Between Northern Virginia’s Skyline Drive and Southern Virginia’s Seashore State Park, there is no shortage of natural beauty for the Virginian camper. Whether you’re looking for a night under the stars or a weekend surrounded by natural splendor, these 15 camping spots are sure to roast your marshmallows.
One of the last remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic Coast, False Cape State park is for those that crave escape. Reservations are required for one of the 12 available sites, and cannot be made same-day. Campers give up access to electricity, toilets, and running water in exchange for pure, unaltered views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Hike-in or boat-in—it’s your choice, but there is no vehicle access to any of the four primitive campsites that comprise the New River Trail State Park. This 57-mile linear park follows an abandoned railroad. The four sites are Cliffview Campground, overlooking Chestnut Creek, Millrace Campground, overlooking the New River, Baker Island Campground, which requires reservations, and the Double Shoals Campground, which is first-come, first-served. Each site offers its own wonderful quirk.
Hike your way through the Appalachian Trail and find a comfortable spot on a Cliffside overlooking the Shenandoah Valley to set up camp. It doesn’t get much more natural, or beautiful, than the over 500-mile long Shenandoah National Park. Backpacking through the park, while an incredible experience, is only for the most prepared campers. So make sure you’ve got all you need before heading out.
Visit Chickahominy Riverfront Park to camp in the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg. The 161 campsites that comprise the park are above water on a bluff. Only 10 sites have water access, though, so make sure to plan accordingly when camping in this 140-acre campground. Activities include boating, canoeing, and kayaking. With a pool onsite, Chickahominy offers something for everybody.
For the camper that enjoys the finer things, the Misty Mountain Camp resort at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains offers access to over 30 wineries. The 50-acre park is a hodgepodge of different comfort levels, allowing you to customize your stay from down and dirty tent life to quant cabins. Activities include an outdoor pool, fishing, recreation room, and sports.
The Crabtree Falls Campground, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, boasts the “highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi.” The park is pet friendly and open year-round. Reservations are recommended, but not always necessary. If the waterfall isn’t enough to wet your whistle, consider the nearby wineries, breweries, and orchards.
Grayson Highlands State Park is horse friendly. If you don’t have your own horse to bring with you, year-round access to the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail all but ensures a visit from another camper’s if you make the trek to the horse campground that is). There’s a bunkhouse for those that would prefer a little more shelter with electrical and water hookups, as well as stables and trailer parking. But the best part about this site is the access to the Appalachian Trail. Go forth into the mountains to take in views of Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Virginia’s two highest peaks.
Camp Karma is an “upscale primitive campground located on 42 acres in the beautiful region of Bedford, Virginia near Smith Mountain Lake.” Camp Karma charges $75 per night for the “glamping”—that’s glamorous camping—experience. The Glamping package includes a four-person tent, two cots, utensils, a bucket of wood and a bag of ice.” Other amenities include fishing, swimming, outhouses, private bathrooms, camp store, electrical hookups, picnic tables, fire rings, drinking water, and Wi-Fi.
Blowing Springs Campground doesn’t bury the lead—their namesake is a natural phenomenon featuring “a duct that blows air out of the rocks at 58 degrees, which may feel warm or cool depending on the season.” Fishing and swimming are perfect summer-time activities. This waterfront campground offers vault toilets and a hand-pump for water. The grassy field of the lower portion is wide enough for many to enjoy, but the air ducts are the true treat.
Get your hunting on at North Creek Campground in Buchanan, Virginia! For $10 a night, visitors can fish, hike, and ride horses, picnic, and hunt big game. License and permit required. Primarily, though, North Creek is a general campground with few frills. If you’re the “back-to-nature” type, then this might be just what you’re looking for.
Christopher Run Campground is perfect for kids. With a game room, pavilion, picnic shelter, snack bar, Laundromat, swimming, volleyball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and playground, there’s no shortage of activities. The 13,600-acre Lake Anna is fully stocked with a wide variety of fish for the fishers amongst us.
Chippokes is one of the oldest continuously operating plantations in the nation. Established in 1619, the 1,400-acre farm is now a “combination of natural history, cultural history, and outdoor activities.” The 50-unit campground includes modern amenity hook-ups, Olympic size pool, and four cabins with modern furnishings. Special events include the Peanut, Pork, and Pine Festival, Photography Worships, and East Egg Hunt.
The 1,864-acre Sky Meadows State Park offers history programming all year to educate and capture colonial life through post-Civil War Virginia. The views are gorgeous, as are the pastures on this historic farm. Activities include hiking, picnicking, fishing, and primitive hike-in camping. With 24 miles of hiking trails and nine miles of bike trails, each with Appalachian Trail access, Sky Meadows is one of the more versatile inclusions on this list.
This popular summer destination has a maximum of 14 consecutive night stays from Memorial Day to Labor Day and 28 from Labor Day to Memorial Day with nightly fees. They offer regular tent sites, tents with electrical hook-ups, and RV trailer packages. Pets are allowed on the grounds, but not in the amphitheater, which is often used for scout ceremonies. This 476-acre park offers over 150 sites and includes the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole Water Park.
Located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Creekside Campground offers visitors the option to stay secluded, or to venture a few blocks into the history town sites. Area attractions include the Bryce Resort, Endless Caverns, Shenandoah Caverns, Murray’s Fly Shop, vineyards, Edinburg Ole’ Time festival, Civil War history, and more. But for those that would prefer the peace and quiet tranquility of seclusion, pick a spot next to Stoney Creek and listen to the water ebb and flow.