Living in Occoquan VA | Old Town Occoquan – History
Occoquan has been a vibrant, picturesque small town since the 18th century and is one of the few “Old Towns” in Prince William County. It sits along the banks of the Occoquan River and is known for its historic charm, family owned restaurants, specialty shops, and boardwalk. The town was a hub for commerce and trade, with mills, shops, and warehouses lining its waterfront.
When Occoquan was first recognized as a town, it consisted of public tobacco warehouses and then came the iron furnaces on the Occoquan River and the town’s first water powered Grist Mill. The Miller’s House, now the Mill House Museum, was the second grist mill to be built and is the only remaining part of the Merchant’s Mill. One of the first cotton mills in Virginia was built in the town of Occoquan. John Beledine is considered the town’s founder.
Today, many of these historic buildings have been preserved and converted into boutique shops, restaurants, and art galleries. The town also features a small marina, and just about 1000 people call Occoquan their home. But just because it’s a small town does not mean that it doesn’t have a huge draw.
Townhomes built about 10 years ago are in the $600,000 range. There are smaller townhomes built in the 1980’s and those are in the low $500,000’s. There are also Victorian, waterfront townhomes that are unique to Occoquan and feature elevators and parking. Their pricing ranges from $800,000-1,000,000.
There are some awesome condo townhomes in the $400,000’s. There are also a few great options for one level condos and their pricing ranges from $145,000-325,000. They are walking distance to the main part of town.
Single family homes vary widely in style and pricing. Prices range from $400,000-1,500,000. You have a mix of custom homes, historic homes, and smaller ramblers, split foyers and split level homes. There is something for every price point, which makes Occoquan a great place to live.
There is also a senior community with one-level single family detached homes, and those are in the $500,000’s as well.
Occoquan has a thriving food scene with a plethora of choices, no matter your craving! One of the best restaurants in the town is the Secret Garden. The food is amazing, approachable and the patio is picturesque. You have to walk up beautiful stone stairs to reach the restaurant entrance and instantly you understand why the restaurant is named the Secret Garden.
Cock and Bowl Belgian Bistro is also amazing. I love their mussels and delicious beer options. They have so many awesome choices on the menu that you will want to keep coming back for more.
Bottle Stop Wine Bar is also one of my favorites in town. Their wine options are stellar and the food is so good. The staff is incredibly friendly and this could easily become your “Cheers”!
Madigan’s is an institution in Occoquan and has great seafood on the water. They also have great karaoke and a sizable bar area if you are more in the mood for a bar scene.
Zorba’s is a really fantastic, casual Greek restaurant that will not disappoint. They have a great patio and it has a great atmosphere. The Cyprus Sub is so good!
Baan Thai is also a great spot and has truly great Thai food. Check out their Papaya Salad. It’s amazing! If you are looking for some more casual options, Bar J Chili, Ballywhack Shack, and Third Base & Frozen Custard Shop are all really great. The Spot on Mill Street is a great cafe and has so many delicious snacks and goodies.
Occoquan has some of the best festivals and markets that attract tons of people from all over the DMV area. The Fall Arts & Crafts Show and the Riverfest & Craft Show are two amazing festivals that feature so many artisans and vendors. Their Holiday Market is so charming and has so many great vendors with unique gifts and decorations.
The town is home to several art galleries and an active arts scene. In 2017, the Town Council adopted an ordinance that established the NOVA Arts and Cultural District, which in addition to the town, includes the Workhouse Arts Center and the Occoquan Regional Park in Fairfax. As Virginia’s first interjurisdictional arts and cultural district, this new district aims to expand arts and cultural opportunities available to visitors in Prince William County and Fairfax County.
The town also features a Kayak Launch Hand-Carry Ramp. It is a free, 24/7 public access ramp that is suitable for people with ambulatory disabilities. You place your kayak or canoe on the launch ramp and then slide down the rollers into the Occoquan River. There is no motorized or trailer access at this ramp.
If you love outdoor concerts, you should definitely check out the Music on Mill summer concert series that features concerts of many types of music genres. The concerts are free and subject to the weather conditions!
If you are a fan of Peeps, you need to check out Occoquan’s Peep Week! Take a stroll through the town and stop all of the different businesses and the Town Hall to check out their Peep displays and dioramas. You can also enter your own Peep display or diorama and it will be featured in the Town Hall. Vote on the best display and you are entered to win $100 in gift cards to local businesses.
River Mill Park also has Trivia Nights that run from May through October. Tickets per event are $30 for up to 8 people or you can buy a season pass to Trivia Nights. The trivia nights are themed and you can pack a picnic. Outside alcohol is not permitted but you can order alcohol and food from The Spot on Mill Street and they will deliver it to your crew at the park.
Make sure you check out the Nathaniel Ellicott footbridge over the Occoquan!
Family & Kids
Occoquan Residents are served by Prince William County Schools. Occoquan Elementary serves the small town and is Pre-K through 5th grade. The Great Schools Score is a 6, which is above average, but the parent reviews are all glowingly positive. Parents mention a diverse body of students who are respectful and kind and for anyone.
Then, we have middle school. Fred Lynn Middle is below average on Great Schools but the telling remarks are in the other comments, i.e. not the standardized test scores which tell you nothing about how it is on a daily basis at the school. From April of 2023, a current student says there are a lot of fights and that the new principal ruined the school mascot. That sort of contradicts the April 2020 comment from a parent, thanking the then-Principal and saying this school is about to become the best in Prince William County.
Occoquan is zoned for Woodbridge High School which is a 4 on Great Schools. The parent comments in the most recent few years are overwhelmingly positive, which is a good sign.
Occoquan is a charming, historic town with a picturesque setting and a strong sense of community. It is a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful escape from the city, while still having convenient access to the amenities and attractions of the rest of Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. It’s a great location for commuting and still gives you the affordability of Prince William County real estate prices. You will love living here!