Fort Ward is a historic park in the city of Alexandria, Virginia. It was originally built to help defend Washington DC during the American Civil War. Today the park is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. It has well preserved earth works, trails (paved and unpaved), and a small museum. There is a single lane road that makes a loop around the park with plenty of places to stop. There are picnic areas, tennis courts, public restrooms, a playground, wooded areas and open fields.
On our first trip we stopped in for a peak at the museum. It’s small with the usuial civil war era relics such as guns, uniforms and medical tools. We took a nice walk through the earthworks which are shady and not expansive. We took some time to fly our kite on a level field near the parking lot, and we took a drive around the loop road which skirts the perimeter. On an average day the park is not crowded and parking is easy. You have a number of lots to choose from.
The fort is also used for special events. They regularly hold civil war and revolutionary war reenactments and have summer camps or other historically related events. Our second visit was the day before presidents day and the fort was holding a revolutionary war festival with troop encampments and a battle reenactment. This was fantastic.The reenactors really know their stuff. They go through incredible lengths to replicate authentic uniforms, gear and activities. They are easy to talk with and happy to answer questions.Watching the battle is amazing and informative. It’s also loud, so bring ear plugs. Both sides use realistic tactics from the war as the tide of soldiers ebbs and flows in an attempt to command the battlefield. For this event it was difficult to park inside the park, but there was plenty of street parking on Braddock road to accommodate the modest crowd.
The park is open during daylight hours
From 395 exit at King street and head South East to Braddock road. Take a right on Braddock and Fort Ward will be about a mile on your right.
From Old Town Alexandria head west on Braddock road, passing by the metro station. The fort will be about three miles on your right, shortly after you pass the intersection with King Street.