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    Road trippers and warriors may recognize the Hampton Roads #Bridge Tunnel at sunset, though it looks different when you're not behind the wheel of a car. Beautiful shot by @slayerlovnhippy! Don't forget to tag your #Virginia photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here. #repost #dusk #photooftheday #bridgetunnel #vatravel #moon #hamptonroads
    Picking #blueberries at Mount Olympus Farm in Ruther Glen. If you visit soon, you'll be able to pick your own blueberries (end of season) AND blackberries (beginning of season). Pull out those homemade #pie and #muffin recipes and get cookin'! Tag your #Virginia photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here. #eatlocal #pickyourown #blueberry #summer #vatravel #locavore #vafood
    Even your best friend is bound to enjoy the views from the Blue Ridge Parkway! Here's Aspen and @samanthabrookephoto taking advantage of the #DogDays of #summer. #repost #loveva #virginia #vaoutdoors #photooftheday #BlueRidgeParkway #vatravel #goldenretriever
    #Virginia #oyster shuckin' at #Merroir with Rappahannock River Oysters. If you haven't visited this sea-to-table restaurant in Topping, VA, they've got another location in Richmond: Rappahannock #Restaurant. #loveva #vafood #eatlocal #locavore #rva #vaoyster
  • The Great American Backyard Campout

    by Casey | Posted on June 17th, 2013

    This post was updated June 23, 2014.

    Centered around one night, June 28, the Great American Backyard Campout can happen anywhere – your own backyard, a neighborhood park or in one of Virginia’s 36 State Parks.

    Bear Creek Lake State Park

    Bear Creek Lake State Park

    Why camp? Virginia State Parks offers, “Camping is an affordable family vacation or weekend getaway experience – a family of four can go camping for less than the cost of a movie.” The National Wildlife Federation suggests, “The nature of childhood has changed. There’s not much nature in it.” Put down the electronics and let’s vacation on the cheap while introducing our kids to amazing outdoors they may have never previously experienced.

    For families who are new to camping, a special group camping experience is offered at the following Virginia State Parks:

    Each one of Virginia’s 36 state parks is participating in the Great American Backyard Campout, and each one has something unique to offer for the weekend.

    Check out Camping 101 at Sky Meadows (Delaplane) and Canoeing 101 at Twin Lakes (Green Bay).

    Holliday Lake State Park

    Holliday Lake State Park

    Try beginner level archery, geocaching and campfire making at Bear Creek Lake (Cumberland).

    Don’t have a tent? Don’t buy one. Head to Holliday Lake (Appomattox), Belle Isle (Lancaster), or Grayson Highlands (Mouth of Wilson) to borrow one of theirs for the night. Limited availability.

    A Children’s Fishing Tournament and special Fossil Walk are highlights of the day at Chippokes (Surry).

    All of the fixin’s are provided for a grand s’mores roast at Fairy Stone (Stuart).

    Into pirate lore (or are the stories real?!)? Head to First Landing (Virginia Beach) for free programming that includes some pirate talk (arrgh!), seashell artwork, marine life programs and more.

    Grayson Highlands State Park

    Grayson Highlands State Park

    A hot new Virginia State Park destination is High Bridge Trail (Farmville). Bike the high bridge, but also earn a certificate and official High Bridge State Park patch for completing a meteorology course. Boy Scouts can earn their weather merit badge with this course.

    Leesylvania (Woodbridge) is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a cake at the Marina! A live band and fireworks will make it a fun night to remember.

    Take a free chair lift ride at Natural Tunnel (Duffield) for a special Lighting of the Tunnel event. An astronomy program and other activities are also planned.

    A guided biking and kayaking trip awaits you when you stay at New River Trail (Foster Falls). Bring your fishing poles (if you want) and a lunch to enjoy along the way. Several stops will be included to introduce you to macro invertebrates, birding and survival skills. For ages 10 and over. Registration is $25/person. Call 276-699-6778.

    A two day encampment by C.S.A. Marine historical interpreters will await you at Sailor’s Creek (Rice). Black powder firing demonstrations and storytelling are highlights.

    Where are you headed this Saturday night? We can only hope it’s into Virginia’s great outdoors. Learn more about Virginia Great Outdoor Month at Virginia.org/GOM and find an upcoming Virginia State Park event to attend.

    The Great American Backyard Campout is an event sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation to encourage families to unplug, spend a night in the outdoors, get active and “Be Out There.”

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