Government Island

Government Island is our go-to hiking spot for company and newcomers. First of all, it’s FREE and mostly stroller friendly! We’ve been going here since the boardwalk trail opened over ten years ago.

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Government Island is a historic peninsula in Stafford which boasts a 1.5 mile trail. The first two trail segments are handicap accessible. The 17-acre park is a natural habitat for birds and other wildlife. The elevated boardwalk allows visitors to explore a nature trail through wetlands and woods. There are signs throughout the trail that include information about the history of the area.

This picture was taken 10 years ago after our 2nd visit to Government Island.

My kids’ favorite spot is the quarry. Government Island was a quarry that provided sandstone for the U.S. Capitol, White House and other historic buildings in Washington, D.C.

Government Island is a scenic heritage trail, and also on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Address: 191 Coal Landing Road Stafford, VA 22554 (Take Exit 140)

Parking is limited and can be hard to find on weekends. There’s a port-o-potty in the parking lot.

Operating Hours:
Mid-March through October 31: Monday – Sunday, 8 am – 8 pm;
November 1 through Mid-March: Monday – Sunday, 8 am – 5:30 pm

Website: Government Island – Tour Stafford Virginia (

We usually stop at Pets Plus after visiting Government Island. Pets Plus is a full-service pet store with puppies, exotic animals, reptiles, and fish. It’s like a mini zoo.

The kids love looking at all the different animals and choosing a dog to hold. (Not sure if the store is still allowing this with Covid-19 or not.)

Location: 2610 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Stafford, VA 22554

Hours: 8:00 AM — 8:00 PM M-Sat and 10 AM – 6 PM Sundays

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