The 5 Best Places to Camp in Virginia this Summer

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: August 3, 2022
© Aslanian
Share this post on:


Virginia has some of the most historic sites in our country including Jamestown, Arlington National Cemetery and Mount Vernon. It also borders Washington D.C. making it a convenient place to stay if you are visiting the capitol. There are amazing options for camping in Virginia. You can stay right on the beach or overnight along the Appalachia Trail. Maybe you want to hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains or to try some fishing in the Potomac River. Here are the 5 best places to camp in Virginia this summer!

1. Appalachian Trail: Grayson Highlands State Park

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian Trail goes for 544 miles through Virginia. It is likely that you will run into wild ponies!

©EWY Media/

The longest stretch of the Appalachian Trail is in Virginia with 544 miles cutting through the state. You can plan a short day hike on the A.T., as they call it, or a multiple day camping excursion. A nice 2-3 day hike starts at Grayson Highlands State Park with camping the first night at the Thomas Knob shelter. The second night you can camp at the Wise shelter. This makes for a great first-timer backpacking trip because of the easy elevations and a good chance of running into wild ponies! The ponies roam the park and have been known to be along this part of the A.T.

The first day of this hike puts you at the top of Mount Rogers, the highest point in Virginia at an elevation of 5,729 feet. The camping shelters are primitive, no restrooms, but water nearby, so plan ahead, truly one of the best places to camp in Virginia this summer!

Grayson Highlands State Park
LocationAlong the Appalachian Trail, trailhead is in
Grayson Highlands State Park
Nearest CityMouth of Wilson, VI
RV/Tent SitesJust tent campsites
Picnic Tables at each siteNo
Fire Pit at each siteNo
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsNot needed, first come first served, reservations
for the parking lot are needed if you plan to leave a
vehicle there overnight
What makes it one of the bestWonderful 3 day backpacking adventure!

2. Virginia Beach: False Cape State Park

Whimbrels on the beach
One of the best places to camp in Virginia this summer is at the False Cape State Park, right on the beach!

©Safa Shahidi/

Right along the Atlantic Coast is False Cape State Park with six miles of undeveloped shoreline right on the ocean. This is another primitive camping experience where you need to hike-in to the beach and there are no stall bathrooms (pit toilets only), showers or electricity. The park includes the area between the Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Plan ahead for windy weather on the beach and bring your fishing gear for Spanish mackerel, flounder or Bluefish. You can also plan to visit the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge which was established to protect waterfowl. There are 15 miles of hiking trails in the refuge. So many options in such a small sliver of Virginia!

False Cape State Park
Location40 minutes from Virginia Beach
Nearest CityVirginia Beach
RV SitesNo
Tent SitesYes, right on the beach
Picnic Tables at each siteNo
Fire Pit at each siteNo
AmenitiesWater, pit toilets
Pet FriendlyNo, you can bring your dog if you access the campsite by boat,
but pets are not allowed along the trail
ReservationsYes, required and they fill quickly
What makes it one of the bestCamping right on the sandy beach!

3. Shenandoah National Park: Blue Ridge Mountains

Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park has beautiful views and miles of hiking trails.

©Jon Bilous/

For some of the best mountain hiking, visit Shenandoah National Park where you can hike through the Blue Ridge Mountains and hike “Old Rag” mountain. Because of the popularity of Old Rag there is now a reservation system for visiting so be sure to check the website before visiting the park. There are 5 campgrounds in the park and more than 500 miles of back country hiking trails with primitive camping along the way. The 5 campgrounds in the park include:

  • Matthews Arm: 165 sites, RV and Tent, closest to those entering Shenandoah National Park from the northern section of the Park.
  • Big Meadows: 221 sites, RV and Tent, 51 of the sites are tent only, centrally located.
  • Lewis Mountain: 30 sites, RV and Tent, provides more privacy in the smaller campground.
  • Loft Mountain: 207 sites, RV and Tent, 50 of the sites are Tent only, the largest campground in Shenandoah, hike to two beautiful waterfalls!
  • Dundo Group: 3 sites along the Appalachian trail, the sites have picnic tables and fire rings. Located in the southern part of the park.

The website mentions that “Bear, deer, raccoons, and skunks” are common in the park so be prepared. Kind of cool to see a deer, raccoon or skunk, but brush up on what to do if you encounter a bear

Shenandoah National Park
Location75 miles from Washington D.C.
Nearest CityLuray, VI
Matthews Arm165 sites, RV and Tent, picnic table & fire ring
Big Meadows221 sites, RV and Tent, picnic table & fire ring
Lewis Mountain30 sites, RV and Tent, picnic table & fire ring
Loft Mountain207 sites, RV and Tent, picnic table & fire ring
Dundo Group3 group sites, picnic tables and fire rings
AmenitiesRestrooms, picnic tables, fire rings
Pet FriendlyYes
What makes it one of the bestSo many amazing hiking trails, right in the mountains!

4. Pohick Bay Regional Park (near Washington D.C.)

Grey heron with a freshly-caught fish in its beak
The Pohick Bay Regional Park is a great place to camp this summer. You might even get to see a heron in the bay!

©Angyalosi Beata/

If you want to visit all the historic sites in Washington D.C. and have a home base nearby, the Pohick Bay Regional Park is a great place to camp in Virginia this summer! You can spend some time paddling or swimming in the Bay, keep your eye open for osprey, heron or river otters. You can also enjoy the super fun waterpark or some time by the campfire at one of the many campsites. The campground offers RV and tent camping with full hookups and more primitive tent sites. There is also an awesome waterpark for your family to enjoy!

Pohick Bay Regional Park
LocationOnly 35 minutes from Washington D.C.
Nearest CityLorton, VI
RV/Tent Sites150 sites, 100 w/electric, 50 tent only sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, camp store waterpark, mini golf
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes, required
What makes it one of the bestExperience everything in downtown Washington D.C.
then kick-back at a beautiful campground in Virginia!

5. Historic Jamestown/Yorktown Battlefield: Williamsburg/Busch Gardens Area KOA

Historic Jamestowne 
You can visit Historic Jamestown and the Yorktown Battlefield when you stay in Williamsburg, Virginia.


If you want to visit all of the historic sites in Virginia, like our countries first settlement, Jamestown or the Yorktown Battlefield where the British surrendered during the Revolutionary War, you should stay in Williamsburg, VA. For a resort-like camping trip the Williamsburg/Busch Gardens Area KOA has a little bit of everything. There are full hookup RV sites that can accommodate large campers, an area for tent only camping, many cabins and 2 yurts. The campground offers activities during the summer, a swimming pool, splash pad and jumping pillows. Check out the themed weekends like a Frozen weekend where you can meet Anna and Elsa. You can see why this is one of the best places to camp in Virginia this summer!

Williamsburg/Busch Gardens Area KOA
LocationJust NE of Williamsburg
Nearest CityWilliamsburg, VA
RV SitesYes, full hookup, back-in and pull through
Tent SitesYes, some with water/electric
CabinsYes, some with their own bathroom and kitchenette
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, swimming pool, splash pad,
ice cream shop, playground, group campfire
Pet FriendlyYes, visit Kamp K9
What makes it one of the bestResort-like campground right near all the historic sites!

The Featured Image

© Aslanian

Share this post on:
About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.