Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Prince William County, VA

  • Published 2023/08/13

Along the Potomac River is the historic Prince William County, Virginia.

This county, home to over 480,000 inhabitants, is home to a famous battlefield and other fascinating historical sites.

However, I recently discovered that there’s more to Prince William County than its history.

On my recent travel there, I discovered it’s also home to three major and equally gorgeous national parks.

With that in mind, I can attest that it’s a wonderful travel destination for those who love the outdoors.

This county was founded in the 17th century when settlers started forming their colony and lived side-by-side with the Native Indians.

Whether it’s someone’s first time visiting Prince William County or not, I guarantee something is fascinating for everyone to see and do in this place.

So, here are the places and things to do in Prince William County, Virginia.

**About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it’s important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Travel Back in Time at the Manassas National Battlefield Park

The grounds of Manassas National Battlefield Park

Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

Manassas National Battlefield Park is arguably the most fascinating attraction I discovered in Prince William County.

Historically, this battlefield became famous as two crucial American Civil War battles occurred in the 18th century.

The first major battle happened between the Union and the Confederate armies.

A year later, another battle happened in the area, which turned the tide of the conflict.

The second battle paved the way for the Confederates Army to invade the North.

A monument at Manassas National Battlefield Park

refrina / Shutterstock.com

Today, it’s a famous historic site rich in compelling backstories and well-preserved artifacts.

During my visit, I enjoyed exploring the battlefield, which has its own 20-mile self-guided driving tour.

Those hurrying can take the shorter five-mile First Manassas Loop trail that leads to other important battlefield sites.

My visit to the Manassas National Battlefield Park was an excellent way to get acquainted with the area’s history.

A statue at Manassas National Battlefield Park

EWY Media / Shutterstock.com

Connect with Nature at the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve

The Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is a vast natural area along the Bull Run Mountains.

This natural area preserve is situated between Prince William and Fauquier counties.

The entire area spans over 2,486 acres or 10.6 square kilometers.

A huge portion of the area falls on the Virginia side.

The plethora of outdoor activities drew me to visit this natural attraction.

This area managed and owned by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, is a perfect hiking destination.

I explored some of its trails which led me to several scenic locations.

Also, I encountered several local wildlife and plant species only found there.

I guarantee hikers and nature enthusiasts will have a worthwhile experience exploring its natural beauty.

Also, the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is the perfect escape from reality for everyone.

Celebrate Burnside Farm’s Festival of Spring

Daytime view of Burnside Farm's Festival of Spring

APK, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Festival of Spring at Burnside Farms draws thousands of visitors yearly who want to witness a spectacular event.

This festival in Nokesville happens during the full bloom of 2.5 million tulip flowers across 15 acres.

As someone who loves festivals and events, I didn’t let this one pass to witness its one-of-a-kind experience.

I was amazed to see a sea of colorful tulips carpeting the rolling hills.

For those interested in joining this festival, it usually starts in mid-April and lasts for three weeks, depending on the weather in the area.

People at Burnside Farm's Festival of Spring

APK, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I hugely appreciate the farm owners who welcomed me and the rest of the thousands of visitors during the festival.

I enjoyed picking some of the millions of tulips and other flowers on the field during its full bloom.

At the same time, I enjoyed snapping as many photos as I could for souvenirs.

So, I highly recommend joining the Festival of Spring at Burnside Farms for an awesome way to start exploring Prince William County.

Satisfy Your Cravings at Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant

Besides natural and historical attractions, Prince William County is also home to numerous homegrown restaurants known for their delicious meals.

One of them that I visited is Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant in Haymarket.

This restaurant has been serving everyone its authentic Italian dishes since 1982.

Locals and visitors, including me, recommend this restaurant in Haymarket for its top-notch Italian culinary standards.

As someone who loves Italian food, I can attest that this restaurant serves authentic dishes.

While visiting this restaurant, I ordered their seasonal burrata, calamari, salads, and aglio olio pasta.

Of course, I paired the dishes I ordered with a fine bottle of wine.

So, take a break from exploring Prince William County and enjoy a delicious meal at Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant.

Bask in the Outdoors at the Prince William Forest Park

Signage of Prince William Forest Park

John M. Chase / Shutterstock.com

Prince William Forest Park offers everyone a vast outdoor playground.

This forest park was established in 1936.

Historically, it was formerly known as the Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area by the Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Today, this forest park spanning over 15,000 acres of lush greenery and unspoiled natural beauty, is a famous outdoor destination.

What I liked the most about this outdoor attraction was its 37 miles of hiking trails and paths.

The waters of Prince William Forest Park

Rex Robichaux / Shutterstock.com

I hiked a few miles through its trails, leading to numerous scenic locations.

Unfortunately, I only had a day to explore and enjoy what this park offers.

Still, those planning to stay at the park longer can choose from over a hundred cabins and campsites.

So, remember to pack some camping and hiking gear when visiting Prince William County.

Everyone will likely wander through Prince William Forest Park like me.

Spend Your Day at the Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center

The Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center is a lively shopping center in Woodbridge.

This unique leisure center mixes residential, retail, and office establishments.

It has a lively shopping center where I Indulge in some retail therapy and enjoy live musical performances at the bars during the evening.

Its upscale and refreshing scene gave this place lively vibes, which I appreciate.

I saw notable brands at this place: Carhartt, Chico’s Charming Charlie, Apple, Coldwater Creek, Old Navy, Sports & Health, and Wegmans.

At the same time, it’s home to dozens of local and mainstream restaurants.

For those searching for nightlife, the Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center has numerous bars featuring live musical performances at night.

Browse Through the Exhibits of the National Museum of the Marine Corps

Exterior of the National Museum of the Marine Corps

Malachi Jacobs / Shutterstock.com

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a massive facility housing over a thousand artifacts to pay a lasting tribute to the United States Marine Corps.

I scour through the museum’s rich history at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, nestled in the community of Triangle.

Its unique architecture adds to the immersive experience of exploring the exhibits and artifacts.

I find this place special and fascinating, and I guarantee those curious to learn more about the history of the USMC will have a field day.

One of the most compelling things I notice when visiting this museum is the unique architecture of the building that houses everything.

It has an angled stainless steel-clad mast that runs through a conical steel and glass skylight.

Entrance to the National Museum of the Marine Corps

eurobanks / Shutterstock.com

It serves as the ceiling of the 120,000-square-foot museum building.

I didn’t waste time and snap as many photos as possible for souvenirs.

Walking through the galleries, I was in awe of the history and stories behind each piece of equipment.

I made sure not to miss the IMAX theater, where I watched USMC films that further deepened my understanding of this great organization’s history.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps has been open since 1979, welcoming millions of visitors worldwide.

Overall, stepping inside this museum with a rich heritage is a privilege.

Interior of the National Museum of the Marine Corps

Camason / Shutterstock.com

Take a Sip of Craft Beer at the Farm Brewery at Broad Run

The Farm Brewery at Broad Run is situated in Haymarket.

This small but charming brewery is located within a six-acre beer garden that many love.

I head to this charming brewery within a six-acre beer garden that offers a wide selection of craft beer, wines, and local ciders, complemented by live music and food trucks.

I got to choose its wide selection of craft beer, lagers, and ales.

Also, it has a selection of fine wines and local ciders.

As a person who loves shopping and partying, there’s no better place than this brewery.

What I like the most about this brewery is its wide selection of craft beer and the lively music that serenades me the entire time I am there.

So, head to the Farm Brewery at Broad Run and indulge in a relaxing beer experience.

Walk Down the Memory Lane at Old Town Manassas

Buildings along Old Town Manassas

refrina / Shutterstock.com

The Old Town Manassas is perfect for learning more about Prince William County’s rich history.

Exploring this historic district, which serves as the city’s downtown area, was irresistible.

While strolling through the streets, I was transported back in time by the century-old buildings and facades that still stand firmly, thanks to their careful preservation.

Amazingly, these old buildings now house various quaint shops, local restaurants, museums, galleries, and other bustling business establishments.

The grounds of Old Town Manassas

refrina / Shutterstock.com

It’s also heartwarming to see how the historical architecture has been repurposed to contribute to the city’s vibrant life today.

For those who prefer guided tours, group tours offer a deeper understanding of the historic sites in the area.

Still, exploring the Historic Old Town of Manassas at my own pace is unparalleled to following a tour guide.

Sink Your Teeth Into Eugene’s Sausage and Fries

Eugene’s Sausage and Fries is another worthwhile place to try what locals in Prince William County love to eat.

This local eatery in Haymarket is known for its classic hotdogs, sausages, and fries, which locals love to eat regularly.

With various toppings and side dishes, it’s a perfect place to treat myself to some delicious comfort food.

The eatery has a fast-paced setting wherein customers enjoy hotdogs fresh from the oven in its casual dining area.

I can guarantee everyone a delicious experience at this eatery.

Besides its signature dishes, Eugene’s Sausage and Fries serve Banh Mi, Chicago Beef, and Reuben sandwiches.

Pay a Visit to the Occoquan Historic District

A building at Occoquan Historic District

JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Occoquan Historic District is another worthwhile historical attraction in Prince William County.

This historic district meanders on the Occoquan River banks.

Like most historic districts, it has a collection of charming and well-preserved century-old buildings.

As I wandered through, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the line of century-old buildings beside the streets that have been preserved well. These architectural gems now serve as local shops, antique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and bakeshops.

Exploring these shops was like stepping back in time.

One of the highlights of my visit to the Occoquan Historic District is its annual arts and crafts festival.

This annual event draws some of the finest artisans from all around Virginia.

It features intricate handmade handicrafts and stunning artwork, making this festival worthwhile.

Do Yoga at the Little Goat Farm

Doing yoga with adorable goats on the side is one of the most unique and delightful activities I’ve ever experienced in Prince William County.

Head to the Little Goat Farm in Nokesville to enjoy this one-of-a-kind yoga session.

As I rolled out my yoga mat in this pristine farm setting, I couldn’t help but feel curious about what the class had in store for us.

Once the yoga poses started, it’s also where the fun began.

Cute and curious baby goats roamed freely around us, which surprisingly didn’t distract us from doing our poses.

Instead, we enjoyed every moment of it.

Apart from the baby goats, the Little Goat Farm also features a variety of other friendly farm animals, including donkeys, chickens, bunnies, and llamas.

Get Up Close and Personal with the Animals of the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge

A heron at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Ricky Of The World / Shutterstock.com

The Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is charming to see hundreds of thriving wildlife and plant species.

My visit to this wildlife refuge in Woodbridge was a dream come true, given I am a lowkey nature lover.

It’s a gorgeous and serene refuge at the mouth of the Potomac and Occoquan rivers.

The natural allowed its local flora and fauna to thrive.

Trail at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Ricky Of The World / Shutterstock.com

As I explored the refuge’s diverse ecosystems, I was fascinated by the abundance of wildlife it harbors.

It’s home to over 200 bird species, 650 plant species, and 50 butterfly species, truly a haven for many animals and plants.

With all that in mind, remember to visit the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge to reconnect with nature.

Wild turkey at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check Out Prince William County’s Oldest Standing House

The Rippon Lodge is Prince William County’s oldest standing house.

This 43-acre house and property was constructed in the 17th century and has been included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Visiting this historic house was like returning to the 17th century.

It has an incredible 43-acre property on the National Register of Historic Places.

Locals consider this house a beloved attraction, and so do historical enthusiasts.

Its gorgeous architecture and landscape immediately drew me during my visit.

It has its historic charm with pristine surrounding overlooking Neabsco Creek.

Wandering inside the house, I was transported to a bygone era.

The original furnishings and furniture pieces, preserved over the years, gave me a glimpse into the lives of its former owners.

More amazingly, I learned that the lodge was a preferred lodging for George Washington and his family during their travels.

So, remember to spend an hour or two at the Rippon Lodge.

Have a Shopping Spree at Potomac Mills

Signage of Potomac Mills

refrina / Shutterstock.com

Potomac Mills is Virginia’s most popular shopping and leisure center.

It’s also situated in Woodbridge and a few minutes from Washington, D.C.

It serves as Virginia’s most extensive outlet mall, home to over 200 specialty stores from all sorts of things.

At the same time, it has an excellent selection of upscale brands to ensure a wonderful shopping spree.

While strolling through this huge mall, I was excited to explore various specialty stores.

Each of these stores offers diverse merchandise everyone could imagine.

Potomac Mills has everything for everyone, from fashion and accessories to home decor and electronics.

After shopping, I had no problem finding a restaurant or eatery to grab a meal.

The mall has many restaurants and eateries, offering a delightful assortment of cuisines to satisfy any craving.

Final Thoughts

Those were the best things to do in Prince William County, Virginia; everyone must experience.

Each attraction has its uniqueness it offers based on my personal experience wandering through this county.

It’s a haven for both historical enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

For those having difficulty deciding which place to visit first, refer to this travel post for an easier way to curate a travel itinerary.

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