5 Awesome Primitive Campgrounds in Virginia

by Virginia State Parks | Posted: May 15, 2019 | Updated: May 23, 2019

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One of the best perks of primitive camping is the privacy. When you feel the need to get away from it all and get back to nature, then consider one of these awesome primitive campgrounds at Virginia State Parks.

These primitive sites are available year-round, and are not easily accessible to the general public which means instead of hearing people, car noise, and congestion you hear wildlife, and the wind in the willows.

So, if you are willing to get there, we have some unique primitive campgrounds available year-round at Virginia State Parks.

 

1. | RIVERFRONT CAMPING AT JAMES RIVER STATE PARKJames River State Park

James River State Park has 13 primitive waterfront sites beside the river at Canoe Landing. Tents only. It’s a short walk from vehicle parking to the campsites. These sites are to the left of the canoe launch when facing the river. No tent pads.

Also try Branch Pond which has 7 primitive sites in wooded area about two miles from the river. Tents only. Each site has a tent pad.

 

2. | CANOE-IN CAMPING AT POWHATAN STATE PARK

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The canoe-in sites at Powhatan have firepits and picnic tables for ease of cooking. – Virginia State Parks

Powhatan State Park offers a canoe-in campground, accessible by the James River, has eight primitive sites (no electricity or water) and is open year-round. The campground has a toilet but no bathhouse.

There’s also a parking lot .2 miles away from which campers may hike with gear to the campground.

 

3. | COASTAL CAMPING AT FALSE CAPE STATE PARK

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Primitive camping at False Cape State Park is not for the faint, but worth the reward. – Virginia State Parks

False Cape State Park camping is not for everyone, as it is unusually restrictive and not easily accessible, plus takes a bit of planning to get there. You will have to hike or bike 6 miles just to get to the park entrance. Then the park’s primitive campsites are another three to six miles further.

If you feel you are fit enough, then click here to learn more about coastal camping at False Cape. The reward is well worth the energy to get there. Camping is permitted year-round, but reservations are required.

Same-day reservations aren’t taken for False Cape. Campsites at the park are in four distinct areas – Barbour Hill Bay, Barbour Hill Ocean, False Cape Landing Bay and False Cape Landing Ocean – which are separated by significant distances. For information, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-800-933-7275.

 

4. | PRIVATE WOODSY CAMPING AT NEW RIVER STATE PARK

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Ride the rail trail and camp in these primitive sites at New River State Park. – Virginia State Parks

New River State Park has four primitive campgrounds: Cliffview, Millrace, Baker Island and Double Shoals. There’s no vehicular access to the campsites and no showers or bathhouses.

New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way and long stretch of the New River which makes it popular for hiking, biking and trail riding.

There are no designated swimming areas, but tubing the New River is popular here. Call the Foster Falls Boat and Bike Livery at 276-699-1034 to rent tubes, bikes, kayaks or canoes. There is also a horse livery if you would like to go on a guided trail ride, info here.

 

5. | HIKE-IN CAMPING AT SKY MEADOWS STATE PARK

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Primitive camping that offers access to the Appalachian Trail at Sky Meadows State Park. – Virginia State Parks

Sky Meadows State Park offers a unique and peaceful camping experience. The park offers year-round primitive hike-in tent camping nestled against the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Campers must hike Hadow Trail 1 mile with their gear from the overnight parking area to get to these campsites.

The campground is accessible by bike, but no vehicles are allowed near campsites. Reservations are required for group campsite and recommended for individual sites because they are available first-come, first-served.

The park offers access to 2.43 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The park is a three-day hike from Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., and two days from Shenandoah National Park.

 

BONUS | HISTORIC CAMPING AT CALEDON STATE PARK

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Magnificent sunsets over the Potomac River from the primitive campsites at Caledon State Park. – Virginia State Parks

While we featured 5 awesome primitive campgrounds, there are many other Virginia State Parks that also offer primitive camping opportunities like the kayak, canoe, hike or bike-in camping at Caledon State Park. These sites are 3 miles from the Visitor Center.

The paddle-in primitive campground at Caledon is a link on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, and the sunsets over The Potomac River can’t be beat.

BONUS 2 | WIDEWATER STATE PARK

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Paddle-in to be one of the first to overnight at our newest Virginia State Park. – Virginia State Parks

Our newest, Widewater State Park is located on a peninsula where Aquia Creek and the Potomac River meet, Widewater provides access to both bodies of water. The park lies on non-contiguous parcels surrounded by private property.

The recently opened park offers tent-only primitive campsites for paddle-in camping and organized groups. Be amongst the first to stay overnight at this beautiful park, call 800-933-7275 to learn more.

OTHER CAMPING

There are 22 state parks that have group campsites, 7 with equestrian campgrounds, 4 parks offer camping cabins, 11 with camping lodges, and 5 with yurts. To learn about full service campgrounds click here.

RESERVATIONS

Camping fees can be found here. For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities, or to make reservations at a campground, go online here, or call 1-800-933-PARK.

Written by Shellie Anne for Virginia State Parks and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Virginia State Parks

 

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