Virginia has a multifaceted topography that makes it one of the top choices for camping in the US throughout the year. To enjoy a hassle-free camping trip in Virginia, you must follow the camping laws. If planned beforehand, you’ll have access to various types of campgrounds in this state such as full-service campgrounds, park campgrounds, primitive campgrounds, and more.
Since all these campsites are located on public property, you must abide by camping laws established by the state.
Camping Laws In Virginia
- A permit obtained from the park management is mandatory to conduct camping. Only a reservation made in the state parks reservation center does not count as a permit.
- Camping check-in and check-out times are 4 pm and 3 pm respectively. The camping manager may allow you to check in before the designated time but not earlier than 8 am.
- Up to 6 persons are allowed to occupy one campsite. Occupancy by the immediate family who lives under the same household will be considered in certain cases.
- All camping equipment and vehicles should be placed within the campsite boundary.
- Visitors are allowed to enter the campsite from 6 am to 10 pm upon registering on the visitor’s register only.
- Pets are allowed in campgrounds with applicable payments.
- Motor vehicles should be parked in the campground parking area. However, you’re allowed to park up to two vehicles at your campsite without any additional charges.
- You must abide by the “Quiet hours” rule that states no amplified music, generators or similar noisy machines/devices should be operated from 10 pm to 6 am.
What Not To Do
- You should not destroy, deface, or remove any part of signs or structures
- You must not feed, hunt, or trap and wildlife
- You cannot build a fire anywhere in the campsite except in the designated fire ring/space
- You should not light explosives or flammables within the campground
- You cannot leave your dogs and cats unleashed in the campground
Best Spots For Camping In Virginia
Virginia has 29 state parks that offer up to 1,800 campsites that vary based on sizes and available amenities. Even though it may seem like you’ll find a campsite at the last minute, you’ll be surprised how easily they get booked.
So, you can reserve a campsite even 11 months before the camping trip. Since there are so many options to choose from, we have curated a list of the best places you can camp with your loved ones in Virginia.
Douthat State Park
Located in Millboro, the Douthat State Park is the ultimate camping spot for history buffs as it falls under the National Register of Historic Places. This park offers multiple manmade and natural structures to carry out recreational activities such as swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, mountain climbing, etc.
There are thirty-five cabins made with a combination of stone and wood to portray a rustic appearance. With each cabin, comes an array of amenities including picnic tables, fireplaces, grills, A/C, heat, lantern posts, and more. In some of these campsites, you even get to enjoy your own bathhouse.
First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is, undoubtedly, one of the most visited camping spots in the state mainly due to its secluded camping option amidst a breathtaking coastline, emerald forests, and secure hiking trails. The area is also packed with a natural layout that includes freshwater ponds, dunes, and cypress swamps.
In this pet-friendly campground, you can take part in multiple activities such as fishing, kayaking, and trekking. You can also easily visit the Virginia Beach Boardwalk on a bike or by using the local bus.
Chippokes Plantation State Park
Having opened in 1619 as a farm, the Chippokes Plantation State Park is one of the top choices for camping by locals. As it’s situated on the James River, you’ll be able to witness wildlife at proximity such as deer, river otters, foxes, eagles, etc.
Even though it’s one of the oldest of its kind, the park is filled with campsites that have modernized amenities including water and electric hook-ups, air conditioning and heating systems, a swimming complex, a visitor center, and more. You can also opt for cabin rentals which offer basic amenities for you to enjoy your stay comfortably.
Lake Fairfax Park
Lake Fairfax is the ultimate getaway from the buzzing city. The huge park has more than 150 campsites for you to choose from based on electric and non-electric options. There are multiple recreational activities you can take part in inside the park, the most popular one being the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole Water Park.
Apart from that, there are trails, athletic fields, boat rentals, and more. Also, with every campsite, you can have access to amenities including, but not limited to, showers, toilets, grills, fire rings, etc. If you’re planning to for a camping trip with children, Lake Fairfax Park is ideally the best spot.
Middle Creek Campground
For adventure enthusiasts, the Middle Creek Campground is the perfect camping spot as it allows you to hike through the 750-mile Appalachian Trail. To reach the campground, you can either hike a mile from the point where the Appalachian Trail and the Jennings Creek meet or if you’re in the Thunder Ridge trailhead area, it should take you about a 20-minute drive.
The campground is conveniently situated between some of the best outdoor landscapes of Virginia such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Jefferson National Forest, and the upper James River. Therefore, you can do multiple activities including paddling, hiking, cycling, etc.
When camping in communal locations, following the laws not only help you stay out of trouble but also allows you to spend your camping trip in harmony especially when campsites are located in proximity. Therefore, when you’re camping in Virginia, make sure you follow the general camping laws as well as rules and regulations established by the specific campground.