First Time Visit to Machicomoco State Park

Machicomoco State Park is one of Virginia’s newest parks and is a wonderful place to visit, camp, kayak or just spend an afternoon. This park is relatively close to us, so we had the opportunity to spend time exploring and seeing what it has to offer.

Table of Contents

Machicomoco Map

Address: 3601 Timberneck Farm Road, Hayes, Virginia 23072

Black and white map of Machicomoco state park

What does Machicomoco mean? 

The term is Powhatan or Virginia Algonquian for ‘A Special Meeting Place’. This is unique as this is the first state park in Virginia dedicated entirely to indigenous peoples. With Werowocomoco, the Powhatan tribal chiefs meeting place, only 10 miles upriver, it seems a fitting location.

Machicomoco State Park Entrance Sign

Primary sites and things to do on a First Time Visit to Machicomoco State Park

So, what is there to do at Machicomoco? For such a small park, it has a lot. Being in a prime location right next to the York River it can offer several great activities for families and the solo visitor.

open air interpretive shelter at Machicomoco State Park

Interpretive Area

The Interpretive area has two pavilions and restroom facilities, as well as open air exhibits that help convey the history of indigenous peoples in the area. A timeline with information markers can be found along a metal rail on the walkway, leading up to more in-depth exhibits about the local Powhatan tribes.

18c Timberneck Farmhouse with purple flowers in foreground

Timberneck Farm House

Next to the interpretive area is the 18th century Timberneck farmhouse. It was built around the 1790’s with several additions added afterwards. It is currently being renovated, but during a talk with the Foundation President, the long-term goal is to open the house to overnight visitors.

With the amazing views and interesting period architecture, it would certainly be unique place to stay.

wooden Boardwalk path toward forest canopy on a first time visit to Machicomoco State Park


While a fairly small park, there are a few places to hiking to enjoy the sites along the York River.

Loop Trail

  • Distance: 3.1m
  • Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Description: This trail is actually along the driving loop road of the park.  This will take you to all the locations of the park, including the interpretive area, dock, Kayak launch and campground.

Interpretive Tail

  • Distance: 0.7m
  • Type: Loop Trail
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Description: There are several interconnected trails in the interpretive area of the park south of the Timberneck house. This path takes you to an overlook.  Another path further west takes you to a pier with a view of the Coleman bridge. A neat discovery was wording along the boardwalk pier that shows various common words, such as crab and turtle in English, Algonquian and a picture of the word on a post. Very clever!

Forestry Trail

  • Distance: 2.4m
  • Type: Up and Back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Description: An up and back trail that take you from the interpretive area along a windy path through the parking area of the boat launch and ends near the campground.  Most of it is low cut grass surrounded by high grass fields and trees along the coastline. We found honeysuckle along the path you will also easily discover flowers, birds, and other wildlife.

As always when hiking, remember to use your Leave No Trace principles! Remember, take only pictures and leave only footprints.


With proximity to the York River, the park provides a boat launch off a 150 ft. pier for kayaking/canoeing.

Participate in a Special Ranger Program

Keep an eye on the Machicomoco State Park’s main website for special events and activities planned by the State Park Rangers. We visited the Saturday before Mother’s Day and stumbled upon some Park Rangers offering a greeting card decorating craft project. They had various pressed flowers collected around the park for the kids to decorate it. (My daughter was thrilled!)

Girl making a craft project with a park ranger looking on under a pavilion

Camping (they have Yurts!)

There are campsites that support RVs and tent camping. They also have yurts that can be reserved as well. 


The park does not have any area designated for swimming.

Park Stamps

For those with a collecting mindset, the park is also part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Therefore, you can find one of the National Park Service Cancellation stamps here.

There are over 40 stamps on the trail spanning three states. You can learn more about the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail at their detailed NPS site.

Along with the National Park Service stamps, you will also find a neat Machicomoco State Park stamp as well.

Virginia Trail Quest

Virginia has over 40 state parks and many with cultural and historic significance.

If you are going to even go to a few more, you have to check out the Virginia Trail Quest program! You can get some cool free pins as you visit more Virginia Parks.

Virginia state park lapel pin with compas and number 5 in the center

Viriginia State Park Map

Want to visit some more Viriginia State Parks? Dig into the map below to find some interesting places to visit in the Old Dominion.

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