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Leesylvania State Park, the ancestral home of the Lee family, sits along the Potomac River, south of Washington, DC. Today the park offers a range of recreational activities and beautiful views of the river, one of the Chesapeake's largest tributaries. But the park also has a long and fascinating history.
Situated on "Freestone Point," referring to the sandstone which early settlers took from the property for building purposes, the park lands were once part of Leesylvania Plantation. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III, a revolutionary war colonel and father of Robert E. Lee, was born here. The Lee mansion burned in the 18th century, but the family gravesite remains, as do the ruins of a later 19th century house. Visitors can also see the site of a Confederate gun emplacement from the Civil War.
6 a.m. to a half-hour after sunset Monday through Friday. 5 a.m to a half-hour after sunset on Saturday and Sunday.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
$4 per car weekdays and $5 weekends.
Bus parking is $12 per day.
It is an additional $8 to use the boat launch facilities.
The Potomac River is an excellent largemouth bass fishery. The river is tidal here and the water considered fresh. Other sport fish include catfish, perch and striped bass. A Virginia freshwater fishing license is required.
The park includes boat launching ramps, sailboat hoists and parking for 200 cars/trailers. A cartop launch area is located on Powells Creek for smaller boats such as canoes, kayaks, etc. A park store and gas dock are also located here. Motorboats are allowed. There are no restrictions on motor horsepower. Guests may rent canoes, tandem kayaks and stand-up paddle boards at the Breakwater Marina store from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The park also rents sailboats through a concessionaire, the Woodbridge Sailing School.
There are also picnic facilities as well as 4 large picnic shelters available for rent.
Leesylvania State Park opened full time in 1992. In 1978, noted philanthropist Daniel Ludwig donated the land to the state for a park. A national historical society, the Society of Lees of Virginia, was instrumental in securing the donation. Locally the area is known as "Freestone Point," referring to the sandstone early settlers took from the property for building. Henry Lee II lived on the property from 1747 until his death in 1787. His wife died five years later and both were buried in the family gravesite, which is still on the property. Their mansion burned soon after Mrs. Lee died. Eight children were born at Leesylvania, including Henry Lee III (Light Horse Harry), a cavalry colonel in the revolution, governor of Virginia (1791-1794) and father of Robert E. Lee. In 1825 the property was sold to Henry Fairfax. His son John, later an aide to CSA Gen. James Longstreet, inherited the property in 1847. The Fairfax house burned in 1910, shortly after John's death, but many remnants, including a large chimney that has been restored, remain on the site. In addition, Freestone Point was the site of a Confederate force and gun emplacement during the Civil War.