Jones Point Park (Alexandria, VA)

Friday September 14, 2012
By
Jones Point Park

Jones Point Park

125 Jones Point Dr
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Website   ~   Map Link

The Review:

I grew up in the Alexandria area and have been familiar with Jones Point park for a long time.   Sitting in the shadow of the Woodrow Wilson bridge, to me, it was just a scraggly strip of riverfront parkland that was good for letting your dog run off-leash (unofficially), but not much else.

I hadn’t been in several years, so when I read another blogger’s glowing review about the improved park, I knew it was time to return.

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Jones Point Park (JPP) is a National Park located along the Mount Vernon Trail in the southeastern corner of Old Town, Alexandria, VA — directly below where the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (I-495/I-95) crosses the Potomac River.   It has been under renovation since Fall 2010 and has been transformed into a recreational space that park goers of all ages and interests will enjoy.

First, we’ll start with the two new playgrounds.

Playground #1

This new playground, with equipment designed for ages 2-5, is located on the north side of the bridge.  It is completely fenced and has a soft rubber surface.  It features two play structures, several rocker seats, a seesaw, and a ton of swings (4 regular, 4 “bucket”).

It has a nautical theme, which is a nice nod to it’s proximity to the river.  I should mention — the playground is at least a football field’s length from the actual river’s edge — not so close that a toddler is going to wander off and fall in.

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Playground #2

This play area is located on the south side of the bridge and has far fewer frills.  It is also fully fenced, with soft surfacing, but features abstract equipment designed for kids ages 5-12.

The paved paths that lead to this playground feature bronzed pawprints of various indigenous animals and encourage kids to “lumber like a bear” or “trot like a fox” — another nice touch.

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The playgrounds are truly lovely but it’s important to note the following:  they both sit in FULL SUN and very hot on a warm summer day.   Also, they are far enough apart that a mom can’t keep tabs on kids wanting to be in separate areas.

The Woodrow Wilson bridge lies between these two playgrounds, and to me, it is the highlight of the park.   The huge bridge structure provides an enormous shady space that is perfect for young bike riders.

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The actual Mount Vernon bike trail runs through the park, and you will need to make your riders aware of it as cyclists are often moving at a rapid pace.   But the trail is clearly marked and provides an opportunity to remind your rider (or walker) of the rules of the road.

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My young boy (age 4) has learned to ride but is not proficient enough to be on a street with cars or a high traffic bike trail — the great expanse of empty (shady!) concrete was a wonderful place for him to brush up his skills.  He loved it, and so did I.

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Also sitting in the shadow of the bridge is a very nice restroom and water fountain — complete with dog bowl.

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When we stepped inside to use the facilities, I was shocked at how nice, clean and cool it was (it had AC).  Honestly, I think it was the nicest park bathroom I’ve ever been in!

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Next to the bathroom is a large World War I era rudder — a remnant from Jones Point’s history as an industrial shipbuilding yard.

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The rudder is just one of many historical displays.  Throughout the park there is informative signage and history aplenty.  Visitors can follow an interpretative trail throughout the park to learn more about it’s rich and varied history.

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If you follow the gravel path along the water’s edge (note: not ideal for bike riding), you will see both representative markers (shown below) and one of the original markers for the former boundary of the District of Columbia.

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The Jones Point Light is a civil war era lighthouse, no longer in use, but a historical attraction.

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The trail along the riverfront affords lovely views.

You can see across to the National Harbor …

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Or look north towards the Capitol and Washington Monument.  There is also a floating dock for kayaks to tie up alongside.

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All in all, we found Jones Point Park to be a wonderful treasure.  The playgrounds should be great fun in cooler weather and the cycling opportunities are perfect — young riders can hone their skills in safety, and proficient riders can head out along the lovely bike trail.

The renovation has made the park a wonderful boon to the community.  In fact the only ones negatively impacted by these improvements are the dogs.  No longer permitted to roam free, they must remain leashed at all times.   While it’s too bad for Fido, his loss is our gain.

I highly recommend Jones Point park!

Looking for more places to play? Check out my reviews of other Playgrounds, Parks, and Play Areas in Arlington and the greater Metro DC area.

 

Find more parks by visiting my main Arlington Parks & Playgrounds page.

5 Responses to Jones Point Park (Alexandria, VA)

  1. 1
    becky says:

    Isn’t is a fantastic park!? How cool you used to go there and now it’s all redone so you can take your kids. I love taking my little guy there…it’s my favorite park. Great pictures!!

  2. 2
    Courtney says:

    Great review! That park looks AMAZING. I’m always looking for spots where my kids can ride their bikes safely. Thanks for the review and all of the pics!

  3. 3
    Monique says:

    Thanks for your great and totally accurate review!! Took our 2 and 9 month old kids on a perfectly sunny March day…with bikes, and stroller. Felt very prepared, thanks to you!

  4. 4
    Ebony says:

    This looks like a great place to visit. The pictures are great. But I do wish there was some info as to whether it is a pet friendly park (dogs). I would love to bring my small dog to a park like this to enjoy the trails.

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