Break out your tents, sleeping bags and campfire necessities, and spend the night under the stars. Camping season has returned, which means unforgettable festival experiences, outdoor family adventures, and lasting mountain memories. From rustic primitive campgrounds to upscale cabin homes, we’ve got you covered with this guide to the best places to stay in the Blue Ridge backcountry.
A Camping Adventure in Rock Castle Gorge, VA
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Patrick County, VA, over 10 miles of adventure is waiting for you on the Rock Castle Gorge National Recreation Trail. The area surrounding Rock Castle Gorge is littered with great camping options to suit a range of needs and comfort levels.
Rocky Knob Campground is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is host to the main trailhead. Meadows of Dan Campground is located just down the road in the Meadows of Dan Village, where you can find great food and shopping. Fairy Stone State Park offers camping as well as a range of other recreation opportunities after your hike, such as fishing and boating.
For those looking to upgrade, Fairy Stone State Park also offers yurts for rent, and cabins dot the area within and outside of the Park. Try The Honey House, an adorable cabin/tiny house located just down the road from the secondary trailhead, and at the base of the mountain.
For those hiking Rock Castle Gorge who want an all-inclusive experience, grab a permit and head to the Rock Castle Gorge Backcountry Primitive Camping Spots at the base of the mountain, right along Little Rock Castle Creek.
- Cross Roads Cafe – Coffee, sandwiches and more near Fairy Stone
- Concord Corner Store – Regional artisan shop in Meadows of Dan, VA
- Villa Appalaccia Winery – A Taste of Tuscany near Rock Castle Gorge
Shoreline Camping in Old 96 District, SC
Whatever you’re looking for on your next camping trip, the Old 96 District, South Carolina is here to help. Located conveniently in the Piedmont and Sandhills area of South Carolina’s lush upstate, the Old 96 District encompasses the counties of Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, and McCormick. This area is home to some of the best camping, hiking, biking, water sports, and fishing in the region, all within convenient driving distance of Atlanta, Charlotte, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and beyond!
Visit Hickory Knob State Resort Park for a unique upscale camping experience and enjoy a day on the 18-hole championship golf course. You can pitch your tent right on the beautiful shoreline of Lake Russell at Calhoun Falls State Park or park your RV at Hester’s Bottom Family Campground. There you can enjoy a private boat ramp, beach, and a variety of rentals such as kayaks and paddleboards.
For a primitive camping experience, stay at LeRoy’s Ferry Campground on J. Strom Thurmond Lake. The 70,000-acre lake and its 1,000+ miles of shoreline provide excellent boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing, hiking, and picnicking!
- Break on the Lake – Steak, seafood, and views on Lake Greenwood
- Earth Connection Outfitters – Family-owned gear shop at Lake Thurmond.
- Savannah Grill – Tasty country meals in Calhoun Falls.
Reserve a Campsite in a Virginia State Park
Whether you’re looking for a night of solitude or a place to camp with the whole family, there’s a Virginia State Park out there to fit your needs. More than half of the state’s 41 parks feature some type of lodging, from tent and RV sites to cabins, lodges, and yurts. Find your spot by the water or amongst the trees today.
For the Tent Fanatics
Known for its old growth forest and sightings of American bald eagles, Caledon State Park offers a quiet getaway just off the Potomac River. With its six hike-in and paddle-in primitive campsites, you’ll need to pack all of your supplies with you, including water for drinking and cooking. Hungry Mother, one of the original six state parks, is a great spot for the whole family. Three campgrounds offer a number of tent sites, plus access to miles of trail, swimming in the lake, and fishing for bass. With three miles of beautiful shoreline, James River State Park is an excellent option at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Spend your days paddling, floating, and fishing the river before curling up by the fire at night. For a multi-day adventure, camp along New River Trail State Park as you hike or bike the 57-mile linear park.
For the RV Explorers
Pack the rig and hit the road to Claytor Lake State Park for a weekend of fun on the water. Your campsite offers the perfect home base as you explore the 4,500-acre lake. Surrounded by forest, Bear Creek Lake State Park is an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a peaceful getaway. Follow the 15.7-mile Cumberland Multi-Use Trail or go for a relaxing float on the Willis River. Head out to Virginia’s Eastern Shore where Kiptopeke State Park is the go to spot for fun on the Chesapeake Bay. Experience this unique coastal habitat from the extensive boardwalk system or by boat. Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Fairy Stone State Park features activities for families of all ages. Search for the legendary fairy stones, swim or fish in the lake, and navigate 10 miles of trails.
For the Cabin and Yurt Lovers
Find a spot to sit back and relax at Shenandoah River State Park as the water winds through the valley. The cabins and yurts feature modern amenities that make for a cozy night’s rest as you hike and paddle your way through the park. Access Virginia’s largest lake from Occoneechee State Park. With boat rentals, a splash pad, and record-setting catfish, this is a great summer destination with plenty of sleeping options for your stay. Carved out over thousands of years, Natural Tunnel State Park is a towering limestone formation best viewed from the ridge or the tunnels floor. A quiet campground amongst the mountains is an ideal place to unplug and rest. Rent one of the yurts at Powhatan State Park just off the historic James River. View wildlife from the trail or the water before enjoying a meal on your yurt’s deck.
This is just a small sampling of what the Virginia State Parks have to offer travelers from all over the region. Discover even more opportunities for camping by the ocean or refreshing mountain lakes—with friends or on your own—as you experience a wide variety of landscapes across the commonwealth.
- Bobcat’s Bait & Tackle – All your fishing needs at Occoneechee State Park.
- Downriver Canoe Company – Shenandoah River canoe, kayak, and tube rentals.
- Wooden Pickle Food & Spirits – American Pub near Hungry Mother.
Find your Spot in Spotsylvania County, VA
Nestled between Washington DC and Richmond, just off I-95, you’ll find a harmonious blend of rural landscapes and outdoor adventures. Spotsylvania County is a one-of-a-kind camping destination with access to award-winning breweries and wineries, terrific lodging, diverse dining options, and more. With its mix of attractions, history, and beautiful landscapes, you are sure to find your spot here!
Reserve a cabin in Lake Anna State Park, where you can discover a beautiful lakefront with easy-access boat ramps, family picnic areas, plentiful fishing spots, and endless trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Rocky Branch Marina and Campground, also located on Lake Anna, offers tent and RV sites, which include amenities like a country store and a bathhouse!
Take the family on a tour of historic Spotsylvania via the African American Heritage Trail or Tidewater Trail. Afterward, head to Wilderness Presidential Resort to tackle the aerial ropes course or take part in mini golf or archery before setting up your campsite. Check out Spotsylvania’s many historic battlegrounds, museums, and markets before settling down at Alpha Farm Bed & Breakfast. Get the cabin feel in a farmland setting, and watch the sunset over the picturesque countryside.
- Battlefield Country Store – Sandwiches, coffee, milkshakes, and groceries.
- A. Smith Bowman Distillery – Virginia’s oldest distillery.
- Rapp Rocks Climbing Gym – Indoor family fun.
Fun-Packed Camp Days in Wytheville, VA
Fill your days with excitement before hunkering down for the night. Electrifying music festivals, eye-catching drives, panoramic views, and endless outdoor adventures all enhance your camping experience in Wytheville, Virginia. So, load up your camping gear and take a backroad to the Southwest Virginia Blue Ridge for some small town charm and outdoor fun.
Take a scenic drive through Jefferson National Forest before stopping at Big Walker Lookout, a staggering 100-foot observation tower with breathtaking views of mountain wilderness and lush farmland. The nearby Deer Trail Park and Campground offers rentable cabins, a stocked fishing pond, a heated pool, and an arcade! Adjacent to the Big Walker Scenic Byway is Stony Fork Campground, where you have access to more hiking trails and plentiful RV and tent sites.
For the hiking, biking, fishing, or horseback-riding enthusiasts, the New River Trail is the place to be! This 57-mile long, linear State Park runs right through Wythe County, along the New River. Take in views of limestone cliffs and cascading water, as you set up camp at the Foster Falls area of the Trail. Here you can rent bikes and canoes, utilize boat launches, cast a fishing line, and peruse local gift shops. The newly opened Inn at Foster Falls is a perfect option for those looking to enjoy the New River Trail with access to modern amenities.
Music lovers rejoice! Wytheville is home to many music-based events like the annual July 4th Celebration & Street Festival, Millwald Theatre shows, and the annual Chautauqua Festival. Taking place from June 16 to June 24 in downtown Wytheville, the Chautauqua Festival is a free music and arts event with a parade, hot air balloons, games, food vendors, and more. To keep your visit wallet-friendly, head to Raven Cliff Recreation Area for peaceful primitive campsites off the beaten path.
- 7 Dogs Brewpub – Live music, food, and craft beer.
- Ghetti’s Café – Lunch stop for coffee, bagel and pasta.
- Seven Sisters Brewery – Trivia, games, and more craft beer.
Copious Campsites in Floyd County, VA
What could be better than waking up to breathtaking views in the Blue Ridge highlands of Virginia? Floyd County is home to the Little River, Buffalo Mountain, and 40 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, making it the perfect destination for outdoor adventure and camping.
Escape modern amenities and sleep under the stars in the Appalachian backcountry. The Blue Ridge Parkway offers backcountry camping permits for Rock Castle Gorge, where you can experience unforgettable views of a 1500-foot ravine, carved by the waters of Rock Castle Creek. Located just off the Parkway, Crooked Mountain provides primitive creek-side and open-field camping, ideal for travelers looking to experience the backcountry without venturing far from the road.
For more accessible camping in Floyd County, park your RV or pitch your tent at Daddy Rabbit’s Campground. Take advantage of the site’s full-service amenities or rent one of their cabins before heading over to nearby Buffalo Mountain Nature Preserve for hiking and ziplining fun. At Floyd Family Campground, explore their 9-hole disc golf course, hiking and biking trails, and the camp store! Get your glamp on at Floyd Yurt Lodging or Indian Creek Cabins, where you can enjoy modern luxuries in a natural setting.
- Buffalo Mountain Adventures – Camping equipment needs.
- Buffalo Mountain Ziplines – Outdoor family entertainment.
- Tuggles Gap Roadside Inn – Delicious sandwiches on the go.