Located on the John H. Kerr Reservoir, better known as Buggs Island Lake, Occoneechee State Park offers fishing and boating on Virginia’s largest lake, as well as hiking, biking, and horseback riding throughout the park’s 2,700 acres. This Virginia state park sits just a few miles from the North Carolina border, and owes its name to the Native Americans who called this area home for hundreds of years.
With its stunning location on Virginia’s largest lake, varied recreation options, and rich history, Occoneechee State Park is the perfect choice for your next RV adventure. The park is especially popular among anglers and boaters, as it features three boat ramps, boat rentals, boat slips available for rent, a fuel dock, and a handful of campsites right on the shoreline. Beyond these lake activities, Occoneechee State Park also offers 20 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as a museum that sheds light on the history of the indigenous Occoneechee people, who lived on an island near what is now the park until 1676.
Occoneechee State Park offers 48 campsites for tent and RV campers, as well as a separate equestrian campground with 11 sites and 11 covered horse stalls. This Virginia state park enjoys mild winters and hot summers, and is open year-round.
Sitting just a few miles from the North Carolina border, Occoneechee State Park is three and half hours from Northern Virginia, two hours from Richmond, and three hours from Virginia Beach. This Virginia state park is located on Route 58 and can be easily reached in an RV or car.
Inside the park, most roads are well-maintained but some are narrow, so be sure to drive with the necessary caution. In particular, some of the roads within the camping loops are paved but tight, so larger rigs should drive carefully and note that the sites can only handle rigs of up to 35 feet long. Visitors can find parking at their campsites, in designated overflow parking areas, and in other parking areas scattered throughout the park. Camper vehicles that don't fit on their campsite must park in the designated overflow parking area.
Visitors can stop by the gift shop in the Visitor Center for gifts and novelty items, but for more extensive supply needs, visitors will find several restaurants, gas stations, shops, and a grocery store just a couple miles away in the town of Clarksville.
Occoneechee State Park offers 48 campsites for tents and RVs in Campground B and Campground C. All campsites in these campgrounds have round grills on a cement pad, and offer easy access to bathhouses with hot showers and flush toilets. Campground C has waterfront sites with water and electric hookups, as well as waterfront sites without utilities. The sites in Campground C can accommodate rigs up to only 30 feet long.
Campground B offers sites with water and electric hookups that can accommodate rigs of up to 35 feet long; these sites are open only from May to October, and are not on the lake. None of these sites offer sewer hookups, so guests will have to make use of the dump station located near the entrance to Campground C. Half of the sites in Campground B and C can be specifically reserved ahead of time, while the other half are assigned on arrival.
In addition to the park’s 48 RV sites, Occoneechee State Park also offers 11 equestrian campsites and 11 covered stalls. These campsites offer only electric hookups and a gravel driveway, along with a pedestal grill, picnic table, and lantern posts. Since there are no water or sewer hookups in this campground, guests can make use of the water available in three central areas within the campground, and the dump station located near the entrance to Campground C.
Each equestrian campsite is pull-through, 100 by 24 feet, and can accommodate trailers up to 65 feet long. This campground is open from early March to early December, and campers must have a reservation for a stall for each horse. Visitors can make a reservation, but specific sites are assigned upon arrival.
Occoneechee State Park is an especially popular destination for anglers, and for good reason: Buggs Island Lake is famous for the number and size of fish it houses in its waters, with striped and largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and perch all plentiful. Anglers can take advantage of the park’s three boat ramps, which provide motorized and non-motorized boat access to Buggs Island Lake. Visitors can even rent pontoon and fishing boats, including safety equipment, at the park’s main boat ramp.
As Virginia’s largest lake, Buggs Island Lake is understandably a popular destination for boaters, with 48,000 acres of pristine water to enjoy. Visitors who bring their own boats can take advantage of the park’s three boat ramps, which are available for both motorized and non-motorized boats; overnight guests will also be happy to learn that boat launch use is free for campers. Visitors without their own boats can take advantage of the many rentals available on the park grounds: pontoons, single and double kayaks, and paddle boards can all be rented at the main boat ramp. While boating is most popular in the warm spring and summer months, it is available year-round.
Visitors who want to bring their horses along for their visit can rest easy knowing that Occoneechee State Park is a horse-friendly park. Equestrians can explore the park with their horse along the Panhandle Multi-Use Trail, which stretches for over seven miles throughout the park and along Buggs Island Lake. After exploring the park’s trails, equestrians and their horses can spend the night at the park’s equestrian campground, which offers 11 equestrian sites and 11 covered stalls.
Hikers will have plenty to keep them busy at Occoneechee State Park. The park offers 20 miles of trails for hiking, ranging from easy to moderately difficult. Hikers looking for an easy stroll can try out the mile-long Mossey Creek Trail or mile-long Old Plantation Trail. Those looking for a more challenging trek can hop on Beaver Pond Trail, which stretches for five miles and is considered moderately difficult. For the longest hike in the park, visitors should plan to take on the over seven-mile Panhandle Multi-Use Trail.
Visitors who would prefer to explore this 2,700-acre park on two wheels will be happy to hear that two of the park’s longest trails are open to bikers as well. The Panhandle Multi-Use Trail, which stretches for more than seven miles starting from near the Visitor Center, and the Beaver Pond Trail, which stretches for five miles starting from near the equestrian campground, are both open to bikes—giving bikers more than enough trails to keep them busy during their visit to Occoneechee State Park.
Visitors eager to balance out their visit with a deeper dive into the history of the park and the area can plan to spend some time at the Occoneechee State Park Visitor Center & Museum. The Visitor Center & Museum introduce visitors to the history of the indigenous Occoneechee people, who occupied the area for hundreds of years, through featuring a living hut, artifacts, and an exhibit on Native American history, “The Occoneechee Story.” For those interested in learning more about the history of the area, a visit to the Visitor Center & Museum is a must.