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Just on the edge of Watauga Lake sits this free dispersed camping area that is perfect for tent camping only. This is a park outside the gate and walk your gear in type of place, some bring your IKEA bags or a wagon. Opportunities for fishing and boating are abundant. Most of campsites are large, very shaded, and have at least one fire ring. A handful of sites have direct water access, and are more private.
There is no drinking water, picnic tables, or even pit toilet, so come prepared. The only major problem is that folks tend to leave a ton of trash around, so we spent about an hour cleaning the entire campground. Please Leave No Trace! Also, we would not recommend camping here on a busy weekend because the road is very close and the trucks are very loud!
The nearest town is Butler, which is small but offers the basics such as groceries and gas.
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.
Had a great stay at R & D Campground! The owners are incredibly kind and welcoming. The campground was clean, well kept, and had a great layout and variety of tent sites and RV/camper sites. I travel alone and felt very safe here. There is access to the Doe Mountain trails directly from the campground, they are multi-use with ATVs and dirt bikes using them but the riders were respectful and gave my dog and I plenty of room while hiking. The bathrooms were very clean and the best I’ve seen at a campground. The “hang out” area (with WiFi) was one of my favorite spots with comfortable chairs, fans, music, and good company! This campsite was my favorite by far and I will be back with friends!
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.
We just wrapped up a two week stay at R&D Campground. What a treat! We prefer smaller campgrounds that are more laid back and this was perfect. The owners, Rita and Dennis, are very personable and engaging. We loved gathering at the pavilion. The bathrooms were the cleanest ever seen in a campground. If you like a chill campground that’s off the beaten path, this is it!
Nice Campground, once you get here. The roads to this amazing State Park are two lane and twisting. We have a 38' 5er and a CrewCab Dually tow vehicle. We didn't have a lot of issues getting here but it is quite mountainous with a lot of climbs to get here. The Park is well appointed and the campsites are nice for a state park. Be careful when choosing a site as some are challenging to get into with larger units. We had a pull through which was big enough for our rig. Sites are gravel and spacious. Fire ring/grill combo provided at each site. Bathhouses were clean and well stocked. Be sure to bring all necessary supplies BEFORE you get here, nearest stores are a 20 minute drive away on crooked mountain roads. Will we return? Maybe for a special event but not for a general getaway
We stopped at this site on a spur of the moment trip and we absolutely love it. The owners are very friendly and showed us the best lot to pick. Prices are fair and the amenities were nice and clean. We stayed on the lot near the running stream with a waterfall and had a nice time sleeping to the sound of water. We highly recommend this site if you plan on doing any traveling to Boone or the surrounding area and don’t want to deal with swarms of other people.