Fort Hunt Park

Originally part of George Washington's Mount Vernon estate, the land that is Fort Hunt Park has undergone several transformations. Batteries at Fort Hunt defended the Potomac River during the Spanish American War; the Civilian Conservation Corps operated a camp there during the Great Depression; and soldiers at Fort Hunt interrogated prisoners, trained pilots in escape and evasion, and combed German documents for intelligence during World War II. Today it is a favorite spot for picnicking.

Fort Hunt Park is located near the shores of the Potomac River in Virginia. Mixed hardwood forests and open fields provide a variety of habitats for birds and other wildlife.

 
Battery Mount Vernon
 

Things to Do

Year-Round
From sunrise to sunset, you can explore trails, bring a leashed pet, recreate on several large fields, picnic, and bring your own grill (see below for grill safety).

You can explore the outsides of Batteries Robinson, Sater, Porter, and Mount Vernon. The batteries are closed to the public because they were lined with asbestos during World War II and used to safeguard nitrate film roles from the National Archives.

Joggers, walkers, and cyclists may use one lane of the paved loop road.

Restrooms, water fountains, and trash cans are available year-round at Pavilion A. Area E is available year-round on a first come, first served basis.

April
In April, Areas A, B, C-1, C-2, C-3, and D are available on Saturdays and Sundays for daytime reservations from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through recreation.gov. From Monday to Friday, these areas are first come, first served. By mid April, all areas have trash cans and restrooms at Areas B and E are open for the summer.

May-October
From May to October, Areas A, B, C-1, C-2, C-3, and D are available for daytime reservations from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through recreation.gov. All areas have trash cans. All restrooms are open.

June-August
In June, July, and August, there are free concerts at Fort Hunt’s Pavilion A on Sunday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 
Directions

Fort Hunt Park is located on the George Washington Memorial Parkway between Alexandria, Virginia and the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

Address
8999 Fort Hunt Road
Alexandria, VA
22308

Tel. 202-439-7325

By Car
Coming from the north or coming from the south on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, take the exit for Fort Hunt Park and follow signs to the park.

By Foot or Bicycle
From the Mount Vernon Trail turn onto Fort Hunt Road and follow signs to the park.
 

Regulations

For a complete list of rules, please read the Laws & Policies.

The following regulations apply at Fort Hunt Park year-round:

  • Do not stake anything into the ground
  • Do not nail, tack, or staple anything to park structures or benches
  • Smoking is not permitted within 25 feet of any structure
  • Exchanging money (sale of food, drink, merchandise, raffle…) is not allowed
  • You must park in marked parking spaces (not on grass or dirt)
  • You cannot bring firewood, live plants, or live animals other than pets
  • You cannot use motorized or wind-propelled recreational devices
  • You must be quiet enough not to disturb others (see section below about music)
 

Hours & Seasons

The grounds at Fort Hunt Park are open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

 

Reservations

Picnic Areas at Fort Hunt are available for reservations at certain times of the year. Areas are different sizes, prices, and offer different amenities. Before you reserve a picnic area at Fort Hunt, please review the common questions below. To browse availability and make your reservation, visit recreation.gov.

What can I reserve?
From April to October, Areas A, B, C-1, C-2, C-3, and D are available from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. From 6:00 p.m. until sunset, your group can remain at Fort Hunt but reservation-exclusive activities (such as consumption of alcohol and use of amplified sound) must cease by 6:00 p.m. when reservations expire.

Exception: if you have reserved Pavilion A on a Sunday in June, July, or August, you must vacate the pavilion by 6:00 p.m. in time for the park's concert series.

How much do reservations cost?
Table of prices, capacity, and parking spaces for each Fort Hunt Area.
Area Mon-Thurs Rate Fri-Sun Rate Max Number of People Number of Parking Spaces
A $425 $750 600 150
B $275 $425 350 140
C-1 $70 $115 100 40
C-2 $125 $200 120 40
C-3 $70 $115 100 40
D $140 $225 120 30

When do reservations open?
Reservations open on January 1 for April-October of that year. For example, reservations for weekends in April and everyday May-October 2022 opened on January 1, 2022 on recreation.gov.

Can I bring my own food to Fort Hunt Park?
Yes, reservation holders and the general public are welcome to bring food into Fort Hunt Park. You can bring food you prepared at home or food you purchased elsewhere. Reservation holders and the general public must personally transport their food to the park, set it up, and serve it themselves.

Can I grill at Fort Hunt Park?
Yes, reservation holders and the general public can grill at Fort Hunt Park. The park does not have grills so please bring your own equipment. If you are grilling at the park, you must have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergency. Grills must be at least 10 feet away from a structure. If you are using a charcoal grill, please dispose of coals using the red charcoal disposal receptacles at the park. Cooled cooking water must be dumped down curbside drains only, not on the ground. You must take cooking grease with you off-site for disposal.

Can I have my event catered?
No for the general public; yes for reservation holders. As of summer 2021, events may only be catered through RGI, a concessionaire licensed to operate within Fort Hunt Park. You may not arrange catering services—including food service, set up and delivery—with any other company besides RGI. If you are interested in having your event catered, please contact RGI at (202) 738-4713 or npsconcessions@rgievents.com. Please allow a minimum of 30 days for necessary arrangements.

Can I serve and consume alcohol at Fort Hunt Park?
No for the general public; yes for reservation holders. Reservation holders can bring their own beer and wine to serve at their events at Fort Hunt Park. Reservation holders may not serve hard liquor. Because beer and wine consumption is only available to those with reservations and reservations cease at 6:00 p.m., service of beer and wine must also cease at 6:00 p.m. Reservation holders are not allowed to charge their guests for beer or wine. Reservation holders must comply with Virginia alcohol laws.

Can I use glitter, confetti, or paint powder at Fort Hunt Park?
No. To protect the environment at Fort Hunt, glitter, confetti, or paint powder are not allowed for the general public nor are they allowed for reservation holders.

Can I bring a bouncy house, rock climbing wall, etc?

No. As of summer 2020, moon bounces, rock climbing walls, pony rides and other recreational activities previously allowed only by special use permit are not allowed to occur at Fort Hunt Park under any circumstance.

Whether you have a reservation, special use permit, or not, the following activities are not allowed:

  • moon bounces and bouncy houses
  • rock climbing walls
  • pony rides
  • petting zoos
  • water balloons
  • exchanging of money (selling tickets, food, raffle tickets, or merchandise)
  • use of electricity and amplified sound anywhere other than Pavilion A

Additional activities may also not be allowed. If you have questions about an activity not listed, contact a park ranger at (202) 439-7325.

What activities are allowed if I obtain a special use permit?
On top of what you reserved on recreation.gov, you must also work with the George Washington Memorial Parkway's permit team if you are considering adding any of the following to your Fort Hunt Reservation:

  • getting married or having a wedding
  • an organized athletic race or event, such as a 5k or 10k
  • a generator to amplify sound or music
Please visit the George Washington Memorial Parkway permit office website or contact the permit team at 703-289-2513. It costs extra on top of your recreation.gov reservation to add a permit to your event at Fort Hunt. Even if your event is not at a Fort Hunt picnic area, you may still need to reserve one on recreation.gov to gather, stage materials, or provide parking for your guests.

How does the National Park Service decide what activities are allowed?
Park management considers the following when establishing policy at Fort Hunt Park:
  • federal policy and regulations
  • the safety and protection of Fort Hunt Park’s natural and cultural resources
  • the purpose of the picnic areas: to allow people to gather outside and share a meal
  • the needs of the residential neighborhoods surrounding the park
You may contact park management at e-mail us.

Can I do a film or photoshoot at Fort Hunt Park?
Yes, please visit the George Washington Memorial Parkway permits and reservations page for details on commercial, non-commercial, and news photography and filming. You do not need a permit or reservation for a “low-impact” filming activity, which is defined as fewer than 5 people, outdoors and in areas open to the general public, and involving equipment that can be carried at all times (except for small tripods used to hold cameras).If your activity does not meet the “low-impact” definition, please contact the permit team at 703-289-2513 with at least 10 days notice.

Can I play music on a small Bluetooth speaker?
Fort Hunt rangers have found the general public and reservation holders are often able to use small Bluetooth speakers at a low volume without disturbing Fort Hunt’s neighbors or other visitors. Whether such a setup is permissible is the judgment call of park rangers on the day-of, however, and guests who use such speakers may be asked to reduce the volume of their music or turn it off. Federal regulations state no audio disturbance can exceed 60 decibels measured on the A-weighted scale at 50 feet from the source.

Can I play music at my event using amplified sound?
Amplifying sound and using the park’s electricity is only allowed at Pavilion A if you have a reservation. Check recreation.gov for available reservation dates. Use of electricity and amplified sound is not permissible anywhere else in Fort Hunt Park.

Use of amplified sound in Pavilion A must conform to federal guidelines (which prohibit the sound from exceeding 60 decibels 50 feet from the source) and must also not be so loud as to bother neighbors of Fort Hunt or interfere with other visitors’ ability to enjoy the park.

Moreover, as an activity available exclusively to reservation holders, use of amplified sound must cease by the time the reservation expiries (6:00 p.m. on the day of the reservation). Park rangers work with reservation holders during events at Pavilion A to ensure that use of amplified sound conforms to these regulations.

If you hold a reservation in Pavilion A and want to use the electricity to amplify sound, please call us at (703) 289-2513 at least two weeks before your event to discuss the equipment you plan to use.

Can I bring yard games to Fort Hunt Park?
Yes, but you can’t stake anything into the ground. You need to modify volleyball, croquet, or other games that typically involve staking so that nothing penetrates the ground. Also, water balloons and water recreation (slip and slides, sprinklers, etc) are prohibited.

Can I bring a piñata to Fort Hunt Park?
Yes, piñatas are permissible if they are tied to a pavilion. Piñatas and other items may not be tied to trees, other vegetation, or stapled, tacked, or nailed into park structures.

Can I decorate the area that I reserved?
Yes, but you cannot damage or alter the pavilion or bench you are decorating. Decorations cannot be staked into the ground or stapled, tacked, or nailed into park structures. Reservation holders may not decorate trees, vegetation or park signs, nor may they decorate anything outside of the area or timeframe they reserved. You may tie decorations onto park structures.

Can I bring balloons to Fort Hunt Park?
Yes, decorating your pavilion or picnic area with balloons is permissible if they are tied to a pavilion or picnic bench or weighed down. When you are done with the balloons, please pop them and dispose of them in park garbage cans. Do not release them into the sky.

Can I hang a banner at Fort Hunt Park?
Yes, banners are permissible. If you have reserved a pavilion, please hang the banner by tying or taping it to the pavilion. If you have reserved a picnic area without a pavilion, you may use a banner in your area as long as doing so does not violate any other regulations (e.g. the banner may not be tied to trees, park signs or to items staked into the ground).

May I put signs around the park directing guests to my picnic area?
No. Reservation holders are only allowed to decorate the area they have reserved.

What COVID restrictions are there for reservations at Fort Hunt Park?
At the current time (January 2022), there are no COVID restrictions or regulations by which reservation holders must abide in order to hold a reservation.

What do I need to do to ensure no one else uses my picnic area on the day of my reservation?
Park rangers will hold reserved areas for reservation holders. No action is required on the part of reservation holders. If when you arrive your area is being used by other visitors, contact a park ranger at (202) 439-7325 for assistance.

Am I able to cancel my reservation and receive a refund?
Cancellations and refunds are conducted via recreation.gov. Reservation holders who cancel their events more than fourteen days prior to the date of the reservation are refunded. To receive a refund for a different reason, reservation holders must submit a refund request. For more information, please consult the Help page on recreation.gov.

Last updated: April 11, 2022

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Mailing Address:

George Washington Memorial Parkway Headquarters
700 George Washington Memorial Parkway

McLean , VA 22101

Phone:

703 289-2500

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