Camping the Southeast

Whether you prefer a coastal adventure or a mountainous getaway, check out our roundup of the best camping options in the region. From quiet backcountry sites and family-friendly campgrounds to the best of car camping and glamping, we’ve got a spot for every type of adventurer. Please check with locations prior to travel to make sure it is safe to visit or use this guide to plan future trips when we can all be together again.

Beaverdam Falls, photo by Beau Bryan

A Charming Getaway to Alleghany Highlands, Va.

For beautiful mountain views, endless outdoor recreation opportunities, and unique camping locations, get away to the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia for time away from the crowds.

Beaverdam Falls Outdoor Recreation & Camping is a new glamping venue with several scenic campsites. Sleep beside the 40-foot Beaverdam Falls as the creek tumbles into the basin below at the “Top of the Rock” site. Three other campsites provide a quiet spot among nature while the cottage on site offers a more traditional night of lodging with a kitchen, air conditioning, and heat. Explore the 60-acre property, including viewing the falls from the rope bridge, private trout fishing, and swimming in the cool mountain waters. Experience more of the outdoors with a bike ride on the Jackson River Scenic Trail or a picnic beside Humpback Bridge.

As one of the six original Virginia parks, Douthat State Park is a classic camping spot surrounded by stunning scenery. Of the 87 tent and RV sites, Lakeside Campground is a favorite among visitors for its views of the water while Whispering Pines remains open all year and Beaver Dam is perfect for equestrian camping. An additional 32 cabins and three lodges provide space for larger groups wanting to enjoy the park together with kitchens and beds. While staying at the park, make sure to hike or bike the more than 40 miles of trails, ranging from easy to difficult, fish the lake for stocked trout, and swim at the beach area. Don’t forget to head into the nearby town of Clifton Forge for delicious eateries, fun shops, and evening entertainment.

Get back to the camping basics at the Morris Hill Campground. Sitting on a ridge above Lake Moomaw, you’ll be surrounded by George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Sit around the fire-ring roasting s’mores before climbing into your tent or RV for the night. During the day, the 2,500-acre lake invites you to jump in, fish for trout, and paddle the shoreline. There’s plenty of hiking and biking spots easily accessible from the campground while the Jackson River offers more miles for fly fishing and paddling. Plus, it’s just a short drive to Covington for a walk through downtown or out to the overlook at Falling Springs Falls off Route 220. 

No matter where you choose to set up camp for the night, discover what makes it Uniquely Alleghany when you visit this charming Virginia mountain community for yourself.

VisitAlleghanyHighlands.com

Cleveland RiverBend Campground, photo by JChumbley, MC Images

A Riverside Stay in Russell County, Va.

Known as one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, there’s no better place to spend a night out in nature than beside the Clinch River in Russell County, Va.

Cleveland RiverBend Campground is a quiet getaway, perfect for the laid back camper. With both RV and primitive sites available, you can choose how you sleep. Amenities include restroom and shower facilities, as well as electric, water, and an onsite dump station for RVs. 

From the campground, access the walking trail and boardwalk that connects to Town Park via a suspension bridge. For more outdoor excursions, try the three-mile trail out to Tank Hollow Falls at Cleveland Barrens Natural Area Preserve or get on the river at one of the nearby boat slips. 

Plan your upcoming trip around a local festival to experience the music, food, and culture of southwestern Virginia. From guided canoe trips and hikes to festival food and local craft drink tastings, Clinch River Days, scheduled for June 4-5, is an annual tradition highlighting the rare and endangered freshwater mussels that call the scenic river home. Or visit the following weekend and celebrate all things bluegrass, country, rock, and gospel music at the Lebanon Cedar Fest, scheduled for June 12-13.

ExperienceRussell.com

Stay at a water-front cabin at Wilderness Presidential Resort.Photo courtesy of the resort.

Find Your Camping Spot in Spotsylvania County, Va.

From outdoor recreationists to history and wine enthusiasts, Spotsylvania County, Va.,
offers a picturesque landscape for a relaxing getaway. Whether you’re looking for solitude
or more luxurious accommodations, there’s a camping option to fit your style. 

If you’re looking to stay close to the water, Lake Anna State Park has something for everyone. Depending on who you’re traveling with, reserve one of the traditional campsites or try out the yurts, cabins, lodges, or bunkhouse on site. Spend your days exploring 15 miles of trails, swimming in the lake, and fishing for largemouth bass before turning in for the night. 

Families of all ages will love staying at the Wilderness Presidential Resort. Bring your own RV or tent for the night or book a lakeside cottage or cabin for cooking space and a personal bathroom. On site amenities include two lakes with boat rentals, mini-golf, an adventure course, escape room, and more. 

Just off I-95, the Fredericksburg/Washington DC South KOA has RV sites, tent sites, and cabins for travelers to rest their heads. With a pool, bike rentals, and fishing on site, as well as easy access to historical sites, an amusement park, and great food, it’s a great spot
to settle in for the night or the week. 

VisitSpotsy.com

Sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountain. Photo by Sam Dean, courtesy of the McDowell County Tourism Authority

A Four-Season Destination in McDowell County, N.C.

Regardless of the season, the Blue Ridge Mountains shine in McDowell County, N.C.  Numerous campgrounds make it an ideal location for those who prefer to stay close to the action. 

Within Pisgah National Forest, Curtis Creek Campground is an idyllic spot beside a refreshing trout stream. The primitive sites are a short walk to miles of trails. Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, two campsites offer a quiet place to set up for the night. Crabtree Falls Campground, located at Milepost 339.5, features 81 tent and RV sites with easy access to the 70-foot waterfall while Bear Den Campground, located at Milepost 324.8, offers camping options or cabin rentals with an onsite fishing pond and trails. 

Fall asleep to the sounds of the river at Catawba Falls Campground or enjoy the views of Mount Mitchell from Sky Island Retreat. Cool off during the summer at Hidden Creek Camping Resort, featuring a lake, creek, pool, and water slide for a full day of fun, while spring and fall are the best times to pack your tent or stay in one of the bunk lodges at Camp Grier. A number of RV parks, including Buck Creek Campground, Mountain Stream RV Park, Mountain Paradise Campground, and Tom Johnson Campground, provide a laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the setting. 

Surrounded by 70,000 acres of national forest, the steep slopes of the escarpment create ideal conditions for mountain biking and hiking. Be sure to check out Woods Mountain Trail, a 26-mile loop that crosses the Mountain to Sea Trail, and Snook’s Nose, a trail for the experienced hiker with long-range views from Green Knob Lookout Tower. Stop by Flavors on Main or Old Fort Outdoors for any gear you might have left at home or maps of the area. The Old Fort Ride House rangers also provide expert trail details and info.

At the end of the day, unwind at a restaurant in Marion, including Marion Wing Factory, Toonez Chop House, Burrito Bros, McDowell Local, and Crabby Abby’s Bar & Grill. Don’t miss The Feisty Goldfish, a funky retro arcade and bar, or the Spillway Bridge, a music hall and bar supporting regional artists. 

Walk downtown Old Fort or catch an outdoor performance at the Mountain Gateway Museum. Hillman Beer is the perfect spot to swap stories and grab a beer before heading back to your campsite for another night in the mountains of McDowell County. 

BlueRidgeTraveler.com | 828-668-4282 

Hiking False Cape State Park

The Best Coastal Campgrounds in Virginia Beach, Va.

Perfectly located at the sweet spot where the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean meet, the vibrant city of Virginia Beach attracts visitors of all ages with its flourishing culinary scene, rich history, and variety of outdoor adventures. Experience everything from the lively and bustling Town Center district to remote areas surrounded by nature when you visit coastal Virginia. 

Camping is the perfect way to get the most out of your beach retreat. Fall asleep to the sounds of the bay at First Landing State Park. With over 200 tent and RV sites, plus a number of cabins and yurts, it’s just a short stroll across the boardwalk to reach the beach. Hike or bike 20 miles of trails through bald cypress swamps, lagoons, maritime forests, and shoreline at Virginia’s most-visited state park before turning in for the night. The more adventurous camper will enjoy the solitude and undeveloped coastline at False Cape State Park. The four primitive campgrounds located on Back Bay and the ocean require anywhere from a five to eight mile hike or bike from your car. Inexperienced campers and young children are not recommended due to the remote nature of the sites. 

The Virginia Beach KOA Holiday is the perfect base camp for all your activities in the area, featuring RV sites, tent sites, and cabins, plus onsite amenities that include two swimming pools, a zipline course, bike rentals, a giant jumping pillow, and more. Spend the night by a private beach at North Landing Beach RV Resort and Cottages. In addition to planned activities, like weekend movie nights and holiday cookouts, explore the extensive marshes and streams around the river with canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals. With over 1,000 sites ranging from basic to the full hook up with cable, Holiday Trav-L-Park has something for every kind of camper. Plus, with beach parking, four pools, and live music, there’s plenty to keep you busy during the day.

Stay at any of the campgrounds for easy access to all the outdoor adventures Virginia Beach has to offer. The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium is an exciting way to experience the area from above as you travel a network of tree-top trails. When you’re done flying through the air, head inside the aquarium for a variety of coastal habitats and over 300 species. If you forgot your swimsuit or beach shoes at home, Surf & Adventure Co. can hook you up with all your gear needs while in town. They also rent beach equipment, bikes, kayaks, surfboards, and paddleboards so you don’t have to cram everything into the car. Book one of their tours or surf lessons to get the most out of your time at the beach. 

Take advantage of the miles of coastline and beautiful weather with a meal at one of several waterfront restaurants in town. Serving up everything from tacos to flatbread pizza, The Back Deck Bar & Cafe lives up to its name as a place to relax with a beautiful view while Calypso Bar & Grill features ramen on Mondays, an all-day raw bar, and delicious cocktails. Tulu Seaside Bar & Grill and Lager Heads Restaurant have some of the best and most creative burgers in town. A trip to the coast wouldn’t be complete without a stop at one of the area’s iconic seafood restaurants. For the freshest catch, Steinhilber’s, Chix on the Beach, Catch 31 Fish House & Bar, Rudee’s Restaurant, Rockefeller’s, and Ocean House Waterfront Seafood Restaurant serve up local dishes with top notch outdoor seating options. 

Get a taste for the sweet life by the water on your next camping trip to Virginia Beach.

VisitVirginiaBeach.com/Outdoors

Cover photo by Joshua Anderson courtesy of Unsplash

Places to Go, Things to See: