Best Places to Camp in Virginia

Smyth County makes a great base camp for all of your outdoor adventures, including camping. Whether you’re looking for primitive, hike-in camping spots or more family friendly camping options to pitch your tent or park your RV, we’ve got a list of the best camping spots in Southwest Virginia.

Family Friendly Camping in Smyth County VA

Car camping and RV campgrounds offer the most family friendly option to create memories around a campfire. Unplug from the noise of constant connectivity and enjoy fresh air and a slower pace at one of our great campgrounds in Smyth County Virginia:

RV Camping at Hungry Mother State Park. Photo Courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation,
  1. Hungry Mother State Park: This State Park offers camping as well as plenty of fun for the whole family. The kids will love swimming and kayaking in the pristine lake. For the adventurous, there are also dozens of hikes ranging in difficulty and mountain biking trails to explore. With over 80 campsites, including RV sites, this is an ideal spot for multiple families traveling together. Play it safe by purchasing the firewood made available for a fee at the park – invasive species traveling on wood from outside the region can be devastating to native species. Each campsite has a round fire ring on the ground which can be used for cooking and campfires.
  2. Beartree Campground: Beartree Recreation Area is a favorite spot among locals for a lazy, summer day.This peaceful recreation area offers campsites suitable for tent campers and RVs. There is a large picnic area, connecting trails and a swim beach with shallow enough water for parents with toddlers to feel comfortable. Group sites and a large picnic shelter are also available with reservations.
  3. Grindstone Campground: At 3,800 feet, Grindstone Campground is surrounded by mixed hardwoods, hemlock and rhododendrons. Located in a valley, surrounded by the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, camping at Grindstone offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and with several nearby streams – trout fishing available in abundance.

Family campers will also enjoy checking out some of Smyth County’s must see attractions:

Primitive Camping in Smyth County VA

Backpackers and thru-hikers can find backcountry camping options aplenty in Smyth County, Virginia. For those who want to get away from it all and enjoy the privacy of primitive camping, head to one of Southwest Virginia’s national forests or state parks. 

Camping and Stargazing in Grayson Highlands State Park in Smyth County VA
Stargazing and camping in Grayson Highlands State Park. Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation,
  1. Mount Rogers National Recreation Area: Home to the highest point in Virginia, Mount Rogers is also one of the most uniquely beautiful sections of the Appalachian Trail. Although the most well-known trip starts in Massie Gap at Grayson Highlands State Park, consider the less traveled 2-day backpacking trip starting at the Elk Garden Trailhead. Numerous trails allow for a variety of multi-day backpacking options, and there are many good camping spots throughout. Backpackers and thru-hikers love the camping spots close to the Thomas Knob Shelter because they are out in the open with sweeping mountain views.
  2. Appalachian Trail Camping: You don’t have to hike the famous Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine to experience the amazing scenery and wildlife. To get a small taste, head up to Whitetop Mountain, and hike in less than half a mile to find great backcountry camping off the Appalachian Trail.
  3. Laurel Bed Lake: For the avid outdoors enthusiast, privacy and solitude await you at Laurel Bed Lake near Saltville. This wilderness camping location is great for fly-fishing and smaller crowds than the national forests or the AT.

A word of caution: backcountry camping is best for experienced campers. Make sure you are fully aware of the risks and rules to backcountry camping before you plan your trip. Prepare with the right tools and supplies at one of Smyth County’s outfitters: Sportsman’s Den in Saltville, Hungry Mother Outpost north of Marion, or Blue Ridge Outfitters in Marion. 

Horse Camping & Glamping in Smyth County VA

Yurt Camping available at Hungry Mother State Park and Grayson Highlands State Park. Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation,

Specialty camping options are also great sites for adventure in Smyth County. If you’re traveling with your beloved horses, check out Grayson Highlands State Park – a favorite for experienced horse campers. Also at Grayson Highlands State Park as well as Hungry Mother State Park: Yurts! Somewhere in between a cabin and a tent, a yurt stay is what we like to call glamping.

While you’re camping in the area, check out the other things to do:

Choose Your Smyth County Adventure!

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