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
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
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.
RegulationsFor a complete list of rules, please read the Laws & Policies.
The following regulations apply at Fort Hunt Park year-round:
Hours & Seasons
The grounds at Fort Hunt Park are open year-round from sunrise to sunset.
ReservationsPicnic 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?
(Spring and Fall) March 15 through Thursday prior to Memorial Day and Tuesday after Labor Day through October 31
▪ Reservations are required only on Saturdays and Sundays for Areas A-D. Area E is always open for use on a first-come first-serve basis.
(Summer) Friday Prior to Memorial Day through Labor Day
▪ Reservations are required daily for Areas A-D. Area E is always open for use on a first-come first-serve basis. Picnic permits are not available on July 4th
Picnic areas 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?
Note: There is a $50 permit application fee on top of your recreation.gov reservation cost if you want to bring a caterer to your private event. Please see catering and special use permit sections below.
When do reservations open?
Reservations open in early January for dates in March-October of that year. Once we are 14 days before a date, any unreserved areas are taken off of recreation.gov. Park staff are not able to accommodate last minute requests less than 14 days in advance.
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 2022, if a catering company is coming to your private event at Fort Hunt, in addition to a recreation.gov reservation for your picnic area, you also need a special use permit to cover the catering.
Catering is defined as:
A caterer brought in for a reservation holder's private event via a special use permit may not sell food or give food away to the general public under any circumstances. If your caterer is a food truck, they must display a sign in their window that they are closed for a private event.
In 2021, I had to use RGI if I wanted my private event catered at Fort Hunt. Is that still the case?
No. If you have a recreation.gov reservation and you're arranging catering for your guests, you can work with any caterer you like...as long as you submit a $50 special use permit application for catering.
Food trucks wanting to sell to the general public at Fort Hunt must be licensed through RGI and display a park placard while they're at Fort Hunt Park.
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.
Additional activities may also not be allowed. If you have questions about an activity not listed, contact a park ranger at (202) 439-7325.
How does the National Park Service decide what activities are allowed?
Park management considers the following when establishing policy at Fort Hunt Park:
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: June 22, 2022