Occoquan Reservoir, Virginia, USA

Also known as:  Occoquan River Reservoir or Lake Occoquan

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Occoquan Reservoir — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Occoquan Reservoir

In the dialect of the Native American Dogue tribe, “occoquan” means “at the end of the water.” The Dogue tribe occupied Northern Virginia up until the mid-1600s. They farmed, fished and hunted in the lands and waters of what is now called the Occoquan Watershed — the drainage basin for the 2,100-acre Occoquan Reservoir.

The long, meandering reservoir traces the border of Fairfax and Prince William counties, Virginia. The two counties have swelling populations, are part of the regional metropolitan area and are just a few miles from the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. The Occoquan Reservoir is formed by the convergence of the Occoquan and Bull Run Rivers. Impounded by the Alexandria Water Company in 1957, it provides drinking water supply to over a million people in both Fairfax and Prince William counties.

An alluring fishing spot, fly fishers and anglers will reel in a diverse range of fish: largemouth bass, bluegill, black and white crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, northern pike and white perch are popular targets. Boating is another serious passion on Occoquan Reservoir, flanked by steep shorelines and overhanging trees that break the wind. Occoquan River Reservoir’s narrow, river-like characteristic is attractive to rowers of all kinds, and the 10-horsepower limit on boat motors diminishes the water disturbance level for patient anglers.

Lake Occoquan courses through and past attractive scenery and nature parks. The Occoquan Regional Park, Sandy Run Regional Park, and Fountainhead Regional Park are all situated along the banks of the reservoir. Combined, they provide boat ramps, boat storage, walking trails, and boat and canoe rentals. The Fountainhead Regional Park has camping, canoeing and kayaking facilities as well as horseback riding and mountain bike trails. The Sandy Run Regional Park is the site of Olympic canoeing and the Occoquan Regional Park retains the memory of a prison farm where women suffragists were imprisoned after demonstrating in front of the White House.

Below the Occoquan Reservoir Dam, the reservoir opens into the brackish Belmont and Occoquan Bays and further into the Potomac River, a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. On the shores of Belmont and Occoquan Bays, you will find Mason Neck State Park and Potomac Shoreline State Park. Both parks offer more bird watching and hiking opportunities as well as scenic subjects for the passionate photographer. Adjacent to Mason Neck State Park is the Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge, created to protect bald eagle nesting. Observe northern Virginia’s teeming wildlife among the parks’ forests and marshes and peel your eyes for eagle sightings.

Vacation rentals and real estate options are as varied as in any major metropolitan region. Northern Virginia has retained both a unique imprint of southern antiquity (most apparent in the preserved plantations and colonial homes) and natural landscapes. The Occoquan Reservoir and its surrounding parks and refuges provide a quick and easy escape for residents who live in the bustling cities that are so remarkably close by; it may well be the reason why some have chosen to settle here. While you are paddling through the gentle water, or hiking through miles and miles of forest trees with the sounds of birds filling your ears, you could well forget that you were in the middle of a metropolis and not in the great abandon of a wilderness.

Things to Do at Occoquan Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish Species Found at Occoquan Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • White Crappie
  • White Perch

Find Places to Stay at Occoquan Reservoir

If you’re considering a Occoquan Reservoir lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Occoquan Reservoir Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Occoquan Reservoir lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Occoquan Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Fairfax County (VA) Water Authority

Surface Area: 2,100 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 52 feet

Average Depth: 17 feet

Maximum Depth: 65 feet

Water Volume: 25,472 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1957

Water Residence Time: 19.6 days

Drainage Area: 590 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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