Steeped in history and culture, southern Fairfax County tells the tale of the history of America. A visit here will place you in one of the most historic areas in the United States where you will find unique stories that make up the fabric the local community and our nation as a whole.
Revolution. Freedom. Innovation. Civil War. South County's attractions played a unique and powerful role in some of the most defining moments in U.S. history. For an authentic look into that past, look no further than the area's historic sites and museums to living history demonstrations and re-enactments, we open up the history book like no other region.
American Horticultural Society – River Farm
7931 E. Boulevard Drive
Alexandria, VA 22308
Open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm year-round (free public access to River Farm)
Saturdays, 9am-1pm (April – October)
River Farm is the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. Situated on 25 landscaped acres overlooking the Potomac River, it is an idyllic escape within the Washington, D.C. area. It’s a peaceful, beautifully maintained setting where visitors can enjoy a walk down through the Meadow to the water’s edge, view hundreds of pollinators, see historic old trees like our Osage Orange, explore and learn about sustainable gardening methods, view (and purchase) botanic art from our exhibitions in the manor house, and purchase special handmade or garden-related gift items in our Garden Shop.
Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture
9000 Richmond Highway
Alexandria, VA 22309
Open By Appointment Only
Arcadia is a non-profit sustainable farm that teaches military veterans to be farmers; introduces school children to food at its source; and grows food for under resourced neighborhoods in the metropolitan DC area. We have many opportunities for volunteers to work on the farm, an annual farm dinner, and a family-friendly fall harvest festival. Arcadia is dedicated to creating a more equitable, sustainable food system that supports public and environment health, from our farm forward.
George Mason's Gunston Hall
10709 Gunston Road
Mason Neck, VA 22079
Open 9:30am-5pm every day except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day
Gunston Hall is a 554 acre historic site and the home of founding father George Mason. Our mission is to stimulate the exploration and understanding of principles expressed by George Mason in the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights. Whether you choose to explore the grounds, go on a guided tour of George Mason’s home, or attend any of our family-friendly events, every member of your group will thoroughly enjoy a visit to Gunston Hall.
George Washington's Mount Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Highway
Mount Vernon, VA 22121
Open 365 days a year 9am-5pm
George Washington's Mount Vernon includes not only the Mansion - George and Martha Washington's home - but also a host of colonial era buildings, beautiful gardens, a working distillery and gristmill. The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center features 25 galleries and theaters, more than 700 artifacts, and interactive displays that introduce visitors to the real George Washington. The most famous dentures in the world are on permanent display. Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year. The historic estate is located about 15 miles south of Washington, D.C. and 8 miles south of Alexandria, Virginia along the banks of the Potomac River.
Gum Springs Museum and Historical Society
8100 Fordson Road
Gum Springs, VA 22306
Open Tuesday through Friday 11am-4pm and Saturday 1pm-3pm
The community of Gum Springs is the oldest African American community in Fairfax County. It was a free African American community pre-dating the Civil War. The community has been in continuum to present day despite slavery, segregation, and the institution of Jim Crow. It is the aim of the Museum to display a dynamic exhibit of the history of the Gum Springs Community. The Museum is features an photographic exhibit of Gum Springs' residents and founding families. Many of these photos are close to 100 years old, some older.
6918 Harrison Lane
Alexandria, VA 22306
Open dawn to dusk from March through November. The site hosts tours during specific hours and days.
Huntley was the country home of Thomson Francis Mason, a grandson of George Mason and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The Huntley property contains a remarkable collection of buildings which was once the center of a country estate with terraced gardens sloping down to farm fields and pastures. It has been called "one of Virginia’s undiscovered architectural treasures."
National Museum of the United States Army
1775 Liberty Drive
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060
Set to open its doors in 2020, The Museum shines a unique light on the symbiotic relationship between Army and society, highlighting the Army’s direct influence on our nation socially, technologically, scientifically, financially, and culturally. The Museum will immerse visitors in 245 years of American Soldiers’ experiences. With its various galleries, 300+ degree multi-sensory theater, fully interactive Experiential Learning Center, cutting edge simulation and virtual reality experiences, shopping, and gourmet café, this incredible destination will be exciting for guests of all interests and ages. Though admission will be free, you will need a timed-ticket to secure entry.
Woodlawn Estate is a site of two iconic and comparative masterpieces of American architecture - a 1905 mansion built by William Thornton, and a classic Usonian 1940 dwelling designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Along with a museum tour experience, visitors will be immersed in the dynamic re-birth of a newly-imagined site focused on local food, American craft, and agriculture linked to the story of both George Washington and social justice.
Workhouse Arts Center (Workhouse Arts Foundation)
9518 Workhouse Way
Lorton, VA 22079
Hours vary, check website for details
The Workhouse Arts Center is a vibrant multidisciplinary arts center that offers visual arts exhibitions, performing arts events and concerts, festivals and celebrations, and houses approximately 85 resident and associate artists in a variety of mediums who work and exhibit on campus. In addition, the Workhouse presents the Lucy Burns Museum which houses artifacts, stories, photos, and prison cells relating to the suffrage history in the US and 91 years of prison history.
Whether looking for activities to enjoy alone or with friends and family, South County has plenty to see and do on any given day. Browse the locations below and see what awaits you on your next visit one of America's most historic areas.
These irreplaceable reminders of our nation's past stand as reminders of where we came from. Under protection from Fairfax County, the land where these sites reside are being preserved for future generations to learn from and enjoy.