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Best Camping In Northern Virginia

Where Can You Camp For Free In Virginia

Candy Hill Campground – Winchester, Virginia

Want to find camping for free in Virginia? Luckily, there are several options for you to explore.

Public Lands

Primitive, walk-in tent camping is an option on some public lands. However, dispersed camping must be away from any developed recreational areas or campgrounds.

To be a good steward of the land when you are dispersed camping, remember to find a flat or worn spot that looks like it has been camped on before. Camping on an established site will protect the landscape and preserve the ecosystem. To further protect the natural areas, camping is limited to a maximum of 14 days within any 28 consecutive day period.

National Forests in Virginia

Sections of two different national forests are in Virginia, George Washington National Forest and the Jefferson National Forest. The forest service allows for free primitive or dispersed camping in some areas within the forest.

Dispersed camping or backcountry camping is limited to undeveloped areas. Recreation areas, administrative areas, active timber sale areas, and any areas that have a no camping sign cannot be used for primitive camping. Free camping is limited to no longer than 21 consecutive days, and all campsites must be at least 200 feet away from any water sources.

Combined, there are 2,340 miles of perennial streams , so make sure you pack some fishing gear if you have an angler with you on your camping trip.

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What People Are Saying About Coopers Rock State Forest Campground

Great picnic site. Take a hike out to Rock City and test your climbing skills test your luck slithering through tight crevices, or your nerve, entering into cavernous tunnels. Walk to the famous overlook and enjoy West Virginia scenery at its finest. There are lots of hiking trails and a primitive camping area. There are several pavilions that can be rented. Theres also a camp store with a cafe for small eats. This really is an awesome place to spend the day. Enjoy! Jeff Facemire, Google Review


  • Coopers Rock State Forest Campground
  • 61 County Line Drive
  • Bruceton Mills, West Virginia 26505
  • 594-1561
  • Extended Stay

Best Virginia Campgrounds: Pocahontas State Park

Pocahontas State Park is located about twenty minutes from Richmond, Virginia and offers several campsites with hookups for water and electricity, as well as grills and picnic tables at all campsites. Amenities available to campers in the Pocahontas State Park campground include restroom facilities with hot showers, as well as laundry facilities and an outdoor swimming pool. Guests can also rent canoes, paddle boats, kayaks, paddle boards, and rowboats, during the warmer months of the year. In addition to camping, the park provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and swimming. Visitors can bring their own boat for a fee.

10301 State Park Rd, Chesterfield, VA 23832, Phone: 804-796-4255

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Blowing Springs Campground Warm Springs Va

Blowing Springs Campground doesnt bury the leadtheir 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.

Check Availability For Your Wilderness Escape

11 Unforgettable RV Camp Spots in West Virginia (Both Parks and Rustic ...

Resort-Style Activities for Every Age and Adventure Level

Many events & activities included with your camp cottage, log cabin or RV lodging fees!*Some events & activities may require additional fees.

Have fun and challenge yourself on our Ropes Course and Climbing Wall

Enjoy recreational water sports with Jon & paddle boat, kayak, corcl & paddleboard rentals

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Campgrounds In Virginia: Shenandoah National Park

The Shenandoah National Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who love backcountry camping, as the park is full of primitive sites. In fact, there are very few park areas that are off-limits for overnight visitors, providing campers with abundant opportunities to truly discover the amazing wildlife and scenery of Virginia. Its important to note, however, that backcountry camping here isnt for beginners and there are several developed campgrounds in the area. One of the most popular activities in the Shenandoah National Park is hiking the more than five hundred miles of trails and exploring overlooks.

3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835, Phone: 540-999-3500

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Chickahominy Riverfront Park Williamsburg Va

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.

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Awesome Campgrounds For Families In Virginia

Planning a family camping trip? Virginia has one of the most varied and beautiful landscapes of any state in the U.S. Whether youve got your own RV camper or plan to rough it in a tent, making sure your family has a safe, clean, and comfortable place to call home-base is of utmost importance. Below you will find five great campgrounds suitable for families across the state, each ready and willing to make your trip one to remember!

Chincoteague Island Koa Chincoteague Island Va

Belle Isle State Park Virginia Campground

Whats more magical than camping by the beach? Chincoteague Island KOA boasts 400 RV sites, tent sites, and deluxe cabins situated on 200 acres. Participate in themed weekends and other family-friendly activities. The area also features a playground, an activity room, kayaking, a food truck, and a tiki bar for when the adults want to escape for a drink. If you visit in July, you just might get to witness the annual, world-famous Chincoteague Island Pony Swim. On the last Wednesday in July, wild Chincoteague ponies are herded across the Assateague Channel, and a carnival event immediately follows. If youre saying at Chincoteague Island KOA, youll get a free trolley ride to and from the event!

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Water Sport Fun: Smith Mountain Lake State Park

Image from The Dyrt camper Diane D.

Smith Mountain Lake State Park is the place for inland water-lovers. Visitors can go swimming, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing. There are various places to stay around the lake. Including comfortable cabins and a state campground with 25 tent and 24 RV sites.

Half the tent sites are reservable, while the other half are available on a first come, first served basis. Families get a multi-day beach pass with their camping reservation.

Huge lake with tons of outdoor activities . There is a cool brewery nearby . The Dyrt camper Daniel P.

Planning A Trip To Virginia

Virginia is for lovers, and Im sure youll fall in love with this unique state. Ive linked other Virginia lists and guides Ive created below for you to check out. Ive also added some of my other content for Virginias bordering states as well. Who knows, you may extend that road trip and check out a bit more of this great country!

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Grayson Highlands State Park Camping And Cabins Mouth Of Wilson Va

Grayson Highlands State Park is horse friendly. If you dont have your own horse to bring with you, year-round access to the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail all but ensures a visit from another campers if you make the trek to the horse campground that is). Theres 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, Virginias two highest peaks.

Camping Cabins Yurts And Camping Lodges

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Some parks offer alternate camping facilities. Guests renting these facilities, which are in campgrounds, use the campground’s bathhouse. These facilities fall under the same transfer policy as that for cabins.

Camping cabins are generally one-room wooden buildings with two sets of bunk beds, a table, a ceiling fan and an electrical outlet. They have no heating or air conditioning. Guests use nearby bathhouses’ rest rooms and showers. The camping cabins have a picnic table and a fire ring, grill or both. Guests must bring their sheets, pillows and towels. A minimum two-night stay is required for camping cabins. Check-in is 4 p.m. and check-out is 10 a.m. Camping cabins are available at Lake Anna, Pocahontas, Shenandoah River and Westmoreland state parks. Those at Westmoreland have two small rooms with two single beds in each room. Check for details on the given parks web page under Cabins, camping.

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Appalachian Trail Access: Middle Creek Campground

Middle Creek Campground is a great destination for Appalachian Trail section hikers, or a spot where thru-hikers can take a zero day or few to recover after covering nearly 750 miles from the southern terminus at Spring Mountain, Georgia. This campground is just a twenty minute drive from the Thunder Ridge trailhead that connects the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Appalachian Trail, or a mile from where the Appalachian Trail meets Jennings Creek.

Close to hiking on Virginias Fork Mountain, paddling on the upper James River, and driving and cycling on the Blue Ridge Parkway itself, and the bulk of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, Middle Creek Campground is in the middle of some of Virginias greatest outdoor playgrounds.

Campgrounds offer cabins, RV sites, tent sites, and space for hammock campers, so theres a little something for everyone at this home base. And there are a lot of amenities for a place where sites start at just $20 a night, including both a swimming pool and swimming pond with slides.

All of the sites were roomy and featured a small fire pit, picnic table, water, and electricity. Several of them even had a pull-through site and would work well for a small pop-up. Bonus: most of the lower tent sites have direct access to the creek!The Dyrt camper Andrea N.

New River Trail State Parkfoster Falls

Hiking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding keep the New River Trail State Park busy during the day, but many outdoor enthusiasts stick around to stay at the parks campground. There are primitive campsites located all along the trail for escalating levels of experience. If you are looking a little more comfort, the Cliffview and Millrace sites have fire pits, lantern posts, and picnic tables. You can even rent canoes and bikes if you do not have your own equipment.The Double Shoals and Baker Island sites are for the truly rugged camper. These sites may not have any frills, but they allow the serious campers to focus on the surrounding natural landscape. With no vehicular access to campsites and no showers or bathhouses, this Virginia campground is not for the faint of heart. There are many entrances to this park, as it winds through Grayson, Carroll, Wythe, Pulaski, and Galax along the New River for 39 miles. Get directions to the closest entrance point.

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George Washington And Jefferson National Forests

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are a great destination to enjoy some outdoor recreation. These National Forests extend across Virginia and into West Virginia. Visitors to the forests can enjoy mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and lots of hiking. Within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests there are over 2000 miles of trails.

Where To Go Camping In Northern Virginia

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Making smores, fishing, hiking, sleeping under the stars, connecting with nature these are just some of the things associated with camping. Camping is a great way to spend time together as a family and it often can be a simple getaway. In Northern Virginia, you dont have to travel too far to find parks with camping facilities suitable for an overnight stay, weekend trip, weeklong vacation, or more. See below for descriptions on the biggest public campgrounds in the area that offer tent camping in Northern Virginia . Please note: there are a few more parks in the area that offer camping, but they are severely limited and/or offer camping for groups only. Our list includes only public parks that can accommodate a good number of people.

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Chippokes Plantation State Park

This is a fantastic historic working farm, one of the oldest in the country. Located in Surry County along the James River, this park is a fascinating historic and recreational destination. The plantations’s boundaries are the same as they were in the 1600s. There are a wide variety of gardens for visitors to explore, including formal gardens around the mansion and more. Visitors can also stop and explore the Chippokes Farm and Forest Museum to learn about the history of the plantation.

Campgrounds Near Me: Hurricane Campground

Located in Sugar Grove, the Hurricane Campground is perhaps one of southwest Virginias best kept secrets. Set next to a mountain stream, beneath the shade of rhododendron and hemlock, Hurricane Campground provides a tranquil setting for anyone wanting an outdoor adventure, as well as those who are just looking for a place to relax. Access to several trails can be found at the campsites, including the Hurricane Knob Trail and the famous and scenic Appalachian Trail, which extends over two thousand miles, across fourteen states. Every campsite includes a campfire ring, a picnic table, and a lantern pole.

2021 Hurricane Campground Rd, Sugar Grove, VA 24375, Phone: 276-783-5196

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Backcountry Campingshenandoah National Park

For the avid outdoors enthusiast, it doesnt get any more primitive than backcountry camping while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Very few areas in the park are off-limits to overnight stays, and park campers get a front-row seat for discovering Virginias amazing scenery and wildlife. A word of caution: Backcountry camping in Shenandoah National Park is not for beginners. Preparing for an overnight trip in the mountains of Virginia requires experience, survival skills, and the right tools and supplies. Make sure you are fully aware of the risks and rules to backcountry camping before you plan your trip to the park.

Belle Isle State Park

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Located in Northeastern Virginia, Belle Isle State Park has diverse habitats and wildlife. With about seven miles of riverfront on the Rappahannock River as well as bordering Deep and Mulberry creeks, this is an excellent destination for recreation and wildlife viewing. Belle Isle State Park features tidal and non-tidal wetlands, marches, upland forests and more. While exploring these diverse habitats, visitors have the opportunity to see blue herons, hawks, bald eagles, white-tailed deer, squirrels and much more.

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Looking For The Best Campgrounds In Virginia

Youre in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • Which campsites are a must go
    • Is the site in mind pet-friendly?
    • Best RV Campgrounds in Virginia?
    • Do you need to book permits well in advance?

From the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Cumberland Gap to Shenandoah National Park and over 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail, the state of Virginia has an absolutely gobsmacking array of terrain waiting to be explored. Dotted in and around all of that epic hiking, biking, and backpacking terrain, moreover, there are literally hundreds of campgrounds catering to visitors of all tastes.

Whether youre looking for a truly wild experience or something offering a little more in the way of creature comforts, the Old Dominion has a backcountry billet youre sure to love. In this article, we introduce you to the very best of them with our selection of the twelve best places to go camping in Virginia.

  • Book ahead popular sites book out early
  • Plan your gear, meals, and trip goals BEFORE you go
  • Check with local parks, forest services, and ranger stations before making your trip so you know the local laws & regulations.
  • Practice your best camping ethics


  • Dont break or abuse lenient rules!
  • Dont forget to Leave No Trace!

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