After a couple years in DC, I began to hear about people venturing to Maryland to take pictures in sunflower fields. However, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I started to pay attention after being bombarded with posts and ads about them on Facebook. After looking at my options, I decided that it would be to visit a sunflower field. So, I decided to take a few hours on the last weekend before my surgery to visit the sunflower fields at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area.
McKee-Besher Wildlife Management Area Background
The McKee-Besher WMA is a 2,000 acre tract along River Road south of Poolesville, Maryland. The WMA “provides habitat for a great diversity of wildlife species including deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, over 200 species of songbirds, and numerous reptiles and amphibians.” It also shares a border with the National Park Service’s Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. However, most people know MBWMA for their seven large sunflower fields.
Getting to the McKee-Besher WMA
Driving to the sunflower fields at McKee-Besher WMA is relatively easy for those in Maryland and DC. However, it is a different story for those of us in Northern Virginia. In fact, while MBWMA is 5 physical miles from my house, it takes an hour to get there due to a lack of bridges across the Potomac River. Instead, us NOVA folks have to detour east to the Beltway or northwest to Point of Rocks to cross the Potomac River.
One of my favorite ways to cross the Potomac River in NOVA is to take White’s Ferry. The historic car ferry is accessible just north of Leesburg. It costs $5 each way and best of all, cut drive to MBWMA by about 15 minutes.
Exploring the Sunflower Fields
As I have mentioned previously, my visit was pre-surgery – which meant I was visiting in a walking boot. After a bit of googling, I determined that the sunflower field that was most accessible was the one connected to the parking lot directly on River Road. (They don’t have names… but it’s the only one right on River Road). Thankfully, I was able to find a parking space right near the short trail to the field.
After parking, I grabbed my camera and took off towards the fields. As soon as I rounded the corner, all I could see was a sea of sunflowers.
While I was in a walking boot, I did do some tentative exploring in the field and was able to grab some awesome pictures. There were so many people there, but overall people were respectful and took turns taking pictures. Well, except for that couple in the blue outfits that made everyone angry… karma will find them, lol.
Tips for Viewing the Sunflower Fields at McKee-Beshers WMA
- Get there early! No specific hours are posted anywhere I can find, but most natural areas are open from dawn to dusk.
- Bring a ladder if you want to take pictures from a different prospective. The sunflowers are beautiful from the ground, but lots of photographers had stools and ladders to get a better viewpoint.
- Wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy. I was there on a rainy day and I needed rain boots! Even on non-rainy days, you are in a field and can pick up bugs and ticks. So be prepared.
- There are no bathrooms, so stop in Poolesville or elsewhere before visiting.
- There are bees everywhere. I never got stung, but be prepared for anyone who may have allergies.