On the Potomac River's Northern Neck, this park offers many opportunities for family fun. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and an adjacent bathhouse, meeting area, snack bar, camp store and power-boat ramp. You'll also find a visitor center, campgrounds, camping cabins, cabins, a playground, a fishing pier, boat rentals and 6 miles of trails. Fossil collectors enjoy hunting for ancient shark teeth along the Potomac. Offshore breakwaters are great for fishing. Birding enthusiasts find the park an excellent site for spotting American bald eagles, ospreys, kingfishers, great blue herons, common terns, green herons and gulls, as well as wintering waterfowl. The Potomac River Retreat is an overnight center suitable for family reunions and other gatherings of up to 16. Its waterfront location provides docking space at a boathouse. Murphy Hall, atop Horse Head Cliffs, offers a superb view of the Potomac River. The hall accommodates up to 72 people for meetings and other gatherings. Amenities include audiovisual equipment, a warming kitchen for catered events and an executive board room.
Check-in is 4 p.m., check-out is 1 p.m. From Feb. 15 to April 30, outdoor fires are prohibited from midnight to 4 p.m. unless a camp host is on duty. Propane and gas grills are allowed. Fire-rings cannot be used when outdoor fires are prohibited.
Swimming and boat launch free for overnight guests.
Campsites have either fire ring grills or box grills, all of which allow campfires.
Firewood is sold at the park; starter logs are available at camp store. Because of the risk of forest infestation, please do not bring any firewood.
Camp store: Camping and picnic supplies and gift items are available.
Two vehicles per campsite; extras must park in parking lot and pay parking fee. Guests visiting campers must pay the standard daily parking fee and park in the proper parking lot. Also guests must leave the park by 10 p.m.
Accepts outlets for 20 and 30-amp current.
Laundry facilities in Campground A bathhouse.
Pets are welcome but must be attended at all times and kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet.
All camping units, equipment and vehicles must be within the campsite's perimeter without infringing on adjoining campsites or vegetation.
EW - Electric and water hookups, various equipment, RVs of up to 40 feet, bathhouse available. Campgrounds A and B.
Std - No hookups, various equipment. RVs of up to 40 feet, bathhouse available. Campgrounds A, B, C.
GrpTentStd - One group site for up to 40 people, no hookups, tents only. Bathhouse available. Campfires and cooking allowed in provided fire-rings or grills only.
Buddy - Three group campsites for up to 24 per site (one site is in Campground B, two are in Campground C). Each has four 20' x 20' tent pads, one fire-ring, a large pedestal grill and four picnic tables.
The cancellation fee for a group camping reservation (GrpTentStd and Buddy) is higher than is that for a typical campsite.
Total sites of each type: EW, 42; Std, 74; GrpTentStd, 1; Buddy, 3
Total campsites: 133Camping cabins:
Hiking and one bicycle trail; no bridle trails. Seven trails, including self-guided interpretive trails, cover six miles. The Conservation Corps Trail has seven fitness stations. Hikers can observe the flora and wildlife present on the coastal plain. The park’s location beside the Potomac River allows visitors to see how the changing river level affects the land. The park has a beach trail that offers a stunning view of the Potomac River. There are no designated swimming areas along the park's shoreline.
The pool is open from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. A bathhouse and concessions are located in the pool area. In the summer, swimming is free for overnight guests in campsites, cabins and the lodge, however it cannot be guaranteed should circumstances beyond the park's control require that swimming be closed. Prior to mid-June and after mid-August, the pool may be closed on weekdays. Refunds for swimming to overnight guests will not be given under any circumstances. There are no designated swimming areas along the Potomac River at the park.
Fishing in the Potomac River is available throughout the year. A valid saltwater fishing license and annual registration in the state's free saltwater angler identification program is required. Rock Spring Pond boasts a variety of fish including catfish, bream, bass and crappie. A freshwater fishing license is required at the pond.
Power boats are permitted, and a boat ramp is available. Call 800-933-7275 to buy a money-saving annual boat-launch pass.
The park's boathouse sells ice, bait and tackle. Paddleboats, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards can be rented Memorial Day through Labor Day as well as on weekends from mid-April to Memorial Day and from Labor Day to Columbus Day weekend. The last boat rental is 90 minutes prior to closing time. Boats also will not be rented whenever the National Weather Service has issued a small-watercraft advisory.