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Situated in Cumberland County, Virginia is Bear Creek Lake State Park. The state park runs over 326 acres and was built in 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps after the Virginia Department of Agriculture requested a project be done to help highlight the local forests.
The park is known for its 40-acre Sylvan Lake which is used for boating and swimming. It’s also located next to the Cumberland State Forest which spans about 36,000 acres making it a great spot for state park RV camping. This state park is also a short drive away from Charlottesville and Richmond.
Bear Creek Lake State Park offers many activities for vacationers and outdoor enthusiasts to do. A popular thing to do while here is to swim in the lake. While there are some off-limit areas, most of the lake is available for swimmers to cool off in. It also borders next to a small beach where your items can be kept while you swim. Sometimes there are lifeguards watching over the lake in certain areas, although this is usually only during the summer months. Swimming is only allowed in this lake as other areas (like ponds) in the park are off-limits.
The park is also filled with numerous trails for hiking and biking. However, keep in mind that some are marked off as only being used for bikes or hiking. Some trails here include the Beaver Run Trail (which is about half a mile long), Channel Cat Loop (which runs one mile long), and Lost Barr Loop (which is about two miles long). There are also two state forest trails that wind through the park: CMT and Willis River. Both run about 15 miles long and can be a bit strenuous in certain areas.
You could also picnic along the shores of the lake or at one of the many picnic shelters located around the park. These are located on each of the trails as well as near the beach. They also have recycling bins to throw your trash away in so you don’t need to carry it around.
In addition to these features, Bear Creek Lake State Park also has a small gift shop where guests can browse for souvenirs. It also has an archery range where visitors can try their hand at this sport. This range has 12 targets that are placed at various distances. It also includes one moveable target for those who want to try shooting at a longer distance than what is available.
State park RV camping at Bear Creek Lake State Park is very easy to do. The park offers a variety of different amenities, including metal fire rings, firewood, WiFi, electric, and water. There are only 48 RV rental sites so you’ll need to make sure to make reservations if you want to secure a spot. It has a check-in and check-out policy which needs to be strictly followed to avoid paying extra fees.
While pets are allowed, they must be leashed and are not allowed on the beach. The park also has a small lakeside diner which serves classic American dishes. It also offers restrooms and showers.
There are a handful of places to search for an RV rental in Cumberland County for those who want to explore the local area. About an hour away in Richmond is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The museum opened in 1936 and contains a handful of exhibits which range from a Fabergé Egg collection to Native American art.
Consider taking your Bear Creek State Park camper rental over to Charlottesville to see Monticello. Known for being the home of Thomas Jefferson, this historic structure tells more about Jefferson’s life and has various exhibits which showcase letters he wrote and some of his inventions. It also has a large garden and farm which include plants that Jefferson himself planted, like a large vegetable garden with a handful of heirloom plants. In addition to this, Monticello works to help tell the story of slaves who worked at the estate, including Sally Hemings.
A quick drive away in Goochland is Tuckahoe Plantation. This estate was where Thomas Jefferson spent much of his childhood. Built in 1712, the plantation offers tours of its interior although reservations must be made in advance. You’ll be able to see old paintings as well as pieces of antique furniture. The plantation also has a unique 1700s-era garden which includes most of the plants Jefferson would have seen during his life. It also includes a 100-year-old boxwood maze which rests next to the plantation’s vegetable and herb gardens.
The area is heavily populated, so there are plenty of gas stations and restaurants around. Some restaurants include Italian and Mexican eateries. Park your rental RV in one of their parking lots and enjoy a great family meal.