Beach Barbecue at Freestone Point, Leesylvania State Park

The serene beach and fishing pier at Freestone Point, Leesylvania State Park, just a half-hour's drive from Washington, DC
The serene beach and fishing pier at Freestone Point, Leesylvania State Park, just a half-hour’s drive from Washington, DC

Never heard of Freestone Point? Welcome to the club. I’d never heard of it either, but it’s now my favorite place in the DMV for a cookout barbeque. The picnic area stretches along nearly 1000′ of shoreline, with open access barbeque pits and trees that are perfectly positioned for hammocks.

Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the variety of wildlife in the park, including Osprey nests that are easily peeped from the shoreline trail.

An Osprey builds her nest near the public beach at Leesylvania State Park, just a few minutes south of Washington, DC
An Osprey builds her nest near the public beach at Leesylvania State Park, just a few minutes south of Washington, DC

The park is also an embarcation point for a variety of riperian craft. We had the good fortune to watch a brand spankin’ new Skater 588 come roaring in. This is the Ferrari of modern cigarette boats. If you have paid off your mortgage and don’t mind parting with your house, the price is available upon request.

A humble fisherman steers his inexpensive rowboat into the boat launch at Freestone Point, Leesylvania State Park, on the Virginia side of the Potomac River.

Once a colonial quarry (providing the sandstone for the Lee Family mansion), it is now a Virginia State Park known as Leesylvania, or Lee’s Woods.

Leesylvania also has an interesting history that continues well past its colonial beginnings. In the 1950s, a casino ship was moored off shore of what was then called Freestone Point. Because the ship was technically in the sullied waters of the inferior state of Maryland, it provided Virginians with convenient access to a variety of vices.

Freestone Point has also been a popular fishing spot for as long as anyone can remember. Although there isn’t much evidence left, there is this thing:

No one really knows what the hell this is, but it “likely served to help pull boats and or nets [and or cadavers] from the river” near Freestone Point, now Leesylvania State Park.

There is a $10 entry fee per vehicle. Virginia State Park Annual Pass holders ($70) get in for free.

Other beaches near DC

If you’re looking for a beach on the Chesapeake Bay proper and are willing to drive a little farther, I recommend Kent Island, or the many beaches on the way to Solomon’s Island (1.5h), including Chesapeake Beach and Calvert Cliffs State Park. Or, if you’re game for a 2 hour drive, there’s always the shore.

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