The majority of our away regattas, including the state championships, are held on the Occoquan at the boathouse at Sandy Run Regional Park. Please make note that this area is very spread out and involves a lot of walking. Make sure to wear good walking shoes – no sandals or flip flops. The area where the Regatta Headquarters is located includes the boat launch area, the boat trailers, the W-L team tent (where rowers hang out), and a concession area.
The race finish line and the grandstand/cheering section are located further up the river. The two areas are connected by a trail that goes through the woods – about ½ mile. The trail is a dirt path, not paved, but is a lovely walk along the river and the forest. There is also a food concession stand at the grandstand, along with bathrooms. Unfortunately, no pets permitted in the park on race days.
Coaches will let us know the day before the race what time your rower needs to be at W-L to catch the team bus. As always, rowers will stay all day at the race and return to the PBC to put boats up at the end of the day. The bus will then take them back to W-L (there will be a team text message when they are leaving Georgetown to return to W-L – you can also ask your rower to let you know when they are over Key Bridge and heading back to W-L).
Take I-395 South to I-95. Continue south about 15 miles. Just after crossing the Occoquan River take Exit 160 (Route 123 North -Occoquan/Lakeridge) and proceed on Rt 123 approximately 3 miles to Hampton Road. Turn left at the light onto Hampton Road and go approximately 1 mile to Van Thompson Road and turn left. Follow Van Thompson to parking lots.
With no delays (check traffic report the morning of the race) the park entrance to Sandy Run Regional Park is about 30 minutes from Arlington. However, you should estimate an additional 1.5 to 2 hours once you get there to park and to then walk down to the finish line viewing area just in case the parking gods are not smiling upon you. The earlier you get there, the better chance of finding parking closer to the race course.
If you are on Twitter, follow #VASRAParking for up to date information on the parking situation. Much of the 1.5 to 2 hour estimate is for backtracking to the satellite lot and you can save yourself some time knowing the parking situation.
Parking is $15.00 per car. Cash only – exact change appreciated by the volunteer parent parking crew!
The parking crew will direct you on where to park. No parking allowed along neighborhood roads. Remember what lot you parked in!
Again, plan to arrive at the parking area at least two hours prior to your rower’s race. You can never be too early, but you can be late so please look at that two hours as a conservative estimate and get their earlier if you can.
It can get very crowded at the Occoquan races, so you may have to park in a satellite parking lot – there are shuttles to then take you to the main lot (Lot C). The walking path from this lot to the finish line/viewing area is about a 20 minute walk. Feel free to ask others where the path(s) are to get to the viewing area – everyone is very helpful! When on this trail, you will come to a T in the path — go to the left to reach the viewing area. Going to the right will take you to the boathouse and the W-L team tent.
If you get to Lot C with time to spare, however, you could walk straight down the road to where the teams launch the boats. Just make sure to not get in the way of any of the boats being taken in/out of the launch area! This is also the area where the W-L team tent will be set up/where the rowers will be during down time. If you have time, stop by to say hello to your rower and then take the path that runs along the river to the grandstands.
If you do not want to walk to the race, there is usually a shuttle bus that can take you to the viewing area. Ask the parking attendants how to find the shuttle and the price.
We highly recommend you get to the races early due to the parking. If you are coming later in the morning, satellite parking is usually in a shopping center on the left just off the exit from 95 and is just opposite from 12849 Gordon Blvd. (Rt. 123) Woodbridge. Check #VASRAParking on twitter to confirm.
Directions: Turn south on Rt. 123. Proceed 4.8 miles, crossing the Occoquan River. The parking lot is on the right, the old Hechinger’s location, at the intersection of Rt. 123 and Old Bridge Rd.
Buses leave approximately every 30 minutes and cost $5/person (round trip).
It is highly recommended to carpool – talk to other parents or use the novice listserve to coordinate finding a ride.
Race Course and Viewing Area
The race course is on the Occoquan Reservoir. There is a permanent grandstand with a shade cover at the finish/viewing area. W-L parents tend to set up chairs and stand in front of the grandstand/along the water. Look for others wearing W-L hats/shirts and join us to cheer on our rowers. Remember the “Go W-L” chant!
Check out the schedule for all the W-L boats’ races and plan to cheer all our rowers and boats on. It is wonderful when we have a lot of W-L parents (regardless of being novice, freshmen, or Varsity) to support all the W-L boats as they row toward the finish line!
Rowers need to bring their own lunch and snacks for races at the Occoquan. They should pack a lunch, snacks, and drinks. It is a long day, so make sure they have enough healthy food/snacks to sustain their energy levels.
There is a concession stand near the launch area with grilled food, so your rower should also bring some money if they want to purchase food. There is also a concession stand at the viewing area for parents to get food.
The W-L team tent will have water for the rowers. Rowers need to bring their own water bottles.
Your rower will also be able to purchase a shirt that commemorates the race (or you can purchase it for them at the concession stand). The price is usually under $20 and is (again) payable only in cash.
Items for Parents to Bring
- Folding chair
- Bug spray
- Cash for parking and food
- Reading material for between races
- (not allowed in the park are dogs, bikes, or alcohol)
Also — there are only porta-potties (suggest you bring hand sanitizer or hand-wipes — pack some for your rower, too, along with bug spray, sunscreen, and a hat for them)
If you volunteered for a VASRA job at at this or any other race, remember to sign in for W-L to get credit for being there. Once you park, go toward the boat launch area. The sign-in area is in a small building to the right as you near the water that has a large “VOLUNTEER SIGN-IN” sign. If you are doing a job at the finish portion of the course, plan to sign in at least ½ hour before your shift so that you have enough time to walk down to the finish area.