The place where the first permanent British colony in mainland North America was founded in 1607, Virginia is a state with an exceptional history and abundant natural attractions. From colonial towns and Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields to various Presidential Homes, including one that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, history is never far away when camping in Virginia. Nature, too, is an intricate part of Virginia’s state identity.
On the coast, you’ll find several state parks and wildlife refuges. Additionally, there are significant historic sites such as Colonial National Historical Park, which includes Historic Jamestown and the Yorktown Battlefield. Across Chesapeake Bay, a calm wave-less bay, lie popular Cape Charles and glorious Assateague Island National Seashore with its feral horses galloping along the beaches. All around Chesapeake Bay, extensive sand beaches and shallow water attract huge crowds of sunbathers and families camping in Virginia over Summer break.
More inland, rolling vineyards and horse farms characterize the Monticello American Viticultural Area, while the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains to the west has been praised in many a country song. It’s in this region, with its undulating forested hills, rocky outcrops, countless waterfalls and rich biodiversity, that you’ll want to go camping in Virginia.
Shenandoah National Park, protecting a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains’ crest, is an outdoor playground for hikers, cyclists, wildlife watchers and road trippers alike. The only road through the park is Skyline Drive, a world-class mountain road lined with trails, campgrounds, a couple of historic lodges, and more than 70 overlooks.
At the park’s southern entrance, Skyline Drive links up with the equally scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Connecting Shenandoah with Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, its 469 miles make it the longest linear park in America. From historic homesteads and the Blue Ridge Music Center to viewpoints, hiking trails and waterfalls like Crabtree Falls, its numerous attractions, combined with free access, make this the most visited unit in the entire National Park Service system.
Other great destinations for camping in Virginia are the Allegheny Highlands, home to natural hot springs, and Grayson Highlands State Park featuring rock-strewn mountain meadows, panoramic vistas and wild ponies.
This is an amazing park, with a total of 4,822 acres to explore. It's a dream for hikers, allowing you to embark on numerous day hikes and connect with the Appalachian Trail. As many folks have also mentioned, there are feral ponies in the park, and if you hike on the Wilburn Ridge from Massie Gap, you will almost definitely see them.
During my visit, I camped on a Monday night in early May. I did not make reservations, and there were plenty of sites available, although it was way busier than I expected. I'd say that half of the campsites were taken at Hickory Ridge Campground where I pitched my tent.
There are a few choices available here. If you choose a "primitive" site, which simply means no hook-ups, you pay your fee and choose whichever site is open when you get to the campground. You can not choose a specific site in advance. If you choose a site with full hook-ups, then you can pick the one you want. There are also four yurts available, but you have to book them for at least 2 nights in a row.
Primitive sites are $37 a night for out-of-state residents, which I think is quite pricy. The sites are also quite close together and not very private. Restrooms are clean and firewood is $6 for a bundle.
I stayed in site #15, and while it wasn't private, I was lucky to have very nice and quiet neighbors. This is an amazing park, and I would definitely return to do some backpacking or to hike up Virginia's highest peak, Mt. Rogers. The four-star-rating is mainly because the sites are close together and because the campsites are expensive.
Great place for campers and RV's. The pool was great and they have a curb market on the premises. A tram will take you into the city for some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. Sight seeing is nice to. If you are a aviation nut like me you are close to the Naval Air Station and they have shows every year. I will go back. Make a reservation and you should have a great stay. Our site was clean with power, water and cable. Plenty of room between RV's. The cabins are very nice as well.
Oaka Ridge Campground is deep at "end" of Prince William Forest (13 miles from forest entrance gate).
There are three loops, front to back. Loop A are walkin only sites for RVs and tents. Loops B and C reservable. Loop B sites are for large families or groups. Loop C is more remote. Each loop has a bathroom building, Loop B is the only one with showers. There are no hookups in the campground, but drinking water is available near each bathhouse. Loop C had a working utility sink, the one in Loop B was closed. Not sure if A had one.
Free firewood is available behind the host's site.
We were in Loop C and could hear activity at Quantico. Lots of air noise too, from both airplanes and helicopters. We stayed 5 days, including a weekend. Saturday was the noisiest day with all the group camping activities.
Sites varied greatly in size. Some seemed entirely too close, others spread apart. At times, sites seemed backwards - I kept saying they should reverse the one way direction so back in sites were easier.
Ticks were really bad. We killed dozens and ended up taking at least one with us when we left.
The showers were hot, water pressure and shower heads good. Shower stalls offered more privacy than most, each having a locking door and small dressing area with a bench, and an adequate sized shower curtain, too.
Bathrooms could have been much cleaner.
Only because of the ticks, we would not stay here again. We had Deep Woods Off, but seemed to do no good.
Oak Ridge is our favorite local go-to campground. This site meets all of our expectations with exceptionally clean bathrooms to boot. It a short jaunt away with miles of hiking trails. The sites are generously sized, wooded and private. If you're going with a group there are also sites that connect. C Loop is the most private with several sites being walk-in. B Loop is mostly shaded and also the only loop with showers (my preference). A Loop is first to come, first served whereas Loops B and C are reservation only. Firewood is available but they do not provide much so I recommend bringing what you need if you plan on having a fire for more than one night. There are a few trailheads accessible from the camping loops but many you'll need to drive to. Parking is limited but I've never had trouble finding a spot. If you want a quick getaway without driving hours outside of the metro area this is your place!
I've been to JRSP several times now and each visit gets better. Camping on the River edge is very peaceful and convenient if you just want to drop your own tube in and float. This site isn't very wooded and therefore not much visual privacy but there is lots of space to spread out. The sites are generously sized and flat. A few negatives:
1. There is a bit of a walk from your vehicle but it's not bad.
2. The bathroom is just a potty with hand sanitizer, no running water.
I also stayed in a 2 bdr cabin on a return trip which was very nice. I was impressed with the accommodations and the A/C which was enjoyed on our hot August nights. The best part of both trips was the River. Absolutely clean, crystal clear water and never crowded. Both of my trips were during the summer and over a weekend and we seldom came across others. It was if we had the whole park to ourselves. I'm going back again this summer. My boys are excited to rent the kayaks again. This is a great experience for couples and families.
It’s a great place for one night or a month. They have a general store on site, boat ramp, equipment rentals. The grounds are clean and well kept. They have cabins, RV sites, and good old fashioned sites. They host events every now and then. Price is not bad for the area. Make sure you reserve your spot on the weekend they go fast.
I've lived in this region for 3 decades and never knew this campground was here. It is absolutely humongous! They have about every accommodation you could ask for. You can rent sites for RVs or tents, you can rent cabins, campers, and even glamping tents! Something like 4 pools, mini golf, several bathhouses, named streets, a little store that has a little of everything, very nice staff, a restaurant, small social gatherings for adults and children alike. Oh yeah, did I mention the staff were wonderful??
One mile off the Interstate, but you would never know it! A large hill at the west side of the park blocks most of the noise. There's even cows on the hill! Super nice people that run it, as well as the campers visiting. Each campsite has a level space, shade, and picnic table. Full hook ups, including cable! There is a very clean pool, but it was not open. Just wish there was a wildlife area with flowers here….
Shenandoah River State Park is located right on the Shenandoah River in northern Virginia. It is just a short drive from the northern section of Shenandoah River National Park and includes lots of hiking trails, a few canoe launches, gorgeous views, and nature center, and lots of different camping options. The park encompasses more than 1600 acres and includes 5.2 miles of pristine shoreline.
I stopped at Shenandoah River State Park on a two-week road trip from Vermont to Alabama. I had been traveling for a few days when I stopped here, and I did not make reservations in advance for a Thursday night in May. I arrived at about 3 pm and popped into the visitor center to ask about my options for camping for the night. Turns out that campers have a lot of choices here.
Camping options include huge RV sites with water and electricity hook-ups, small camping cabins, yurts, and large cottages with separate bedrooms, bathrooms, full kitchens, and air conditioning, which I guess isn’t really camping at all. The last option, and the one I chose, is “primitive” camping, which are large, private tent sites along the river. The only thing primitive about them is that they have no vehicle access. You park your car in a lot nearby and truck your stuff out to your campsite.
These primitive sites have access to a large bathhouse with private showers, as well as grungy pit toilets that are a bit closer to many of the sites. The campsites have a fire pit, lantern pole, and picnic table, and some have room for several tents. A few of the sites are right on the Shenandoah River, with incredible views. My site, #3 had a river view but was set back a bit from the banks. All of the sites are wooded and quiet.
There are carts available at the parking area for lugging your stuff out to your site, and there is also a small shed with firewood that you can purchase for $6 a bundle. The rangers come through every so often and are incredibly friendly and knowledgable about the area. I learned that there are copperheads within the park, as well as huge bees that look menacing but are pretty harmless. Bears also frequent the park, so it is very important to pack away your food in your car or your bear-proof cooler. Don’t have a bear-proof cooler? Check out the RovR Rollr 60 below.
This was a clean, quiet campground, with beautiful hiking trails and great river access. The cost for a primitive campsite was $36, which I thought was a bit pricey. It is cheaper for Virginia residents.
It may get really busy on summer weekends, but I only saw a handful of people during my visit. There is a privately run ziplining course within the park, and a local outfitter does paddling trips that begin up-river and include class I and II rapids. All-in-all, I give Shenandoah River State Park 4 stars for their primitive campsites, and I can’t wait to come back to stay in a yurt.
RovR RollR 60 Review:
As a ranger for The Dyrt, I am occasionally given products to test and review on my camping adventures. During this trip, I was thrilled to test out the RovR Rollr 60 cooler. The Rovr was recently ranked #1 for ice retention by Outside Magazine, so I was excited to use it for a mega road trip where I knew I wouldn’t be able to restock it with ice every day. Plus, I was carting large quantities of Vermont beer to my family in Alabama, and warm beer is really lame.
The RovR Rollr is a “rotomolded cooler,” which basically means that it has a consistent wall thickness and two full inches of foam insulation to keep the insides frosty for a lot longer than traditional coolers. They are also made with heavier, more durable plastics that ensure that they last longer than other types of coolers.
The downside to the RovR Rollr, and all high-end rotomolded coolers, is that they are quite a bit heavier than their competitors. Fortunately, the RovR Rollr line includes incredibly rugged tires that make it easy to maneuver just about anywhere. I did have trouble lifting it in and out of my car and dragging it up a full flight of stairs, but because of the tires and the sturdy handle, my issues were minimal.
RovR Rollr 60 Features:
This cooler is really big and holds 60 quarts of food, beverages, and ice. It is a workhorse, and can definitely keep enough food and drink cold for a long weekend or more. The RovR Rollr includes a removable plastic bin that secures snuggly into the cooler to keep your food dry, but still nice and cold. You fill this bin with your eggs, meats, and veggies, and then pour the ice into the cooler on top of your beverages. This system is so great — no more fishing for Hershey bars when your cooler turns into a lake.
The RovR website mentions that the RovR Rollr will give you 10 days of ice retention if you follow some recommended steps, which includes prechilling everything, keeping the cooler full, and keeping it out of full sun. I could do none of these things, but keeping the cooler in the back of my car (in the sun), half full, and not prechilling anything, the ice lasted a good 4 days before needing to be replaced.
There is a handy valve to release excess water, and the dual-grip handle is made of aluminum for easy pushing and pulling. The latches are made of sturdy rubber and the lid is fitted with an airtight gasket, making it entirely bearproof. The cooler comes with a 5-year warranty, and many of the parts can be removed and replaced if necessary.
The RovR Rollr comes with a removable, foldable wagon bin that secures firmly to the top of the cooler for easy transport. I kept dry goods in here that didn’t need to be cold - fruit, cereal, trail mix, peanut butter, etc.
For this particular adventure, I just got the cooler and the wagon bin that fits on top, but there are a bunch of optional features that would make the RovR even more versatile. These include an attachable cutting board, drink holders, an umbrella holder, and a bike kit for pulling the cooler behind your bike.
The RovR Rollr 60 is obviously a high-end cooler with a high-end price tag, but the quality is obvious from the very first use. This is an investment for sure, but totally worth it. My biggest complaint is that it is heavy and a bit unwieldy for one person to maneuver. And to be fair, this is a big cooler that is not meant to be used by one person. I was impressed with the rugged tires, the overall design, and its ability to keep stuff cold and dry and would love to invest in a smaller model for smaller adventures.
We stayed in one of the cabins at Lewis Mountain, which had a queen size bed and bathroom with a small shower. Towels, soap and shampoo are provided. Each cabin has a sheltered area and fire pit for cooking and eating. The folks in the camp store were very friendly and went out of their way to provide hospitality. A couple of trails run right by the campground.
We stayed here for 3 nights at a back in with w/e. We enjoyed sitting around the campfire at night and walking the dogs down to the water. We were right next to a hiking trail that went down to the water and a beach area. We were working in Arlington/DC only a 25 min drive away and it was nice to come home to some nature.
We stayed 3 nights in W/E Back In, Site 141, mostly hard packed sand surrounded by trees. The angle is a little weird to back into, but the site itself is nice and feels private. The fire ring and picnic table (old and wood) is at the very back of the site. A pretty nasty storm rolled through one night and the trees actually provided a little protection.
We stayed in Eden (324) for a week in June. Check in is easy, grounds are huge and lots of amenities (although we did not use). When it rains, sites get muddy! Pricey, but it is the beach in June. It has a rustic summer camp vibe to it. Next time, I'll try to book in Sunny Meadows or Green Acres sections. You can walk/bike to the Citgo (owned by Holiday) for snacks and food. Most importantly, you get FREE parking at the beach near 9th Street!
The sites are generous and well maintained but no trees. Had odd experience with camp host. Apparently old women steal campsites regularly because he thought I had and had to call the ranger and double check because I’m obviously a liar. Not a good experience
So much to say! We’ve loved our trips to Pocahontas, even in the cold months of December and March. For one, the bathrooms/showers are nice and toasty (and super clean). I was there in December for a camping and mountain biking trip with Scouts. The group site we were at was very spacious and private. There were a few RV/tent sites nearby but not very close. We felt quite secluded but it wasn’t too far to walk to the bathrooms. The bike trails were epic fun! Some areas were more challenging than others, likely because there had been a lot of rain and wet leaves on steep bike trails can be tough to avoid slipping/sliding. But we made the best of it. I returned a few months later for a NOLS Wilderness First Aid course that was held in a large dining hall on the park’s property. It couldn’t have been more perfect! We camped there and drove to the dining hall each day for class. It was very well-organized! I have fond memories of this park and look forward to returning during other times of the year for more fun things to participate in!
I was recently at Powhatan with a large group of Scouts. We spread across 3-4 tent/RV sites that we used as a basecamp while we hiked during the day. It was gorgeous! The trails were well-marked and a good place for a shakedown. We crossed some water sources and hiked along the James River. We even passed a nice playground and picnic area where we stopped for lunch. Everything was really nice, one of the nicest and cleanest parks I’ve been to recently. The campgrounds were well-maintained with lots of facilities. I especially liked how spacious the sites were. I didn’t feel like we were on top of our neighbors. I definitely want to come back here again!
Chippokes is a gem! Quaint park with a variety of activities. You can tour the mansion on the property along with some other historical sites, or just take a stroll along the shoreline of the gorgeous, sprawling James River. My son, furbaby, and I camped in their RV/tent site with easy access to their bathrooms which were spotless (and maintained multiple times a day) and warm! We bought firewood (there is a drop where you can just deposit money and grab a bundle) next to the bathrooms along with a locked ice bin so you can buy ice from the campground host. Everything we saw was well-maintained. We navigated our way to a mile-hike to the river so we could fish off a kayak dock. I was surprised when we arrived that they don’t rent kayaks (though it appears they have the capability to, perhaps they only do it for special occasions or times of year). All the staff we encountered were super friendly and helpful. You can even buy ice cream at the visitors center! This was a big plus for my son. We’ll definitely be returning!
I recently led a large group of Scouts to the Mathews Arm Campground in SNP. We spread out over 4 RV/camper/tent sites as our base camp. There was definitely a lot less privacy/space between sites here at SNP than I’ve noted at other parks across Virginia. I suppose it’s because it’s a national park, with a big draw and higher volume of visitors. The roads were well-marked and paved nicely. The bathrooms were okay, I’ve been in better-maintained/cleaned ones and worse ones, so I’m not going to complain. They were quite prevalent though. The staff that circulate around the park were quite friendly! We had a lovely hike to a nearby waterfall that was gorgeous. We even took a group out hiking across the AT and did some backcountry camping. I was impressed by how well-maintained the trails were! We had a really nice time and I look forward to returning again soon. I will note that our original reservation was for the Southern Section, but because of the winter storms, there was a lot of storm damage which caused them to close down quite a bit of Skyline Drive and they automatically shifted our reservation (with the option to cancel) to the Northern Section of the SNP. So, we didn’t hike what we expected to, but we still had a nice time, regardless. Plus, a couple days before our trip they did open the Southern Section, but we left our reservations and plans alone.
Upon arrival i was a little confused as to check in so i stoped at the well stocked camp store cabin and was quickly helped. It was a self check in, i filled out the little card and was good to go. Only $15 a night is a great deal for the location. There are trails that go right through the camping ground so you can literally wake up and go hiking. Each site seemed to have a picnic table, and fire pit with a grill on it. They left wood by the fire pits. Quiet time starts at 10pm. My dog and I had a great time.
We've made this hike several times with our dogs. It is a great shorter hike with great views over Burkes Garden (nicknamed God's Thumbprint). At the top is a clearing where camping is possible. There is a shelter at the top; this location is located along the Appalachian Trail and has wodden bunks and single platforms for pads and sleeping bags. There is also a fire pit located outside the shelter.
This campsite and park is a ton of fun. We've never camped here but we lived about 5 minutes down the road from the park and absolutely loved it. There are miles of trails around the lake and through the woods you can follow. It is extremely dog friendly with a fenced in dog park as well. There are kayaks and paddle boats you can rent by the hour. This park has plenty of camping spots and also has some yurts that are available to rent out. I would recommend this spot to anyone who wants a convenient family friendly camping/outdoor experience.
This was the first campsite my wife and I stayed at together. We were still in college and decided to try camping for the first time. It was excellent. Being newbies we enjoyed the outlet access and WiFi. This campground is right on the new river and has great tubing kayaking and fishing accommodations.
We took our puppy on his first camping trip here. Every camping spot had plenty of space. Our spot included a grill and campsite. There is also a camping manager type person who drives around and sells firewood and helps answer any questions. There are bathroom facilities located in the middle of the area. The camping spot is about a 15 minute walk to the lake or a very short drive. We will definitely be staying here again!
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