Thousands of campers travel to the Mountain State each summer to check out the rustic hideaways and outdoor adventures West Virginia has to offer.
With breathtaking panoramic views, tranquil waters, and rustic hideaways, the Mountain State is a camping haven. Each year, nearly 375,000 campers search for the perfect outdoor getaway featuring modern amenities. With more than 50 state parks and forests across the state and even more privately owned campgrounds, West Virginia offers something for everyone. Whether you stay in a vintage land yacht, magnificent motor home, or tent, adventure awaits. Check out some of our readers' favorite camping spots.
North Bend State Park, Cairo
Mountain biking, hiking, swimming, boat rentals, and access to the North Bend Rail Trail are some of the activities offered at this peaceful campground to keep people coming back. Stay all night in the lodge or bring your camper along to this year-round park. Amenities include electric and water hookups and a bathhouse.“We like to camp in our camper or stay the weekend in the cabins. We ride our bikes through the tunnel to the little town of Cairo for ice cream and stop at the old hardware store full of all sorts of fun gadgets and kids’ toys,” says Helen Flanagan of Clarksburg.
Seneca Shadows Campground, Seneca Rocks
This campground overlooks Seneca Rocks and provides easy access to rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming, and it’s close to area caves and other West Virginia wonders. Facilities include showers, a comfort station, and firewood. “Seneca Shadows Campground is awesome. It has a great view of the rocks, is well-maintained, and is a good jumping off point for the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area,” says Traci Leibig of Morgantown.
Babcock State Park, Clifftop
Babcock State Park offers more than 4,000 acres of hiking, swimming, and scenic beauty near the New River Gorge National River. The campground is accessible to tents or trailers and has picnic tables, grills, and a bathhouse as well as coin-operated washers and dryers. Two water fill-up stations and two sewage dump stations are available.“The grist mill is breathtaking and there are great hiking trails. My son went on a horseback trail ride and loved it,” says Kelley Fluharty of Charleston.
Lake Sherwood, White Sulphur Springs
This remote area invites visitors to kick off their shoes and take in the beauty of West Virginia. “The best part is that there is nothing else around. It’s peaceful and quiet. They have a great lake, walking trails, and beach,” says Amanda McClellan of Oak Hill.
Holly River, Hacker Valley
Holly River is the second-largest park in the West Virginia park system with more than 8,000 acres. The campground offers electric hookups, picnic tables, cooking grills, a dumping station, bathhouses, and coin-operated washers and dryers. Firewood is available for a nominal fee.
Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground, Bruceton Mills
Quaint, picturesque, and surrounded by Coopers Rock State Forest and West Virginia University Forest, Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground is more than 16,000 acres of rustic campsites, wooded trails, and two scenic lakes just a short drive from Morgantown. Summer Saturday evenings at Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground are especially magical during the Mountain Music Concert Series from June 25 to September 3. The series features bluegrass music on an outdoor stage, so pack a blanket and relax ($5 admission, kids under 12 are free).The area offers plenty of picnic pavilions and a playground, as well as electric and water hookups and a dump station.
Beech Fork State Park, Barboursville
This Cabell County state park offers several distinct areas for campers and visitors alike, including many lakefront campsites. Choose from sites equipped with water, sewer, and electric. The campgrounds include full-service bathhouses, as well as coin-operated laundry. Each campsite also has a grill and picnic table. “This park has everything—wildlife, swimming pool, cabins, and boat dock,” says Rhonda Lambert of the Huntington area.
Mountain Lake Campground & Cabins, Summersville
Mountain Lake is known across the state for its campground, which offers everything from cabins and lakefront sites to rental RVs and rustic tent sites. The campground has miniature golf, playgrounds, and basketball courts, and it is a short distance from horseback riding, rafting, boat rentals, scuba diving, rock climbing, and more. Electricity is offered on site and a dump station is available.
Watoga State Park, Marlinton
Watoga State Park has two campgrounds with space for tents or trailers. Each site has grills, picnic pavilions, and a central bathhouse, as well as coin-operated laundry and dishwashing stations. Campers at Watoga have the chance to boat, hike, and swim within the park’s 10,100 acres in Pocahontas County. Electric hookups are available. “With quiet wooded trails, a lake for fishing, swimming pool, and playground, this park is great for good ol’ family fun,” says Denise Boyce of Greer, South Carolina.
Kumbrabow State Park, Huttonsville
Camp above it all when you visit Kumbrabow, the state’s highest forest, 3,000 to 3,930 feet above sea level. Hike, fish, or visit one of the nearby scenic attractions such as Cass Scenic Railroad or Holly River State Park. Choose from fully-equipped pioneer cabins or bring your tent or RV. On-site amenities include a bathhouse with laundry and picnic areas.“It’s peaceful and relaxing. I love it there,” says Sharon Daff Smith.
Make a List—Check It Twice
Create a master list of everything you will need, including a meal plan. Do some research up front to see what kinds of activities the park offers to make sure you pack the right gear. Another good thing to add to the list is gas for your vehicle—fill your tank the night before you head out so you’re not pulling your camper through a crowded gas station.
Hit the Road
Make your trip as easy as possible. Call the park ahead of time to get the best directions—your GPS won’t pick up every backwoods campground location! Pack games, bring snacks, and have your reservation confirmation on hand.
Setting Up Camp
On the way in, stop at the park’s general store to get last-minute necessities like a park map, firewood, and ice. Before you set off on any adventures, use daylight hours to set up your campsite kitchen, sleeping quarters, and outdoor “living” areas, and forage for the perfect roasting stick!
If you’re camping near home, find out what the guest policy is at your campground—most parks do not charge day-guests and inviting a few friends out for a fireside dinner is just plain fun! Be sure to respect any quiet hour policies.
Rise and Shine
Wake up with the sun—enjoy nature’s sunrise, cook a hot breakfast, and give yourself plenty of time to pack up, clean up, and move on out before checkout. Before you hitch up and take off, do a quick walk-around to ensure you’re not leaving any belongings or trash behind. And put the fire out! Water and dirt are good ways to snuff out hot coals and ash.