Best Tent Camping: Virginia: Your Car-Camping Guide to Scenic Beauty, the Sounds of Nature, and an Escape from Civilization

Best Tent Camping: Virginia: Your Car-Camping Guide to Scenic Beauty, the Sounds of Nature, and an Escape from Civilization

by Randy Porter

Paperback(Third Edition)

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Best Tent Camping: Virginia by Randy Porter takes outdoor enthusiasts to the most beautiful, yet lesser known, of the state's campsites, guaranteeing a peaceful retreat. Each entry provides the latest maps of the grounds and alerts readers to the best sites within the facility to ensure a rewarding and relaxing visit. Campsite ratings for beauty, privacy, spaciousness, quietness, security, and cleanliness help campers pick the perfect campground for any trip. In addition, each site entry has complete contact and registration information, operating hours, and a list of restrictions. Directions to the site come complete with GPS coordinates to put travelers right at the main gate. For beginning adventurers and seasoned veterans alike, Best Tent Camping: Virginia makes any trip more gratifying and is the key to enjoying the great natural beauty of the Virginia landscape.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780897325066
Publisher: Menasha Ridge Press
Publication date: 04/15/2014
Series: Best Tent Camping Series
Edition description: Third Edition
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 756,820
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Randy Porter has been tromping around Virginia’s nooks and crannies for more than 40 years and is an avid cyclist, hiker, camper, and sea kayaker. The author of Mountain Bike! Virginia, he lives in Charlottesville, VA.

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Beauty - 4
Site Privacy - 4
Spaciousness - 4
Quiet - 4
Security - 4
Cleanliness - 5

Big Meadows is Shenandoah National Park's largest treeless area, encompassing a barren plateau that is approximately 640 acres. It's believed that Native Americans cleared the area to create favorable grazing conditions. European settlers overgrazed this site with beef cattle, especially during the Civil War. Park officials have waged an ongoing battle against the growth of black locust and blackberry that would, if left unchecked, take over the meadow. In the past, Park Service officials used combinations of burning and mowing to hold back the growth of invasive vegetation, but eventually realized that the burning actually helped the black locust and blackberry spread. New strategies have aided in the establishment of meadow grasses. Today the dominant shrub growth in the meadow is blueberry with swamp varieties such as marsh marigold, swamp fern, and Canadian burnet growing in wetter areas with some 270 species of vascular plants. In addition to the white-tailed deer taht wander seemingly carefree through the meadow, you're also likely to see song sparrows, meadowlarks, grouse, foxes, and skunks.

The park's dedication was held at Big Meadows, the spiritual center of Skyline Drive, on July 3, 1936. President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself was on hand to formally open the facilities at Shenandoah National Park. The meadow is located across from Skyline Drive from the Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center, which houses informative exhibits, a library, an auditorium, interpretive programs, and an array of literature pertaining to Shenandoah National Park that is on sale in the small gift shop.

Big Meadows, with its visitor center, lodge, restaurant, and campground, is located in the central section of the park at mile 51.2. After pulling off Skyline Drive near the Byrd Visitor Center, follow the signs to the registration station for Big Meadows Campground. Its 217 sites are situated on two large loops, the front one comprising loops P through T and the rear section containing U through Y, which are designated as RV sites despite the lack of hookups.

Of the 178 non-RV sites, 144 are traditional drive-in campsites and 35 are walk-in tent sites. The drive-in sites are spacious and separated by considerable foliage. Park officials did a good job of placing a large number of sites close to each other without sacrificing seclusion. This is, of course, relative; those fo you who relish your oslitude will accept the slight inconvenience of walking 10-20 yards and opt for one of the walk-in sites.

The walk-in sites are set off in the wooded edge of Big Meadows Campground and are very private. Sites P4-P10 are set between the main entrance road and the camp road and tend to be noisier than the others, but appealing sites P29-34 and P44-53 are set off by themselves in the woods. P12-21 and P24-34 are in grassy and less-heavily wooded areas but are still highly desirable if you don't mind carrying your gear a short distance to your site. Big Meadows Campground is a popular stopover for campers in Shenandoah National Park, especially in the fall; and it is the only one that accepts reservations. If you can plan your stay during the week, you'll find considerably fewer neighbors, but calling ahead is a good idea any time.

As in the rest of this nearly 300-square-mile park through which 101 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail passes, there is no shortage of hiking trails. However, the Big Meadows area is especially blessed with trails for hikers of varied age and ability levels. The 1.8-mile Story of the Forest Nature Trail is a relatively easy walk starting from the Byrd Visitor Center. Interpretive signs explain various aspects of the surrounding forest. The 3.3-mile Lewis Falls Trail provides more of a challenge in terms of length and change in elevation after it exits from the amphitheater parking lot. The hike to the 81-foot falls is worth the effort.

Camp Hoover (aka Rapidian Camp), located across from Big Meadows 6.3 miles down the Rapidan Fire Road, was a favorite getaway for President Herbert Hoover. The walk to Camp Hoover can be shortened to a 4-mile out-and-back by taking the Mill Prong Trail. Camp Hoover is a beautiful spot where 3 of the original 13 cabins remain at the confluence of Mill Prong, Laurel Prong, and the Rapidan River. In the summer, three-hour van tours are available several days a week. Sign up in advance at the Byrd Visitor Center.

Table of Contents

Virginia Campgrounds Key
Virginia Campgrounds Locator
Virginia Campground Maps Legend

First Landing State Park
Northwest River Park
Newport News Park Campground
Kiptopeke State Park
Chippokes Plantation State Park
Westmoreland State Park

Pocahontas State Park
Bear Creek Lake State Park
Fairy Stone State Park
James River State Park
Holliday Lake State Park
Twin Lakes State Park
Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Staunton River State Park
Occoneechee State Park

Prince William Forest Park
Pohick Bay Regional Park
Burke Lake Park
Lake Fairfax Park
Bull Run Regional Park

Mathews Arm Campground
Big Meadows Campground
Lewis Mountain Campground
Loft Mountain Campground
Sky Meadows State Park Campground
Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Park
Shenandoah River State Park
Camp Roosevelt Recreation Park
Hone Quarry Recreation Area
Todd Lake Recreation Area
Serando Lake Recreation Area
North Creek Campground
Otter Creek Campground
Peaks of Otter Campground
Lake Robertson Recreation Area
Morris Hill Campground
Bubbling Springs Campground
Douthat State Park
Hidden Valley Campground
Cave Mountain Lake Campground

Claytor Lake State Park
Grayson Highlands State Park
New River Trail State Park
Hungry Mother State Park
Breaks Interstate Park
Cave Springs Recreation Area
Hurricane Campground
Comers Rock Campground
Raven Cliff Campground
High Knob Recreation Area

Camping Equipment Checklist
Suggested Reading and Reference
About the Authors

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Best Tent Camping: Virginia; Your Car-Camping Guide to Scenic Beauty, the Sounds of Nature, and an Escape from Civilization 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&nbsp Thanksgiving, weekend, everything. O'm only around when I plan to update my story. But not at camp ever for anything. No need to get everyone's hopes up.)) Crystalpaw nodded slowly, glad Flowernose was respecting her decision as sh turne to face the water unknowingly. "I am a little thirsty," she murmured, slowly trying to rise to her paws. Frowning as she fell, she merely dragged herself the few mousetails over to the little pool to drink from it instead. -Crystalpaw &star
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to our book lol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cloudripple dipped her head in avknowledgement. "Thank you."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She smiled, glad the kit was drinking. And she ate some berry paste, too. Flowernose didn't want to interrupt a good thing, so she waited until Crystalpaw was done to speak. "Now, get some rest. You'll probably feel at least a little better in the morning."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goldenstar limps into the medicine den, looking around for either of the medicine cats. "Flowernose? Flightpath? Crystalpaw is sick and needs some help, and Lilywolf needs her wounds checked too," he meows, already on his way back towards the clearing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He tore off a piece of mouse put it in her mouth. "Can you eat it now?"