Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the park features rolling grasslands, quiet forests and beautiful views, as well as 3 miles of shoreline along the James River. Visitors can hike, bike, canoe, kayak, fish or tent camp on the banks of the historic river or at Branch Pond
The Red Oak sites were gravel and fairly level and the bathhouse was nice. There is an equestrian camping area (and stalls) for people with horses. The cabins and lodges have 2, 3, and 6 bedrooms and look beautiful. There is even a canoe-in campground. Activities that can be done include tubing on the river, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding trails, wagon ride, and lots of park events.
This is a wonderful spot for viewing the stars because of the lack of light pollution. James River State Park has been named an International Dark Sky Park.
After visiting the park many times, we finally camped there in July 2019. Most of the sites were huge and level, and we were able to choose a mostly-shaded site with water and electric near the bathhouse.
Everyone we met (rangers, people in the visitor's center, etc.) was very helpful and friendly.
We hoped to go tubing, but since the river was running high and fast, they weren't renting tubes, and we asked too late about renting a canoe or kayak. (They do drop offs and pick ups at certain times and reservations are recommended.)
Cell service is extremely limited, but there's wi-fi available at the visitors center and we used that to check in with our pet sitter.
It was SO HOT when we were there and we really wished there was a designated "beach" area on the river (or in a perfect world, a pool). Swimming is not advised due to rocks and drop-offs, but people were in the river, anyhow.
We'll definitely go again!
More pictures and information about our experience is on my blog:
What a beautiful campground this was . it was wonderful to walk around and they have a fully stocked store. The campsites are clean and well kept and the people are friendly. We will go back to James River sometime
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.
Jrsp has activities and camping to accommodate everyone. Primitive camping loop, r.v.. loop, equestrian loop, cabin loop, and riverside camping and group available. Several shelters avail for use also. Several miles of trails in the sprawling park can be used by hikers , bikers, and horseback. Canoe livery rents tubes and kayaks for use. Boat launch and pick up service avail at end of float. No motors. Fishing opportunities include James river and a few ponds. Breathtaking views are plenty in this beauty of a park. Very nice quiet area at night. You can hear and see trains that parallel the river on the other side and can see a river crossing as goes over the tye river where it enters the james from the tye river overlook. Offers an amazing view of area from an elevated platform that can be accessed by hike bike or wagon ride! In any case much to see and do at James river state park!
I have been to many VA State Parks and this one so far has taken the cake. The grounds and river access are stunning. I am planning on going back in a few weeks with a group of friends.
Camp here hike up stream then just sit back and float back to your site all to yourself
This campground is good for horse back riding (have stables you can rent) or tubing down the James River (have tubes you can rent). They'll take you to the drop off and you can float down. Have to be 6 or older (we had a 4 yr old), the grass at all sites was 6-10" high making it not fun for anyone, esp. kids (we have 2). They were mowing on the day we left.
As far as the tent sites by the river it's a good 50 to 75 feet from the campsite to your vehicle. There is not really good access to the river from camp sites except for two of them. There is plenty of room at the campsite and some trees for shade. Unless you are bringing horses and staying there, the showers and nice bathrooms are a drive away. Tent sites have permanent holes in the ground and no running water. if you know what you getting into it would be OK.
We only stopped here for an afternoon, but it was a very cool park with a mile jogging trail, some small rock climbing areas, and access to swim in the James River. The water seemed clear and cool on a Summer day and we had fun fighting the current. Note though-- would be careful swimming with children. Most areas are very calm but the river can get rapid at times!
Paved roads with level dirt/gravel wooded sites having W/E (50A). Located in the middle of nowhere off of narrow Virginia secondary roads, we were surprised to get good Verizon reception. We stayed on site 15 which is a long pull-thru. As with other VA State Parks, we picked our site once we arrived. Very wooded so the rooftop dish didn't work. Also several nice cabins (houses really) in the park and separate camping for horse lovers. Like other VA state parks, there are very nice hiking trails here so I took advantage of them. There is a canoe livery on site where you can rent a kayak/canoe and they also have a shuttle service from one end of the park to the other where there is a nice boat landing. Maybe next time because the James River looked so inviting. We enjoyed a visit to the Visitor Center which has nice displays about the history of the area.