The Rappahannock River provides the northern boundary for the city, running along much of its historic downtown. The river played a dominate role in Fredericksburg’s history and remains one of the community’s biggest assets. It is the county’s longest free flowing river in the eastern United States, originating in the Shenandoah National Park of western Virginia and extending east 184 miles to the Chesapeake Bay.
It offers one of the most scenic and best-protected river corridors in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. View information about the Rappahannock River or information about Friends of the Rappahannock, a volunteer organization dedicated to maintaining the water quality and scenic beauty of the river.
The Potomac River forms part of the borders between Washington, D.C., and Virginia on the left descending bank and Maryland and Virginia on the river's right descending bank. The majority of the lower Potomac River is part of the State of Maryland. Exceptions include a small tidal portion within the District of Columbia, and the border with Virginia being delineated from "point to point" (thus various bays and shoreline indentations lie in Virginia).
Except for a small portion of its headwaters in West Virginia, the North Branch Potomac River is considered part of Maryland to the low water mark on the opposite bank. The South Branch Potomac River lies completely within the state of West Virginia except for its headwaters, which lie in Virginia.