George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Eastern Virginia offers the opportunity to explore the birthplace of America's first President.
George Washington Birthplace National Monument
George Washington was born along Pope's Creek in Virginia in 1732. He lived here until the age of 3 and returned to the area occasionally during his teenage years when the property was owned by his half-brother.
The land had been settled by his great-grandfather in 1657.
The original house where George Washington was born burned in 1779 and was never rebuilt. No one really knows what the house looked like.
The park today includes a "memorial house" made of locally made bricks that was built to honor George Washington on the 200th anniversary of his birth.
The design was done based on a typical well-to-do Virginia family of the early 18th century.
About George Washington Birthplace NM
This National Monument encompasses the former Popes Creek Plantation which is the American ancestral home of the Washington Family.
The park includes a Colonial Revival Farm, The Washington Family burial ground, visitor center, and historic structures.
Is George Washington Birthplace NM worth visiting?
Yes, We found the park to be really interesting. If you are a fan of presidential history you will love this park.
The grounds are gorgeous! The walk around the historic area is relaxing and beautiful.
History of George Washington Birthplace National Monument
George Washington Birthplace National Monument is located in Westmoreland County, Virginia; in the Northern Neck of Virginia.
Although America’s first president only lived at this location for the first three years of his life, the land and history of this park greatly helped shape the man he became.
Washington D.C. is only about 60 miles north of this monument, where Pope Creek meets the Potomac River, but the area is still very much secluded and undeveloped.
62 years after George Washington’s death, the Potomac River became a significant part of the Civil War. It was used for transporting war supplies and acted as a border between the Union and Confederacy.
To understand the full scope of the magnificent history of this land we have to go back to sometime around 1633 in England. It was then that John Washington was born. He was the great-grandfather of George Washington.
Around 1664, John immigrated to America and settled in the area of George Washington’s birthplace. Pope’s Creek, mentioned earlier, was named after Nathanial Pope, a highly influential man in the area.
Pope was a tobacco farmer and fur trader. Pope and Washington became business partners and John married Pope’s daughter Anne. Anne and John were given a wedding gift of land by Nathanial Pope.
With John’s business sense and the social and financial gains that Anne brought to the marriage, the couple became influential in the area. This began the famous Washington dynasty.
To continue the family tree, John’s son Lawrence was born in 1659 and eventually married Mildred Warner in 1685. They had three children together, one being Augustine.
Augustine bought the land that was the site near Pope’s Creek in 1718. By 1726, he had finished building his home on the property. Augustine’s first wife died in 1729.
His second wife was named Mary Ball; she was the orphaned daughter of a successful planter.
The first child of Mary and Augustine, born on the land near Pope’s Creek on February 22, 1732, was a boy name George Washington, future first president of the United States of America.
This is the location where George Washington Birthplace National Monument exists. The original house George was born in has not survived the times.
On Christmas Day in 1779, the house burned to the ground. If you visit the national monument today, you will see markings of the perimeter where the house once stood. So you can quite literally stand in the spot where George Washington was born.
George lived at this location until he was around 3 years old. As the story of his life goes on, sometime around 1734, the family moved to another Washington family property named Little Huntington Creek Plantation.
This location was later named Mt. Vernon and would one day be President George Washington’s most cherished home.
Many years later, while the country was in the midst of the Great Depression, a plan was set into motion to create a Memorial House Museum honoring President Washington.
Josephine Wheelwright Rust was instrumental in founding a group in 1923 whose goal was to build the memorial. Because Rust’s historic family home was said to be modeled after the Washington home that burned to the ground, the group used it as a model.
The area already boasted a large obelisk monument. In 1896, eleven years after the granite, 555 foot obelisk was built in Washington D.C., a 50 ft. obelisk was placed at the site where it is believed Washington’s birth house once stood.
Rust was determined to build a Memorial Home on the site of Washington’s birth. She eventually received funds from Congress to have the obelisk monument moved.
The monument was moved in pieces using wagons and was relocated and put back together at its present spot – at the entrance to the park. In June of 1931, the Memorial House was completed.
It was a project which Rust’s determination began, and she was very proud of it. Four days before her death, she signed the Deed to the Birthplace over to the National Park Service.
During the building of the Memorial House, the National Park Service discovered a foundation yards away from the house. Experts wondered if this was in fact the original location of the Washington home.
The building is named Building X because of the uncertainty of what it originally was. At present time, it is not believed that the foundation is the actual remains of the home, but investigations are still ongoing.
A Colonial Flower Garden is another noteworthy attraction at the park. Work on the garden was completed in 1931. The gardens showcase herbs, flowers and plants native to Washington’s time period.
Thyme, sage, and basil are among the herbs, and roses and hollyhocks the flowers.
Visitors can also tour the Washington Family Burial Ground. Here you can see the gravesites of Augustine, Lawrence and John Washington – George’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Much work was done to make the burial area as pristine as it is today.
By the late 19th century, family gravestones were worn and broken. Restoration began in 1906. After many years of work, the grounds were completed right before the park’s opening.
Today you will see five markers at the site, each pertaining to a certain generation or family branch of the Washington's.
In 1930, the grounds were authorized by Congress as a U.S. National Monument. The park and Memorial House were officially opened by the National Park Service in 1932, on the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birth.
Things to know before your visit to George Washington Birthplace NM
$0.00, there is no fee to visit this US National Monument
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Learn more about National Park Passes for parks that have an entrance fee.
Free Entrance Days -Find the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
EST - Eastern Standard Time
Pets are allowed in the park in specific areas - the Potomac River Beach, Picnic Area, and Hiking Trails.
Pets are NOT allowed in the historic area, Washington Family Burial Ground, or in park buildings.
Pets must be on a leash less than 6 feet long.
We had great cell service while visiting the park.
The Potomac River Beach, Burial Ground, Picnic Area, and Hiking Trails are open seven days a week from 9:00-5:00.
The Historic Area Grounds are open seven days a week from 9:00-4:30.
The park is closed on the following holidays; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Avoid areas of tall grass and heavy vegetation. If you are hiking in brush or tall grass make sure to check for ticks and chiggers.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
There is a large parking lot near the front entrance to the park.
There are no restaurants within the park.
There are no gas stations within the park.
Drones are not allowed to be flown in National Park Service Sites.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center.
We found the following Passport Stamps during our visit
George Washington Birthplace NM, Washington's Birthplace, VA
George Washington Birthplace NM - 19th Amendment Centennial
Underground Railroad Freedom Movement, Washington's Birthplace, VA
Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT, George Washington Birthplace NM, VA
Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route NHT, Washington Birthplace NM< WA
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, Washington's Birthplace, VA
Potomac Heritage NST, Washington's Birthplace, VA
Star Spangled Banner NST, George Washington Birthplace NM, WA
George Washington Birthplace NM is part of the 2010 Passport Stamp Set
Electric Vehicle Charging
There are 8 EV Charging Stations within 10 miles of Colonial Beach, VA.
Details about George Washington Birthplace NM
Size - 661.7 Acres
Check out how the park compares to other National Parks by Size.
January 23, 1930, George Washington Birthplace National Monument was created as a unit of the National Park Service.
In 2021, George Washington Birthplace NM had
In 2020, George Washington Birthplace NM had 41,970 park visitors.
In 2019, George Washington Birthplace NM had 139,666 park visitors.
George Washington Birthplace National Monument Address
1732 Popes Creek Road
Colonial Beach, VA 22443
Where is George Washington Birthplace National Monument?
George Washington Birthplace is located two miles from Virginia State Highway 3 on Virginia State Route 204.
The park is located 38 miles east of Fredericksburg, 11 miles west of Montross, and 10 miles west of Colonial Beach.
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
Washington DC - 71 miles
Baltimore, MD - 101 miles
Norfolk, VA - 125 miles
Virginia Beach, VA - 139 miles
Philadelphia, PA - 202 miles
Raleigh, NC - 242 miles
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
Shenandoah National Park - 109 miles
New River Gorge National Park - 294 miles
Congaree National Park - 441 miles
Mammoth Cave National Park - 680 miles
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - 430 miles
Indiana Dunes National Park - 736 miles
Where is the National Park Visitor Center?
The visitor center is also the entrance to the park. Make sure to plan time to visit the visitor center and park store.
Getting to George Washington Birthplace National Monument
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
Richmond International Airport (RIC)
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Exit I-95 at Exit 130A and continue onto Route 3 East. Follow Route 3 East for 38 miles. Look for Route 204, which is on the left, just past the sign to the park.
After turning on Route 204, the entrance to the park is approximately 2 miles. Turn right at the traffic circle for the Visitor Center entrance.
From Route 301
Follow Route 3 East for approximately 12 miles. Turn left at Route 204, just past the sign to the park. After turning down Route 204, the entrance to the park is approximately 2 miles.
Turn right at the traffic circle for the Visitor Center entrance.
From Route 360
Follow George Washington Birthplace signs out of Warsaw, VA. Take Route 3 West for approximately 22 miles.
Turn right at Route 204. After turning down Route 204, the entrance to the park is approximately 2 miles. Turn right at the traffic circle for the Visitor Center entrance.
Best time to visit George Washington Birthplace National Monument
The best time to visit are spring and fall when the temperatures are nice and comfortable.
This park does include a lot of time outside walking between historic sites. If you are not used to the muggy weather of Virginia in the summer you may want to plan your visit at a cooler time of the year.
George Washington Birthplace NM Weather and Seasons
Colonial Beach experiences warm and muggy summers. Winters are cold and snowy!
The hottest months are from May 30 to September 15th when the average daily temperature is above 79°F.
The coldest months are from December 1 to March 4th when the average daily temperatures are below 53°F.
The snowiest month is February with an average of 4.8 inches in snow.
Best Things to do in George Washington Birthplace NM
One thing to know when visiting the park is there is a walk from the visitor center to reach the Memorial house and other buildings.
There is a gravel road and trail that lead to the different sites within the park. I would suggest wearing closed-toed shoes for a more comfortable walk
Tours are offered of the Memorial House during the day. The only way to view the inside is on a tour. Make sure to check with the visitor center to sign up for tours.
Learn more about the Memorial House here.
Right next to the Memorial House is the buried outline of what is called "Building X".
Colonial Revival Garden
The Colonial Revival Garden was created in the 1930s by the National Park Service and the Wakefield National Memorial Association.
It is maintained by the Northern Neck Master Gardeners.
Having a garden could mean the difference between life or death for Colonists. They relied on the garden to provide fruits and vegetables, herbs, and more.
Herbs were used for medicines, cosmetics, household products, and fabric dyes.
It is unknown what the exact layout of the Washington's families garden looked like. The current garden was designed to reflect the "Colonial Period" Style.
The current garden has eight small rectangular herb beds along with four large square areas for vegetables and small fruits.
The garden has a formal design with brick walkways and English Box enclosed by a wooden picket fence.
The plants grown within the garden are plants that would have been available during George Washington's lifetime (1732-1799).
Vegetables during Washington's lifetime would have included beets, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, squash, turnips, cucumbers, and radishes.
It is interesting to note that Colonists rarely planted potatoes preferring the taste of turnips, parsnips, and cabbage.
The four herb beds are being cultivated with each bed devoted to one of the four uses of herbs - household, culinary, medicinal, and dyeing.
The park has a living history farm of livestock. You can walk by the pastures to view the different animals currently living in the park.
Washington Family Burial Grounds
The graves of George Washington's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather are on the property.
Scale Model of the Washington Monument
At the entrance of the park, there is a 50-foot-high scale model of the Washington Monument. This monument was originally erected in 1896 on the site that was previously believed to be the site of the birthplace home.
This scale monument is also called the Birthplace Monument.
Industrialist and philanthropist, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was a major benefactor in the creation of George Washington Birthplace National Monument.
Not only did he donate almost half the land of the current park boundary, but he also supplied three of his retired Morgan horses to the park and established a precedent that has lasted until today.
Make sure to pick up a Junior Ranger Program at the visitor center. The booklet can be filled out while exploring the park.
Visitors can ride their bikes on park roads and in parking areas that are open to vehicle use. E-bikes are allowed anywhere a traditional bike is allowed.
The Northern Neck Heritage Trail Bicycling Route which is a 60 mile route between Westmoreland State Park and Reedville.
There is a covered picnic pavilion in the park that is first come first serve unless it has been reserved.
There are restrooms near the picnic shelter along with grills, tables, and a water fountain.
Fishing is allowed within the park.
In order to fish anyone over the age of 16 will need a valid Virginia Saltwater Fishing or Potomac River Fisheries Sport Fishing license, Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing License, Maryland Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Sport Fishing, or a reciprocal Maryland saltwater license.
Hiking in George Washington Birthplace NM
Always carry the 10 essentials for outdoor survival when exploring.
There are a couple of trails within George Washington Birthplace NM including the nature trail and Dancing Marsh Loop Trail.
Distance - 1 mile
Difficulty - Easy
Trailhead - The trailhead is located in the picnic area parking lot across from the restrooms.
The nature trail is an unpaved trail that travels over uneven ground which can be muddy.
Dancing Marsh Loop Trail
Distance - .75 miles
Difficulty - Easy
Trailhead - The trail can be accessed via the historic area near the Hog Pen and Rockefeller Barn or from the Nature Trail.
The Dancing Marsh Loop Trail is unpaved over uneven ground. The trail can be muddy.
How to beat the crowds in George Washington Birthplace National Monument
We did not experience any crowds during our visit. The most important thing to do is to make sure you sign up for a guided tour of the Memorial House if you plan to take one.
This will help ensure you know what time to be there and when the tours are available.
The grounds of the park are fairly large so it is easy to move around from any crowds.
Where to stay when visiting George Washington Birthplace NM
There are no National Park Lodges within the park.
Hampton Inn Dahlgren - Free breakfast, a free grocery shopping service, and laundry facilities are just a few of the amenities provided at Hampton Inn Dahlgren. Free in-room Wi-Fi is available to all guests, along with a 24-hour gym and a business center.
Red Roof Inn Dahlgren - free continental breakfast, laundry facilities, and a gym at Red Roof Inn Dahlgren. In addition to a business center, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi, with speed of 100+ Mbps (good for 1–2 people or up to 6 devices).
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson - free to-go breakfast, a firepit, and a library at Country Inn & Suites by Radisson. Free in-room Wi-Fi is available to all guests, along with laundry facilities and a gym.
Holiday Inn Express and Suites - free breakfast buffet, dry cleaning/laundry services, and free WIFI.
Inn at Leonardtown, Ascend Hotel Collection - The Inn at Leonardtown, Ascend Hotel Collection provides everything you need. Guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Click on the map below to see the current rates for hotels and vacation rentals near Colonial Beach, Virginia
National Park Camping
There are no designated National Park Campgrounds within the park.
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Escape Campervans has offices in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New York, and Orlando
Parks near George Washington Birthplace National Monument
Colonial National Historical Park - 98 miles (157 km) south of the park near Williamsburg, VA.
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park - 36 miles (58 km) west of the park in Fredericksburg, VA.
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site - 72 miles (116 km) south of the park in Richmond, VA
Prince William Forest Park - 61 miles (98 km) north of the park in Triangle, VA
Richmond National Battlefield Park - 74 miles (118 km) south of the park in Richmond, VA
Thomas Stone National Historic Site- 41 miles (65 km) north of the park in Port Tobacco, MD
Washington Monument - 70 miles (113 km) north of the park in Washington, DC
Check out all of the National Parks in Virginia along with neighboring National Parks in Washington DC , National Parks in North Carolina, National Parks in Kentucky, National Parks in West Virginia, and National Parks in Maryland
Check out all of the National Monuments managed by the NPS
National Park Service Website