Area residents looking for a little extra room this holiday season to house their growing list of visiting relatives and in-laws don’t have to check for vacancies in local hotels. Instead, Fairfax County has once again decided to open Lake Fairfax Park in Reston year-round. Never mind last weekend’s early bitter blast of cold air and snow, Lake Fairfax campgrounds will be there to handle any overflow or unexpected family guests this winter. Lake Fairfax has been operating on a seasonal schedule since the early 1990s, according to Judy Pedersen, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Park Authority.
So why would anyone want to pitch a tent or park their RV in the middle winter? “I don’t know. I suspect it’s something you either really like or not. I can’t imagine it, but you never know,” a laughing Pedersen said. “I really can’t explain it. I have never met these people, but they must be hearty.”
The park has 136 campsites, 70 of which have electrical hookups, a bathhouse with sinks, showers and toilets, a dump station, public phones, a camp store, picnic tables and grills, park officials said in their release trumpeting the announcement. “Lake Fairfax is a revenue generating park, so we wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t a demand for it,” said Pedersen. “Obviously, it’s not for everyone, but if you love to camp, this is very convenient for local families or people traveling all across the county to Washington, D.C. This is one of many stops for them. And with a lake in the middle of the park, it is even pretty during the winter.”
The park and its campgrounds are subject to closings due to weather, Pedersen said. Visitors are advised to contact the county to determine the availability of the park and its on-site amenities.
While there may be no central heating or maid service, campers can stay at the park for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room or rooms. Recreational vehicles are $18 per night and tents are $15 per night. “Basically, it’s inexpensive, that’s one of the biggest draws,” Pedersen said.
Visitors can stay as long as two weeks during this non-prime season. For reservations and more information, contact the park at 703-471-5415.
— Jeff Green