanks to its Pick-Your-Own Strawberry season.

As the name implies, the farm allows you to pick strawberries to your hearts’ content.

Moreover, during fall, it also becomes a pumpkin patch wonderland.

Other fun activities you can experience on the farm include a cow train and a corn maze scavenger hunt.

On the other hand, the farm also has a produce stand found at Glenkirk Road in Nokesville.

The produce stand sells watermelons, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and corn, among other crops harvested from the farm.

With all these fun farm activities and fresh produce, expect a wonderful time at Yankey Farms.

Visit Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre

The Brentville Courthouse Historic Centre covers 28 acres on the southeastern end of Bristow.

With its well-preserved buildings and beautiful landscapes, it is one of the most beautiful historical places in the region.

Brentsville was initially a 50-acre town back in 1820.

Moreover, it also served as the county seat of Prince William County for 70 years.

Today, a few remnants of its glorious past still stand and serve as the main draw of this historic attraction.

Aside from the courthouse, which was built in 1822, the site also contains four other historic buildings.

The jailhouse, Haislip-Hall farmhouse, one-room schoolhouse, and the Union church remain, with the latter also available for rentals for special events.

The historic place also contains a nature trail.

The trail spans about one mile and provides picturesque views of Broad Run.

The site is a local favorite for picnicking thanks to its relaxing environment.

As a beautiful historic place with a pleasant, clean environment, Brentsville Courthouse Historical Centre is also one of the most relaxing places to visit in Bristow.

Hit the Greens at Bristow Manor Golf Club

Many consider the Bristow Manor Golf Club one of the best golf courses in Virginia.

The course spans 7,102 yards from its longest tees.

It boasts pristine Zoysia grass and greens trimmed to perfection for a smooth roll.

The course’ layout, consisting of a bunker and a pond, offers plenty of challenges even to seasoned players.

The golf course also has a driving range which allows you to improve your swing.

Nestled within this beautiful golf course is a stunning 19th-century manor house.

Thanks to its gorgeous interiors and scenic background, the manor house has become a favorite wedding venue in the region.

Moreover, the golf club’s own Bristow Manor Pub is the perfect place to relax, with outdoor seating offering unobstructed views of the course.

The challenging course, scenic views, and fantastic amenities make Bristow Manor Golf Club one of the best spots to play golf.

Check the Vintage Items at White Elephant Antiques

A hidden gem in Bristow, the White Elephant Antiques boasts some unique and rare finds that will excite every collector.

You can easily recognize this small vintage store, located along Bristow Road, from the outside thanks to several antique items displayed all over its patio.

The shop sells wooden furniture like chairs, dressers, cabinets, and huge mirrors.

They also have antique houseware and home décor.

Other interesting memorabilia include vintage clocks, artworks, and toys.

Moreover, you can also find tons of old books in the shop.

It may be small, but it’s easy to spend hours checking out the White Elephant Antiques’ massive collection of fascinating items.

Dine at Aka Sushi Bar

The Aka Sushi Bar is a tiny, family-owned restaurant located right at the heart of Bristow.

This Japanese restaurant also ranks as one of the highest-rated in the area.

It uses fresh ingredients for its authentic Japanese dishes.

Their impressive menu includes tasty appetizers like edamame, shumai, gyoza, and tataki.

Of course, the Japanese dining experience won’t be complete without their fresh sushi, and special rolls created masterfully by their chefs.

Moreover, they also serve lunch and dinner specials which are great for groups.

The right combination of delicious food and cozy dining place makes Aka Sushi Bar one of the best restaurants in Bristow.

Go Picnicking at Clareybrook Park

Located along Rob Roy Way, Clareybrook Park is a family-friendly park for kids.

The park features a playground with fun facilities like slides, swings, and monkey bars.

Moreover, it contains two basketball half-courts explicitly designed for kids.

The park is also great for picnicking, featuring amenities like a pavilion and numerous picnic tables.

This small park is also dotted with beautiful flowers, trees, and nicely-trimmed brushes.

While it may not have fancy features, Clareybrook Park’superficial charm is enough to show everyone, especially the young ones, a good time.

Go Trekking at Broad Run Trail

Running nearly two miles between opposite ends, Bristow’s Road Run Trail is in a perfect location within the community.

The trail, parallel with Broad Run, traverses primarily along woodlands and grassy areas.

Overall, the terrain is relatively easy and highly accessible to everyone.

It is a favorite spot in Bristow for a short outdoor getaway.

Complementing the trail’s pristine environment are the scenic views of the stream.

Great for both quick exercise routines and relaxing nature walks, Broad Run Trail offers a fuss-free outdoor adventure for everyone.

Play Laser Tag with Laser Tag 2 You

As a small, family-owned business in Bristow, Laser Tag 2 You promises pure fun and enjoyment for everyone with their modern laser tag system.

Since the technology only utilizes infrared like the ones used in the TV remotes, the games are guaranteed safe.

Also serving nearby areas outside Bristow, Laser Tag 2 You provides a game coach to give instructions on how to operate the devices.

To keep each match fresh and exciting, there are different game modes.

Perfect for birthdays, reunions, and family gatherings, it allows you to host mobile laser tag parties with family and friends anytime.

Laser Tag 2 You has everything you need for fun and exciting laser tag matches.

Try Delicious Cocktails at MurLarkey Distilled Spirits

Located along Wellington Road, MurLarkey Distilled Spirits is one of Bristow’s hometown treasures.

Since its founding in 2014, the distillery has already raked i multiple awards.

They take pride in their spirits as gluten-free and with no artificial ingredients.

Thanks to its tasting room, it also doubles as a cozy bar, where locals and tourists can hang out and try their original cocktails.

Intricately made, the beautiful presentation of their cocktails is a visual treat in itself.

The distillery also supports the local economy by sourcing all of its raw corn and grains from local farmers.

Moreover, they also provide mixology classes to help you step up your cocktail game and impress your friends.

With its fantastic drinks and friendly atmosphere, you’llave a great time at MurLarkey Distilled Spirits.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Learn about the Civil War at Manassas National Battlefield Park

Cannons on Manassas National Battlefield Park grounds

Zack Frank /

Located in Manassas, Virginia, the Manassas National Battlefield Park is one of the most significant historic sites in the country.

You can find it 15 minutes from Bristow.

Spanning about 5,000 acres, it earned its place in American history as the scene of the first major battle of the Civil War.

Henry hill monument at Manassas National Battlefield Park

refrina /

The First Battle of Bull Run, fought on July 21, 1861, involved more than 36,000 men and resulted in a Confederate victory.

Over a year later, the Second Battle of Bull Run took place on August 28 to 30, 1862, which ended up still in favor of the Confederate faction.

These primary historical events led to the official establishment of the park in 1940.

Along with many monuments and gravestones, the park features several cannons used during the war.

Stonewall Jackson monument at Manassas National Battlefield Park

EWY Media /

The park is also an adventurer’s paradise with massive trails over 40 miles.

Boasting a pristine environment, it is a perfect place for nature walks.

As both a profoundly historic site and a thriving wildlife utopia, Manassas National Battlefield Park is one of Prince William County’s must-visit places.

Landscape of Manassas National Battlefield Park /

Enjoy Delicious Wines at the Winery at Sunshine Ridge Farm

Take a 16-minute drive from Bristow to Gainesville and you’ll reach the Winery at Sunshine Ridge Farm.

The winery sits on a 20-acre farm, on the southwestern shores of Lake Manassas.

Simple and unassuming, the winery evokes a rural, laid-back atmosphere.

On top of their delicious wines, the winery also serves a plethora of other beverages like ice cold Pilsner, seltzer, and cider.

It also hosts live music and a food truck during weekends.

For a more immersive experience, the winery also has outdoor tables where you can enjoy your drink while appreciating the breathtaking views of the lake.

The Winery at Sunshine Ridge Farm is the perfect place to hang out with good wine, a stunning environment, and an inviting vibe.

Explore the Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area

Bluebell flowers at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area

Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Less in Nokesville, Virginia, the Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area sits amid predominantly urban and suburban communities in Prince William County.

This place is 16 minutes from Bristow.

Spanning over 300 acres, it serves as a model for environmental protection co-existing with modern development.

Home to many birds and small animals, the area’s pristine landscape mainly comprises woodlands with a beautiful undergrowth of wildflowers.

It also contains a few remnants from the old community, such as an abandoned barn and several grave markers.

The area is a popular spot for trekking and wildlife watching.

You can also fish in its small pond and along Cedar Run’s southern portion.

Likewise, you can hunt game, as long as you can secure the necessary license.

Thanks to its beautiful environment and exciting features, you will have a fantastic time exploring the Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area.

Take a Nature Walk at Conway-Robinson State Forest

Vintage water pump at Conway-Robinson State Forest

David Byron Keener /

One of Lake CoCounty’sany protected areas is the Conway-Robinson State Forest, located in Gainesville, Virginia, 16 minutes from Bristow.

The state forest’s 40-acre area comprises woodlands and swamps, plus a few ponds, streams, and interesting rock formations.

Its environment is home to many birds and small animals, making it an ideal spot for wildlife watching.

Thanks to its 3.4-mile loop trail, the state forest is also perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding.

Conway-Robinson State Forest offers an unhampered outdoor experience with its natural beauty and thriving wildlife.

Final Thoughts

Bristow achieves the right balance as a thriving suburban community with numerous natural and historical attractions.

Moreover, the community is also bustling with activities and exciting events all year.

Whether you’re an adventurer, a history buff, or just an average person looking for fun things to do, Bristow is the perfect place for you.

Set your sights on the best things to do in Bristow, Virginia!



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