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Picnic Reservation Frequently Asked Questions

Family enjoying a party held at a picnic shelter.

  How do I make a reservation?

Download and complete the Picnic Reservation Application.

Please type or print clearly. Complete the information requested on the application and send via:

  • Email:
  • Fax: 703-653-6672
  • Mail:
    FCPA Park Services Division - Picnic Coordinator
    12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 927
    Fairfax, VA 22035
  • In Person: 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 425, Fairfax, VA 22035
    Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

  Do you block or hold any days by phone or email?

No, the picnic staff can't hold or block any dates until they have received your application with the full payment. Please note that if you submit your application and payment by mail it can take up to a week to reach our office.

 How long does the reservation process take?

The process takes as little as 3-5 business days to issue a permit if there are no questions with your application. Once approved, a permit will be sent to you via e-mail or mail. Your choice of location, date or time might not be available by the time your application is received if sent by mail. Please plan accordingly by mailing your request early or submitting it by email or fax.

 When is the best time to make a reservation?

Applications for the calendar year are accepted beginning January 1. Many locations are booked early in the year. For the best chance of reserving your chosen date and space, please submit an application as soon as possible.

 What does Prime rate or Non-Prime rate mean?
  • Prime rates are Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays
  • Non-Prime rates are Monday through Thursday

 What are the half day rental hours and how do they work?

All rentals are for a single day, one time use. Certain locations offer half day rentals from April 1 through September 30. Please check the picnic calendar of availability to see if the option exists. There are two predetermined time slots for half day rentals:

  • Morning Time Slot: 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • Evening Time Slot: 3:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.

If your reservation does not fall within those times, you will need to make a full day reservation.

  What if I want to change or cancel my reservation?
  • Cancellations/Changes requested more than 10 days before the event will incur a $25 processing fee.
  • Cancellations/Changes to the reservation are not allowed within 10 days of the event.

 Are discounts available?

We offer a 10% discount of the total rental fee to groups who submit an application for a minimum of 5 areas or dates during the calendar year. The applications and payments must be submitted together.

 Is parking included with my reservation?

Parking is not guaranteed close to your location. Vehicles must park in designated paved and gravel areas only. Parking on the grass is prohibited.

At Burke Lake Park non-county residents’ vehicles are subject to a park entrance fee on weekends and holidays. Those having parties at Burke Lake Park may pay the gate fee for their non-county resident guests by downloading the Gate Pre-Payment Form and following directions at the top of the form.

 What is a Sportsbag?

Sportsbags are available for rent at Burke Lake, Frying Pan, Lake Accotink, Lake Fairfax, and Riverbend parks. Depending on the location the bag may include sporting equipment such as a soccer ball, bocce ball set and volleyball. The rental fee is $25.

 Can I have a moon bounce or amplified sound at my event?

Special permission is required for a moon bounce or amplified sound at your event; some parks do not allow these features. Submit your request on your picnic application along with the non-refundable $25 permit fee.

  • You must have a reservation and permit in order to have a moon bounce or amplified sound.
  • Burke Lake, Lake Accotink and Clemyjontri Park do not allow moon bounces.
  • Lake Accotink and Lake Fairfax do not allow amplified sound.

 What additional features can I have at my event?

A Special Use Permit is required for attractions such as moon bounces, carnival rides, laser tag, pony rides, or large group trail use at your event. Please note these special request items on your picnic application, include your $25 payment and we will contact you if your request is granted or denied by the park management. If your request is denied, you will not be charged the $25 fee.

A Business Activity License is required to use Park Authority property for the purpose of generating revenue or raising funds.

 Can I have a caterer at my event?

Catering is allowed and should be contracted independently. We do not provide catering services or recommend specific catering companies.

 What if it rains on the day of my event?

Shelter, canopy, and gazebo reservations are not refundable due to inclement weather. For picnic area reservations, you have 48 hours from the start time of your event to call the picnic reservation line and request a refund. Refund requests will not be allowed after the 48 hour period.

 What happens if someone is occupying the area I have reserved?

The group representative must have a copy of the picnic permit in hand on the day of the event. Show anyone using your reserved space your permit and ask them to vacate the area. If the park is staffed you may contact the staff for further assistance. At parks that are not staffed you may contact the Fairfax County Police at their non-emergency phone number: 703-691-2131.

 What if I have a specific question and need to speak to someone?

For questions during the week, please call the picnic reservation line at 703-324-8732. Due to the volume of calls, this phone line is an answering machine. Messages are retrieved throughout the workweek and calls are returned as soon as possible. Please be as detailed as possible in order for us to assist you as efficiently as possible. Please note, messages left over the weekend will be returned on Monday, excluding holidays.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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