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!
Umstead is an awesome place to come for the weekend whether you are into camping, hiking, running, or biking. There are a wide variety of single track to larger sand/dirt paths. My cross country team will come here for long day. There are pavilions that are great for cooking or serving a large brunch after our run. Would recommend!
We drove this section of the Blue Ridge parkway! Besides beautiful views, there were designated places you were allowed to pull off and camp. The Roanoke area was very fun. We loved Mill Mountain (AKA Star Mountain because of the huge illuminated star at the top-- the largest in the US!). We ran to the top and explored. There are lots of great hiking trails and a zoo-- great for children.
My group was looking for a place to host a bigger camping trip so we visited Poplar Point and Crosswinds (both on Jordan Lake). Poplar point was very cool. It has a boat launch, lakeside campgrounds, and an awesome swimming beach. The bathrooms are close and clean. The only problem is Poplar Point doesn't do any "group" campsites so if you're going with friends or a larger family, Crosswinds is definitely the way to go.
Right alongside the water of Jordan Lake, crosswinds has a great location! We had a larger group coming so we loved the double sites available. We were close to water and the bathrooms and a short drive away from the boat launch and meadow trails. We didn't see the sun this weekend, but there was still a lot to do!! Would recommend, especially for group trips.
Did not get to camp, but hiking in the area was great!
We stopped through Hungry Mother State Park mid-summer and fell in love. The campsites are nice-- wooded, access to bathrooms, and near the lake. The park itself offers a LOT of great activities. There are trails around the perimeter of the large lake (almost 5-6 mile perimeter) that go up high along a mini-mountain ridge-- absolutely beautiful. There is also a place to rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats to explore the lake and mini island. Lastly, there is a swimming beach and a swim-to platform with 1 meter and 3 meter diving boards. Needless to say, would recommend!!
Located close to George Mason University, host to many high school cross country meets, this park has a beautiful lake with a 5-mile gravel walking/running/biking trail around the lake's perimeter. You are not supposed to swim in the lake but you can take out boats (there is a boat launch). Campgrounds are nice, located in the woods along the lake and have access to decent bathrooms. Recommend for a quick weekend away and for kids!
We used to do a cross country race here and would run past the campgrounds on our warm-ups. Campgrounds looked pretty standard and there were bathrooms. Park itself is beautiful, especially in the fall. The wooded trails were beautiful and soft.
Right off route 1 between Dewey Beach and Bethany, campgrounds line the inlet (connects the Atlantic Ocean to the bay in land of Bethany). Its a popular place to fish off the jetties and for public beach access. Because of this the surrounding bathroom facilities are well-kept. Lots of trailers stay here, but so do tents. The bridge across the inlet is beautiful and has a pedestrian path!
My family comes to Cape Henlopen EVERY year. The park has a 3-mile paved bike loop great for kids that travels through the expansive dunes, marshes, wooded areas and by the beach. The beach is pristine and protected so it feels cleaner and calmer than the more commercial beaches. Because it used to be a fort, there are still watch towers and one is done so that you can climb to the top and have a view of the whole park.
A huge attraction-- there is now a bike trail that connects from Cape Henlopen into downtown Rehobeth. This is a super fun day activity and very scenic! Campgrounds are very well kept, wooded, and not far from the beach. There are basic campsites and cabins available. Bathrooms and showers also easily accessible. Book in advance! The park can be very busy on summer weekends!
Paris Mountain park was an awesome addition to our trip to Greenville! There is a biking culture in the surrounding area and biking up to the top of Paris Mountain was the "thing to do"! Views from the top were incredible!
Beach camping just got even cooler! We stayed here in late May 2015. It is actually on an island off the shore. Campsites are right off of the beach -- so sandy! They felt softer than dirt when sleeping. Cars can park right next to campsite. Really, really nice bathroom and shower facilities are available close to every group of campsites. The beach is beautiful, totally untouched and preserved so both the beach and the water just feel very clean. Wild horses roam the island-- you WILL see them. Be careful about leaving food out, we left some pretzels and chips in our tent for a few minutes while cleaning up and before we knew it there was a horse in our tent eating them!! Such a cool experience though. 10/10 would recommend.
I actually stayed in an Airbnb along Smith mountain lake, but can imagine camping would be beautiful. Lake was super calm, clear and not too cold. We went out kayaking and swam out in the open. Totally recommend! Also a good region for wineries and I believe the site of an annual Wine Festival every September.
For the quarry, you need to be careful to park in the neighborhoods or parking lot and not along service roads (whoops!). It takes 1-1.5 miles to walk in. Its a great spot for picnicking, swimming and popular for its ~10 foot jump into the quarry from the highest rock!
I camped here with a large group and we fit in one campground nicely. Some people slept in tents but a lot strung Eno hammocks between the Carolina Pines. Our campground lined the lake so just through the trees, we were able to go for a quick dip or sit and watch the water. Also close by-- decent bathrooms and a large open field great for recreational games (we played frisbee!). Would stay again!
We camped here in September. It is mainly an RV park, but the woman who owns it has 2 acres of open field along the river. There are no campsites, but we were welcome to pitch a tent wherever we liked. There was a small bathroom/shower facility very close and wifi accessible. I loved being near the water-- we went tubing straight from out campsite on Saturday! But its close to the highway and you can hear cars at night. Also, it got very crowded our second night and tents next to us did not observe any sort of "quiet hours".
I camped here with some friends late May. We had a wooded campground with plenty of space for multiple tents. We were just a short walk away from showers and bathrooms. The facilities were decently clean and nice. There was a beautiful inlet we could walk to and a marina that we enjoyed exploring. And just a few miles to the beach!
I've raced here with my cross country team. There is a huge beautiful lake at the center and miles of gravel and dirt trails surrounding it. The facilities are decent, although bringing your own TP might be a good idea. Easily accessible from CH, Durham, Raleigh, and Greensboro!