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As the title says, it is a nice campground, and we would recommend it to anyone, but actually getting a reservation is difficult. I tried for two years before I finally got a reservation. While we were camping (last weekend in March), I checked again and it was all booked up 😨 all summer, crazy. Primitive sites are easy to reserve, and they are in a nice little holler, that offers plenty of shade from the sun, which will be nice in the summer.
They have nice bathrooms/showers/toilets. Need updated but cleanliness is what matters most. Laundry facilities on site too. Wifi available bc there is no LTE service. We love fishing on Paintsville Lake! The boat dock is just above the playground and basketball/volleyball courts, plus there are plenty of places to fish on the bank. Gorgeous views. The Marina has a restaurant in in, but we didn’t get the chance to try it. There is also a gas station 2-3mins up the road that has firewood and propane. It is 10 mins from town too. It is right on the lake so expect geese poop. And as for doggie poop, they even have poo bag stations set up in several different places! Of course we bring our own, but it’s the first campground I’ve seen offer that.
The RV sites are level with gravel and spaced apart. If you’re thinking about camping here AND can get a reservation, do it.
In our trip from Arkansas to the east coast we reserved two nights here based on reviews. I’m sure COVID-19 had a lot to do with the park being in shut down mode but we found the park to be so bad we left after one night. Sites we were assigned were very difficult to get in, extremely unlevel and the sites were unkept and showed a lack of maintenance. We were there on 9/22/20 and the flying knat’s and bugs wouldn’t let you out of the door. My water hookup required a set of pliers to operate and the 30amp plug was installed upside down making it impossible to plug in due to the box being jacked up. Had to use the 50 amp plug/converter. We won’t be back. Hope things change for the better.
The Breaks are considered the “Grand Canyon of the south”. Great mountaintop views, hiking, geocaching, kayaking, paddle boats, a zip line, and seasonal white water rafting all available. A few miles from the campground you’ll even find river access with a sandy beach for summer fun. A wonderful getaway when you want to be away from it all. Several campground sections to choose from with primitive sites to full hookup with electric, water, and sewer. Dump stations are available also. There are laundry facilities and bathhouses (didn’t use either so not sure on condition), playgrounds, picnic shelters, cabins, and inns. Each campsite had a fire ring and picnic table. Spots are definitely not level, so bring a variety of blocks—you’ll need them. No outside lights at the sites so when it’s dark it’s d-a-r-k. Beautiful campground.
We tent camped at one of the hike-in (it's a well maintained gravel path) sites at PLSP, #33. This is the first site on your way in. I was by myself with my son and dog so I felt more comfortable being here near the bathhouse. There are raccoons who like to eat so be sure to put your food up at night. The lake is really calm. There are boats coming in and out but not "traffic" per se, no issues at all kayaking and we went out several times. Fishing was good with rooster tails and panther martin spinners (silver), 1/8 and 1/16 oz. The water was down so there were a lot of places to paddle onto the shore and wade fish. There is some access right at the campground for littles to get in the water. I really recommend water shoes as there are some hooks/lures in the water. We never left the campground during the weekend, so I can't comment on the proximity to restaurants but it was only 5-8 min or so back to town. I had terrible phone service with Sprint here. We did have one new camper come in at 3am on Saturday morning to set up their tent and being so close to the entrance of the hike-in spots, I woke up. That was tough. When we go back, I'll pick a site further back up the hiking path and bring a wagon to tote our stuff. The staff at the gate are amazing and so friendly. The restrooms are clean. Three showers. NO ONE other than the tent campers seemed to use the bath house so I never waited for a shower or anything and there were several families tent camping and the rv sites were completely full. It's a really nice and safe place. I really recommend it and look forward to going back. One thing, the actual tent pad was 11x13 and seemed a bit small but worked fine for us.
This park is listed as a resort so I took my pandemic bound family here in a mini vacation. Perhaps it was back in 1967.
The camping spaces were not very deep but that was ok because we are in the mountains. What’s odd is that you share a water spigot with a neighbor so you have to have a long hose to go across your whole section. There was only one hole for grey and black water, which I’ve never seen.
The other section of the grounds seemed more family and that everyone reserved spaces across multiple sections for reunions and parties.
The restrooms and showers were good although I still wear a mask at all parks and inside areas and others do not. You get no cell service in the campgrounds and no reception. Also, the trails are not quite right for the Jenny Wiley Trail that starts from the campgrounds. You have to go immediately up when you take the trail from there vs the natural worn path.
As for the rest of the park, it’s left in 1968. The lodge is nice but the food is all frozen and fried. Camping guests are not permitted to use the pool even though the reservation site sort of implies that you can. The marina was very busy and you could call and reserve boats but we had no service so we just went in person. We did reserve a small boat and went swimming off of it but do regret it after a UTI and seeing all the trash and debris in the lake. I’ve never seen so much garbage in a lake in my life. It was actually sad and broke my heart.
Had I read one of these reviews earlier, we would not have stayed at this park. Lesson learned!
I spent a Friday night there in late June 2020. Most of the campers were in RVs. I found a site at the end of a cul-de-sac away from the other campers. It appeared that the campers observed the quiet hours rules. Sites are close together so there’s not a lot of privacy. Modern amenities, showers, flush toilets. There’s a large lake at the park that accommodates speed boats and jet skis so I didn’t put my kayak in.
This park has some nice campsites, which can make your camping experience an awesome time, but that’s not why you should go there. Like a lot of state parks, it’s got the usual wooded picnic table, fire ring, the electrical hook-up thing if you need it (or BYOS - bring your own solar), even nice bathrooms with showers and everything. What it offers in terms of a get away from it all makes it the go to destination for everyone who’s just about had enough of everything average.
First of all, where the heck is it? About 200 miles from anywhere you’ve ever heard of, unless you’re lucky enough to have been born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or you’ve just nursed along a love of two-lane winding roads, it rewards the traveler who says“let’s take a road trip.” The closest town is Haysi, Virginia, which offers a selection of small regional grocery stores, gas stations and a few restaurants…but not much more.
The park sits atop an ancient canyon cut through time by the Russell Fork River some 1000 feet below. The trails wonder through sandstone formations laid down some 250 million years ago when the area was covered by a shallow inland sea. The views as well as the geological significance instills awe in the best sense.
The park offers a short scenic drive loop with a dozen or so stops all offering some look into the amazing scope of natural science. But in case that doesn’t inspire your 10-year-old, the mountain bike trails near to the campground will sure take some energy out of them. And in case they want to just go to the outdoor pool, or sit in the well-appointed cabin or guestroom, these are also available at this park offering a widely diverse accommodations for nearly anyone willing to make the drive to get there. The Russell Fork is also a world class river offering everything from class 2-3 fun to serious Appalachian creekin’ paddling. But don’t tell anyone about this place, because I don’t want anyone else to find out about it.