On the Potomac River’s Northern Neck, this park offers many opportunities for family fun. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and an adjacent bathhouse, meeting area, snack bar, camp store and power-boat ramp. You’ll also find a visitor center, campgrounds, camping cabins, cabins, a playground, a fishing pier, boat rentals and 6 miles of trails. Fossil collectors enjoy hunting for ancient shark teeth along the Potomac. Few people realize that Virginia is one of the leading states for fossil hunting.
Location: 145 Cliff Road, Montross, VA 22520 (~40 miles/50 min. from Fredericksburg)
Hours: Dawn to Dusk. Park office/Visitor center are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon – Fri
Cost: $7/car, $10 on weekends Apr.-Oct. Homeschoolers receive free entrance with ID or NOI.
Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day are the holidays charged weekend rates.
Parking fees are waived on Jan. 1 and on National Public Lands Day and any other day specified by the Director. Parking fees for Veterans are waived on Nov. 11.
Webpage: Westmoreland State Park
Trails: Seven trails, including self-guided interpretive trails, that cover six miles. The Conservation Corps Trail has seven fitness stations. Click HERE for the park’s trail guide.
Swimming: The swimming facility is closed for the 2021 season due to major mechanical issues that cannot be resolved this year.
Boating: Paddleboats, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards can be rented Memorial Day through Labor Day as well as on weekends from mid-April to Memorial Day and from Labor Day to Columbus Day weekend. The last boat rental is 90 minutes prior to closing time.
Fishing: Fishing in the Potomac River is available throughout the year. A valid saltwater fishing license and annual registration in the state’s free saltwater angler identification program is required.
The majority of our visits to Westmoreland State Park have been to Fossil Beach. We have been going to this beach since before Number 4 was born. His first visit was when he was 1-month old.
We love heading to Fossil Beach to play in the water and look for shark teeth. Fossil Beach is only accessible via Big Meadow Trail. You will park at the Main Office (Visitor Center) and hike down (0.6 miles) to Fossil Beach. The trail is not stroller friendly. You will need to carry in all of your supplies. There is no shade so it can get hot. The walk back to the parking lot is uphill so be prepared. Remember what you carry in, you’ll have to carry out.
If you’re planning on looking for fossils, you may want to bring some sand sifter sieves along. This will make it easier to hunt for those shark teeth.
A variety of fossils can be found in this area. Some even date back to the Miocene Era, nearly 20 million years ago. The best time to search Fossil Beach is at low tide, when more shoreline is exposed.
We have also headed to Westmoreland State Park to swim/play at the recreation beach. Instead of heading right towards the Visitor Center and Fossil Beach, you will head left. The road heads straight to a large parking lot. The beach is a short walk from the parking lot. There are plenty of picnic tables and grills. At this location you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, and paddleboats.
Plan to head here early as the picnic tables and shaded areas fill up quickly. Last summer we found several jellyfish around the rocks. Keep your eye out for them.
There really is something for everyone at Westmoreland State Park. If you haven’t been, you’ll need to head there soon.