Northern Virginia’s Best Family Campground: Pohick Bay Regional Park

Northern Virginia’s Best Family Campground: Pohick Bay Regional Park

Pohick Bay Regional Park is about a 40-minute drive from Washington DC. It is one of the few campgrounds that is located along the Potomac River and also in close proximity to the capital. It is commonly rated as one of the best family campgrounds in Northern Virginia due to the abundance of things to do. Read on for all you need to know before planning your next camping trip to Pohick Bay.

The Park

Pohick Bay Regional Park is located along the Mason Neck Peninsula in Lorton, Virginia. Nature lovers are drawn to the park looking to catch a glimpse of the bald eagles that have made this peninsula their home. The ecologically rich area is also populated with other wildlife including blue birds, osprey, heron, deer, beavers, and river otters. An abundance of trails as well as boat rentals offer visitors the opportunity to explore the natural park by both land and water.

If nature is not your cup of tea, there are several alternative family-friendly activities including playgrounds, mini-golf, disc golf, and Pirate’s Cove – Lorton’s “largest pirate-themed waterpark”. Pohick Bay Regional Park is an ideal destination for a day-long adventure or you can extend your stay by renting a cabin or campsite.

Pohick Bay Regional Park map

The Campsites

Pohick Bay Regional Park is a large campground with 150 campsites, 6 rustic cabins and 2 deluxe cabins. The camping areas are divided into two sections: minimalist non-electric sites and full hook up (water/electric/sewer).

We stayed at site 138 in the non-electronic area. Each site in this section of the campground is equipped with a fire ring with grill, picnic table, and pull in parking area for two vehicles. There are no gravel pads for your tent so visitors are free to choose anywhere on their designated site to pitch a tent. 

Take note, campsites range in size and in their distance from one another. Site 138 is spacious and fully shaded with ample room between the site and the neighboring campers, others are a bit on the small size. Check out our “pro tip” below on how to help you select the best campsite for you.

Pohick Bay campground camp site

Pro Tip: Check the site map carefully when making your reservation as it gives a general idea of the size and how close the sites are. Also, you cannot quite tell from the map but sites 143 – 150 back up against an RV parking area. This means that the rear of your campsite will be a chain-link fence with views of cars.

Campground Facilities

There are several comfort stations throughout the property equipped with running water, hot showers, sinks, toilets, and laundry. The bathrooms are what you would expect of a campground (leaves on the floor, empty soap dispensers, and sparse toilet paper).

The camp store has groceries and essential camping supplies including firewood (about $10 a bundle), lighter fluid, charcoal, etc. The camp store selection is limited but contains all you need for a fun weekend of camping. Although the store closes at 8 pm, there is always a ranger on call should a guest have an emergency or after-hours request. Trash bins are conveniently located near the campsites to dispose of all garbage before leaving the property.

Related Content: Primitive Camping in Sky Meadows State Park

Things to Do at Pohick Bay Regional Park

  • Trails – There are over 10 miles of trails weaving throughout the park including 5 different loops, each ranging between 1-5 miles. The area is relatively flat making trail hiking an easy activity for kids. An additional trail leads from the campground to historic Gunston Hall Plantation, home of George Mason. We found the red/blue trail markings a little confusing as the blaze colors have faded on certain trees. Other reviews of the campground indicate similar challenges on the yellow trail.
  • Picnic shelters – Pohick offers picnic shelter rentals should you wish to have a larger picnic or gathering. Each rental is equipped with covered shelter, tables, grills, and trash cans.
  • Fishing – Largemouth bass and catfish can be caught year-round in Pohick Bay. Perch peak around springtime and Striped Bass around the fall.
  • Playgrounds – There are two large playgrounds on the property. One is located by the marina and is publicly accessible to anyone visiting the park. The other playground is located inside the family campgrounds and its use is restricted to registered campers only.
  • Disc golf & Miniature golf – Pohick Bay has an 18 hole miniature golf course as well as an 18 hole disc golf course. Discs are available for rent at the camp store.
  • Pirate’s Cove Waterpark – Pohick Bay has its own waterpark within the property, operating between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Families can cool off on the water slides, in the open pools, and under a massive 500-gallon dump bucket. Discounts are available for registered campers.
  • Pohick Bay Marina – The marina has available both motorized and non-motorized boat rentals. These include everything from canoes and kayaks to paddleboards and jet skis. The bay is primarily marshland and isn’t ideal for human swimming. That certainly didn’t stop our pups from jumping in.
  • Geocache – We won’t spoil the fun in letting you know its location, but we can confirm that there is at least one geocache located in Pohick Bay Regional Park. What’s a geocache you ask? Head on over to our article “Geocaching Basics: A Simple Guide for Beginners”.

Closing Notes

Pohick Bay is a typical family campground experience characterized by crowds, kids, and amenities. I generally don’t mind those things, just something to be mindful of if you are expecting a quiet and secluded escape. With that being said, the staff is incredibly attentive and they strive to enforce the 10 pm noise curfew. Admittedly, I can say that from first-hand experience. We got a little carried away playing Catch Phrase and didn’t realize the time was 10:15 pm. The ranger kindly approached us to remind us of the noise policy. We have certainly been those campers wishing others would hush down at midnight, so I appreciate that the campground upholds this policy out of respect for campers.

Pohick Bay Regional Park
6501 Pohick Bay Drive, Lorton VA 22079
703-339-6104
www.novaparks.com

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This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. This sounds like a great place with everything you could want at a campsite except privacy. And good tip on site selection. At least you could get a little extra space.

    1. Privacy is definitely not a feature of family campgrounds, although Pohick Bay does have some cabins which offer a bit more security and isolation.

  2. I am so excited that I found this because I’m loving to Virginia from California at the end of the year! I’ve been looking for spots where we can enjoy the outdoors and this place is definitely getting added to the top of our list 🙂

  3. I like the variety of things on offer at the campsite! Pohick Bay Regional Park sounds like a well-kept secret, how cool you have your own parking space and grill area too! Canoeing must have been fun! Nothing better than spending time in the wild, quite an adventure..

    1. We just love nature and Pohick Bay is the perfect place to experience outdoor adventure. Like you said, there is great variety of things to do and something for everyone!

  4. I have to admit that I am not used to camping. I can imagine it to be a fun activity for the family to be one in nature. I also appreciate that the rangers keep an order and regulate the curfew times at camp.

    1. Camping certainly isn’t for everyone. Although my parents took us camping a few times when I was younger, I didn’t gain a true appreciate for the experience until after I graduated college. Even that, it takes a certainly personality to be find comfort in the campfire smoke and biting insects haha.

  5. Love that there’s a water park at the camp site!! How cool is that. I hadn’t realized there was camping so close to DC. This would be great for a quick weekend getaway or a field trip especially with all the wildlife. It would be cool to see otters. 🙂 The deluxe cabins would be more my speed, although we could do the campsite since we have a Sprinter Van. 🙂 Great tip about #138. 🙂

    1. Are you all doing the vanlife?! That is so amazing! If you all find your way to the DC area, do make sure to check out some of the amazing campgrounds in northern Virginia and along the Potomac.

  6. Pohick Bay Regional Park looks like the perfect place for camping. I can’t imagine that people who come to this park don’t like nature, but it’s wonderful that they added playgrounds, mini-golf, and even a pirate-themed waterpark. It makes the campground even more appealing for families with children. I like the idea that you can also rent a cabin, in case you don’ want to stay in a tent.

    1. That is a very good point. We are very much tent people, but my mom was always a bit more of an RV/cabin type person. She is a perfect example of why this campground is great for families with diverse interests and preferences.

  7. Oh wow! I live just a few hours south in Lynchburg, and we need to check this out sometime. I love that there are SO many great things to do there. We haven’t camped in a while, but this makes me excited to get out and go again!!

    1. Oh hey there fellow Virginian! You all have some great camping in Lynchburg since you are so close to the Blue Ridge Mountains! We are a little further from that mountain range, but we do still have some great camping near DC including Pohick Bay, Burke Lake Park, and Harper’s Ferry (over in WV).

  8. I am always amazed at the great camping spots such a short distance from major cities like Washington DC. It is wonderful that Pohick Bay Regional Park offers both nature outings and so many other family activities. Geocaching is an activity we like to do with our older kids. Maybe we will send them off to enjoy the family vibe.

    1. Agreed. It is nice to know there are so many wonderful places for camping in such close proximity to Washington DC. Pohick Bay is certainly one of them. If you are ever in the area, another family friendly campground to check out is Burke Lake Park.

  9. As a nature lover, Pohick Bay Camp would be the perfect stay when visiting the area. And it’s so close to Washington that makes for great weekends in the wild to recharge batteries.
    I like the fact that the sites are spacious and the camp has groceries, so handy! Plus, there seems to be a lot to do in the area and I’m now gonna read your article about Geocache, as I don’t have a clue what these are and am super curious 🙂

    1. Geocaching is so much fun. We can’t wait to hear what you think about it! You’re right that the groceries come in handy. We forgot our marshmellows so we took full advantage of making some last minute purchases at their camp store.

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