Prince William Forest Park

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Published: 06/20/2012
Prince William Forest Park is a fantastic location for camping, hiking, and even meeting friends at the playground!  There are several entrances to the Park, including a few from route 234 in Dumfries and off route 619 past Independent Hill going to Triangle. The main entrance to the park, which I recommend you use, is the one you reach by taking exit 150B off I-95.  When you enter the park, there is a ranger station, but it may or may not be manned.  If there's no ranger, head straight down the road and you'll arrive at an information area where you can pay your $5.  Admission is good for seven consecutive days, so it's a pretty awesome deal, when you think about it that way!

Visitors Center and Welcome Station
Looping back towards the entrance, on the right hand side there is parking and a large playground with an open field.  The play area is partially shaded, but the field gets some fairly direct sunlight.  With all the trees around, you'll definitely want to do a tick check when you get home.  
Playground area with slides, climbing wall, playhouse and more

Across the street from the playground, there is a hike entrance.  I want to say the blazes are green, but I am not positive, so please don't quote me on that.  The hike is paved with shredded plastic (similar or the same to a rubber track type of feel).  It would be very stroller friendly, if you're looking to hike with a baby! 
 The hike winds you past a creek, and there are lots of signs explaining the flora and fauna, which is helpful since my kids always want to know what each individual leaf is and Google is so sick of me asking about "4 tipped leaves on flat bark trees in Virginia" that they're considering cutting me off.  I don't have to search in an encyclopedia, but I can't stay here...you know how it goes ;)
Here's another view of the playground.  The kids had a great time running around, and as a bonus, there's a BATHROOM!! Flushing toilets, running water, the whole deal.  I consider proximity of the potty to be a huge deal, so chalk that up as a win!

Prince William Forest Park has a scenic drive, as well, and it's quite pleasant.  I would have especially loved it when my first was a baby.  He had horrendous colic and the only way he slept was in motion.  A nice drive through the park would have been a great way to spend the time driving the baby!

Finally, there's camping.  We were fortunate to spend part of a night with our boy scout troop, and had a great time! There are, again, restrooms, as well as nice sites with decent parking.  We were near an outdoor area with lots of bench seating where we enjoyed a bonfire, too.  We stayed in the tent camping, but they also offer 5 cabins.  For details on camping at Prince William Forest Park, just click here. 

Breakdown-

Prince William Forest Park
Pros- nice playground, bathrooms located nearby, camping and parking
Cons- small fee, multiple entrances can be confusing to first timers (like me my first time!) 
Cautions- only that you should be sure to check for ticks, but that's any outdoor location in Virginia! 
daytime playtime - a fun place to Learn.... a great place to Grow A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years... Elite Maid Squad