Just 4 miles outside the beltway in Washington DC on the banks of the Potomac River you can find Fort Washington Park. Fort Washington was constructed in 1824 to replace Fort Warburton which was lost in the War of 1812, it stood quietly defending the nation’s capital for over 180 years. The fort was turned over to the Department of the Interior in 1946 when the last military presence left and the current park run by the National Park Service was established.
Touring the fort is done in a self-service manner, but Park Rangers are on hand to answer any questions you might have. There are a surprising number of nooks to explore in the fort and on the surrounding grounds. The Main Gate building recently suffered some interior water damage and is currently under repairs. So look for the store to be temporarily located in the Officers’ Quarters building. Interesting fact; the Demi-Bastions used to house the original guns, but the limited view from the ports and the poor ventilation forced a redesign and the guns were moved to the top of the walls.
The sprawling grounds of the park, with its extensive hiking/bicycle paths and river view, are a scenic venue for picnicking, fishing, and outdoor recreation. Historical re-enactments are held periodically at the Fort, and there is a small museum. The Fort Washington Light, located below the fort on the bank of the Potomac, was established in 1857. The current tower stands at 28 feet tall and was constructed in 1882.
RECOMMENDABLE: Yes, for anyone looking to take a walk through history or just spend a few hours enjoying the peaceful park set on the banks of the Potomac River.
Logistics: Check the National Park Service website for additional information. The park and fort are Dog Friendly, but a leash is required.
Location: The park is located just south of the National Harbor. From I-95/495 take exit 3, Indian Head Highway South/MD 210. Travel about 4 miles to Fort Washington Road, turn right. The park is located at the end of the road.
Hours: Park Grounds Open 8am-Sunset Year-round. First Sunday in April thru the Last Saturday in October Park Buildings are open 9am-5pm. The rest of the year they are open 9am-4pm
Fees: May – October $5 per private vehicle gets you a 3-Day Pass; $3 for individuals on Foot, Bike or Bus. November –April the park is Free.
Park Closed: January 1, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.