George Washington Birthplace National Monument | PARK AT A GLANCE

George Washington birth site

George Washington birth site


The George Washington Birthplace National Monument preserves the site where Washington was born and lived until he was 3 ½ years old. The park is located on Popes Creek in Colonial Beach, Virginia, an address that means nothing to most people. The closest major city is Fredericksburg, which is about 40 miles to the west.

Because Washington lived here for less than four years, there is not much in the way of history at the park other than this being the place where he was born. In the late 1960s, the park switched its focus from memorializing Washington to the birth place itself, a Colonial farm. Yes, George is still important in the scheme of things, but this is not a park where you come to learn about General Washington or President Washington, but about Boy George and the environment in which he grew up.

In addition to visiting the site of Washington’s birth home, of which nothing remains other than a buried foundation, be sure to tour the Memorial House, a replica of a Colonial-era home that was built in 1931. At the time, the plan was to build a replica of Washington’s home despite the fact that there were no known drawings or descriptions of the house and that it burned down in 1779 and had since vanished without a trace. Archaeological excavations later revealed the foundation of the actual house, a much humbler home than the Memorial House. Nevertheless, the house gives visitors an idea of what upper class homes were like in the early 1700s, and it is furnished with antiques from the time period.

The park also offers visitors the chance to experience Colonial-era farm life. A functioning tobacco and animal farm is open to the public. Traditional crops and animals are raised on the park grounds, and outbuildings of the time period have been constructed. During the park’s Spring and Fall festivals, Colonial crafts and trades are demonstrated, including blacksmithing, weaving, and open-hearth cooking.

The Washington family had roots in the area ever since George’s great-grandfather, John, came to Virginia in 1657. The park boundary includes the Washington Family cemetery and the site of John Washington’s home.

Recreational activities compliment historical exploration. There are two trails that take visitors through the forest, along the marsh, and to the shores of Popes Creek. A large picnic area is available, which includes a pavilion that can be reserved for a fee. Fishing is allowed at the picnic area and at the Potomac River Beach.


Operating hours for George Washington Birthplace National Monument are so convoluted that it is best to get the latest schedule for yourself on the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the park.


There is no fee to enter the park.

There is a fee to reserve the picnic pavilion at the Popes Creek Picnic Area.


Visitor Center
allow 30-60 minutes

Birthplace Grounds, Colonial Farm, and Memorial House Tour
1.5 hours

Hiking Trails
1 hour

Washington Family Cemetery
15 minutes

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Last updated on April 7, 2020
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