With so many different parks to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. And to be honest, a lot of them are the same: wooded hikes and lots of history.
We’ve made it easy for you with our list of the 21 best state parks in Virginia. Whether you’re looking for a place to go boating, hiking, or just find the perfect campsite, we have the perfect park for you.
Here are the best Virginia State Parks
(Yes, we have our favorites. We’ve marked them with a star!)
1. Bear Creek Lake State Park
Bear Creek Lake State Park is a beautiful state park located in central Virginia. The park is home to Bear Creek Lake, making it a great spot for fishing, swimming, and boating. The park also has plenty of hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, and campsites.
Bear Creek Lake State Park is a great option if you’re looking for a great Virginia state park to visit. The park features an activities center with a beach for swimming, boat rentals, fishing piers, and a boat launch. The cabins available are large and have lots of amenities, making this place feel almost like a resort.
2. Belle Isle State Park
Belle Isle State Park is a state park in Lancaster, Virginia. It features a variety of outdoor activities, including camping, fishing, swimming, and hiking. The park also has an on-site museum that showcases the history and culture of the area.
Belle Isle State Park is a beautiful park located on the James River. It features three picnic shelters, a campground, car-top launches for canoes and kayaks, motorboat launches, and bridle trails. Visitors can enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and horseback riding.
Belle Isle State Park is a great place to visit for a weekend getaway. Not only does the park offer beautiful scenery and plenty of activities, but it also has overnight lodging available in the form of the Bel Air Guest House and the Bel Air Annex Hotel.
Renting kayaks, canoes, and bicycles is available from the park’s concessionaire.
Belle Isle State Park is a beautiful place to visit for those who love nature and outdoor activities. There are plenty of things to do, and there’s also beautiful scenery in case you just want to relax.
⭐️ 3. Claytor Lake State Park ⭐️
Claytor Lake State Park is a beautiful park located in the heart of Virginia. The park features over 4,000 acres of woodlands and a 6000-acre lake, making it a popular spot for fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking. The park also features a full-service marina that offers refreshments, boat rentals, fuel, supplies, and docking slips.
There are also several historical sites to explore in the area if you want to spend a few nights in Abington.
If you aren’t a water person, there are also biking and hiking trails, but the focus of this park is the gorgeous lake.
We love it here! One of our favorites.
4. Douthat State Park
Douthat State Park is a state park located in Virginia. The park offers a variety of activities, including hiking trails, fishing, and swimming. It also has several historical features, such as the Civil War-era Douthat Mill Ruins.
You’ll find a huge trout-stocked lake with sandy beaches, and some of the best hiking in the whole state. There are very limited cabin rentals, but the cabins are log-style and very charming.
It is in a remote area, almost in West Virginia, but it’s absolutely gorgeous.
⭐️ 5. Fairy Stone State Park ⭐️
Fairy Stone State Park is a state park located in Stuart, Virginia. The park is named for the fairy stones, which are small, dark, and shiny and found throughout the park. These stones have magical properties and have been used in jewelry making for centuries. The park is also home to various wildlife, including black bears, deer, and bobcats.
The park includes picnic areas, kayaks, paddleboats, canoes, rowboats, hiking trails, a conference center, an equestrian campground, campsites for groups, a campground, and cabins.
6. First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is a 2,888-acre park located in Virginia Beach. The park offers 19 miles of hiking and biking trails, beautiful unguarded beaches, and an educational center with activities throughout the day.
There are several great Virginia State Parks to visit, but one of the best in First Landing State Park. This park has something for everyone, with miles of trails for hiking and biking and beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay. There’s also plenty of opportunity for fishing, swimming, and kayaking.
A 6-mile Cape Henry Trail that meanders through the woods and the 5-mile Long Creek Trail where you can stroll along the back bay and salt marshes.
First Landing State Park is one of the park’s most popular attractions because it features a reconstructed Native American village used by the Powhatan Indians in 1607.
First Landing State Park is located in Virginia Beach, VA. The park is open from May through October and features more than 20 exhibits that tell the story of Virginia’s first settlers. These include a re-creation of an Indian village, a colonial fort, and a fishing village. Other attractions at First Landing include an interpretive nature trail and a freshwater lake where visitors can fish for bass or trout.
7. Grayson Highlands State Park
Grayson Highlands State Park is a beautiful state park located in the Appalachian Mountains. The park offers visitors some of the most spectacular scenic views of the state’s alpine-like peaks over five thousand feet high. The park is also home to wild ponies, which can be seen roaming throughout the park.
Located near the two highest mountains in the state of Virginia, Whitetop Mountain, and Mount Rogers, the park includes some hiking trails that guide visitors to overlooks and waterfalls, campgrounds, and a visitor center.
Grayson Highlands State Park is a beautiful state park located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park offers stunning views, as well as plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The state park also contains scenic horse trails and a camping area for guests with horses that features water and electric hook-ups, parking for trailers, and stables.
8. High Bridge Trail State Park
The High Bridge Trail State Park is a Virginia state park home to the High Bridge Trail, a 31-mile long trail suited ideally for horseback riding, bicycling, and hiking. The park also features various activities, including camping, fishing, boating, and swimming.
The High Bridge Trail State Park is a state park located in Virginia. The park’s centerpiece is its grand High Bridge, over 2,400 feet in length, sitting at approximately 125 feet above the river. It is the state’s longest recreation bridge and one of the longest in the country.
⭐️ 9. Hungry Mother State Park⭐️
Hungry Mother State Park is a Virginia state park located in Marion, Virginia. The park is 108 acres and has beautiful woodlands in the center of the mountains. There are a variety of activities available at the park, including camping, fishing, hiking, and swimming.
Hungry Mother State Park is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a park near you. It offers plenty of activities, including fishing, swimming, and boating. There’s also a sandy beach and bathhouse on site.. It offers cabins, campgrounds, a visitor center, a lodge that can accommodate up to fifteen people, Hemlock Haven Conference Center, a restaurant, gift shops, and biking trails.
10. James River State Park
James River State Park is one of the best state parks in Virginia. It is located on the James River and offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding mountains. It has a variety of activities, including hiking, fishing, and boating
The park is also home to many historical sites, such as Fort Monroe National Monument and the Battle of Yorktown.
The park also has several campsites for visitors who want to stay overnight.
11 Mason Neck State Park
Mason Neck State Park is located in the U.S. state of Virginia, near Washington, D.C. The park lies on the Potomac River and offers fishing, boating, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and picnicking.
Mason Neck State Park is a beautiful park located in Northern Virginia. It offers plenty of outdoor activities and programs for visitors to enjoy. More popular activities include guided canoe trips along Belmont Bay and Kane’s Creek, bird watching, and canoe rentals. There are also several miles of hiking trails for visitors to explore.
12. Natural Bridge State Park
Natural Bridge State Park is a state park located in Virginia. It is 40 miles northeast of Roanoke and 13 miles south of Lexington. The park features a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and swimming.
Natural Bridge State Park is one of the best state parks in Virginia. It is home to the Natural Bridge, a 215-foot high limestone formation over a gorge carved out over centuries by Cedar Creek. The park also offers plenty of other attractions, including miles of hiking trails, camping and picnic areas, and opportunities for fishing and swimming.
⭐️ 13. Westmoreland State Park ⭐️
Westmoreland State Park, in Virginia’s Northern Neck, is one of the best in the region. It spans 1,321 acres and has many different amenities, including six miles of groomed trails, a playground, fishing pier, campgrounds, cabins for rent, and a snack bar and camp store on site.
Shenandoah River State Park is one of the 16 Virginia State Parks. It is located on the shores of the Potomac River and is known for its excellent fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Visitors from around the world come here to look for prehistoric treasures in the form of ancient shark teeth hidden along the Potomac River’s shorelines. The park also offers a variety of other outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, and bird watching.
You’ll need to take a short hike to Fossil Beach, but it’s worth it. They also offer many nature programs and guided hikes for kids.
One of our very favorites.
14. Assateague Island
Assateague Island is a state park located on Assateague Island. (The is actually part of Maryland too.) The park offers the opportunity to see the famous Assateague ponies and various types of wildlife. There are also several different activities available, including hiking, fishing, swimming, and biking.
Assateague Island is a 37-mile long barrier island located in Maryland and Virginia. The island is known for its wild ponies, beaches, and marshes.
14. Cape Henry Memorial
Cape Henry Memorial State Park is offers views of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, two of Virginia’s major waterways.
There is historical significance to this spot: English settlers made landfall here first before journeying onto Jamestown.
There’s not a ton to do here, but the views are gorgeous, and it’s worth a visit to see the historical landmarks: the Cape Henry Lighthouse and the First Landing Monument.
⭐️ 15. Cumberland Gap ⭐️
The Cumberland Gap is a natural break in the Appalachian Mountains that was historically significant because it was the gateway to lower Appalachia. Pioneers traveling westward would use the gap as a route through the mountains. The gap is located close to the Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky state lines’ crossroads, making it a popular tourist destination for those living in all three states.
In addition to the historical significance, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park offers plenty of activities for visitors. There are miles of hiking trails and campsites.
16. Great Falls Park
Great Falls Park is located in Virginia and spans 2,888 acres. It is a beautiful park that offers stunning views of the Potomac River. There are a variety of activities available in the park, including hiking, fishing, and kayaking.
It’s very close to D.C. and is located in one of Northern Virginia’s most upscale suburbs.
The landscape at Great Falls National Park is stunning. Visitors can enjoy the view of the falls from different angles and learn about the area’s history and geology at various exhibits.
⭐️ 17. Shenandoah National Park ⭐️
Shenandoah National Park is a vast park located in Virginia’s famously beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The park spans over 500,000 acres and is home to the Appalachian Trail, which coincides with the park for 101 miles. The park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and more.
Shenandoah National Park is a beautiful park that features a 105-mile long road known as Skyline Drive. This road winds its way through the park and provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests
Shenandoah National Park is an excellent place to camp, with many options for lodging. There are two lodges inside the park: Skyland Lodge and Big Meadows Lodge. If you’re looking for something a bit more rustic, cabins are also available. And if you prefer to sleep under the stars, there are plenty of tent and backcountry camping spots available as well.
There’s something for everyone in Virginia
There are so many great state parks in Virginia it was hard to choose just 21. Each park has something unique to offer visitors, whether it is stunning views, historical landmarks, or various outdoor activities. No matter your interests, there is sure to be a park that fits the bill. So pack up your camping gear or head out on a day trip and explore some of Virginia’s beautiful state parks!