The Best Spots for Camping in the Virginia Mountains

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View of Blue Ridge mountains from a camping location in Virginia mountains

If you’re looking for an excellent camping spot this fall, there are beautiful locations throughout the country with stunning scenery and outdoor recreation.

However, one of the best places is the Virginia mountains.

Camping in the Virginia mountains means access to spectacular views, including over 100 miles of the scenic Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park.

Plus, you’ll find many local activities to enjoy, from orchards and farms to breweries, wineries, and state park recreation.

Let’s consider why you should plan a camping trip to the Virginia mountains!

What Mountains Are in Virginia?

Virginia is home to eight ranges and dozens of mountains and peaks.

The ranges include the Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Southwest Mountains, the Broken Hills, the Bull Run Mountains, the Catoctin Mountains, the Massanutten Mountains, and the Piedmont Monadnocks.

Along the state’s western border, you’ll find many peaks, overlooks, and trails. These mountains form the boundaries of Virginia with Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

What Is Special About the Virginia Mountains?

Camping in the Virginia mountains opens up endless activities, from wine tasting to hiking and shopping. The cultural heritage of the Appalachian people and regional art and music are on full display.

The views are spectacular, and there are ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.

One-fourth of the Appalachian Trail runs through the state. Shenandoah National Park has more than 200,000 acres of trails, waterfalls, and scenic drives.

In addition to Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the Virginia mountains for over 200 miles.

So if you’re unable to hike or bike, you’ll still have excellent opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the eight mountain ranges within Virginia.

When Is the Best Time for Camping in the Virginia Mountains?

Virginia experiences mild winters, so you could camp year-round. However, some campgrounds, especially ones in higher elevations, close or don’t offer full-service amenities in the winter.

You’ll want to double-check the availability during the colder months.

The best time for camping is in the fall when the leaves are changing colors. The vastness of the reds, oranges, and yellows will capture your heart.

With pleasant temperatures and stunning scenery, the fall is an ideal time to visit. You’re likely to also be in town for annual festivals and local activities.

The spring and summer are also good times for camping in the Virginia mountains. However, the bugs will be worse, and the temperatures will be higher.

You’ll also experience more crowds as families vacation while the kids are out of school. But if that’s the only time you can visit, you’ll still enjoy camping in the Virginia mountains during those months.

View of Shenandoah National Park from the highway while on the way to a camping location in virginia mountains

10 Best Spots for Camping in the Virginia Mountains

There are dozens of campgrounds and RV parks in the Virginia mountains.

All offer great locations to explore the outdoors through hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife viewing, paddling, and more.

Here are ten of the best spots. Each is highly-rated by guests and offers various amenities to meet the needs of all kinds of travelers.

Grayson Highlands State Park

Address: 829 Grayson Highland Lane, Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363

Rating: 4.9 Stars

Amenities: This campground provides electric and water sites with 20-amp and 30-amp service. There are also rustic sites with no hookups.

Campsites can only accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length. Each site has a picnic table, grill, and fire pit. Dump stations and bathhouses are available.

Why You’ll Love It: In southwestern Virginia, near the North Carolina-Virginia border, Grayson Highlands State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks in Virginia.

You feel like you’re camping in the Virginia mountains because of the rustic aesthetic and stunning scenery of the state park. It’s close to trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Crabtree Falls Campground

Address: 11039 Crabtree Falls Hwy, Tyro, VA 22976

Rating: 4.7 Stars

Amenities: This campground provides a renovated bathhouse, general store, playground, and laundry facilities.

There are campsites with full hookups for RVs less than 25 feet in length, campsites with electric and water only, and tent sites. 

Why You’ll Love It: This small campground is in the heart of the Virginia mountains. You won’t have to deal with heavy traffic or large crowds here.

Plus, you’re only half a mile from Crabtree Falls, a series of five major cascades and several smaller ones totaling 1,200 feet. The Blue Ridge Parkway is only seven miles from the campground.

Sherando Lake Recreation Area

Address: 96 Sherando Lake Drive, Lyndhurst, VA 22952

Rating: 4.7 Stars

Amenities: There are 29 RV sites with electric-only hookups. You’ll have access to a dump station and potable water.

A 25-acre lake and sandy beach provide the perfect location to relax and splash in the water. Numerous trails and picnicking sites run throughout the recreation area.

Why You’ll Love It: Campers receive a code to open the electronic gate to the campground, so you’ll feel safe and secure staying here.

Like Grayson Highlands State Park, you’ll feel like you’re camping in the Virginia Mountains with stunning scenery and access to outdoor recreational activities.

Pro Tip: While you’re visiting Virginia, these are the Top 9 Places you have to see!

An RV parked at camping location in virginia mountains

Loft Mountain Campground 

Address: Loft Mountain Road, Crozet, VA 22932 (mile 79.5 on Skyline Drive) 

Rating: 4.7 Stars

Amenities: The largest campground in Shenandoah National Park, Loft Mountain, offers seasonal amenities for campers, like access to laundry facilities, food storage lockers, firewood, ice, a camp store, a dump station, and potable water. There are no hookups.

You can use generators from 8-10 am and 4-7 pm.

Why You’ll Love It: Loft Mountain is in the lower middle of Shenandoah National Park. Roomy sites accommodate big rigs, and smaller areas are for tent campers.

No matter how you’re camping, you have access to one of the most beautiful National Parks in the country at your fingertips. Atop Big Flat Mountain, you’ll have stunning views from east to west.

Big Meadows Campground

Address: 304 Big Meadows Access Road, Robertson, VA 22851 (mile 51.2 on Skyline Drive)

Rating: 4.7 Stars

Amenities: Like Loft Mountain, Big Meadows offers seasonal amenities for those camping in the Virginia mountains.

You’ll have access to laundry facilities, food storage lockers, firewood, ice, a camp store, a dump station, and potable water. There are no hookups. You may use generators from 8-10 am and 4-7 pm.

Why You’ll Love It: Another campground within Shenandoah National Park, Big Meadows, is more central, with access to the northern and southern sections of the 105-mile Skyline Drive.

Popular destinations like Big Meadows, Dark Hollow Falls, and Byrd Visitor Center are easily accessible from the campground. This campground offers a more woodsy feel with the beautiful views of Skyline Drive minutes away.

An RV parked at Big Meadows Campground a camping location in virginia mountains

Sky Meadows State Park

Address: 11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane, VA 20144

Rating: 4.7 Stars

Amenities: The state park has a Visitors Center, gift shop, a Children’s Discovery Area, and Sensory Trail. The 1,860-acre park offers beautiful scenic views of the Virginia mountains and the rolling pastures of a historic farm in the Crooked Run Valley.

Year-round primitive hike-in tent camping sites are available. There are no RV sites. Pit toilets, non-potable water, bear-proof trash cans, and firewood are also available.

Why You’ll Love It: Designated as an International Dark Sky Park, Sky Meadows State Park holds monthly astronomy programs. Three miles of the Appalachian Trail run through the state park.

If you have kids, you’ll love the Nature Explore Certified Outdoor Classroom, where children can make music, build, climb, dig, and more.

Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley Campground

Address: 3402 Kimball Road, Luray, VA 22835

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Amenities: Full hookup and partial hookup RV sites are available at Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley Campground. Deluxe patio sites, areas with pergolas, pull-thru sites, and big rig-friendly sites are all available.

Other amenities include a camp store, swimming pools, and a playground.

Why You’ll Love It: If you’re looking to experience Shenandoah National Park and the historic Luray Caverns in one trip, Spacious Skies is conveniently close to both.

The Luray Caverns are only a few minutes away, and the Thornton Gap entrance is less than 20 minutes away. This camping location in the Virginia mountains also offers the most family-friendly amenities on this list.

Devils Backbone Camp

Address: 200 Mosbys Run, Roseland, VA 22967

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Amenities: A 73-site campground, Devils Backbone Camp provides full and no hookup sites for RVs and tents.

A bathhouse is near the primitive camping area. Hiking trails and picnic areas are on the property, plus a restaurant.

Why You’ll Love It: Sitting in the Rockfish Valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Devils Backbone Camp offers beautiful scenery in the middle of the Virginia mountains.

The Appalachian Trail is easily accessible, and guests can walk to Basecamp Brewpub for dinner and drinks.

The 92-acre property is near U-pick farms, local distilleries and breweries, golfing, and numerous outdoor recreational activities.

Smith Mountain Campground

Address: 155 Liberty Road, Penhook, VA 24137

Rating: 4.7 Stars

Amenities: All sites are full hook-up with pull-through and back-in sites available. Guests at Smith Mountain Campground can rent kayaks and paddleboards and enjoy a day on the water at Smith Mountain Lake.

Additional amenities for those camping in the Virginia mountains include a playground, stocked pond, horseshoes, and corn hole. Free WiFi is available at the office and pavilion.

Why You’ll Love It: Like Spacious Skies, Smith Mountain Campground offers more amenities for families than other parks on this list.

The campground is also only a few minutes from Smith Mountain Lake, where you can spend the day on the water fishing, relaxing, or enjoying water recreation.

View of Smith Mountain campground, a popular camping location in virginia mountains

Claytor Lake State Park

Address: 6620 Ben H. Bolen Drive, Dublin, VA 24084

Rating: 4.7 Stars

Amenities: Open from the last Friday in March through the first Monday in December, Claytor Lake State Park’s campground provides recently renovated campsites with a picnic table, lantern hanger, and a fire ring with a metal grill.

Campground D accommodates RVs up to 40 feet in length with water and electric hookups. There is a dump station on site. Campgrounds A, B, and C offer no hookups.

Why You’ll Love It: Another beautiful Virginia state park, Claytor Lake, has seven miles of trails for hiking and biking at any skill level.

For kids, the Shady Ridge Trail is a guided, interpretive loop trail part of TRACK Trail Adventures. Swimming, fishing, and boating are popular activities at the state park.

Keep in Mind: Your national park adventures don’t have to end just because summer is over! Enjoy a long weekend and visit these National Parks in the Fall!

Enjoy Camping in the Virginia Mountains

If you’ve never been camping in the Virginia mountains, you’re missing out.

From the Blue Ridge Mountains to Shenandoah National Park, miles of beautiful landscape, hiking and biking trails, and quaint mountain towns are ready to welcome you.

Enjoy local activities like U-pick farms or annual festivals. Plan a day of hiking the Appalachian Trail or driving along Skyline Drive.

The outdoor recreational activities are plentiful, and the scenery is stunning.

Now you must decide which of these campgrounds best fits your camping style. When will you visit the Virginia Mountains?

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