Best Camping in Virginia

Virginia, with its rich tapestry of history, diverse ecosystems, and varied landscapes, offers a camping experience that combines natural beauty with historical depth. From the sandy shores of the Atlantic to the rolling hills of the Piedmont, the dense forests of the Southside, and the rugged mountains of the Appalachians, Virginia provides campers with an array of settings for adventure, relaxation, and exploration.

For beach enthusiasts, First Landing State Park, located where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, is steeped in history as the first landing site of the Jamestown colonists in 1607. The park offers camping sites nestled in a semi-tropical forest that leads to miles of sandy beaches, providing opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and exploring the park's diverse habitats. Its trails meander through protected salt marsh habitat, freshwater ponds, beaches, dunes, and upland woods, offering a unique coastal experience.

In the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park offers breathtaking vistas, cascading waterfalls, and quiet wooded hollows. With over 500 miles of trails, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail, campers at Shenandoah can choose from backcountry wilderness camping to family-friendly campgrounds like Big Meadows, which serves as a perfect base for exploring the park's natural wonders. The Skyline Drive runs the length of the park, offering easy access to scenic overlooks and trailheads.

For a blend of history and nature, Colonial National Historical Park, encompassing Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown Battlefield, offers a unique camping experience near sites pivotal to America's early history. While the park itself does not offer camping, nearby private and state park campgrounds provide a base to explore the birthplace of British America and the final major battle of the Revolutionary War, along with the natural beauty of the Virginia Peninsula.

The Allegheny Mountains of western Virginia are home to Douthat State Park, one of Virginia's oldest state parks. The park is renowned for its scenic beauty and the architectural legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park's clear mountain lake offers fishing, boating, and swimming, while more than 40 miles of trails invite hikers and mountain bikers to explore the surrounding mountain terrain. The park's campgrounds and cabin rentals make it an ideal getaway for those seeking a mix of outdoor recreation and relaxation in a mountain setting.

A few tips for camping in Virginia: The state's varied climate means weather can change quickly, especially in the mountains, so be prepared with appropriate gear. Booking in advance is highly recommended, particularly for popular destinations like Shenandoah National Park and First Landing State Park. And, whether you're on the coast, in the mountains, or exploring historical sites, practicing Leave No Trace principles is crucial to preserving Virginia's natural beauty and historical integrity.

Virginia's camping destinations offer an opportunity to explore the state's diverse landscapes and rich history, from the coastal beauty of First Landing and the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of Shenandoah to the historical significance of Colonial National Historical Park and the mountainous beauty of Douthat State Park. Whether seeking adventure, solitude, or a journey through America's past, camping in Virginia invites you to discover the natural and historical treasures of the Old Dominion.