The 5 Best Places to Camp in West Virginia this Summer

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: September 12, 2022
© iStock.com/Dmytro Aslanian
Share this post on:

For the camping enthusiast there are plenty of options for camping in West Virginia. You can throw on your backpack and hike the Appalachian Trail for some backcountry camping or back your RV into one of the beautiful campgrounds around Summersville Lake. You can also explore the West Virginia Waterfall Trail and stop at each waterfall throughout the summer, camping along the way. Here are the 5 best places to camp in West Virginia this summer.

1. Appalachian Trail

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is surely one of the best places to camp in West Virginia this summer.

©EWY Media/Shutterstock.com

If you want a peaceful camping trip where you can really experience nature and wildlife then backpacking along the Appalachian Trail is a worthy trip. The A.T. passes through West Virginia for 2.7 miles but most of it is along the border with Virginia for another 25 miles. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters and Visitor Center is actually in Harpers Ferry in West Virginia where many hikers stop for a photo. Some of the shelters along the trail are closed due to Covid, but don’t let that stop you from bringing your own tent and finding a spot along the trail to spend the night. There are no campsites along the A.T. in Harpers Ferry but further up and down the trail there are.

Appalachian Trail
LocationAlong the NE corner of West Virginia on the border with Virginia
Nearest CityHarpers Ferry
RV sitesNo
Tent sitesYes
Picnic Tables at each siteSome sites have picnic tables
Fire Pit at each siteSome sites have fire rings
AmenitiesMost have a privy and water source (water should be treated before drinking)
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsNo, first come first serve
What makes it one of the bestA backpackers dream hiking and camping trip!

2. New River Gorge National Park

New River Gorge National Park
The New River Gorge National Park features 9 free camping areas that are first come, first served.

©Gestalt Imagery/Shutterstock.com

The New River flows through the southeast portion of West Virginia creating a large gorge and canyon area. You can take two of the most popular hikes, Endless Wall and Long Point to see amazing views (keep an eye out for cooper’s hawks and bald eagles). The river is popular for whitewater rafting with several private rafting outfitters offering guided tours. There are miles of trails which also include a single track mountain bike trail. The three most popular waterfalls in the park are the Sandstone Falls (the largest in the park), Big Branch Falls and Turkey Creek Falls. With so much to see and do you can see why the New River Gorge National Park is one of the best places to camp in West Virginia this summer.

There are 9 camping areas in the park and all the sites are first come, first served and there is no charge! The sites are primitive but many include a picnic table, fire ring and restroom or privy nearby. The Grandview Sandbar Campground for example has 10 wooded sites suitable for tents or small RV’s and 6 walk-in tent sites, as well as 2 accessible sites by the river. The other sites are similar in accommodations. A great place to stay right in the park!

New River Gorge National Park
LocationSE West Virginia
Nearest CityFayetteville
RV sitesYes, some of the campgrounds can accomadate RV’s,
no hookups
Tent sitesYes, all of the campgrounds have tent sites
Picnic Tables at each siteMost do
Fire Pit at each siteMost do
AmenitiesRestrooms or Privies, some have water
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsNo, all sites are first com first serve
What makes it one of the bestGreat home base for hiking, mountain biking and white
water rafting!

3. Summersville Lake: Battle Run Campground

best camping in West Virginia
Summersville Lake is the largest in the state and a wonderful place to camp and fish.

©iStock.com/EntropyWorkshop

Just 20 miles NE of Fayetteville is the largest lake in the state, Summersville Lake. It is in part of the Summersville State Wildlife Area and is a popular fishing spot. Anglers come to fish for crappie, catfish, walleye, large and smallmouth bass and an occasional rainbow trout. On the western edge of the lake is a peninsula where Battle Run Campground is located. Most of the campsites are lakefront so it doesn’t get better than that! There are 110 campsites with electric and 7 hike-in sites that are non-electric. Lakeside camping at Battle Run is one of the best places to camp in West Virginia this summer.

Battle Run Campground
LocationNE of Fayerreville, SE of Summersville
Nearest CitySummersville
Tent/RV sites110 sites with electric
Tent sites7 hike-in sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, drinking water, laundry
Pet FriendlyNo, pets are not allowed
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestLakefront campsites!

4. Blackwater Falls State Park

best camping in West Virginia
Blackwater Falls State Park is named for its dark tannin-tinted waters.

©iStock.com/zrfphoto

In the NE corner of West Virginia is Blackwater Falls State Park in the Allegheny Mountains. The falls get their name from the dark colored water that results from tannic acid of hemlock and red spruce tree needles. There are 20 miles of trails to hike through the mountains and visit breathtaking waterfalls! Keep an eye out for white-tail deer, chipmunks or beavers and muskrats near the falls.

For camping in the park there are RV/Tent sites, cabins and unique “Tentrr campsites” which have a canvass tent on a wooden platform that has a memory foam mattress inside (a glamping set up!). There are 65 RV/Tent sites with electric, 39 fully furnished cabins and the Tentrr sites which are right along the river. Many options for an amazing camping trip this summer!

Blackwater Falls State Park
LocationNE corner of West Virginia
Nearest CityDavis
RV/Tent Sites65 with electric
Cabins39 fully furnished cabins (10 are pet friendly)
Tentrr “Glamping” tentsYes, right along the river, short hike-in
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry
Pet FriendlyYes, Some of the cabins have restrictions
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestTry camping along the river in one of the Tentrr sites!

5. Charleston: Kanawha State Forest Campground

Animals in West Virginia
The Kanawha State Forest Campground allows you to camp in the forest while sticking close to the city of Charleston, just remember it’s bear country!

©Birdiegal/Shutterstock.com

If you want to visit the capitol of West Virginia, Charleston, as well as camp nearby, then Kanawha State Forest Campground is a great option. Just 7 miles south of downtown Charleston, the campground has 46 campsites including 26 that have water and electric hookups. While the campsites are roomy they are not recommended for trailers that are more than 26 feet long.

Visit the Clay Center for the Arts, the West Virginia State Museum or check out the shops and restaurants in downtown Charleston, then head back to your campsite for a campfire and s’mores. Make a note that you are staying in bear country so be sure to lock up your food and keep it in a secure place. The forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife and you might be lucky enough to see a bald eagle or eastern coyote (or maybe you will just hear one howling at night). A classic camping experience right in the forest.

Kanawha State Forest Campground
LocationCentral West Virginia
Nearest CityCharleston
RV/tent sites46 sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestA classic “camping in the woods” feel.

Up Next


The Featured Image

Bonfire
© iStock.com/Dmytro 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.

Sources
  1. , Available here: https://appalachiantrail.org/explore/explore-by-state/west-virginia/
  2. , Available here: https://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/grandview-sandbar-campground.htm
  3. , Available here: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/233422?tab=info
  4. , Available here: https://wvstateparks.com/park/blackwater-falls-state-park/
  5. , Available here: https://wvstateparks.com/places-to-stay/campgrounds/kanawha-state-forest-camping/