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.
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.
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
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 had a great time at Big Meadows campground despite our hopes that we could still purchase firewood after 5:00! We enjoyed the sunset a few miles down at the Point Lookout and had a small fire with twigs. Still a great time!
This little camping area consists of first come first serve sites, so don’t plan on arriving late in the afternoon and find a spot. There are about 24 sites and they are very close together. Do not think of this as a secluded camping experience. Proximity to the creek is ok for some sites. And proximity to the road is very close as well. There are bathrooms. There is no cell service in this area.
Great views of the blue ridge mountains with many river access points. The Virginia Canopy Tour is fun. We camped with our pop-up in the RV section. Sites were spacious and the bathhouse clean. We checked out an adventure pack from the visitors center and hiked the River Trail, thus our son became a junior ranger. Tent sites, RV sites, camping cabins and large cabins all available. Firewood for sale in the park. We’ll be back! More trails to hike!
We’ve come to this campground twice: Once just our family of four and another time with my in-laws. This park is nice and secluded with a number of family friendly hikes. Facilities are clean with plenty of wood to buy and carts to help transport supplies from the parking lot to the camp sites. We recommend renting the yurts which were perfect for our in laws. They were just a few steps away from our camp site in a more comfortable setting. We foresee coming to this park many times over the coming years. It’s the quintessential car camping experience.
On a whim we decided to try this campground. We are tent campers and we’re looking for a place close to Shenandoah to ride our motorcycles. This was 3 miles from the north entrance to the park, perfect. Making a reservation was easy, we arrived and had the loveliest conversation with Pam, she is such a gem!! We got a spot right next to the creek, bought some firewood from Pam for $10, which gave you a small wheelbarrow full. You can get a better deal elsewhere but we were happy to support Pam. The campground wasn’t exceptionally beautiful, the bathrooms and shower are rustic. Paint peeling and very makeshift but who cares. The water was hot and the bathroom facility has gorgeous paintings all over it. The grounds were relatively empty when we stayed and we had no issues w anything. Rained all night, we didn’t care, rain and the creek sounded awesome. Without hesitation I would stay here again, you don’t meet special souls like Pam very often. Give her your business. Oh and watch out for the pet cat, he likes the road down to the campsite. His name is Puppycat.
For the past four or five years I have come to this campground each year in the offseason, April or October, to visit while the temps in Virginia are cooler and less humid. This KOA offers free wifi and cable TV with no connection problems. If ever you have a problem, stay is ready to help. My last visit I had to replace a kitchen faucet, which was leaking due to poor winterization by CW. A staff person spent an hour or more replacing the faucet, android not want to be paid, but only asked that we donate to the kids and camping charity he supported. The showers and bathroom facilities have been remodeled and were both clean and quite efficient. The campground itself is just 10 minutes from the city of Charlottesville and a few minutes from Monticello as well as many fine Virginia wineries. It's the perfect area to be in to visit The Blue Ridge Mountains, historic Fredricksburg, or Appomattox (all 50 to 90 minutes away). Campsites are not on top of each other, and both pull-through and back-in spots are available. The pool area looks like a nice place to be, with shaded areas and many places to sit (though I have never had the opportunity to use it, because of the season I visit).
Tons of great hiking trails many with views of beautiful waterfalls. We took our lab and she enjoyed the trails as much as we did! One night we camped out at Big Meadows campground and got to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The next two nights we stayed in an awesome dog friendly cabin at the Big Meadows Lodge. They were so accommodating for our furry friend. We were given a cabin with its our screened in porch just for her to enjoy. (Not many cabins have this feature) They even gave her a cute trail dog bandana which she wore with pride on our hikes. At night there was a nice little spot close to the campsite to hike up and see the beautiful expanse of stars. The best stars I’ve ever seen! Another exciting feature were all the wildlife. We saw so many chipmunks, deer and even a few snakes. The coolest part was seeing some black bears in the trees ! Awesome to see and we also felt very safe for park rangers were very attentive to keeping everyone at safe distances. Totally recommend these gem in VA!
Stayed in a tent in early April. Very nice facilities at a good price. The big attraction of course is the brewery which is a short walk away. Their food and beer were both very good. Staff was very nice. We also took advantage of shuttle to the AT trailhead.
We were excited for our first camping trip to Devils Backbone but have to admit that we were REALLY disappointed when we pulled up. The campground backs up to a wood heap with large grey disposal containers (not pretty) and the sites were total lackluster. But .. the biggest issue is that the park was clearly developed by someone who has never stepped foot in an rv! In an effort to save money they only installed electrical/water pedestals on every other site which means that you are tether in one direction (40 feet) to a sewage outlet and another direction ((30 feet) to electric. Fortunately, a camping neighbor let us borrow additional sewage tubing so we could have hookups. Because You are so tightly tethered you can’t line up to the picnic tables. Everyone we have talked to (including locals at wineries/breweries/cideries) have told us they repeatedly hear complaints about the lack of planning at the rv sites. We love Devils Backbone but won’t come back here to camp until this issue is fixed. By the way — if you do chose to visit ONLY accept an even numbered site!
Lots of sites, brand new warm and clean bath house. Sites available with and without hookups. You get a 10% discount on food and merch at the brewery…and their beer is amazing! There was only a few rvs camped when we were there. Nice place! A bit muddy because of new construction but will be great when it warms up and the new grass comes in.
The hut is 3 sides and open on the 4th, the open side faces the fire pit. There is a picnic table, privy, bear locker, and bear pole to hang additional items at the site. The hut sleeps 8 and is first come, first serve. You may end up meeting some new friends there because of this. If the hut is full, there are some tent sites available. Also the spring for water is located very close by.
Pros: this campground is fairly quiet (at least when I visited in fall), and has nice amenities including free hot showers.
Cons: they definitely cater to RVs. They have a primitive tent area, but it only has a vault toilet. The bathhouses (with showers and flush toilets) are all located in the loops with full hook up sites; I would expect if you had to choose to put facilities in one area over another, the tent area would make more sense since RVs have their own toilets and showers on board.
Given the chance, I probably wouldn't stay here again unless I was passing through.
An inexpensive place to sleep within walking distance to restaurant and brewery. New very nice and clean bathhouse. But I can't see how it can handle the amount of campsites. About 25 tent sites, maybe another 22 no hookup RV sites, 24 full hook up. Mens room has 2 toilets 3 sinks and 2 showers. Not a problem on a weekday in November. Water saver in the shower, water warm enough but never had to turn on the cold. No bench or chair to dry feet and put on sox and shoes. No wifi at site. AT&T cell service. Tent sites are close together, maybe 25 feet from table to table with little to no privacy between them. Many of the sites are illuminated by the LED floods from the bathhouse. Found myself hiding my eyes in the shadow of the trees. No trash cans. Hammock campers be aware. Most sites are so small with so few trees you may have trouble finding 2 trees within your own site. So if you want to eat, drink, camp and not have to drive, this will work. Just don't plan on getting up in the middle of the night and pee in the woods because you will probably pee on your neighbor's tent.
Sherando Lake is a well-maintained, popular campground located in the George Washington National Forest near Lyndhurst, VA. Convenient to both Richmond and Charlottesville, it brings people in for camping and day-use alike.
There are three camping loops here; a standard non-electric loop (loop A/White Oak Loop), and two RV loops (B and C). Both of the RV loops are very flat and open, with little shade or privacy between sites. They have electric hookups and drinking water available, but do not have water hookups. The tent loop is the oldest loop in this campground, and is heavily wooded, with sites along both meadow and backing up to the mountain. These sites do not have any hookups, but most have driveways large enough for campers and RVs 28' in length or under. All tent sites have fire rings, utility poles, and large picnic tables, and tent pads that are raked clear by campground hosts between guests.
The biggest benefits of this campground are its location, and the recreation area. It's about an hour and a half west of Richmond and only thirty minutes from Charlottesville, making it a great weekend trip without having to take time away from work. And as for recreation, it's wonderful. There are two lakes--the lower lake is the largest at 25 acres, and and while the beach can get crowded during peak season, it's an easy walk from the campground, with a large swimming area roped off. Canoeing is available at the lake, and there are several hiking trails, ranging from the easy lakeside trail, to more difficult trails that connect to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and other trails in George Washington National Forest. Fishing is available at both lakes with the proper licensing. There are several large picnic areas right on the lower lake, and a few smaller creekside spaces with picnic table and grills.
All that said; for RV campers this is an excellent campsite. While the loops with hookups are lacking in shade and privacy, having an RV or camper will afford you what the site itself lacks, and the location and activities make this a great basecamp.
For tent camping, it's good if you live in one of the nearby cities and want the shorter drive time, or if you like tent camping but still want all the benefits of front-country camping. As a place to set up camp and enjoy spending time near your tent, Sherando is exceptionally maintained. There is not a lot of opportunities for foraging for firewood, which means purchasing heat-treated wood nearby, and while the sites are very shady, there is little underbrush between sites to offer a privacy barrier. Many of the sites are staggered, with one or more levels of steps leading from the driveways. Because of all there is to do this is a great site for older kids, but we learned that, especially with toddlers, the steps around the campsites can turn a relaxing trip into one of constant vigilance.
Enjoyment of this campground will largely depend on what type of camper you are. If you are mainly looking for a place to get outside of the city, where you can set up for the night and have easy access to hiking, fishing, swimming, or boating, this is a great campground. This is where we typically chose to take friends if they were new to camping, as the bathrooms are well-lit, the road is paved, and the sites are so well-maintained. Plus at $20 a night, while it's more expensive than its neighbors in Shenandoah National Park or Cave Mountain Lake, it's a shorter drive from the neighboring cities, and doesn't have the additional NPS fee. However, if you want something that feels more rugged, or with campsites that offer a greater feeling of privacy, it would be better to skip this one.