GENERAL INFO: On the Potomac River's Northern Neck, this park offers many opportunities for family fun. It 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 fishing pier, boat rentals and six miles of trails. Fossil collectors enjoy hunting for ancient shark teeth along the Potomac. The park’s Horsehead Cliffs provide visitors with a spectacular view of the Potomac River. Offshore breakwaters are great for fishing. Westmoreland also offers the Murphy Hall Conference Center and the Potomac River Retreat, which is an upscale overnight accommodation.
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 65 people for meetings and other gatherings. Amenities include audiovisual equipment, a warming kitchen for catered events and a break-out room.
Park Size: 1,311 acres
Weather: Click here to visit the Weather Channel's site for this zip code.
AT-A-GLANCE: The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Click on those of interest or read below for more detail. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or click here to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
Its address is 145 Cliff Road,
Montross, Va. 22520-9717.
Latitude, 38.161125. Longitude, -76.865002.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia and Washington D. C., two hours; Richmond, one and a half hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, two and a half hours; Roanoke, five and a half hours
PARK MAP: Click here.
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES: Cabins, camping, group camp, camping cabins, Potomac River Retreat. For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK. Click here for park fees. Rates are subject to verification by DCR's state parks reservations staff. First determine the season, which varies by park, then the rate.
Cabin and Potomac River Retreat guests must have either their reservation number(s) or confirmation letter at check-in. Those having arranged for someone else to handle check-in must make sure that person has the reservation number. The number is needed to enter the cabin. Camping and cabin guests also should be prepared to show a valid ID.
Click here to visit a Flickr photoset of typical cabins and lodges at the park. Cabins and lodges vary. Dwellings may not match what's shown in the photos.
Click here for details on reservation cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for overnight stays.
Total sites of each type: One-room Log Efficiency, 3; One-bedroom Log, 4; Two-bedroom Log, 4; Two-bedroom Frame, 2; Two-bedroom Cinderblock, 13; Potomac River Retreat, 1
One-room Log Efficiency - double bed. Sleeps two, maximum. No bed rentals.
One-bedroom Log - two single beds. Sleeps two, allows four. Two bed rentals allowed.
Two-bedroom Log - one double bed and two single beds. Sleeps four, allows six. Two bed rentals allowed.
Two-bedroom Frame - one double bed and two single beds. Sleeps four, allows six. Two bed rentals allowed.
Two-bedroom Cinderblock - one double bed and two single beds. Sleeps four, allows six. Two bed rentals allowed.
Potomac River Retreat - only one available, sleeps up to 16 maximum. No bed rentals, but there are pull-out sofa beds.
Total cabins: 26, 1 Retreat
Potomac River Retreat - This unique abode, which faces the Potomac River, is similar to a timeshare or resort. It accommodates up to 16, counting adults and children, and is on the main road near the pool picnic area (separated by privacy fence). The facility has a deck fronting the Potomac, and the deck has patio tables, chaise lounges, and a charcoal grill. There are five bathrooms (one is accessible for persons with disabilities); one half bath, one shower only, and three with tub/shower.
Guests may sleep using any combination of the above so long as there are no more than 16 people. The facility has two living rooms with sofas, loveseats, occasional chairs, coffee tables, end tables, display cases, a TV with satellite service and a VCR.
A large common area (for use as a conference room or social gathering space) faces the Potomac with many windows and sliding glass doors onto the deck; available with 20 chairs for auditorium style seating (extra fee for tables and chairs), flip-chart, audiovisual equipment, etc. There is an extra charge for audiovisual and flip-chart equipment. Guests who need any of these extras should contact the park a few days before arrival to arrange for their use.
EW - Electric and water hookups, various equipment, RVs of up to 40 feet, bathhouse available. Campgrounds A, B, C.
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: 133
Camping cabins (CampCabin) - sites 26-31
Click here for park fees. 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. We do not give refunds for swimming to overnight guests under any circumstances. There are no designated swimming areas along the Potomac River at the park.
TRAILS: Hiking and one bicycle trail; no bridle trails. Seven trails, including self-guided interpretive trails, cover six miles. 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.
Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Westmoreland's trails.
WILDLIFE: Virginia State Parks are great places to discover and reconnect with the wild world. Bring a camera and share your captures with the world. But please don't disturb or get too close to the animals. The park is, after all, their home. Here are a few recent natural encounters others have had at Westmoreland.
View all wildlife encounter photos from Westmoreland.
FISHING, BOATING: Fishing in the Potomac River is available throughout the year. A valid fishing license is required. Striped bass, spot and bluefish are among the most common sport fish found in the river. Rock Spring Pond boasts a variety of fish including catfish, bream, bass and crappie.
Power boats are permitted, and a boat ramp is available. There's also a boathouse that sells ice, bait and tackle. Paddleboats and kayaks 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 (no powerboat rentals). Call 1-800-933-7275 to buy a money-saving annual boat launch pass.
EVENTS: Click here to view park events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP: Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year-round, with extended hours during prime season. Restrooms in the facility are open 24 hours a day. The park also has a Discovery Center where guests can learn more about nature. Exhibits include marine, bird and other wildlife displays. A collection of sharks’ teeth and fossils is also on display. It's open on weekends from from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It is staffed by volunteers so hours vary. Call the park for operating hours.
NATURE, HISTORY PROGRAMS: Conducted and self-guided walks, evening and children’s programs, Virginia’s State Parks: Your Backyard Classrooms participant. Kayaking, fossil hiking and night hiking programs are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Click here to view park events festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
Kayak Interpretive Trips: The trip includes basic instruction, safety tips, a guided tour of the shoreline and plenty of kayaking. The park offers two types of trips: the Pirates, Privateers and Patriots trip on Fridays, mid-June through mid-August, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; and the Fossils and Fun trip on Saturdays and Sundays, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. The Fossils and Fun trip is also offered on Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., but spots for those trips must be reserved through the park at 804-493-8821. For all other trips, call the Reservation Center at 800-933-7275 at least one day in advance. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There's an extra fee charged for tag-alongs.
Not all trips sell out so those interested should visit the Osprey Boathouse to see if slots are available. Participants may also transfer reservations by calling 1-800-933-PARK up to seven days prior to the date the kayak trip is scheduled. Such transfers, however, can only be made for those trips reserved through the Reservation Center. Transfers and refunds are unavailable after the transfer deadline date. A cancellation fee will be charged if you cancel your trip more than seven days prior to trip. Refunds will not be made within seven days of the trip. Refunds will be made, however, if the trip is canceled because of small craft advisories or dangerous weather. If the park cancels the kayak trip for any reason, Virginia State Parks will not waive cancellation penalty fees for any overnight cabin or camping reservation.
Children 6 to 12 must be accompanied by an adult; no pets or children under six allowed. All trips begin at the Osprey Boathouse. Paddles and jackets are provided. Capacity is 16 per trip; walk-ins may check in person at the boathouse for open slots. Click here for a list of all state park events.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Stratford Hall, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and boyhood home of two signers of the Declaration of Independence, is five minutes from the park; Washington’s Birthplace (National Monument) is 10 minutes from the park; King’s Dominion (amusement park) is one hour from the park as are the Fredericksburg Civil War Battlefields. Learn more about nearby offerings by visiting the Northern Neck Tourism Council, Westmoreland Travel and Tourism and Colonial Beach sites.
PICNIC SHELTERS: The picnic area, overlooking the Potomac River, has tables, shelters, restroom facilities and fire grills. Picnic shelters are available by reservation by calling the Reservation Center at 1-800-933-PARK or first-come, first-served. Parking and swimming fees are not included in shelter rental. One large and one small shelter may be rented from 8 a.m. to dark. Click here for park fees.
Amenities: Both shelters have a grill, picnic tables and access to a restroom.
Shelter 1: This shelter, the larger of the two, is near the pool. The shelter has a universally accessible ramp and is atop a hill. It accommodates 32 people under its room; there's seating for another 30 people on the deck surrounding the shelter. The picnic area as whole is not reserved, and the general public is permitted to use the other tables around the shelter.
Shelter 2: This shelter, the smaller of the two, is a distance from the parking area along Potomac. No vehicle access allowed. All guests will need to walk there. The shelter accommodates 32 people under the shelter. The picnic area as whole is not reserved, and the general public is permitted to use tables near the shelter.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
Helen and Tayloe Murphy Hall. To reserve this day-use facility, call the Reservation Center at 800-933-7275 up to 11 months in advance. Murphy Hall has a main hall, an executive meeting room, a kitchen and grounds. The rental period is from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The executive meeting room may be rented separately from main meeting room only within 30 days of event by calling the park at (804) 493-8821. Tent rental is also handled separately by park.
Cancellation Policy: Reservations must be paid in full within 14 days of the date the reservation is made. Those who cancel reservations 14 or more days before the first day of the reservation will be charged either 10 percent of the total fee or $100, whichever is less. Those cancelling more than 14 before that date will be charged 30 percent of the total fee. Note: A $75 per hour fee is charged by staff when necessary for use beyond the reservation period.
Rent and the cancellation fee for Murphy Hall vary by rental period. One-day rent is $500, and the 30 percent cancellation fee is $150. Each additional day's rent is $350, and the cancellation fee is $105 per day.
CONCESSIONS: A snack bar is open every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Osprey Boathouse is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. mid-April to Memorial Day and Labor Day to mid-October, depending on the weather. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the boathouse is open weekdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and on holidays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kayaks and paddleboats are rented up until 90 minutes before the boathouse closes.
HISTORY: Westmoreland State Park is one of the six original state parks opened in June 1936. The park was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The project created numerous jobs during a period of great hardship. Most of the roads and trails found in the park were originally dug by hand. Located on the Northern Neck Peninsula, the park is just minutes away from George Washington’s birthplace and Stratford Hall, the birthplace Robert E. Lee.
Master plans must be written for parks before they're built.
The plans are updated at least once every five years thereafter.
The plans cover the size, types, infrastructure and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources.
Three public meetings are held during the initial development of each plan.
Click here (PDF) for this park's master plan.