Virginia State Park Campgrounds: Here’s When They Reopen

by Jon D. B.
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Time to gear up, Outsiders! Whether you’re looking to RV or go full primitive, Virginia State Parks host over 1,800 campsites ready to go. As of this past weekend, Virginia campers are back out in droves. Winter is coming to a close, and Friday, March 4 marked the reopening of Virginia State Park campgrounds, so it’s back to the great outdoors we go.

With pandemic era park usage at an all-time high, Virginia is anticipating even more visitors this year to their campgrounds. But the park system isn’t heading into 2022 blind. As of this year, visitors will be able to book campsites ahead of time online or by calling the state park system:

The Breakdown: Camping in Virginia State Parks

  • As of March 4, camping reservations are now live for the 29 (of 41 state parks) that host camping
  • Campsites can now be booked online here
  • Or call Virginia’s Customer Service Center at 800-933-7275, then choose option 5
  • Primitive camping to RV hookups are available with over 1,800 campsites available
  • Virginia’s Douthat, Hungry Mother, Pocahontas and Shenandoah River State Parks stay open year-round

Virginia hosts an impressive 41 state parks, with 29 hosting campsites. More popular state parks, like Shenandoah River, stay open year-round. The majority, however, close the first Monday in December. And after three long months of winter cold, Virginians are ready to get back to camping.

“We love to be outside so anytime we can get outside- it’s close. It’s quick to get here from our house. It’s only like 10 or 15 minutes. So we love to get outside,” local Andrew Newcomb tells NBC12.

Newcomb and his partner, Valerie Weston, take to Powhatan State Park no less than twice a month. But theirs is a cautionary tale for fellow Outsiders, as camping reservations are already booking up for the coming weeks. And Virginia State Parks director Dr. Melissa Baker says the continuing pandemic is behind the ever-increasing visitation.

“We were very, very busy. We have had the two strongest years in state park visitation in the immediate past,” Dr. Baker adds for NBC12. Which is exactly why Virginia state parks have moved to site-specific reservations both online and by phone.

Virginia State Parks Embrace Online Reservations for 2022

TR-Camping Photos by Michael Williamson NEG#181327 6/17/06: CAMPING ON THE BEACH AT ASSATEAGUE ISLAND STATE PARK, VIRGINIA: Folks enjoy a campfire at dusk near the beach at Assateague State Park. (Photo by Michael Williamson/The The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“Now when you make your reservation, you’re going to have the opportunity to look at the entire campground to pick what campsite you’re going to be on. So when you get to the park you’ll know which campsite you’re on [specifically],” Dr. Baker cites.

“We’ve kept this high level of visitation, so people have found their state parks again,” she smiles. Dr. Baker is hoping more out of state visitors take advantage of Virginia’s wonderful state parks, too; something the new online reservation system will help with considerably.

“The site-specific reservation system allows a camper to view an interactive map and choose an available site to reserve. This system replaces the first-come, first-served policy that previously existed for most campgrounds,” a Virginia State Parks press release clarifies.

Whether you’re traveling from out of stare or are a Virginian, be sure to book your next camping adventure online ahead of time. Or call Virginia’s Customer Service Center at 800-933-7275, then choose option 5.

Outsider.com