Although the historic James River in Powhatan County, Virginia, has been around for centuries, Powhatan State Park is a fairly recent addition to its shoreline. The park development was entrusted to the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Conservation and Recreation in 2003. Since then, the park has filled a need for a public outdoor space in central Virginia where visitors can come and relax for a day, or bring their RV for a full weekend in the comfortable campground.
While taking in the scenic views of the tree-lined river, guests can paddle along the waterway, fish from the shore, or take a dip in the cool waters. Miles of trails traverse the park for those wanting to explore either by foot or horseback while looking for birds and other native wildlife. The area surrounding the park also offers plenty to do for the whole family. Three other state parks can be reached in an hour or less, including Bear Creek Lake State Park, Pocahontas State Park, and Twin Lakes State Park make for great day trips from Powhatan. You'll also pass by charming towns that feature restaurants, breweries, vineyards, and historic sites.
If you plan on staying the night, you'll be able to stay in comfort in one of the 29 RV friendly sites that are equipped with water and electric hookups, or try something new and stay in a primitive campground or yurt. The campground is open from March to December, and reservations can be made in advance.
Located on the banks of the James River in Powhatan County, Powhatan State Park is a breeze to navigate, even for large vehicles. Just 45 minutes from Richmond, Virginia, the park can be accessed from major roads like I-64, US-522, and VA-711. Nearby towns include Cedar Hills and Powhatan, both of which can be reached in 20 minutes or less. You'll find plenty of places to gas up the RV, gather supplies, and get a bite to eat in these quaint towns. Once inside the park, evenly paved roads will take you to the campground and other main points of interest. Excess parking is also available at various trailheads, and three lots can also be found along the river.
RVers will love the modern camping facilities at Powhatan State Park. Twenty-nine RV friendly sites are available for vehicles up to 60 feet and are equipped with electrical and water hookups, fire rings, lantern hooks, and picnic tables. A bathhouse with hot showers and flush toilets is located in the campground, and a dump station can also be found nearby. The campground is open from March to December, and while you must reserve your spot in advance, your site might not be assigned to you until you arrive at the park and check-in to the campground.
If you're looking for a backcountry camping experience, Powhatan State Park offers eight primitive campsites. These sites require guests to either hike in or canoe in from the James River. The hike-in sites have a parking lot just 0.2 miles away, and all sites are equipped with pit toilets. The primitive sites are available year-round and can be reserved in advance.
If you're camping with a large group, Powhatan State Park has got you covered. A four-site campground is available for large groups looking to tent camp. The campground can accommodate a total of 24 campers and is equipped with pit toilets and water spigots. Reservations are required and can be made in advance online.
If you're looking to enjoy the comforts of RV camping but also want to reconnect with nature, consider renting a yurt. With no electricity, you'll feel at one with nature, while still enjoying a few modern comforts like a bed, a large wooden deck with patio tables, a picnic table, and a fire ring. Each yurt also has a water spigot, and restrooms with showers can be found nearby. Guests will need to bring their own bed linen or sleeping bags. The yurts can sleep up to three people, and rentals are available from March to December. Reservations are required.
Over 12 miles of trails are available for use at Powhatan State Park. Whether you're looking to get out of the campervan for a few hours or explore for a whole day, you're sure to find a trail that will suit your needs. Coyote Run is the longest trail in the park at just over two miles, and it is also one of the most difficult. For an easier trek, consider checking out the River Trail. At one mile, this trail will lead you along the river (as the name suggests) and connects to the Gold Dust Trail and the Turkey Trail.
Along with the private picnic tables located at each campsite, there are three large picnic shelters for rent in the park. Shelter one and two are in a grassy, wooded area of the park, and sit near restrooms, a playground, and a parking lot. Shelter three is located on the riverside and has pit toilets and a parking lot nearby. If you're interested in renting a shelter for a group, party, or reunion, you should note that there is no electricity and generators are not allowed in the park. Reservations can be made in advance.
No matter what time of year you bring the motorhome to Powhatan, you'll find some kind of event, park program, or festival taking place. From history hikes to snake feeding demonstrations, the whole family will be entertained by these unique programs. Each June, the annual Batteau Festival takes place along the James River. If you're at the park at the right time, you may see replicas of these old cargo vessels floating past on their way down the river. Check with a park ranger to see what events are happening at the park during your camping trip.
Pack the fishing poles and tackle box in the Sprinter and get ready for some good fishing at Powhatan State Park. Although fishing on the banks of the James River may pose difficult due to the high bluffs, that doesn't mean you won't be able to reel in a keeper. Fishing via canoe is your best bet, and two launches are available in the park. Smallmouth bass is the most common catch, but other species in the river include spotted and largemouth bass, channel and flathead catfish, and various kinds of sunfish.
The James River runs along 2.5 miles of the park, making Powhatan the perfect place to enjoy a day on the water. Paddling in the fall is an especially enjoyable experience, thanks to the fall foliage that completely surrounds the river. There are two canoe slide launches available for use, but if you tow your boat on a trailer behind the rig, you'll need to head a few miles north of the park to a Department of Game and Inland Fisheries boat launch. From Launch A, you can float two miles downstream and get off at Launch C, or pay a small fee to retrieve your vehicles if you decide to float outside of the park. No rentals are available at the park, so you'll need to haul your own watercraft along with you.
If you're interested in seeing the park on horseback without a windshield to impede your view, bring the horses along to Powhatan State Park. Nine miles of horse riding trails traverse the park, along with plenty of extra parking for your trailer and vehicle. Of the park's 10 trails, six are available for horseback riding. For a quick and easy ride, head to the Campground Trail. For a longer excursion, Coyote Run and Pine Trail are both good options. No matter which trail you choose to take, you won't regret the time outdoors with your horse.