The Best Camping in Virginia: A Comprehensive Guide

The Best Camping in Virginia: A Comprehensive Guide

If you love spending time outdoors, you’ll love camping in Virginia. Virginia is in the southeastern United States, spanning from the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains. It offers a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and is considered one of the 13 original colonies.

The state is home to several historical landmarks, including Monticello, the famous Charlottesville plantation of founding father Thomas Jefferson, as well as living-history museums such as the Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg, which reenact life during the Colonial and Revolutionary eras.

The state was established on June 25, 1788, and covers an area of 110,786 square kilometers. As of 2021, Virginia was a population of 8.642 million people. According to the latest data from November 2022, the unemployment rate in the state is 2.8%. The state’s motto is “Sic semper tyrannis.”

Merino wool is a great choice for anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors. It's comfortable, versatile, and durable, making it a perfect material for camping trips. check out Merino Wool T shirts.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the best camping in Virginia. We’ll give you an overview of the state’s top camping destinations and tips on what to bring and expect.

Let’s get started.

Why is Camping in Virginia the Best?

Virginia is a state with a rich history and abundant natural attractions, making it an ideal destination for camping lovers. With the first permanent British colony in mainland North America founded here in 1607, camping in Virginia ensures that there will never be a lack of history when making a trip to the state during your trip.

Why is Camping in Virginia the Best

Historic Camping Sites

Virginia offers a wealth of historical sites to explore, from colonial towns and Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields to various Presidential Homes, including one that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Camping near these locations allows visitors to experience history in a unique and immersive way. For instance, the Colonial National Historical Park includes Historic Jamestown and the Yorktown Battlefield and is an ideal place to camp for history buffs.

Natural Attractions

Nature is also an integral part of Virginia’s state identity, and there are several state parks and wildlife refuges to explore. The Chesapeake Bay is home to several parks, including Cape Charles and the Assateague Island National Seashore, famous for its feral horses galloping along the beaches. The calm, waveless bay is popular for sunbathers and families on summer breaks.

Virginia Beach

Located along the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is a popular camping destination with the longest pleasure beach in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

The beach is famous for its stunning views, tourist attractions, and camping facilities, making it an ideal location for beach lovers and enthusiasts.

Ultimately, Virginia offers a wide range of camping destinations for both history buffs and nature enthusiasts. Its rich history, abundant natural attractions, and excellent camping facilities make it a must-visit destination for camping fans looking for a unique and immersive camping experience.

The Best Camping Spots in Virginia

With its rich history and abundant natural beauty, Virginia is a top destination for camping enthusiasts. With so many options available, deciding where to pitch your tent can be challenging. In this section, we have compiled a list of the 7 best places to go camping in Virginia mountains & others spots.

1.    Big Meadows

Big Meadows is an extremely popular campground in Shenandoah National Park that offers visitors a unique experience surrounded by nature. It is located in a remote, wooded area near the park’s main facilities and is a great starting point for hikers who want to explore the nearby trails, including the famous Appalachian Trail.

Big Meadows viginia

One of the best things about Big Meadows is that it’s easy to get to three waterfalls, Dark Hollow, Rose River, and Lewis Falls, which are within walking distance of the campgrounds.

These waterfalls are perfect for those who want a more relaxed and easier hike without spending too much time on the trail. Even if you’re not interested in hiking, Big Meadows is still worth a visit.

Stunning mountain vistas and a variety of wildlife surround the campground itself. You can easily observe these natural wonders while sitting at your campsite or opening your tent or RV door.

Big Meadows offers a range of amenities to make your camping experience more comfortable. Each campsite has a bathhouse with hot showers, toilets, fire grates, and picnic tables.

Additionally, there are washing machines and a camp store where you can purchase essentials. Big Meadows Lodge and Restaurant is just a five-minute walk from the campground for those who want entertainment and delicious food while camping.

This is a great option for those who want to take a break from cooking their meals or looking for something different to do during their stay.

One of my preferred spots in Shenandoah National Park is the walk-in area at Big Meadows Campground, conveniently situated near the entrance off 33.

These spots can't be reserved; it's first-come, first-served. However, they offer a serene camping experience, set a distance away from the road and neighboring campsites. It's a delightful place to pitch your tent, and if you're lucky, you might even encounter deer wandering through your campsite.

2.    Douthat State Park

Douthat State Park, located in the Alleghany Mountains, is among the oldest parks in Virginia. The park offers a wide range of activities and attractions, including fishing, boating, hiking, mountain biking, and historical tours.

Douthat State Park camping in viginia

It boasts a 50-acre lake, approximately 45 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, and 6 miles of bridle paths. In addition, Douthat is a historic landmark. It has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its contribution to the construction of other state parks throughout the country.

For those interested in history, the park offers plenty of options, including the oldest spa in the US at Jefferson Pools, the town of Lexington with its rich history, and a train museum in Clifton Forge.

And Virginia’s oldest standing covered bridge, Humpback Bridge, is just a short drive away. With so much to see and do, Douthat State Park is an excellent destination for anyone looking for an outdoor adventure or a glimpse into Virginia’s fascinating history.

3.    State Park Sky Meadows

Sky Meadows State Park is an excellent destination for those seeking a blend of nature, culture, and history. The 1,860-acre park features beautiful lakes, rolling pastures, and miles of old-growth woodland.

It also boasts a historic farmhouse at Mount Bleak, which showcases the farming practices that shaped the unique pastoral landscape and the lifestyles of the people who lived there from colonial times to the post-Civil War period.

State Park Sky Meadows camping in viginia

The park offers primitive camping Virginia all year round on secluded sites that are almost always quiet due to their location one mile from the overnight parking area and lack of automobile access.

There are 22 miles of hiking trails, 10.5 miles of bridle routes, and 9 miles of bicycle trails, providing plenty of options for outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, the park offers access to the Appalachian Trail, which runs for 3 miles.

Sky Meadows State Park is ideal for those looking to explore Virginia’s rich history and natural beauty. Its various activities and beautiful scenery make it an excellent choice for a day trip or a longer camping adventure.

4.    False Cape State Park

False Cape State Park is a beautiful spot for those looking for an adventurous camping experience in Virginia. It is located on the Currituck Banks Peninsula, north of the Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge.

This protected and undeveloped stretch of coastline offers a unique camping experience, with no automobile access to the campgrounds.

False Cape State Park best camping site in Virginia

Although the campsites are basic with no facilities, power, or showers, the park offers various activities such as kayaking expeditions, bike trails, and six miles of undeveloped coastline for swimming and sunbathing.

Pets are allowed in the campgrounds but cannot be brought through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Camping reservations must be made in advance. It is essential to read all the details about the sites before arriving, as the area can be challenging for beginners and unprepared campers.

Despite the lack of amenities, the natural beauty, serenity, and unique camping experience make False Cape State Park a must-visit for adventure-seekers.

5.    Lake Fairfax Park

Lake Fairfax Park is a popular Northern Virginia campground perfect for families with children.

The campground offers a variety of entertainment options, including the Water Mine Family Swimming’ Hole, a Western-themed activity pool with interactive play features, twisting slides, and flumes.

False Cape State Park

There is also an 18-acre lake ideal for paddle boating, and fishing is popular in the seasonally stocked lake.

Due to its popularity, it is recommended to make reservations ahead of time to secure a spot in the campground, which is located outside the metropolitan D.C. area. Families will love the many amenities and activities available at Lake Fairfax Park, making it an ideal destination for a fun-filled outdoor adventure.

6.    Lewis Mountain Campground

The Lewis Mountain Campground is a small, peaceful camping spot located in Shenandoah National Park near the Blue Mountains’ Skyline Drive at mile 57.5. With only 31 campsites available, visitors can enjoy a peaceful and serene camping experience away from the crowds typically found in other areas of the park.

Lewis Mountain Campground

The campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and those who arrive early enough to reserve a spot will be rewarded with a lovely setting that feels much more primitive and secluded than other camping spots in the area.

The campsite is situated near some of Virginia’s top hiking routes and natural wonders, such as Bearfence Mountain, Dark Hollow Falls, and the challenging 8.9-mile Old Rag Loop.

Rock climbing enthusiasts can also use the campground as a base camp to explore the many rock climbing crags in the area. Tent camping in Virginia is the primary form of camping at Lewis Mountain, with only a small number of RV sites available without connections.

Therefore, visitors can enjoy a peaceful, quiet camping experience without many amenities or easy access. With hundreds of loop walks available on the park’s 500+ miles of trails, visitors can easily extend their treks in the camp’s vicinity.

7.    Christopher Run

Christopher Run Campground: It is situated on the beautiful Lake Anna in Louisa County, making Christopher Run Campground the best camping in Virginia for families. With more than 200 sites in a peaceful setting, this campground is situated less than an hour from many of Virginia’s historic sites.

Some of these sites include the James Madison Museum, Michie Tavern, Montpelier, Monticello, Ash Lawn, and several Civil War battlefields.

Christopher Run

The campground provides a variety of outdoor activities, including canoes, rowboats, and paddleboats for tent campers, six boat ramps for those with their own boats, and on-land games such as volleyball, basketball, mini-golf, and shuffleboard.

Most sites offer water and RV connections, and the campground also features flush toilets, hot showers, a grocery store, a laundromat, and a children’s playground.

Christopher Run Campground is perfect for families and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy Lake Anna’s beautiful scenery while exploring Virginia’s rich history.

With a range of activities and amenities, there’s something for everyone at this peaceful and welcoming campground.

What to Bring When Camping in Virginia

Camping in Virginia is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors and take in all of its beauty. Virginia has something to offer everyone, whether you’re looking to rough it in the wilderness or stay in a luxury campsite.

When planning a camping trip in Virginia, it’s important to pack the right gear and supplies to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential items to bring when camping in Virginia.

Tent: Of course, you’ll need to bring your tent to camp in Virginia. Make sure to check the tent size before purchasing, as some campsites have size restrictions.

Sleeping bag: You’ll need a warm sleeping bag to keep you warm and comfortable during the night. It’s also important to make sure the sleeping bag is waterproof and rated for the current temperature.

Read More: How to Store a Sleeping Bag for Travel

Firewood and fire starter: Most camping trips involve a campfire, so bringing firewood and a fire starter is important to help get the fire going. Make sure to check if firewood is allowed at the campsite before bringing your own.

Cooking equipment: To enjoy your meals while camping, you’ll need some cooking equipment. At a minimum, you’ll want to bring a camping stove, pots and pans, plates, utensils, and a cooler.

First aid kit: Accidents can happen, so it’s important to always be prepared with a first aid kit. Make sure to stock the kit with bandages, antiseptic wipes, painkillers, and any needed medications.

Flashlight and batteries: You’ll need a flashlight to help you find your way around the campground at night. Make sure to bring extra batteries, as you don’t want to be caught in the dark without a light source.

Hiking gear: Bring the appropriate gear for the terrain if you plan on hiking during your camping trip. This includes sturdy shoes, hiking socks, a backpack, water, and a map of the area.

Bug spray and sunscreen: Remember to bring bug spray and sunscreen to protect yourself from pesky bugs and the sun’s rays.

Clothing: Make sure to bring plenty of clothes, including warmer clothing for the evening. Also, remember to bring rain gear in case of bad weather. Having the right gear to ensure comfort and safety on the trails is important.

Merino wool is a popular material for hiking clothing due to its natural moisture-wicking and odor-resistant properties and ability to regulate body temperature.

If you’re looking for high-quality hiking outfits, Merinoprotect offers a range of options to suit any outdoor adventure, including shirts, pants, socks, and base layers.

From Merino base layers to mid-layers and outerwear, Merinoprotect’s merino wool products are designed to provide maximum comfort and performance while withstanding the rigors of the outdoors.

These are just some essential items you’ll need to bring when camping in Virginia. While packing these items is important, check the campsite’s policies and regulations before your trip to ensure you’re following all rules.


Virginia is a great state to explore and experience the beauty of nature. With its diverse forests, mountains, and coastline, you are sure to find the perfect camping spot for you and your family.

This comprehensive guide has provided a detailed overview of the best camping sites in Virginia, from the popular Shenandoah National Park to the lesser-known wildlife areas.

No matter what type of camping experience you are searching for, you are sure to find something in Virginia that will provide you with an unforgettable experience.


1. Is Virginia Good for Camping?

Yes, Virginia is a great place for camping. The state offers a variety of camping options, from beach camping to mountain camping and everything in between. There are plenty of campgrounds to choose from, and the scenery is breathtaking. Virginia also has a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, fishing, and kayaking. So, if you’re looking for a fun and relaxing camping experience, Virginia is the place to be.

2. What is the Best Month to Camp in Virginia?

The best month to camp in Virginia depends on your preferences. Generally, the months of April, May, September, and October are the best times to camp in Virginia, as the temperatures are mild, and the foliage is beautiful in the spring and fall. June and July can be quite hot and humid, so camping in Virginia during these months is not ideal.

3. Can You Camp Anywhere in Virginia?

No, you cannot camp anywhere in Virginia. All camping areas are regulated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and must be established at designated campgrounds or parks. To find out more information on camping in Virginia, please visit the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation website.