14 Awesome Tent Camping Experiences in Virginia

by Stefanie Hatcher | Posted: Jul 1, 2014 | Updated: Oct 19, 2016

Comments: 54 Comments


There is no better way to get back to nature than to pitch a tent and take on the wilderness. You’ll find hundreds of camping facilities around the state, but how about taking a trip to some tent-only campgrounds? Or better yet, campgrounds that have no vehicular access? They’re worth the experience.



Greenwood Point Campground – Warm Springs
Those who enjoy the solitude of an isolated and remote location will be drawn to Greenwood Point Campground. With no road access, the adventure is just getting there! Strap on that pack and take the 3.3 mile hike, or paddle a canoe directly to the shores of the campground. Wooded campsites encircle an open and grassy common area, and lakeside views make this a popular private and quiet camping destination.

New River Trail State Park – Foster Falls
New River Trail State Park has four primitive campgrounds: Cliffview, Millrace, Baker Island and Double Shoals. If you’re looking for a most unique tent-camping trip, this is the place to visit. Enjoy the amenities and adventures of the state park and retreat to a peaceful campsite to take in the serenity of nature. There is no vehicular access to the campsites, or any showers or bathhouses. Access to the campgrounds are hike-in or boat-in.

New River Trail State Park

New River Trail State Park

False Cape State Park – Virginia Beach
There’s no access to the beach by car when you camp at False Cape State Park. Pack it in, bicycle it in or boat it in. Those are the only ways you’re going to camp here. Twelve camp sites separated into four remote areas are available by advance reservations only. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation warns, “Camping at False Cape State Park is not recommended for young children, inexperienced campers, or those who need access to emergency medical care.”

Deer Island Park – Henry County
A pleasant place in Philpott Lake, Deer Island Park is only accessible by boat, and camping is first come, first served. Twenty-one sites are available; permits can be obtained at the Salthouse Branch or Bowens Creek gatehouses. Campers are limited to six per site (with the exception of a core family unit like two adults and more than four children), and no more than two tents per site.



Lewis Mountain Campground – Luray
Lewis Mountain, located within the Shenandoah National Park, is the smallest campground in the park. This site especially appeals to those who want a little more privacy without venturing deep into the back-country, yet it is within seven miles of the popular Big Meadows area of the park.

Mount Rogers

Mount Rogers & Whitetop Mountain

Grayson Highlands – Mouth of Wilson

Grayson Highlands State Park Campground offers basic campgrounds with beautiful views, but that is just the beginning. The park is the gateway to the state’s highest peak, Mount Rogers, and also an entry to the Appalachian Trail. You can hike, bike, and even ride a horse along the trails. And don’t be surprised if you come across some interesting wildlife while venturing through the region; wild ponies roam the park freely. There is power at the sites but no water from November-March, and also no bathrooms or showers.

Camp Outback – Luray
Take in the breathtaking views of the mountains encompassing Luray. A strictly tent-only campground, Camp OutBack has 25 wooded camp sites, each accommodating up to 10 campers, offering a picnic table, charcoal grill and fire pit. Take a hike to the Shenandoah River or a 10-mile trip into Luray. A fishing lake is available nearby, as well as Shenandoah River Outfitters, offering canoeing, kayaking, rafting and tubing. Essential amenities are available, such as restrooms, shower, and available firewood for purchase.

Bluecat on the New – Draper
Bluecat on the New offers Tipi rentals and primitive camping sites. The tipis have river rock floors and can have up to 4 single or 2 double cots (which are provided). Six campsites are equipped with grills and picnic tables. All sites are located on the scenic New River and have river access, as well as canoe, kayak and tube rentals. For those who are looking for a day of fishing, guided services are available. Also close by is the New River Trail State Park, perfect for those who would like to do some hiking, biking or horseback riding during their stay. A bath house with men and women’s showers is located on the grounds.

Camp Karma Campground – Bedford
Check out the upscale camping experience at Camp Karma Campground in Bedford. The campground, located on 42 acres in the southwestern region of the state, offers 36 campsites, which are primarily for tent campers. The property offers hiking trails, a recreation field and visitors can swim and fish is Goose Creek. Standard amenities are available on the grounds.

Outlanders River Camp – Luray
Enjoy primitive camping along the Shenandoah River at Outlanders River Camp. The camp offers activities ranging from kayaking to hiking, and everything in between. Primitive sites, as well as electric tent sites are available on property. Looking to spend a day outside the grounds? Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest are just 15 minutes away.

Ed Allen’s Campground – Lanexa
Ed Allen’s offers a tranquil, 85-acre shaded retreat, featuring some of Virginia’s finest camping, fishing, recreation and wildlife. Try your luck on our two fully stocked ponds located in the campground, or one of Virginia’s greatest fishing retreats, the Chickahominy Lake. Peaceful evenings around the fire, fishing, boating, canoeing, or kayaking will make for enduring memories.

Blowing Springs Campground – Warm Springs
Offering both sunny and shaded camping sites, visitors to Blowing Springs Campground will be amazed by the phenomenon for which this site is named. A unique geological feature creates a duct that blows air out of the rocks at a constant 58 degrees, which may feel warm or cool depending on the season. Direct access to trails leading to swimming holes, and a stream stocked with trout are a few of the many reasons to visit this campground.

Burke Lake Park Camping – Fairfax Station
Take a camping trip to remember at Burke Lake Park. The campground, which offers nearly 100 campsites, is surrounded by acres of forest and one of Virginia’s most popular fishing holes. Fairfax Station offers convenient access to the Metrorail, which can put you in our nation’s capital within minutes. Enjoy the primitive tent-camping experience, and the excitement and history D.C. has to offer.

North Creek Campground – Arcadia
Located along the edge of North Creek, this campground offers shady campsites and a relaxed atmosphere. Prop your feet up and listen to the stream as it gurgles past, or take advantage of the fishing just outside your tent. The nearby trails include Whitetail, Cornelius Creek and Apple Orchard Falls. Enjoy a large expanse of National Forest land for hunting and hiking.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Check out Elizabeth Furnace in Front Royal/Warren County ! Wonderful water, woods and location !

Anthony says:

Lewis Mountain is great. First and foremost…the gentlemen that was in care of the park back when I went was one of the most helpful and informative people i’ve ever met. His name was Mark. The grounds were quiet and the feel was more primitive which I like. There is a trail at the back of the grounds which leads to the summit. Great place for a morning hot chocolate before the days excursions.

Camping’s all worth of experiences. This might sound tired but it is all worth the beauty to explore at another place.

K says:

After reading this list, we scheduled a family camping trip to Camp Outback, the first on this list, and were not impressed. We enjoyed a tubing excursion, but the campground was a disappointment. Dirty showers with suggestive graffiti. Really drunk people. Not a good experience.

Casey Higgins says:

I’m sorry to hear that, K. This is the first we’ve heard of anything negative with that campground. We encourage you to reach out to them as well to share your experience.

Amy Hinkle says:

Cave Mountain Lake!

Jay says:

I’ve always enjoyed The Cove in Gore.

C says:

Favorite by far is Sherando lake

I’d like to add a brand new camping experience starting this year: camping at Replenish Festival. Camping is FREE with a festival ticket and you can choose to camp with your vehicle or to go into a section NOT accessible by car that is located by a beautiful creek. The festival is very affordable with Day tickets starting at $10 and event tickets are $25 for each adult in advance. ALL KIDS 12 AND UNDER ARE FREE! Replenish Festival will have children’s activities with inflatables, faith-based music with differing varieties, food vendors if you choose not to good your own, and merchandise vendors. This event is sure to be a great time, family oriented and with a community bonfire. 🙂 Check out http://replenishfest.com for more info. Event is July 10-12, 2015 in Floyd County, Willis, Virginia on the Burnett Farm.

Thomas says:

OK, so maybe someone can help me. I absolutely love camping… However i’m a camping snob HAHA. I like secluded camping areas. I just don’t like being on top of someone else and I like to take my dog and not have to worry about him and other loose dogs running around. I also like to feel like i’m in total nature.
My childhood camping grounds are Crabtree Meadows. Can anyone suggest similar areas… maybe even something like that on water?
Thank You for your time.

Dennis Wagner says:

Check out any WMA that has primitive camping. I do it all the time mainly at CF Phelps WMA. Don’t go during hunting season though. Hope this helps.

Foster Falls has an island you can camp on.

Sandy says:

You might enjoy the four new tent only sites at Belle Isle State Park’s Brewer’s Point. These sites are at the mouth of Mullberry Creek, where it meets the Rappahannock River. The park is located in Lancaster County (not to be confused with a completely separate park in Richmond). You can either hike (about 1.5 miles) or canoe (about 1 mile) to the sites. Dogs are allowed, but there is a rule that they most be on a leash no more than 6 feet long. It’s certainly worth the trip!

Casey Higgins says:

Fantastic news, Sandy! Thank you for sharing!

Denise Davis says:

We love love love Belle Isle State Park. One of our favorites.

While not officially a camping site/ground….Graves Mountain Lodge (Madison County) lets folks camp out in the field across from the main area…..during off scheduled events, you can camp for $5 a night…honor system, outdoor shower and Don’s John are available…it sits nestled between the mountains, there’s a nice river on the grounds, trails nearby…very quiet….only draw back (maybe not, lol) is that you have to drive out about 7 minutes or so to get cell coverage.

Casey Higgins says:

That’s cool info, Jennifer, thanks!

Brian says:

Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness in the GW Forest, southwest of Harrisonburg. It’s been awhile but went there a couple times in the 90’s. Only saw one other car in the parking lot when there in the Fall. Real beautiful area and secluded. Has a stream with various size pools. And there’s one natural meadow surrounded by mountains…real nice.

Brian says:

I agree completely Brian We now camp at Hone Quarry campground. lakes and a stream right behind the campsite.

Aimee says:

Campground in Gore, VA that I went to with my boyfriend and his kids. Brain farting on its name but it was definitely roughing it. 4×4 vehicles a must. Lots of trails. A lake beach. Secluded campsites. Open gun range with range master on site. Very friendly staff. Make sure you pack everything you will need because it’s a long drive to closest gas station or walmart. They sell wood on site. Reasonably priced Campground.

Anna Ensley says:

False Cape Campground. It’s likevthe outer banks of Virginia. You have to bike or hike in and it’s beach camping. No one around. You can actually skinny dip in the ocean in broad daylight. Bring bug spray.