Woodbridge: Come for the Bargains, Stay for the Nature

Canoeing

Down by the river: Stretching 40 miles from Bull Run to Pohick Bay, the Occoquan Water Trail gives visitors the chance to explore some 10,000 acres of lush, protected land.

Who likes a sale?

Anyone who does and has a little cash may enjoy renting an apartment in Woodbridge, Va.

According to the 2006-08 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimate, Woodbridge has a population of 33,936. The town, which sits in Prince William County, is 22 miles by car from downtown Washington, D.C., but commuters can also reach the city via the Virginia Railway Express, which has a stop here.

What Woodbridge is known for, of course, is Potomac Mills, an outlet mall where stores such as Neiman Marcus Last Call, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th and Nordstrom Rack attract patrons by the bundles throughout the region.

People that need to eat – and that would mean virtually all of us (maybe even supermodels) – will be happy to know there’s a plethora of grocery stores to go with that fabulous wardrobe you’ll be purchasing: three Safeways, two Bottom Dollar Foods, a Wegmans, Sam’s Club and Costco Warehouse. For those who need instant culinary gratification (or people like me who can burn water), Woodbridge also offers up some mighty eclectic restaurant fare. Check these out: two Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Famous Dave’s, Bistro L’hermitage, and a trusted favorite, Olive Garden.

There’s stuff to do here other than shopping and eating, though.

Since the town is situated below the Occoquan River, which feeds both the Belmont and Occoquan Bays, which in turn feed the mighty Potomac River, you’d figure that scenic wildlife and water sports would be big in Woodbridge, and you’d be right. Woodbridge is literally surrounded by parks. To the immediate north in Lorton is Occoquan Regional Park, which features a Roving Naturalist Program, baseball and softball fields, batting cages, and of course, boating (the park is part of the 40-mile long Occoquan Water Trail). In Woodbridge proper, we have the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which is situated at the confluence of the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers. Part of the larger Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a one-square mile mélange of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, river otters, beavers, red foxes and many types of birds. You can hike on approximately four miles of gravel trail, take pictures, drive or bike around the two-mile Wildlife Drive, and learn about the park from a variety of interpretive sites.

The last park I’ll highlight is Leesylvania State Park, which is the ancestral home of the famous Lee family. Leesylvania State Park sits along the Potomac River (and to my eyes at least, just catches the outermost waters of the Occoquan Bay). There are many activities to enjoy in the 508-acre park, including:

  • Boating (and canoe tours); guided historic and nature walks; and tents-only camping and picnicking (including shelters) along a half-mile of natural sand beach
  • Check out the large visitor center featuring an environmental classroom, historic and nature displays and a gift shop.
  • There’s also a park store that operates during the spring, summer and fall months which includes a snack bar/buffet, groceries, marine gasoline/oil and a bathhouse.

Phewww! I’m not selling you a used car here; I just got caught up in all the outdoor excitement.

And I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention that you can also rent a slip at Belmont Bay Marina and play golf at the Osprey’s Golf Club at Belmont Bay. According to their site, Golfstyles magazine named it among the “Top 100 Must Play” courses in the mid-Atlantic region. The 18-hole public course was designed by Preston Caruthers and Bob Mortensen.

Now, if I haven’t convinced you to move to Woodbridge yet, at least I’ve planted a seed. Use Apartment Showcase to find your apartment.

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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  • This area does have some nice places, but just be careful of the neighborhood, like Rolling Brook Village, looks nice, but experiences A LOT of crime.