Fort Washington and Oxon Hill

Talk about a wonderful day enjoying history and scenic views of the Potomac River only minutes from Washington, D.C.! Here are three fascinating historic sites on the river only minutes apart by car. You can spend hours exploring Fort Washington’s immense fortification and garrison—with some of the most amazing views of the Potomac you’ll ever find. Oxon Hill Park and Farm offers a chance for exploring nature and for kids to see farm animals and learn about life near the Nation’s capital. The architecture and gardens Oxon\ Hill Manor offers an elegant sojourn into one of Washington’s finest estates—not to mention a romantic place to watch the sun go down.

You can visit these sites in any order, but in summer mornings are the best time to see Fort Washington; you can explore the grounds before the sun gets too high.

Fort Washington. Fort Washington was part of the original defenses of the Capital, first completed in 1809. After being destroyed and rebuilt, it was improved over the years and remained in use through World War One. From the massive doorways at the entrance, to the gunnery posts, to the bastions and garrisons, it’s just a cool place to explore and hang out. Fort Washington Park has a wide variety of activities. There is a 3-mile trail that follows the perimeter of the park boundary, offering the opportunity for wildlife viewing. Birdwatchers enjoy the quite solitude of the park to find that one special bird. If fishing is for you, the park is located right along the Potomac River where there are many different types of fish waiting for you.

One Sunday a month from April to October the park has Civil War artillery demonstrations.

Oxon Cove Park/Oxon Hill Farm. The park has been home for many generations of human habitation during the past 10,000 years–beginning with the Native American peoples who hunted for wild game and gathered plants up until the 17th century. You can explore on your own and see farm equipment, historic structures, our Visitor Center, and barnyard. Explore Oxon Cove Park’s 512 acres by strolling along the lower fields, walking the nature path or riding the bike path along Oxon Cove. It’s a pleasing spot for a picnic, too. There are picnic areas, no reservations required. Food is not sold in the park, so pack a lunch.

Oxon Cove is listed second in this itinerary for those who are ready for a picnic lunch after exploring Fort Washington. It is next door to Oxon Hill Manor, so if you’re not ready for lunch, visit the manor first.

Visitor information for all three sites is available on the porch of the bookstore.

Oxon Hill Manor, a few miles up river from Fort Washington. The mansion as we see it today was built in in 1928, but the former home was built for home to the nephews of George Washington, and the nephew of John Hanson, the first president elected by the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation. In the 49-room mansion, check out the graceful spiraling staircase and ballroom especially. Wonder the English gardens and enjoy stunning river views. Tours are available by appointment. The manor is managed by Prince George’s County Department of Parks & Recreation.

To reach Fort Washington From I-95/495 take exit 3, Indian Head Higway South/MD 210. Travel about 4 miles to Fort Washington Road, turn right. The park is located at the end of the road.

From Waldorf, MD: MD228 to Indian Head Highway/MD210 North. Turn left onto Old Fort Road. Continue to end of road, at the stop sign turn left onto Fort Washington Road, continue to park.


Region: Southern Maryland
Activity: Bicycling, Birding, Hiking, Historic Site, History, Museum/Visitor Center, Wildlife

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
c/o Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
142 W. Potomac St.

Williamsport, MD 21795


This phone will reach the main line for the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

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