Fort Washington Park | PARK AT A GLANCE

Fort Washington

Fort Washington

PARK OVERVIEW

Fort Washington Park is located in Fort Washington, Maryland, just south of Alexandria on the Potomac River. It preserves the site of a brick fort that was constructed between 1814 and 1824, plus a number of concrete artillery batteries built in the 1890s. The fort is open to the public for self-exploration, and Ranger-guided tours are given throughout the year, though the schedule varies per season. A few of the batteries are also open, though some require a hike to reach.

Congress created Fort Washington Park in 1930 for the purpose of becoming the southern terminus of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, but that never happened. No public grounds were available until after World War II. Throughout the 1930s, the 12th Infantry, the honor guard for Washington, D. C., used the fort and grounds for housing. It wasn’t until 1939 that the fort was turned over to the Department of Interior, but it was pressed back into action during World War II. After the war it was decommissioned for good and transferred back to the National Park Service, at which time the grounds were opened to the public. Since 1965, Fort Washington Park has been a unit of the National Capital Parks-East, a collection of National Park properties extending from the U. S. Capitol to the suburbs of Maryland.

While the park draws tourists coming to the Washington, D. C., area who are interested in history, the large majority of visitors each year are local residents who use the park for recreational activities. Only a small percentage of visitors ever set foot in Fort Washington. By far the most popular activity is picnicking, and the park is home to eight large picnic areas that accommodate more than 100,000 people each year who come for family reunions, corporate outings, and church functions. A survey showed that most people think of Fort Washington Park only as a picnic facility and don’t even know it is part of the National Park system or that it is significant to the history of the United States.

Other recreational activities include hiking, biking, and fishing. There are also a number of large fields throughout the park that are open to field sports of any type—soccer, softball, volleyball, football, etc. No need to reserve them; if they are open, start playing. At nearly 350 acres, Fort Washington Park is one of the largest public green spaces in Prince George’s County.

Fields are open for sports of any type

Fields are open for sports of any type

OPERATING HOURS

The grounds of Fort Washington Park are open daily from 8 AM until sunset.

The Visitor Center and fort are open daily from 9 AM to 4:30 PM.

The entire park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Times can always change, so before making travel plans be sure to check the official Fort Washington Park Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the latest schedule.


FEES

There is no fee to enter Fort Washington Park. The only fees are for picnic area rentals.


SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Visitor Center
allow 30 minutes

Fort Tour
allow 1 hour

Park Loop Hike
allow 3 hours

Time spent on other recreational activities is up to you.


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Last updated on April 14, 2020
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