RV Rental Hungry Mother State Park

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Loved for its lush, green mountains and 108-acre quiet lake, Hungry Mother State Park remains a go-to park for campers looking experience the beauty of Appalachia. Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, the park is just a four-mile drive off of I-81. The woodland oasis draws both local and out-of-state campers. Hungry Mother was one of the first state parks in the country, opening in 1936.

The park’s peculiar name is often attributed to an old, unverified story. A European mother and her young child escaped a settlement raid in the area during the 1700s. The mother, having been malnourished from eating only berries and exhausted from carrying the child, collapsed. The child wandered down the creek and eventually met a search party. The child told them, “Hungry Mother.” The phrase stuck.

Book an RV in Smyth County and start planning your RV camping trip at this stunning park. Spending some time breathing in the mountain air will leave you feeling completely refreshed.

Discover Hungry Mother State Park


Getting Outdoors

There's a range of year-round outdoor fun to be had here. Hungry Mother State Park campers can explore ten hiking and biking trails ranging from easy to difficult. Depending on the trail, you could wind through ridges of mountain laurel and rhododendron, experience stunning views of mountain ranges, or spot turtles sunning themselves lakeside. The trails are known for being clean and clearly marked. Lake Trail Loop is the only partially accessible trail for hikers with disabilities and is just under six miles long.

Over at the lake, you'll find a plethora of water activities. The sandy beach remains a staple, and the diving platform adds to the excitement. You can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats. There are also opportunities to learn how to stand-up paddleboard. If you just feel like relaxing, spend some time floating on the no-wake water.

The annual Hungry Mother State Park Festival is a popular summer event among campers. Dozens of vendors from across Virginia and Tennessee come together to sell a wide variety of food and art. The weekend boasts several live music acts spanning across bluegrass, rock, and country genres.

Camping at Hungry Mother State Park

Enjoy year-round camping at Hungry Mother State Park. Hungry Mother State Park has two campgrounds that accommodate RV campers up to 35 feet long. All sites have water and either 20, 30, or 50-amp electrical outlets. Sites are back-in and pull-through and are either gravel or paved. There's a bathhouse at each campground. Note that only one campground, Camp Burson, has sewer hookups. You can make last-minute, same-day reservations or book your site up to 11 months in advance.

Each site has its own fire pit for cooking marshmallows and late-night storytelling. But Hungry Mother State Park campers should plan to leave their firewood at home. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued quarantines in much of the state to prevent invasive insects and disease, often carried into parks on firewood, from spreading throughout the park and killing its trees. The park center sells firewood for campers.

Exploring the Area

Marion is a quiet town just north of the park. It has any necessities you may have forgotten for your camping trip at Hungry Mother State Park. You can find gas and groceries without a problem. Numerous chain restaurants in town are perfect for a quick bite to eat. You can also find some delicious barbecue on Main Street and moonshine whiskey from a local market. After a long day of outdoor adventures, you might enjoy a beer, pizza, or live music at a local brewery.

The nearest town besides Marion is a 33-mile drive from the park. Abingdon is a charming locale which boasts a historic downtown and welcoming atmosphere. Several local and chain restaurants will satisfy a hungry belly. Visitors can see the town’s architecture, much of which dates back to the late 18th century.

Perhaps the best time to visit the quaint town is during the Virginia Highlands Festival each summer. The award-winning, ten-day event features fascinating elements of Appalachian culture, including live music, arts, crafts, and food. It’s the perfect time for Hungry Mother State Park campers to experience what makes the region special.

Keep going down I-85 for a few miles, and you’ll hit an interesting small town whose downtown straddles two states: Virginia and Tennessee. Bristol is known as the birthplace of country music and home to NASCAR’s fastest half-mile racetrack. On the Tennessee side of downtown is the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum; on the Virginia side sits an award-winning bakery and multiple breweries. Each September, the town draws thousands of visitors from all over the country for its Rhythm & Roots music and arts festival, which showcases new and old bluegrass, folk, and country artists.

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Popular nearby hiking trails and campgrounds


  • Hiking TrailLocation
  • Cluburn Hollow and Lake Trail Loop, VAHungry Mother State Park, VA
  • Raiders Run and Old Shawnee Trail, VAHungry Mother State Park, VA
  • Molly's Knob Trail, VAHungry Mother State Park, VA
  • Clyburn Ridge Trail, VAHungry Mother State Park, VA
  • Lake Trail, VAHungry Mother State Park, VA
  • Comers Creek Trail, VAGrayson Highlands State Park, VA
  • Appalachian Trail: Iron Mountain & Brushy Mountain , VAGrayson Highlands State Park, VA
  • Cliffside Trail, VAGrayson Highlands State Park, VA
  • Mount Rogers Trail, VAGrayson Highlands State Park, VA
  • Whispering Waters Trail, VAGrayson Highlands State Park, VA

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