Southern NOVA


Prince William County and Stafford County are located in the southern reaches of the Northern Virginia (NOVA) suburban area. Similarities with Fairfax County are numerous, and some statistics even surpass those of Fairfax County. The schools are highly ranked, incomes are high, yet the cost of living is lower and the neighborhoods are more rural. Unless you’re commuting to MCB Quantico or Fort Belvoir, the drive north is long and arduous.  

A lot of military families choose to live in Southern NOVA for its natural beauty and the community’s emphasis on outdoor activities. The numerous acres of parkland, nature refuges, lakes, forests, trails, and golf courses lure residents outside. Potomac Mills is known for its shopping, and the area’s Civil War battlefields are always fun to explore.  


Southern NOVA residents are an active group and take advantage of the opportunities for outdoor recreation. Hiking, fishing, boating, camping, horseback riding, and of course golfing are all popular ways to blow off the city-induced stress. There are many military families that migrate to this area for the space and quieter lifestyle. Like most of Northern Virginia, you’ll also find residents that work in a variety of sectors.

Neighborhood Feel

There are many types of communities in Southern NOVA, ranging from rural to urban. Some of the more densely populated cities lie on the I-95 corridor, and tend to thin out as you travel away from this DC commuter artery.

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Neighborhood Location

Neighborhood Info

Southern NOVA - MCB Quanitco & Fort Belvoir - Washington D.C. -


Stafford is a rapidly growing rural-suburban area just south of MCB Quantico. Affordable homes, lower taxes and cost of living are attracting people to this quiet community. This area offers land and seclusion, but at the cost of a horrendous commute to everywhere except MCB Quantico.


Home Size in Stafford

You can find just about anything you’re looking for in Stafford; from small ranchers to 5,000 square foot mansions. The bonus here is the added space and opportunity for acreage and seclusion. The growing focus on the area is also bringing tons of new developments.

Home Prices in Stafford

The median home value for single family homes in Stafford is $333,500 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Stafford is $2,015.

Commuting from Stafford

Getting to MCB Quantico from Stafford is a 20 minute drive up I-95. The VRE also extends to Stafford providing a viable, but lengthy, option for commuting to DC and the Metro. The next closest installation to Stafford is Fort Belvoir, but traveling north 30 miles can easily take up to two hours.   


Woodbridge boasts large, affordable homes and one of the region’s most well-known shopping centers—the Potomac Mills Mall. There is also an Ikea in Woodbridge that draws shoppers from all over Northern Virginia. A lot of people like being in Woodbridge because of the size and affordability of the homes. And while it is a very tough commute to bases to the north,the reverse commute to MCB Quantico is ideal. The schools in Woodbridge belong to Prince William County Schools and are similarly rated to those in Fairfax County.


Home Size in Woodbridge

If you have your heart set on a large new build in master planned communities, then you’ll love Woodbridge. The home prices are less inflated than in some areas closer to DC, and you still have all the amenities that you would expect to find in a large city.

Home Prices in Woodbridge

The median home value for single family homes in Woodbridge is $346,100 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Woodbridge is $1,900.

Commuting from Woodbridge

A lot of the families we’ve spoken to have all agreed on one thing—they were lured to the area by attractive, affordable homes, but they grossly underestimated the commute times. The only base that Woodbridge is 20 minutes away from is MCB Quantico, and that is mainly because you’re reverse commuting. If someone tells you anything else, politely ignore them. Even the commute home from Fort Belvoir, which is roughly 10 miles away, could potentially take you a solid hour! The VRE feeds into the Metro and is a great option for those not looking to drive, but will still take significant time from your day.   

Points of Interest

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Manassas Train Station

Leesylvania State Park, Prince William Forest Park

Splash Down Waterpark

Pfitzner Stadium

Burnside Farms

BadWolf Brewing Company, Heritage Brewing Company, The Winery at La Grange

Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Ben Lomond Manor House & Old Rose Garden

Big Plus

If you plan to live this far away from DC, commuting in via I-95 (southern suburbs) is considered preferable to driving in via I-66 (western suburbs). Stafford and Woodbridge have similar perks as Chantilly or Centreville, but I-95 is better equipped to handle the commuter traffic with more HOV, Express Lanes, and more available options for slugging and carpools.

Outdoor fanatics or those looking to live “out in the county” will find refuge here. The availability of homes with acreage increases the farther south you go, especially in Stafford.  

Southern NOVA boasts lower taxes and cost of living than areas closer to DC.

If you frequently travel south down the Eastern Seaboard, living this far south will give you a huge head start on traffic.

Things to Consider

If you want to be close enough to the District to take advantage of all that the city has to offer, you’re going to really want to consider the commute. Venturing into the city will be an all day excursion no matter how you plan to get there, and you’ll have a very strict “leave by 2-3pm” deadline on any activity. Unless of course, you enjoy sitting on I-95 for hours.

Although the schools are still held to the high standards of the Commonwealth of Virginia, some parents have expressed a preference to Fairfax County Schools over Prince William County or Stafford County. We suggest researching your district and school choices to see if there would be a significant impact for your student.

We’ll go ahead and mention traffic one more time to drive the point home. The proximity of some neighborhoods to I-95 affects local traffic as well. The shopping epicenters are typically congested 24/7 and you will battle that daily, even if you aren’t commuting for work. Public transit options are limited to the VRE, so driving is the most common mode of transportation.

How’s the Market?

The median home value for single family homes in Prince William County is $335,700 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). Home Values are forecasted to increase by 2.2% in the coming year. According to Zillow’s Rental Index, the median rental rate for single-family homes in Prince William County is $2,000.

The median home value for all homes, including condos, in Stafford County is $306,300 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). Home Values are forecasted to increase by 1.5% in the coming year. According to Zillow’s Rental Index, the median rental rate for single-family homes in Stafford County is $1,874.

School Scoop

Prince William County contains 109 schools. One of the best schools is Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, which is rated 10, according to Public schools in Woodbridge are part of Prince William County Public Schools.

Stafford County contains 36 schools. One of the highest rated schools is Garrisonville Elementary School, which is rated 9, according to Public schools in Stafford belong to Stafford County Public Schools.

Virginia does not follow Common Core standards, so you will want to be acquainted with the Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning (SOLs) to be sure that your student is prepared, especially when transferring from a Common Core state.

Highlighted Areas


— Lake Ridge

— May’s Quarter

— Newport Estates


— Aquia Harbor

— Aquia Overlook

— Embrey Hill

— Austin Ridge

— Liberty Knolls at Colonial Forge