Virginia is a land of history and beauty. From the beaches on the Atlantic Ocean to the Blue Ridge Mountains, past rolling hills with dogwood trees and mountain laurels, farms, and towns, Virginia is indeed for lovers as their advertising says. But the Old Dominion is also for retirees, kids, teenagers, and families.
Virginia was one of the original thirteen colonies before the American Revolution and one of the hotbeds of the Revolution. Historical sites abound, not only from the Revolution but from the Civil War. Virginia is wonderful for history buffs.
But if you want to get close to the natural side of Virginia, you need to go camping. Camping in this state offers incredible variety. If you love camping, or if you want to try it for the first time, here are eleven of the best camping sites in Virginia.
Cherrystone Family Camping Resort – BEST RATED
Address: 1511 Townfield Dr., Cape Charles, VA 23310 Phone:757-331-3063
The Cherrystone Family Camping Resort, which was family-owned from its founding in 1964 until it was sold in 2021, is home to 300 acres of natural beauty set on the gorgeous Chesapeake Bay. More than 700 spots are available here, and many of those are protected from the sun by tall trees.
On this expansive property, you get to enjoy access to a beach, dog park, fishing piers, swimming pools, cafe, and general store. The wildlife that can be viewed from here is impressive as well. With it being located on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, you can also enjoy some gorgeous sunsets from here.
An extensive laundry facility is on-site as well. It is open 24 hours a day.
Do note that during busy times, this resort can get loud although quiet hours should be observed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Also, the property is large enough that some visitors rent golf carts to get around.
False Cape State Park
Address: 4001 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456 Phone: 757-426-7128
Looking for primitive camping by the beach? Then, False Cape State Park is a spot you cannot miss. There are no showers, electricity, or stall bathrooms, so get well ready before your trip. In exchange, you will be able to enjoy more than six miles of unspoiled beaches and the ocean.
This park is especially popular for its wildlife. It boasts over 300 species of birds, otters, white-tailed deer, red fox, loggerhead turtles, as well as the famous American bald eagles. Apart from nature, you can enjoy kayaking, swimming, or just relaxing at the beach.
Note that False Cape State Park is accessible only by foot, bicycle, or boat. If you are coming with your dog, a boat will be the only means for you as pets are not allowed on the access trails of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. From April through October, visitors can also make use of a tram.
Set on the 50,000-acre John H. Kerr Reservoir, North Bend Park offers as many water activities as you can think of. From swimming and fishing to canoeing, kayaking, and boating, this campground will definitely not leave any family member disappointed.
On the other hand, the 800 miles of shoreline are a great option for campers who enjoy hiking. There are various trails around the lake, each of which offers a different scenery. Some of them are suitable for biking.
The wildlife is also abundant there. When exploring the park, you can come across wild turkeys, foxes, whitetail deer, and even bald eagles.
Even though the campground consists of nearly 250 sites, you won’t feel cramped there. The sites are very well-spaced and some offer water views.
Other amenities include very clean showers and restrooms, picnic areas, an amphitheater, and playgrounds for the kids.
Virginia Beach KOA Holiday
Address: 1240 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23451 Phone:757-428-1444 (information) or 800-562-4150 (reservations)
The Virginia Beach KOA Holiday is a spacious property that is conveniently situated 5 miles south of downtown Virginia Beach and 2-1/2 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean. Within a couple of miles are attractions such as the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and the Ocean Breeze Waterpark, both of which are to the north and also on General Booth Boulevard.
Offered on the grounds include pool access during the summer and options to pay extra for firewood, propane, a tour shuttle, and bicycle rentals. If you are visiting during the winter holiday season, be prepared to enjoy some gorgeous lights that will be on display here.
Do note that those traveling in groups might experience a tight fit in the cabins, internet connectivity may be spotty, and this site is near Naval Air Station Oceana – i.e. planes will be flying overhead on a regular basis.
Holiday Trav-L Park – Best Family Camping in Virginia
Address: 1075 General Booth Blvd. Virginia Beach, VA 23451 Phone:757-425-5117
This campground is in Virginia Beach and is the closest camping site to the Atlantic Ocean.
Cabins with views of the river, RV sites, and tent sites right on the river are available. Most of the tent sites do not have water or electricity. The bathhouse, camp store, and parking lot are not far.
A half mile walk will take you to Crabtree Falls, the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The water cascades down 1200 feet, providing spectacular views. The hike from the road up to the falls will take about 1.5 hours, good for older children and teens, but young children and toddlers will not tolerate this walk well.
Spy Rock is four miles away from the camp. The hike is moderately difficult and takes about 40 minutes. But at the top, you will have a 360 degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the most beautiful views you have ever seen. Don’t forget the camera.
Horseback riding is available in Montebello.
There are several breweries and hard cider barns nearby.
There are lakes and rivers throughout the area and the fishing is great.
You can rent canoes, kayaks, boats, and jet skis. Tubing is a popular recreation.
Fishing in the river is excellent.
There are multiple swimming areas.
Hiking and biking trails wander along the river.
Near the campgrounds is Luray Caverns, the largest caverns in the eastern United States. These caverns offer guided tours along paths through some of the most amazing rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites that you’ll ever see.
After the caves, you can spend some time shopping in the antique shops and art galleries in Luray.
There are three wineries nearby.
Historical sites include three Civil War battlefields.
If you really want to give your kids a thrill, sightseeing flights in either a fixed wing aircraft or a hot air balloon are available.
If that’s not enough adventure, you can go horseback riding through the forest with a guide or take the kids ziplining.
Picture Lake Campground
Address: 7818 Boydton and Petersburg Plank Road, Petersburg, VA 23803 Phone:804-861-0174
South of Richmond, this site offers a pleasant campsite.
If you don’t have a horse and want to ride, a nearby stable has guided horseback rides through the park.
You can rent canoes and tubes for tubing down the river.
Take the children to the alpaca farm for some warm and fuzzy animal bonding.
One of the most charming aspects of the park is the wildlife. Wild ponies roam freely. The best trail to take for pony viewing is the Rhododendron Trail. The kids will be thrilled.
Almost everywhere you look in Grayson Highlands, you will see spectacular views, no matter what the season. Do not forget your camera.
Whether you want a nice, peaceful vacation where the most excitement is tubing down a river, or you want to try ziplining and a hot air balloon tour, Virginia has it all.
Hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Wandering around battlefields or exploring lighthouses.
Surfing in the Atlantic Ocean or canoeing down the Shenandoah River, watching egrets and great blue herons. Standing on top of Spy Rock, almost literally on the top of the world or wandering through caverns with eerie and gorgeous rock formations. These and more are waiting for you.