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.
Things to Do
Trails built by the Civilian Conservation Corps lead into the shade and provide a respite from summer heat. Joggers, walkers, and bicyclists may use one lane of the paved loop road.
There are several large fields and three softball diamonds. (From April to October these areas are associated with picnic pavilions and must be reserved.) A playground located in Area A is always open to the public.
Visitors may 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 rolls from the National Archives.
Concerts are held at Fort Hunt's Pavilion A on Sunday evenings from 7 pm to 8 pm in June, July, and August.
To request a ranger-led program at Fort Hunt Park please call 703‑235-1530.
Picnics at Fort Hunt
From April to October, Areas A, B, C-1, C-2, C-3, and D are available by reservation. Reservations for the picnic season can be made beginning in January. Each picnic area offers different amenities. Please call 1-877-444-6777 or visit Recreation.gov for descriptions and reservations.
Area E is always open on a first come, first served basis; no reservation is necessary.
Please note that the park hosts a concert series in Area A during the summer. If you reserve Area A on a Sunday in June, July, or August you must end your picnic and clean up the area by 6:00 p.m.
Hours & Seasons
The grounds at Fort Hunt Park are open year-round from sunrise to sunset.
Fort Hunt Park is located on the George Washington Memorial Parkway between Alexandria, Virginia and the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.
8999 Fort Hunt Road
From Old Town Alexandria drive south on Washington Street and continue on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Take the exit for Fort Hunt Park and follow signs into the park.
From Mount Vernon drive north on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Take the exit for Fort Hunt Park and follow signs into the park.
Parking is available in each of the picnic areas from November to March. When picnic areas are reserved public parking is available in Area E and in a small parking lot at the end of the loop road near Area A.
On Foot or by Bicycle
From the Mount Vernon Trail turn onto Fort Hunt Road and follow signs into the park.
Public restrooms, water fountains, and trash cans are located in Areas A, B, and E. These facilities are always open to the public. Specially marked cans for ashes are available in each picnic area.
The following facilities are also available:
Rules and Regulations
For a complete list of rules, please read the Laws & Policies.
Foods and beverages may be brought into the park from home for personal consumption onsite (e.g., potluck).
Foods and beverages may be purchased from commercial businesses outside of the park and brought into the park in a personal vehicle for personal consumption onsite (e.g., takeout meals).
Beer and wine, but no hard liquor, may be brought into the park by personal vehicle for personal consumption onsite through the Fort Hunt Park picnic permit system. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to comply with all state (DC, MD, and VA) alcohol license requirements.
Grills may be brought into the park for personal use, but require the following:
· Minimum of one Size II Dry Chemical and ABC Rated fire extinguisher
· Multiple fire extinguishers that are the equivalent to one Size II Dry Chemical and ABC Rated extinguisher
· Firewood is not allowed at Fort Hunt Park
· Coals must all be extinguished, cooled, and the ashes must be placed in the red trash cans
· Cooled cooking water must be dumped down curbside drains only, but must not be dumped on the ground
· Cooking grease must be taken off-site, but must not be dumped on the ground or down drains
Park water may be used for drinking, cleaning, and cooking, but must not be used for recreational purposes (e.g., water toys/balloons, or dunk tanks)
Commercial businesses (i.e., caterers) must not enter the park to deliver, set up, cook, or serve food and/or beverages inside the park without a subconcession contract through our food and beverage concessioner, RGI Events and Public Relations, LLC, and the park superintendent’s authorization placard.
Beer and wine, but no hard liquor, may be catered through a subconcession contract through our food and beverage concessioner, RGI Events and the park superintendent’s authorization placard.
Catering: For all catering services through RGI, please allow a minimum of 30 days for necessary arrangements. If your gathering requires catering services, make arrangements by contacting RGI at (202) 738-4713 or NPSconcessions@RGIevents.com.
When you reserve a picnic area at Fort Hunt Park the National Park Service issues you a permit that governs your use of the site. The confirmation email you receive from recreation.gov serves as your permit. You or someone you designate must have the permit (the confirmation email) on site for the entire event, including while you are setting up before and cleaning up after it.
Permits include a list of rules that you must follow. These rules help to protect your national park from damage. If you do not follow these rules a ranger may revoke your permit and ask you to leave Fort Hunt Park.
A Park Ranger will contact you using both the email and phone number you provided on your Recreation.gov to discuss your reservation and park rules. You may also call us at 202-439-7325. If you do not respond to the parks efforts to contact you, your reservation may be cancelled.
Permits are only in effect from 10 am until 6 pm. They give the permit holder exclusive use of the picnic area he or she reserved, but do not give him or her exclusive use of the restrooms in any area or the playground in Area A.
Reservation holders (Areas A-D) have the right to have beer and wine from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Hard alcohol is not permitted. Hired caterers that provide or serve beer and wine must have an ABC banquet license from the state of Virginia.
You (or your group) may ONLY reserve ONE picnic area at Fort Hunt Park per day. All picnic areas have a maximum capacity. Your group's size may not exceed the maximum capacity of each picnic area, which are as follows; A-600 people/150 vehicles, B-350 people/ 140 vehicles, C1-100 people/ 40 vehicles, C2-120 people/ 40 vehicles, C3-100 people/ 40 vehicles, D-120 people/ 30 vehicles.
Smoking is not permitted within 25 feet of any structure. Grills must be at least 10 feet away from any structure. Electrical outlets in area A may only be used with a picnic permit.
You must be quiet enough to not disturb other people in Fort Hunt Park or the nearby neighborhood. If park staff feels the music or sound is too loud, a Park Ranger will ask you to reduce the volume. Code of Federal regulations state no audio disturbance can exceed 60 decibels measured on the A-weighted scale at 50 feet from the source.
You may only drive on the paved loop road, in parking lots, and in designated loading zones. Vehicles may not occupy loading zones for longer than 10 minutes. You may only park in marked parking spaces. Parking off hard surfaces (i.e. grass or dirt surfaces) is prohibited, and vehicles will be towed.
If you have reserved a picnic area, you may only decorate the picnic tables and pavilion in the site you have reserved. You may only tie or tape decorations to the tables and pavilion. You may not attach decorations in a way that will cause permanent damage, such as with nails or staples. Please note that you may not attach decorations to vegetation, or put signs or decorations outside of the area you reserved, such as along the road. All picnic decorations must be removed.
You may not use anything that penetrates the ground, such as wire sign holders, volleyball poles, or tent stakes. You may only use park water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Recreational use such as filling water balloons or squirt guns is not permitted.
You may not bring firewood, live plants, or live animals (other than pets) into Fort Hunt Park. You must leave the area you use in the same condition that it was when you arrived. If your use of the park causes damage (beyond what is reasonably inherent in its use) you can be held financially liable for that damage. If park staff must clean up an area that you reserved after you leave, you can be held financially liable for associated costs.
You may not use motorized or wind-propelled recreational devices, such as skateboards, in Fort Hunt Park.
You may bring a pet to Fort Hunt Park, but you must keep it on a six foot long (or shorter) leash and you must clean up after it.
Failure to comply with these rules and regulations may result in the cancellation of your reservation and/or legal action.
Last updated: July 15, 2021