old stone building with a sign that says Mill House Museum

Looking for fun things to do in Occoquan? Historic Occoquan is a quaint neighborhood less than an hour from Washington, DC. It’s a great day trip from DC for those who love history, charming small towns, and water activities.

I first discovered Occoquan completely by accident. I was meeting someone in the area, and as soon as I stepped out of my car, I fell in love with its quaint and cuteness.

River Mill Park: A Must Visit in Occoquan

The best thing about River Mill Park is the mini waterfall that feeds into the Occoquan River. The Park is pretty small but its perfect for family outings or romantic walks. It’s usually quiet and the views are super relaxing.

Remember to take photos with the infamous Virginia LOVE sign in front of the park. Although I saw a few people near the river, I don’t think this is a great place for swimming. But its a great place for watching the sunset! I hope you enjoy some of the photos I took.

Visit the Mill House Museum

old stone building with a sign that says Mill House Museum
Mill House Museum

The Mill House Museum is located next to River Mill Park. It’s a small and charming museum; you don’t need more than an hour inside. It’s a great place to learn about early American life and culture, and the staff is super knowledgeable.

The exterior of the museum is my favorite part. It looks like a cabin taken straight out of the pages of Anne of Green Gables.

Visit Mamie Davis Park: Fun Things to Do in Occoquan

Mamie Davis Park is perfect for romantic strolls. I saw so many couples enjoying the view during my trip. It isn’t too busy, even during the weekend. If you’re lucky, you might catch someone having a wedding in the gazebo.

The park is named after a long-time resident and official.

Enjoying a Coffee at the Secret Garden Cafe

The Secret Garden Cafe is one of the most popular places in Occoquan. I was surprised by how international their menu is. They have Indian curry, Korean-inspired plates, and shrimp and grits. The outdoor seating reminds me of someone’s house. It’s very intimate and laid-back, with lots of plants and even a small fountain.

The cafe is cozy and has a good-sized menu. While everything I ordered was great, I strongly recommend the pecan coconut cake.

a sign that says "Secret Garden Cafe" in a small alleyway
Secret Garden Cafe

Snack at Ballywhack Shack

sign says Ballywack Shack with a chalk menu on the right of the sign

Locals love this spot for a quick bite. They have lots of freshly made sandwiches and it can get a bit busy. My friends loved their Greek wrap and I liked my avocado toast. There weren’t a lot of vegan options and vegan cheese was available for extra. I recommend ordering the Watermelon Rose Mint Italian soda. It’s a tasty and refreshing drink during hot summer days.

Diving With Patriot Diving

a few signs , the middle one says Patriot Diving

Have you ever thought about becoming a scuba diver? Patriot Diving is one of the few diving stores near Washington DC. They offer discovery scuba diving, Openwater Diving, and specialized classes. They even offer mermaid courses! If you want to learn more about becoming a professional mermaid check out this blog post about my experience becoming a PADI Advanced Mermaid.

Kayaking at Penguin Paddling

colorful kayaks and a houseboat in Occoquan

Penguin Paddling is located right in front of Madigan’s Waterfront. There are no reservations, so it’s first come, first serve. If you love the outdoors, you’ll love kayaking with Penguin Paddling on the Occoquan River.

Lunch at Madigan’s Waterfront

a waterfront restaurant with lots of outdoor seating in Occoquan

To end your perfect day in Occoquan, I recommend getting to Madigan’s Waterfront early enough to catch the sunset. They have lots of outdoor seating, and the view of the river is amazing.

People go crazy for their seafood boil and mussels. They even have a few vegan and vegetarian options.

After living in the area for so long, I’m disappointed that it took me so long to visit. Occoquan is a charming city with a rich history, beautiful architecture, and scenic views.

How Long Should I Visit Occoquan?

Historical Occoquan is quite small. Two days is enough time to enjoy the park, roam the museum, and explore the river, but you can also get a lot done in one day.

Hotels Near Occoquan Virginia

Vintage looking burgundy and cream condos in the Occoquan Waterfton

If you want to experience the scenic side of Occoquan, then I recommend staying in Historic Occoquan. Many beautiful privately owned condos are located in the middle of everything. I took lots of pictures because the condos have a unique look! I’ve never seen anything like them in the USA. You can also check out a few hotels on Booking.com.

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