We recently stayed at the Oakridge Campground, located inside Prince William Forest Park, a National Parks Service location in Triangle, Virginia. Prince William Forest Park is located within an hour’s drive of Washington, DC and makes the perfect weekend getaway for DC-area campers. It’s directly across from Marine Base Quantico and the National Marine Corps Museum.
This was our first visit to the park, and we think there are a few things you should know before you visit Prince William Forest Park.
1. The entry fee is nominal. At just $7 per car, the entry fee for Prince William Forest Park is extremely affordable. We have a military America the Beautiful pass, allowing us free access to National Parks, but we paid our entry fee for this visit. The fees collected are used to keep the park clean and updated, so we didn’t mind paying the fee.
Tip: You’ll receive a receipt upon payment, which allows you to exit and reenter the park for a specified period of time. If you arrive after the front gates and Visitor’s Center close for the night, you can deposit your entry fee in a lock box or pay the next morning. I suggest paying the next morning so you have your receipt.
2. Campsites at Oakridge Campground are extremely affordable at $26 per night. The campground does not provide hookups of any kind (a privately-run RV park is available, but rates are higher.) Bathhouses and fresh water pumps are located at three spots within the campground.
Tip: Only one bathhouse contains showers, and those can get very busy. We showered once, at the end of the day, and the bathroom was crowded and dirty. I was happy to forgo my showers for the rest of the weekend. If we stay again, I probably won’t even bother trying to shower.
3. You can reserve your campsite ahead of time, or get a walk-up site. Reservations for B and C loops are made through Recreation.gov, which allows you to choose your exact campsite. Walk-up sites are available in the A-loop and are first come, first served. Some spots require walking your gear back 200 feet, so be sure to check the site details on Recreation.gov when making your reservations.
Tip: We had site C-5. The site was fairly large, with a picnic table and campfire ring, and close to a comfort station. It did not have a tent pad area. It had rained before and during our stay, and our site was very muddy and wet. After driving around the campground, we noticed sites on the south side of the campground were much, much drier and had more shade.
4. Bring your own firewood and supplies. Prince William Forest Park is very large. Oakridge Campground is located at the northwest corner of the campground, about a 15-20 minute drive from the front gates of the park. Stores are another 10-30 minute drive outside of the campground, depending on your needs. We assumed we’d be able to duck out quickly for firework or groceries, and it was not the case. The stores closest to the campground were sold out of firewood, which meant we had to drive to Garisonville, about 20 minutes away.
Tip: Each campsite is given five free pieces of firewood per day. The campground hosts will have the firewood available outside their trailer at the campground entrance. Also, Lowe’s in Garisonville has firewood in their garden section. All firewood brought into the park must be pest-free. You can use downed limbs from the park, provided they are no more than 6 inches in diameter and no chainsaws are allowed.
5. Pets are welcome! Dogs are welcome to camp at Oak Ridge Campground, hike on trails, and even go inside the Visitor’s Center (they keep treats behind the counter for your furry family members.) All dogs must be leashed at all times, and of course, you’ll need to clean up after your pooch.
Tip: Bring a tarp for your pup. The ground was so muddy and wet, so Princess didn’t have a clean, dry spot to hang out. We put down an extra tarp and a towel to give her a little bed.
We really enjoyed our long weekend at Prince William Forest Park. We barely scratched the surface when it comes to hikes and exploring all the park has to offer, so we will definitely be back.