River Mill Park in Occoquan Makes for a Great Day Trip

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By Amy Taylor

Looking for some entertainment in Occoquan? You might find it at River Mill Park. River Mill Park in Occoquan offers scenic views of the Occoquan River, family-friendly events and a little escape into nature right in the middle of town. Opened to the public in 2016, the park has an event pavilion, paved walking trail, public restroom and plenty of open space to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Town of Occoquan. It’s open to the public daily from dawn to dusk and is available for special events with an event permit (though the park must remain open to the public during the event).

Events at River Mill Park

The park is the center of many outdoor events the town and local businesses host. You can enjoy beer gardens, concerts, movies, photo ops, birdwatching and more at the park.

“The sheer beauty of the river and wildlife as a backdrop to our park is reason enough to visit. In addition, our concerts are held first Fridays and third Saturdays throughout the summer from May to September. Many people use the park as a backdrop for photography sessions and even formal events, such as weddings,” said Julie Little, events and community development director for the Town of Occoquan.

Music and Movies on Mill

Each summer the Town of Occoquan hosts a free series of family-friendly entertainment at the park. Concerts are held the first Friday and third Saturday evenings of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. through the month of September. Movies begin after the concerts at sundown. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair, and the whole family can enjoy free entertainment all summer long. Pack a picnic or grab some food to go from one of the town’s restaurants. For more information visit occoquanva.gov/summer-concerts.html.

The Park Thrives with the Help of Volunteers and Sponsors

“Though Fairfax Water owns the property, the Town of Occoquan is responsible for the upkeep of the park. Each year, the Town seeks financial support from our community to help sponsor events at River Mill Park,” Little said.

The town welcomes volunteers and sponsors to help keep the park a place for all to enjoy.

Little said, “Occoquan thrives and flourishes in large part due to the support and engagement of our community, without which we would not be able to offer high-quality programming at River Mill Park. Consider making an annual donation to become a Friend of River Mill Park and help support continued park programming, like our free concerts and movies!”

For more information on joining the Friends of River Mill Park visit occoquanva.gov/friends-of-river-mill-park.html.

Ideas for Fun at the Park

Outside of the events, you can visit the park on your own and make a day of it by exploring the Town of Occoquan. Here are some ideas for fun activities to do with the family at River Mill Park.

Go fishing – Grab your fishing pole and some bait and catch your own dinner. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says that fishing in the Occoquan River is best for largemouth bass, black and white crappie, bluegill, channel catfish and flathead catfish.

Watch birds – If you love watching birds, you can see many native species at River Mill Park. According to ebird.org, bird watchers at Occoquan Mill have reported seeing 48 different species of birds there. Among the birds spotted are the black vulture, great blue heron, double-cresting cormorant and bald eagle.

Kayak – Bring your kayak and life vest for a day of kayaking on the Occoquan. Enjoy the scenic beauty the river offers.

Dine – After a day relaxing at the park, visit one of the Town of Occoquan’s restaurants. There’s a restaurant for every craving.

Shop – As you explore the town, pop into some of its shops offering unique items and gifts.

Visit the Mill House Museum – This museum was once a merchants’ mill established in the 1750s. It served the town of Occoquan until 1924. Today it has been restored and is a museum run by the Occoquan Historical Society. Learn about the history of the merchants’ mill and the town from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 413 Mill Street. Admission is free.

Amy Taylor ([email protected]) is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her BLS in English from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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Many people use River Mill Park as a backdrop for photography sessions and even formal events.

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