Rachel
VA
Joined May 2019
living for the weekends ⛺️🌲⛰✨
3 Different Campgrounds

There are four different campgrounds in this state park, one being paddle-in. The park is a linear park that is known for its flat-ish trails and bike/horse paths. Of the 57 miles of this park, about 39 are on the New River. All campgrounds are primitive; no RV sites, no bathhouses (pit toilets only), but potable water is available.

Millrace Campground is right on the river and near Foster Falls; you can rent canoes and bikes here. Reservations required.

Cliffview Campground is in Galax and has 13 sites on the Chestnut Creek. Reservations required. There are a few equestrian sites here (room for your trailer).

Double Shoals Campground: first-come, first-served.

The paddle-in sites are located at Baker Island Campground.

Riverside!

Really cool campground located right on the New River, located at Foster Falls. The river sounds amazing at night. You have to walk everything into the campground from the parking area, but it's not a long walk so you can still bring all of your "car camping" luxuries. There are no RV sites and there are no bathhouses, only pit toilets which can be a little funky, but it is what it is. Just a short walk from the campground, you can explore the area which includes stables, a wildlife center, visitor center with local artisan goods (we got some local teas, stevia, and handmade jewelry/ornaments as gifts), an abandoned hotel/grounds (you can check them out from the outside), an old train car, and much more. Pet-friendly. 

Sites 2, 6, and 9 would be my personal picks for next time. If you have a large group, G17 is HUGE. You can also use this campground for day-use, picnicking, etc.

Shot Tower State Park isn't far from here either, so definitely check that out while you're in the area. Millrace Campground is located within the New River State Park. We went in October and the colors were really starting to change.

Beautiful Lake 🛶

Stayed for three nights in October. We had site B9 which was near a group site - so be mindful of this! During our trip it was full of loud and unsupervised kids.

We paddled around the lake on Sunday; there are a couple of different boat launches in the park. The cliffs are freaking amazing from the launch closest to the park entrance. It’s so beautiful on the water, especially this time of year.

There’s also a camp store/visitor center. Our site included a fire ring, two lantern posts, and a picnic table. Firewood and ice are available at the entrance station (can use credit card), and wood is available from the camp host (cash only). Lots of hiking and bike trails throughout. Very clean restrooms and showers. We had a really great time and will totally be back in the spring 🍂🍁

Cute Family Campground

Great little campground, close to local breweries. The camp store has sports equipment you can check out (badminton!), and has everything you didn’t know you forgot. They have a pool and VERY clean restrooms. Pet-friendly, sometimes have live music or karaoke. We always enjoyed our stay here. Very nice owners.

Simple Campground

$25 + tax per night for a tent site, $2 more per person. Showers and bathhouses avail. RV accommodations. About 6 miles from the town of Culpeper.

Wonderful Trip

Our site was RIGHT on the river. It was peaceful and private. No water, no electricity available. Not for RVs. There is a railroad track that runs along the James River near the sites, but it never bothered us. Great fishing.

A little additional info from the internet:

BREEDEN BOTTOM CAMPGROUND is located on the James River about 1/4 mile down stream of the Arcadia bridge about 5 mile drive from our canoe livery in Buchanan, VA. It is situated about 6 river miles downstream of our Buchanan based canoe livery location near river mile marker 19. This campground can accommodate both paddle in and drive in campers. Each site is numbered and include a fire ring, picnic table, parking area, and level tent pad. Portable toilets and a dumpster are conveniently located in the center of the campground. Guests will need to bring their own water as no potable water source is provided. $36.00 per site for up to 4 campers.

Overnight

We came here because it’s about an hour-and-a-half from home, perfect for an overnight. The photo on the website of our particular site was very deceptive. It looked way more secluded and wooded than it actually was, but it was decent.

Acorn Loop has lake-front sites that I would highly recommend. Sites 4-12 are the best, with #11 being the best best: it’s right on the water but also kind of tucked away a bit. #13 is smack in the middle of the loop, I personally wouldn’t want that site. The sites at the top of the hill, A1, A2, A3, and A15 are right on the road, but there wasn’t much traffic in this particular loop, so it didn’t bother us. A1, A2, and A3 will have people walking by a lot for the bathhouses. I don’t think every loop has one.

The lake itself is very pretty, 40 acres and manmade. We brought innertubes and just floated but we saw people fishing, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, and paddle boating. There were lots of people fishing, and someone got a catfish and kept it for dinner. 🎣

We drove around and checked out the cabin sites. These cabins are HUGE and really beautiful. They look like they could accommodate over 12 people. There’s also a meeting space/hall that you can book…. would be a great place for reunions, receptions, etc.

Primus CampFire Pot S/S 3L

Last month I received a $50 gift card to Primus Stoves (thanks to Dyrt!) and I got myself this pretty little pot. It’s the 3L stainless steel pot/colander and is a perfect addition to my camping bag 🥣 The handle locks in place which is awesome, especially when you are stashing leftovers in the cooler. It’s also designed to be suspended if needed.

Tonight we made a one-pot meal: spicy chorizo from Pink House Farm, rice and onions, and seasonal veggies (okra, pattypan squash, tomatoes, green peppers) from Phantom Hill Farm.

Favorite in SNP

Loft is my favorite out of the campgrounds I’ve visited in the Shenandoah National Park. I’ve been Big Meadows and Lewis, but never to Matthew’s Arm. No reservations here, so you have to get lucky. But if you do and get a good site, it’s so going to be worth it. We had a site where you park at the top of a hill and hike down a slightly steepish hill to the site. It was shady, wooded, private, and quiet. There were a few sites beside us, but spaced nicely apart. The best tent views are the ones with no cars and bathhouses and this campground definitely gives you that. This one also provides bear boxes for food.

Favorite mini-hike nearby: Black Rock Summit (see photos). Beautiful views of the park, easy (the whole loop is less than a mile with just 175ft. of elevation gain), kid-friendly, and pet-friendly.

Packed

The park doesn’t take reservations so it’s first-come first-served. Sometimes you’ll get lucky but it’s always a gamble. The time I did end up getting a site here it was small and I felt elbow-to-elbow with other campers. If you don’t mind primitive camping, I’d suggest camping elsewhere in the park, or try for Loft Mountain. This campground provides bear boxes.

Nice Trip

Camped at Douthat State Park. Great area for swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, etc. Nice Lake Moomaw views ☀️ ⛵️🛶

🏕🐻

Be mindful of bears! If you’re going to invest in a portable bear box for your food, check out http://igbconline.org/certified-products-list/.

There are especially so many incredible hikes on Skyline Drive! I recommend the AllTrails app to search by distance, difficulty, views/waterfalls, etc. I’ve included photos of some of my favorite hikes in the park.

NOVA Oasis

Super close to DC and the hustle and bustle, this park was such a cool random booking. We were seeing a show on a Sunday night and didn’t want to drive home. Uber or Lyft from the campground to Jiffy Lube Live is approx $20 - $25 each way.

The campground has over 120 sites, playground, a water park during the season, holiday light festival, hiking trails, camp store with wood and other basics. There are several large picnic shelters that can be reserved for events. We saw several large parties utilizing these areas. The picnicking area is along the river and really beautiful. Cabins are ADA.

We chose site 41 because it looked pretty private compared to some of the others. Lots of wooded space around us, plenty of room for hammocks! We will get this spot again when we go back. Lots of pull-through sites. Water and electric available if you don’t want a standard site. If you stay in site #41 or nearby just be aware that the shooting range is just through the woods. It didn’t bother us and it stopped at 5pm and isn’t open daily. We had a very peaceful Monday morning because the range was closed. Sunday night camping is great because it feels way more private.

The bathhouses are probably the cleanest I’ve ever seen at a campground. The centrally-located bathhouse showers are not within the bathrooms which is always nice. They’re the numbered doors right out front, I seriously looked right over them at first.

Only had two staff interactions but both were very pleasant.

Close to many battlegrounds, the first battle of the Civil War being fought at Bull Run. History buffs - spend a few days here and take advantage of everything that this awesome park and nearby attractions have to offer.

Also passed a few wineries nearby!

All-in-all, it was a pretty perfect trip. Thanks, BRRP ✌🏼✨🏕

Weekending

For several months while living in TN, we spent almost every weekend at Henry Horton State Park. It’s not quite an hour from Nashville. We always got a primitive site, shady site. I was never disappointed by any of our sites and never felt cramped or too close to other campers.

HH has RV sites, cabins, “hammock sites,” and a large group site. They also have a camp store, firewood, and restrooms. Rates are pretty standard. Backcountry primitive hike-in sites are $8.

Interactive heritage festivals and other activities frequently came to the center across the street. I don’t really recall if this is part of the park or not.

Passing through with a UHaul

Stopped off during a road trip/move. Had a nice big open site, felt very private. Lots of wooded spaces. I want to say we had a site near a trail that took you to a water overlook. Easy check-in, friendly staff. Arriving late was no issue.

We made it work

To be fair, I only went the once but wasn’t impressed. The site was so tiny - barely large enough for my friend and I to each park and set up a tent. We were super close to the road and dump station, so avoid that site (I don’t recall the number). There was also very little privacy between neighboring sites. No established fire ring or fire area. We asked the store attendant if we could just build a fire ring with rocks and he said that was fine. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen a site like this haha. The small beach area is nice enough, but it is tiny. Would definitely recommend Lake Anna State Park over this one; they aren’t too far apart.

Great location!

The river sites are the best. This campground has a music festival yearly that highlights local bands and artisans. They also have cornhole tournaments from what I’ve heard. Grounds, pool, bathhouses, laundry, restrooms all well-maintained. Store also has hot coffee and sometimes donuts for those crisp mornings. 💙

The group site, at the top of the hill, is secluded and private. Awesome for a big get-together.

LOCAL TIP: “Smoked” and “Crozet Pizza” and “Fardowners” - all in nearby Crozet, and all amazing.

The owners and staff at the campground and the pizzeria are wonderful 💫

Labor Day Weekend🏕

We had a really nice time!! Our site was small for five people and two dogs (site 87) but it worked just fine! EXCEPT for the number of mosquitoes this time of year. Omg I’ve been bit SO many times. Take your itch cream if going in the swamp season of August lol.

Only complaint: I’ve never camped on a holiday weekend before, and while I did anticipate a lot of people and families utilizing the facilities, I wish the staff had staffed accordingly. All three times I went to the restroom in the bathhouse, my stall had no toilet paper on either spool. The showers were filthy with blobs of hair and baby wipes and foul smells, and the garage cans were overflowing with rancid trashbags. The recycling bin was full of garbage, due to the dumpster being full. People were constantly driving the wrong way on one-way streets, not staying on the paths. Ideally there should have been more patrolling and more mindfulness towards the influx of waste/need for cleanings and restocking of common areas. But I get it; it was BUSY. P.S. the bathhouse venting are brutal - get a site away from those! While it’s convenient, when there are that many people, it’s rough.

I was so happy to see so many people utilizing our state parks! So many families (LARGE groups, too) were definitely taking advantage of the swimming and large sites. So wonderful to see.

We also took the short drive into VA Beach and walked the boardwalk. We hopped on at the Neptune Statue and walked a few blocks, heard some live music, got ice cream.

FL is a lovely state park and has a cool location. We will definitely be back, just not on such a busy weekend and during such mosquito-awful weather ☀️

LOCAL TIPS:

Dockside Seafood and Bubba’s Seafood are awesome. I’ve gotten fresh fish from both. Most recently we got a pound of shrimp and a pound of … I want to say mahi … but anyway, both from Bubba’s and very fresh. We cooked it all at the campsite with seasonal veggies and rice ✌🏼

If you like jalapeño poppers, you HAVE to go to Froggie’s while you’re in the area. Went with a large group and got to try many things, all were really good!

Kayak!

Love the fact that they have an outfitter to shuttle you up the river. We got a site right on the river bank so we just hopped out and were at our site! Of course they also offer rentals for boats and such. The Shenandoah River is gorgeous. As you can tell by our tent view, some of the sites are perfect (we had site #15).

Close to Skydiving!

Have stayed here twice when skydiving at Skydive Shenandoah. I will say the tent sites aren’t super desirable. Not private and gravel. The cabins though - perfect for one or two people, has a fire ring. Both times we had a nice stay, both times in a cabin. Lots of antiquing and flea marketing in the area.