If you're searching for a peaceful riverside park with more outdoor recreation opportunities than you can poke a stick at, look no further than James River State Park. Located near Norwood in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, this 1,561-acre park is the ideal spot for a family camping vacation.
The park's biggest drawcard is three miles of James River shoreline, but campers can also enjoy excellent boating, fishing, and scenery along with some 15 miles of multi-use trails. And with two campgrounds offering sites with electrical and water hookups, it's an easy and convenient park to explore in a rental RV.
Keep reading to find out what to do and where to stay during your James River State Park RV camping vacation.
As you'd expect in a riverside park, water-based recreation is the number-one attraction for most campers in James River State Park. Of course, how you get out on the water is entirely up to you.
James River State Park Outdoor Adventures offers canoe, kayak, and tube rentals, providing easy access to some eight miles of river to explore. Kids will love floating along the river in a tube, while the foothills, forests, and grasslands that surround the river ensure that paddling is a scenic experience.
If you'd like to wet a line, you're also well catered for. Smallmouth bass, catfish, and panfish can all be caught here, so make sure you pack your rod for the journey. Even better, there are three freshwater ponds spread throughout the park for an easy fishing experience — just make sure you have a freshwater fishing license before you get started.
Finally, the other main attraction of James River State Park is its 15 miles of multi-use trails. Open to hikers, bikers, and bridle use, these trails make it easy to explore the surrounding terrain. Branch Pond Loop offers a short but quite challenging trek to a secluded pond, while the Tye River Overlook Trail is worth tackling if you're craving beautiful water views.
Camping at James River State Park
Do you want to set up camp in James River State Park for a few nights or more? Search for a rental RV in Buckingham County and then take your pick of the sites available in the park's two RV-friendly campgrounds.
While there are four campgrounds in total throughout the park, two of them — Branch Pond and Canoe Landing — only offer primitive camping for tents. However, the other two campgrounds offer the following sites and facilities:
- Red Oak Campground. This campground boasts 30 sites, all of which offer electrical (20, 30, and 50-amp) and water hookups. RVs, pop-ups, and tents are all welcome here, with a maximum vehicle length of 40 feet. Each campsite gets its own picnic table, lantern holder, and fire-ring grill, while the nearby bathhouse features hot showers and a sink for washing dishes. Other features include a dump station, coin-operated laundry facilities, and a boat launching ramp. Leashed and well-behaved pets are also welcome.
- Horseshoe Campground. Horseshoe Campground is a smaller camping area with 10 sites. All sites offer electrical (20, 30, and 50-amp) and water hookups, while all sites are pull-through and designed in such a way to allow two trailers to share a common area between their sites. Once again, all campsites get their own picnic table, lantern holder, and fire-ring grill, and the restrooms and showers are just a short walk away. Other facilities include 20 covered horse stalls, a dump station, and a boat launching area. Leashed pets are also welcome.
Lodges, a bunkhouse, and several cabins are also available in the park for visitors who won't be staying in an RV.
Exploring the Area
When you're winding down your James River State Park camping adventure and preparing to hit the road again, you'll be pleased to discover that there are plenty of other great attractions nearby.
For example, if you're fascinated by Civil War history, you'll no doubt want to make the half-hour drive south to Appomattox and check out Appomattox Court House, which is where the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered in 1865.
If you'd rather keep exploring the Virginia state parks system, Bear Creek Lake State Park is found just an hour to the east and offers excellent fishing and boating.
Of course, if you'd rather head for all the excitement and creature comforts that only a city can offer, you can make it to Richmond in under two hours. While you're there, be sure to take a wander through the fantastic displays and exhibits at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
There's plenty to see and do no matter which direction you travel, so rent an RV near James River State Park and start putting together your perfect camping itinerary.
James River State Park, VA is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in James River State Park. Outdoorsy's James River State Park RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.