The following content is provided by Visit Prince William, Virginia. It does not reflect the work or opinions of the NBC Washington editorial staff. Click here for more information.
Whether your idea of summer vacation includes wiggling your toes in the sand, backpacking through scenic parks, or taking in the picturesque view of the mountains with a glass of chardonnay, you'll find all these and more in Prince William County, Virginia.
Located a short distance from the nation's capital, Prince William offers everything from crab festivals and fireworks along the Potomac to star-studded outdoor music concerts, historic tours, shopping, outdoor recreaton, affordable lodging, and much, much more.
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Here are 10 ways to love your summer in Prince William.
Enjoy some of the biggest names in music
For more than a decade, Jiffy Lube Live has hosted the world's hottest concerts featuring popular music from country, rock, rap, pop, and more. The pavilion offers a full concert season from May through October. This state-of-the-art venue is the region's largest with pavilion seating for 10,000 and an additional 15,000 lawn seats.
Shop till you drop
Potomac Mills is the Washington, DC area’s largest outlet mall and features over 220 stores with the largest selection of name-brand outlets and value retailers at knockout prices. Its new Neighborhood, 1 Fashion District, boasts a collections of upscale brand name outlets.
Potomac Mills is your destination for high-end and less high-price—all at savings of up to 70 percent every day. When you need a respite from power-shopping, take in a movie there, grab a bite to eat at one of the center’s 25 eateries, or enjoy a delicious dining experience in the new restaurant plaza.
Experience Civil War history
The 5,000-acre Manassas National Battlefield Park—site of the First and Second Battles of Manassas (or Battles of Bull Run)—is complemented by an artifact- filled visitors center as well as a new theater, featuring the film Manassas: End of Innocence. The superb, 45-minute video, narrated by Academy Award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, follows the stories of five individuals whose lives were forever touched by the battles, and serves as an excellent guide to exploring the battlefield and nearby historic sites. Visitors can enjoy equestrian, walking and driving tours, and annual battle commemorative events, as well as living history demonstrations throughout the summer.
Make a splash with the family
Northern Virginia's largest water park, SplashDown, offers a fun day in the sun for all ages. The park features an Interactive Children's play area, a Lily Pad Walk, activity pool, 70-foot tall waterslides, a Lazy River, Cannonball, and Tropical Twister slides and a leisure pool. Rent a pavilion and stay all day with your group. Take a break and grab a bite to eat at one of four concession areas. Catering and event planning are available. (Group discount tickets available with advanced registration; lockers available; handicap accessible; free parking; open May 25 to Sept 2.)
And over at the interactive Waterworks Waterpark, visitors can enjoy a climbing facility, water sprays and slides, a shallow beach area, and children's play area. (Open Memorial Day to Labor Day.)
Picnic or hike along the sandy shores of the Potomac
The birthplace of "Light Horse" Harry Lee, father of Civil War General Robert E. Lee, Leesylvania State Park, sits on 500-acres on the banks of the Potomac. The park Features a state-of-the-art boat launch, sandy beaches for excellent bass fishing, and hiking trails. Rental of canoes and kayaks are available. Park and Environmental Education Centers offer exhibitions about the area's Civil War History. (Overnight boating runs from March through October.)
Pick your own sunflowers
Burnside Farms hosts two very special pick-your-own-flower events. The Festival of Spring, which runs about three weeks, showcases more than a million tulips and daffodils in bloom (exact timing depends on spring weather patterns). Following next, The Summer of Sunflowers runs about six weeks starting around mid-July through Labor Day.
Reel in a catch at one of the many fishing-friendly spots
Prince William is well known for having the largest amount of green space in the Washington, D.C. metro area—over 36 square miles (that's 1.6 times larger than the island of Manhattan). But did you know there’s plenty of fantastic fishing—as well as boating, sailing, kayaking, and other water sports here?
No boat? No problem. Prince William's lakes, piers, and ponds give fishermen (and women) on foot a good chance to reel in some fish.
Take a sunset Paddling Tour
Penguin Paddling provides kayak and paddleboard rentals. They also offer guided kayak tours along Neabsco Creek, showcasing historical buildings, ruins, and a variety of animals and waterfowl.
Immerse Yourself in Marine Corps History
The state-of-the-art National Museum of the Marine Corps honors, preserves, and narrates America's story through the eyes of U.S. Marines. Its magnificent architectural design features a dramatic 210-foot tilted steel mast and glass atrium inspired by the flag raisings at Iwo Jima. Inside, a massive "Leatherneck Gallery" and surrounding era galleries take visitors through the history of the Marine Corps, divided into "theaters" or chapters depicting pivotal conflicts and battles.
Take a sip of history
Enjoy 20 craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and tasting rooms at the Steins, Vines & Moonshine Trail, so close to Washington, DC. And make sure to visit Farm Brew Live in Manassas (pictured above), an eight-acre campus featuring craft beer, craft food, and live, local music.
Prince William County is looking forward to welcoming you back this summer—and they're ready. Click here to learn more.