Secluded in the thick trees and rolling hills of Shenandoah National Park, the Big Meadows Campground is the ideal spot for an outdoors getaway.
Shenandoah National Park spans 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the southern Appalachians. The park rises above the Virginia Piedmont to its east and the Shenandoah Valley to its west.
The scenery at Meadows Campground never disappoints, with a stunning array of colors in the fall and a blanket of bright wildflowers in the spring. This green and shady campground is a wilderness paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Some trails lead to a waterfall or viewpoint while others wind deep into the forest and wilderness.
Big Meadows is near many of the major facilities and popular hiking trails in the park. Three waterfalls are within walking distance, and the Meadow, with its abundant plant growth and wildlife, is an ideal nearby attraction.
Wildlife viewing is also a popular pastime, with black bears, wild turkey, deer, birds and countless other animals thriving in the park.
The campground is also located right off the famous Skyline Drive, which runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Stunning views are visible from any of the 75 scenic overlooks.
This expansive campground offers more than 200 campsites, including sites that can accommodate larger groups. Picnic areas are provided, as modern conveniences like flush toilets, showers and dump stations create a comfortable camping experience.
Two visitor centers with bookstores and exhibits are located in the park (milepost 5 and milepost 51). There are concession managed restaurants, gift shops and lodging facilities scattered throughout the park.
Visitor Center: Ranger Station
Day Use Area: Amphitheater
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!
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!
Though Shenandoah national park itself is underwhelming. The campground was a great spot to sleep. There are walk in site and drive through sites available. The stars can be seen though definitely a bit of light pollution. The campsite connects to hiking trials to bring you to the sights of the national park easily, including the dark hollow falls and big meadow
Maybe I just have some great childhood memories associated with this place, but I love Big Meadows. This campground is located in Shenandoah National Park and is a great place to get out into nature and away from everything.
The campsites are mainly tent sites, but I believe they also have cabins to rent. I think the best part about this campground is that it feels more like you're camping in the woods rather than a campground. There is a bunch of wildlife all around the campground, which is nice to see. Also, this place is great for families, because there are plenty of activities for kids to do. Rangers of the park give talks, and there are scavenger hunts that the kids can participate in.
I love camping in Shenandoah National Park, because there is a ton of hiking in the area. Some of my favorites are Rip Rap Trail, Jones Run Falls, and White Oak Canyon, but there's plenty more to explore.
Big Meadows was the second stop at the halfway point on our tour of Shenandoah National Park. First stop was Mathews Arm which is about 1/4 of the way on Skyline Drive (north to south). After Big Meadows, we stopped at Loft Mountain. These parks are well spaced for viewing and hiking in between each campground.
I'm a big fan of campgrounds in national parks. Why do I like this one?
Simplicity, i.e. no frills but all the basic needs are available
This one (and the others in Shenandoah) have generator-free areas.
First-come, first-served sites: About 20% of the 230+ sites can't be reserved.
The $20 price is a bargain and our Lifetime Senior Pass cuts the fee in half.
Hiking: Don't miss the Rose River hike and all the cascading waterfalls. You can start near the campground with a trip to Dark Hollow Falls and continue with the Rose River Loop. Pick up the info sheet on the Big Meadows Area hikes at one of the Visitor Centers. The hiking maps are excellent.
Steven Mather, the first director of the NPS, wanted to create a park in the eastern US that is like the western parks. This park and its campgrounds have that vibe.
Sites are all back in, i.e. no pull throughs.
Non-reservable sites: Some tent sites, all of C and all of I. Check the photo of the site map.
Walk-to tent sites: It's not a long walk to your site from a designated parking spot. There are food storage boxes at most sites so you don't have to move food back to your car. These sites are more secluded than the regular sites.
Generator-free zone: See the site map photo that shows all walk-to tent sites, all of B and part of A in the generator-free zone.
Choosing a site: Arrive early if you don't have a reservation. Some of the non-reservation sites will be claimed by people staying multiple nights. If you want to be in the generator-free zone, you should probably reserve a site. We were able to get one without a reservation but it was on a weekday in October. If you don't mind having a generator near you, I thought the sites on the outside of E were nice because there is no one behind you.
Some sites have food storage lockers. Google reviews indicate park rangers insist you keep all food in a locker, camper or vehicle, and you can be fined if you don't. Apparently, bears recognize coolers so you should cover them up in vehicles. (I also heard this at Rocky Mountain NP.)
Restrooms with a utility sink outside some of them. Potable water and trash/recycling stations are spread throughout the park. These are all shown on the site map photo.
Showers in a central area: $1.75 for 5.25 minutes. Yes, that's what it is! You can do it! These are the classiest showers I've seen in a national park.
Campstore with ice, wood and some food
Best campground in Shennandoah. my boyfriend and I drove in and had a mix up with our reservation (over booked) and the staff accommodated us. We used this campground as a prep for backcountry, and there are about 20 miles of trails in the area, including the AT. we loved it! I HIGHLY suggest making a reservation well ahead of time, especially for tent sites. They have some really secluded sites.
Nice campground! Very busy for a Wednesday night, probably due to the National Park. Still worth it!
This campground is located in the Shenandoah National Park in Stanley , Va on Skyline drive and offers some amazing views! There are several hikes in close proximity to the campground and the Appalachian Trail goes through this part of the park as well! The staff are very friendly , the park is clean and there is wildlife everywhere. Loved hearing the owl at night! If you don't feel like cooking , the lodge is very close by with delicious food , a warm fireplace , local musicians, games and lodging for those who don't choose to camp. The Big Meadows Lodge is not open all year , so check the schedule if this is a must do !
This is a nice size campgroud in the Shenadoah National Park off Skyline Drive. The campground is very peaceful and plenty of wildlife to see. You also have access to trails for hiking, camp store and reataurant nearby.
We’ve camped at Big Meadows in May and October. It has been extremely cold and VERY windy at night! Too windy to enjoy a fire. It’s a fantastic campsite but beware of wind at the beginning and end of season. Otherwise, go for it! Seriously one of the best campsites in the Shenandoah area for sure!