Rving The Blue Ridge Parkway
Rural quiet. The parkway runs past Glendale Springs, N.C. where the Glendale Springs Inn housed parkway engineers in the 1930s.
I recently tried RVing for the first time. My little tent is sure going to get lonely during future forays into the Blue Ridge Mountains. As a long-time tent camper and fan of Blue Ridge Parkway road trips, the idea of trying an RV for the first time on one of America’s prettiest roads had some definite appeals. The ease of driving the parkway made maneuvering a big “rig” less daunting, while the conveniences of camping with a mobile bedroom, kitchen and other modern amenities seemed like an ideal way to enjoy all the parkway has to offer.
RVing is exploding in the United States and it’s not just with the retired set. Last year, new RV shipments totaled an incredible 292,700, which was a 20-year record. “The industry is now benefiting from an influx of baby boomers into the RV ownership ranks,” says David Humphreys, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association . “Like the previous generation of buyers, boomers are finding that RVs offer unique convenience, comfort, value and opportunities for family bonding.”
Being a baby boomer myself, those figures were enough to convince me to give RVing a try . In researching how to try RVing, my first discovery was that renting is a convenient and ideal way to start.
Blue Ridge Parkway Rv Camping Offers Nonstop Activities Or Peaceful Seclusion
The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia boasts a treasure trove of scenic overlooks of the Appalachian Mountains, outdoor activities, and of course camping sites that make it worthy of the label Americas Favorite Drive.
Spanning 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park to North Carolinas Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are over a dozen campsites to choose from off the Parkway. You can choose to spend anywhere from a couple of days to over a week exploring the wildlife or hiking some of the 1,000 miles of trails, 600 of which allow pets.
One of the most famous trails is the Star Trail overlooking the City of Roanoke. At 1.7 miles long, the trail begins at the Roanoke River, traversing through Blue Ridges diverse tree life, and ends atop Mill Mountain, Roanokes highest point.
Another attraction to not miss is Luray Caverns, the largest of the eastern United States at 10 eye-popping stories high!
But attractions aside, the majestic mountains are calling and youll want to plan out your trip to make the most of Blue Ridge Parkway RV camping.
Private Campgrounds Along The Parkway
There are a variety of private campgrounds along the Parkway.
There were two Harvest Host locations that we considered and were keeping in reserve. However, the timing on our stops didnt really make sense for us to use these locations.
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Looking For More Ideas For Road Trips
Weve written a library of RV Travel books that lay out seven-day guided explorations of scenic areas of the US that weve explored and think would make an excellent RV trip for you.
In each location, we provide a suggested route and itinerary as well as links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, local tips, and interesting things to do at each location.
You can hit everything in seven days, do a whirlwind weekend tour, or you can take your time and explore the area over a 2+ week period.
Planning an RV trip can be very time-consuming so thats why weve done the research for you! Just take our guides and use them, were sure youll have an RV trip for the ages! Instant download.
Night One: Lake Powhatan Near Asheville Nc
Lake Powhatan is a seasonal campground in Pisgah National Forest with full hookups. The campground is very close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is in black bear country, so youll need to be aware with your pets and with food.
There is almost no cellphone reception here. Dont count on getting any data. Text messages are usually going to work here.
This is where I got onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, thereby skipping the Cherokee to Asheville section with all of the low clearance tunnels that are not suitable for big rig RVs.
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Where We Stayed On The Blue Ridge Parkway
Our locations were mostly based on how far Dan could cycle each day. That put us at about 75-100 miles between stops.
Even if you wont be traveling with a bicyclist, this is a good distance to cover each day.
Remember, youll be going on average less than 35 mph through the Parkway. And youll want to leave plenty of time to stop at overlooks and visitor centers. Many of the stops along the way have exhibits or museums, things that take some time. Youll probably want to take a small hike each day as well, to see something cool.
Public Campgrounds In Virginia
In Virginia, you can stay at Explore Park, which is a Roanoke County Park directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 115 . They have 50 amp electrical hookups for their RV spots. Youll need an adapter to go from 30 amp to 50 amp if your RV is 30 amp.
Explore Park does have water where you refill your tanks and a dump station is free for overnight guests and $15 for non-guests.
The bad news is that Explore Park sites are only 12 feet by 35 feet, so not big rig friendly.
Very close to the northern end of the Parkway, Sherando Lake Recreation Area Family Camping is located in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Loop C has 18 electric only hookups. The good news is that Sherando Lake can accommodate many big rigs.
Most of the water hydrants are not threaded for hose hookups, but you may be able to use a Water Bandit to access water. There is one water station with a threaded hose connection near the bathhouse. And a dump station is available on site.
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Rv Camping Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
A winding two-laner of a road that hugs the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, from Virginias Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most enjoyable, scenic routes this nation has to offer.
That being said, it can also be quite the workout on your brakes and cooling system, as you roll up and down countless mountains, should you be looking to traverse the entire 469 miles the parkway has to offer. Even if your brakes hold out and your engine purrs along nicely, note that the road has more than a few hairpin turns. In addition, the pullouts for the many scenic vistas arent always accommodating to bigger rigs, especially during busier times of the year.
Lucky for you though, the parkway has plenty of camping not only directly on the road itself, but in a plethora of adorable little southern towns all along the way.
Julian Price Park Campground
is in Laurel Springs, North Carolina. Its the perfect haven for relaxing in one of the most beautiful locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The campground features 68 RV campsites, though amenities arent plentiful. There are no hookups at the campground, but there are bathroom facilities and a dump station.
As long as you dont mind dry camping for a couple of days, the Julian Price Park Campground has plenty to offer. You can rent a boat to go out on the lake, check out the trails and nature walks, and visit one of the performances at the 300-seat amphitheater.
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Lock Your Food In Bear Country
In addition, youll need to take precautions when you are RV camping on the Blue Ridge Parkway to protect your food.
This means that you cannot leave food or trash unattended in your campsite. All food must be kept in either a food box or in a locked vehicle. And you must properly dispose of all trash!
If you dont, you might wake up to a bear rummaging through your campsite. And being that close to a bear, especially a hungry bear, can be very dangerous to you! In the long term, bears will lose their fear of humans and become even bigger problems for campers.
If you have any bear encounters while RV camping along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you need to report it to the National Park Service. You can do so at any visitor center or calling 828-298-2491.
Price Park Campground Mp 2969
This campground has 129 tent and 68 RV sites and those on Loop A are located near Price Lake.
Reservations can be made for portions of this campground online at www.RECREATION.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. One back-country campsite requiring a hike is available, and a permit must be obtained from the campground during season.
For more information, call 828-963-5911 or 828-295-7591. During the summer, rangers present programs on various topics at the amphitheater located in the campground.
Area hikes include: Green Knob, Boone Fork, Price Lake, Gwyn Memorial and Tanawha Trails.
The large picnic area has over 100 sites and is very popular with visitors to the park. The tough Boone Fork Trail can be accessed from the picnic area. Price Campground has 129 tent sites as well as 68 RV sites and is the largest campground along the Parkway. A few sites are even on Price Lake. The A Loop of the campground has been called the premier place to pitch a tent along the Parkway. The Price Lake Loop Trail runs through the middle of the campground that is located near Price Lake.
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Setting Up Your Campsite
Designated Campsites Camping is permitted only at designated sites. Sites are for use by a single family or parties not exceeding six people.
Driving & Parking Campground speed limit is 15 mph. Park vehicles on the pavement of an assigned site or in designated parking areas. Two vehicles are allowed in each site . Bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds, all-terrain vehicles and other forms of motorized vehicles are not permitted on hiking trails. With the exception of mopeds less than 50 ccs, all motorized vehicles operated on public roads must be properly licensed in accordance with state laws.
Tent Pads When tent pads are provided, all tents must be on pads. Only one tent is allowed per site unless there is adequate space on a single tent pad.
Camp Fires & Wood Gathering Fires are permitted only in the fireplace provided. Gas grills and stoves are allowed. Extinguish all fires before leaving the campground or picnic area. Do not leave any fire unattended. Wood gathering for use as fuel in park facilities is limited to dead material on the ground lying no more than 100 yards from the camp or picnic site.
NOTE: Firewood from the states of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin should not be brought onto Parkway lands. The US Department of Agriculture has quarantined firewood from these states to prevent the spread of highly destructive insects that may be in the wood.
Linville Falls Campground Newland North Carolina
- Number of Sites: 70
- Reservations: Yes
- Tent Camping: Yes
Linville Falls Campground is nestled in the North Carolina wilderness near the Linville Gorge and Linville Falls. The rugged gorge is carved with hiking trails to picturesque viewpoints, while Linville Falls is a three-tier cascading waterfall. Theres a visitor center located at mile 316 for hikers.
The campground has no hookups, but it offers a dump station, potable water, and basic restrooms.
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Lake Powhatan Campground Asheville North Carolina
- Number of Sites: 97
- Reservations: Yes
- Tent Camping: Yes
Another option to stay near Asheville, North Carolina, is Lake Powhatan Campground. This campground is situated within walking distance of the shores of Lake Powhatan. In addition to full hookups, a dump station, and full-service bathrooms, this campground is also home to mountain biking trails, sandy beaches, and proximity to Looking Glass Falls, the North Carolina Arboretum, and Asheville.
Lake Powhatan Campground is a cant-miss campground near the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can also try out glamping at this national forest campground in one of the 12 new custom-designed, fully-furnished canvas platform tents.
Why Youll Love Rocky Knob Recreation Area
The Rocky Knob Recreation Area is made up of over 4,000 acres of forest, leaving ample opportunity for campers to hike and enjoy the outdoors at this campground. Theres ample picnic space and the campsites are clean, beautiful, and quiet. Nearby hikes include Rockcastle Gorge, Round Meadow Creek, and Black Ridge.
- Picnic tables
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Why Youll Love Ashevilles Bear Creek Rv Park & Campground
For visitors who want to combine the Blue Ridge Mountains with a trip to the famous Biltmore Estates, the location here cant get any better. Despite being near amenities, you still have marvelous views from the campsites here. This campground is also one of few along the parkway to offer a pool.
Rv Campgrounds Near The Blue Ridge Parkway
The 469-mile stretch between Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks is one of the most spectacular and popular scenic drives in the U.S..
The Blue Ridge Parkway winds through the blue hues of the Appalachian mountains, which is even more colorful during fall foliage season. This scenic byway allows roadtrippers to explore the natural and historical landscape from mile marker 0 in Waynesboro, Virginia, to mile marker 469 in Cherokee, North Carolina.
Last year, the Blue Ridge Parkway saw more than 14 million recreation visitors, making it the most visited national park unit in the U.S.ahead of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite national parks. Most visitors drive the parkway between May and October for the best weather and vibrant colors.
Driving this scenic byway is a must-do road trip for any RVer. Here are some of the campgrounds near the Blue Ridge Parkway where you can stay along the way.
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Night Five: Chantilly Farms Campground
This is a lovely campground on rolling farm land. Cell coverage was limited but they did have WiFi. We stayed in loop A which had large lots spread out. It was a gravel/grass pull-through site.
Whatever you do, dont follow GPS directions on this one! It is quite a ways off the Blue Ridge Parkway and if you follow GPS directions, you will be going down dirt or gravel roads with lots of low hanging trees. Seriously, I wanted to send Dan back to see if I left any air conditioners on the way.
Bear Glenn Mountain Resort And Campground
Bear Glenn Mountain Resort and Campground, located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, offers a wide variety of sites for RVers. You can get full hookup sites or not, and the amenities at the campground are extensive, too. Theres also high-quality bathroom and showering facilities, a game room, and playground.
Right at the campground, theres over 13 miles of trails to be hiked, fishing and swimming opportunities, as well as courts and fields designed for all kinds of sports. If you need something less juvenile, the Linville Falls Winery is just a short drive away and so are kayaking and rafting experiences should you choose to do them.
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Camping At Blue Ridge Parkway
Park your RV rental along Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy easy access to the parks recreational offerings. The Doughnut Park in Laurel Springs has 32 campsites and offers amenities like pull-thru sites, tent camping, dump station, and restrooms.
The Julian Price Park in Blowing Rock has 190 campsites and features pull-thru sites, tent camping, dump station, central water spigot, restrooms, and cell phone coverage. For recreation, explore the recreational trails, go biking, boating, fishing, and bring your furry friends along.
If youre looking for a place to camp in an RV near Blue Ridge Parkway, consider Linville Falls Trailer Lodge and Campground in Linville Falls. It has 35 campsites and offers amenities like pull-thru sites, tent camping, full hookups, 20, 30, and 50 amp electric service, water, sewer, central water spigot, cabins, and limited cell phone coverage. Campers have access to restrooms, shower stalls, laundry facilities, a camp store, and picnic shelter. Kids get to run about in the playground or have fun in the outdoor courts. Bring your four-legged friends along to this pet-friendly campground.
More Information: Visitor Centers
There are a number of visitor centers along the parkway, though not all of them are always open, and some are only open on the weekends.
If youre coming from Shenandoah, Humpback Rocks is your first chance. At mile post 5.8, you can get info on what to expect and explore the history of the region and parkway itself. They even have live music in the summer!
Peaks of Otter is your next big opportunity for the full-on national park visitor center experience, replete with a nature center, hiking trails and access to the campground listed above by the same name.
On the North Carolina side of things near Asheville, the Folk Art Center plays home to a gift shop and occasional performances. The nearby Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center is perhaps the largest and most informative of them all along the parkway.
Farther west, the Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center is another stop worth making for information and to see the man-made spectacle up close from various overlooks and hiking trails.
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