Having camped here in late Winter, our experience may be a bit biased; the campgrounds were empty and a gentle snow made an already peaceful setting positively serene.
Still, I have to give 5 stars. There are other activities hosted in this park, but our tent site (pic attached) was very much segregated from the main area and IMMEDIATELY on the water. It felt like we could have paid several hundred a night for lodging right on a charming little river.
I can't wait for an excuse to go back.
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.
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
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.
There are several rustic campsites located on the Southfork of the Shenandoah River, as well as modern electric sites, RV sites, and cabins. Park and campgrounds are clean and well maintained. Tons of trails, wildlife and activities in and near the park. This state park is adjacent to Shenandoah National Park and is just as beautiful and rich in history!
This is a cool place to camp if you are just getting into backpacking or are just looking for an easy but primitive camp experience. The primitive tent sites are private, on the river and only a short hike from the parking area. The bathhouse facilities are excellent maintained as well. There are fun local activities nearby such as boat and float rentals as well as zip lining
It is a nice size place with lota of hiking to do
Beautiful views, tons of hiking & biking trails. Wild life is visible everywhere you go. the children’s programs offered on the weekends were great too.
This is a really great view of the shanondoah river. Not really much to do but not a bad spot to spend lunch with the kids or grab a kayak.