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The site of one of the oldest continually farmed plantations anywhere in the country, Chippokes Plantation State Park is a historic and beautiful destination for a motorhome camping vacation. Located in Surry, Virginia, this 1,947-acre park sits on the banks of the James River.
Enjoy a glimpse of what life was like in the 17th century and make the most of the excellent hiking, fishing, and boating opportunities on offer. When you're ready to set up camp for the night, you can park your campervan rental in the Chippokes Plantation State Park Campground.
It's a scenic, shaded, and peaceful place to spend a few nights or more, so let's take a closer look at how to plan the perfect stay in this beautiful park.
There are plenty of great outdoor recreational activities on offer in Chippokes Plantation State Park, but the first stop for any camper will probably be to check out the area's history. The park has been the site of a working farm since 1619, when it was established by English Captain William Powell. Powell decided to name the plantation after an Algonquian Chief, Choapoke, and it's been running ever since.
Start your visit by taking a wander through the plantation's formal gardens, marveling at the antebellum mansion, and soaking up the historic ambiance. The Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum features exhibits and displays showcasing ancient equipment and farming techniques and offers an intriguing insight into this bygone era.
Once you've got a feel for the history of Chippokes Plantation, it's time to relax and explore your natural surroundings. For many campers, there's no better way to do this than to set out on one of the park's hiking trails. There's a 12-mile trail network to explore here, with 10 miles of those trails also open to bike and horseback riders.
The most popular trek is the one-mile College Run Trail, which offers a paved pathway from the visitors' center and along the James River to the historic area. The short James River Trail is also worth a stroll if you want scenic river vistas from a different vantage point.
Speaking of the river, it's another major drawcard that attracts visitors to Chippokes Plantation State Park. Keen anglers can try their luck at some freshwater fishing right from the river's banks or cast a line in College Run Creek. Canoeing and kayaking are also popular pastimes on both of these waterways, but there are no boat rentals available in the park, so you'll need to bring your own watercraft.
If you want to camp in Chippokes Plantation State Park, search for a rental RV in Surry County and then reserve a site in the park's scenic campground.
The campground is open from March until early December and is spread around two loops. Loop A features 32 sites with electrical (20- and 30-amp) and water hookups. They can accommodate tents and pop-ups, with some sites capable of accommodating RVs of up to 30 feet long. Sites are leafy and offer decent privacy from your neighbors, but most sites are uneven.
Loop B features 19 sites with water and electrical (20-, 30-, and 50-amp) hookups. Designed to accommodate larger rigs up to 50 feet in length, these sites are more popular with guests camping in an RV. While not as well shaded as the sites in Loop A, Loop B's campsites are level and paved, and there are some pull-through sites for big rigs. One site in Loop B is also designed to be accessible for people with disabilities.
Other features include flushing toilets and showers, laundry facilities, and easy access to the park's swimming pool. Each campsite also gets its own fire ring.
Finally, campers looking for alternative accommodation options may want to consider staying in one of the park's four cabins or in historic Walnut Valley House.
When you've finished exploring Chippokes Plantation State Park and you're ready to get on the road again, you'll be pleased to find that there are plenty of other great attractions just a short drive away.
For example, just a few minutes south of the park lies Bacon's Castle. Built in 1665, it's the oldest house in Virginia and well worth checking out. To continue the history theme, you might want to head a little further southeast to Norfolk, where the Nauticus maritime museum and the Battleship Wisconsin are sure to entertain and excite.
Of course, if you steer your rental RV to the northwest, you can be in Richmond in a little over an hour. While you're there, make sure you explore Richmond's thriving craft beer scene. Art enthusiasts will want to check out the masterpieces on display at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Whether you're planning a relaxed family getaway, an action-packed adventure, or anything in between, you'll be able to find plenty of suitable destinations and activities within easy reach. Rent a camper near Chippokes Plantation State Park and start exploring.