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.
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We stayed during the covid pandemic when things were just starting to open back up, so the play grounds weren’t available. The bathrooms are clean and the laundry facility is a plus. They also have a dog park which we used a ton. Most spots are shaded and there are paved and gravel roads. The spaces are very snug so forget privacy when they’re busy, but at the time we were the only ones on our little road. The store is super pricey, but overall a good campground.
What a beautiful park! Over 1500 acres with 40 sites, this trip was the start of the camping season for me- the opening weekend for camping in State Parks in VA(COVID-19). The park and grounds are extremely well-maintained. I was very happy to see such a clean bathhouse, especially during the current pandemic. Each staff member I encountered was extremely helpful and polite. The park has lots of trails, miles of open meadows, and James River access. Great park for bicycling. The sites in the River Bend Campground(main campground) are private and wooded, especially this time of year when the trees are so full. The map makes it look like they’re really close together so I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived to my site, which was the las time available for booking(#16). There are 29 tent/RV sites and three yurts. The sites are gravel and include a picnic table, lantern/trash pole, and a fire pit with grill gate. Theres also a group site for 24 or so, bit that’s not open at the moment due to state restrictions. There’s overflow parking for the campground, dumpsters, and a dump station. Some are pull-through for RVSs and many have water/electric. Wood is for sale at the park but no ice or refreshments. Pet-friendly. There are also laundry facilities at the main bathhouse, nice hot/cold showers. Many picnic areas and a playground. There’s also a canoe-in site with 8 primitive sites: no water, electricity, or facilities(there’s a pit toilet). Depending on the time of the year they might be in the flood zone if the river is high, which it was during this trip. Some of those sites can also be booked for hiking into- it’s only a 0.2 walk from the parking lot. Tabb Monument State Park is nearby if you’re working your way through the parks as I am(no overnight facilities there). You’re also about 10-15 minutes from the town of Powhatan so if you need groceries or gas, you’re not far from Sheetz, Food Lion, etc. Loved this park so much and will definitely be returning!!!
I’ve camped at a completely different part of this place before which was a site without access to bathrooms and showers. This site had access to that and was a little farther away from the car but still as amazing! Although you had to drive a bit to get to hiking trails, this site is located at the heart of the river.
This place was so serene and secluded. Each campsite was a little drive away from each other which was very nice in terms of privacy. You could drive into the campground so you didn’t have to carry everything. Plus, the campsites have trails that go directly to the river!
We had a much different experience than other campers. Sounded like it was going to be a good time, however when we got there we were offered “the best spot”…and it would be $100. It was down by the river, directly under the overpass. We were looking for a quick night to tent out with the kids. This wasn’t the type of place we were looking for. We unfortunately just drove away. No way I’d pay $100 for a campsite, especially under an overpass. No thanks.