3 of the Best Blue Ridge Parkway RV Camping Sites

 3 of the Best Blue Ridge Parkway RV Camping Sites

Blue Ridge Parkway RV camping offers nonstop activities or peaceful seclusion.

The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia boasts a treasure trove of scenic overlooks of the Appalachian Mountains, outdoor activities, and of course camping sites that make it worthy of the label “America’s Favorite Drive.”

Spanning 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park to North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are over a dozen campsites to choose from off the Parkway. You can choose to spend anywhere from a couple of days to over a week exploring the wildlife or hiking some of the 1,000 miles of trails, 600 of which allow pets.

One of the most famous trails is the Star Trail overlooking the City of Roanoke. At 1.7 miles long, the trail begins at the Roanoke River, traversing through Blue Ridge’s diverse tree life, and ends atop Mill Mountain, Roanoke’s highest point.

Another attraction to not miss is Luray Caverns, the largest of the eastern United States at 10 eye-popping stories high!

But attractions aside, the majestic mountains are calling and you’ll want to plan out your trip to make the most of Blue Ridge Parkway RV camping. 

Best Time to Go Blue Ridge Parkway RV Camping

The summer and fall are the best times of the year to visit, but you should still bring a rainjacket given the area’s heavy precipitation.

You can still enter the park during the winter, but if so, you may want to check out our emergency winterization tips for campers.

The Driving Experience

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Photo by Andrew James on Unsplash

With all the hairpin turns, plan on using those brakes to the fullest and don’t expect to drive faster than 35 miles per hour. With everything to see though, you won’t want to rush!

Note: With a road this long, closures due to construction and weather are bound to happen, so I  recommend double-checking Blue Ridge Parkway road closures in advance of your visit. It’s never fun to meet an unexpected detour!

3 of the Best of Blue Ridge Parkway RV Camping Sites

One perk of Blue Ridge Mountain RV camping is the freedom to pull over and park wherever is safe, encouraging your inner explorer! 

As boondockers, Jennifer and I love that freedom!

Some of the following options offer boondocking sites as well traditional campsites.

1. RV Camping at Explore Park

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Maybe you choose to take in the gorgeous Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain views by driving, or maybe you just want a place to hook up your RV and camp without straying too far.

If you’re looking to get off the road awhile and have plenty of activities to keep you busy, I would recommend Explore Park.

Granted, this spot is for travelers who don’t mind being around people, as this site draws them in for good reason. 

At Milepost 114, Explore Park sits on the edge of a 1,100 acre park. It has prime hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and even tours led by a Natural Park Service Ranger.

On the Roanoke River, you can fish and canoe, or activate your competitive streak at the nearby 18-hole disc golf course.

For kids and adults alike, the Treetop Quest features an aerial obstacle course including zip-lining, and if you’re looking to wet your whistle, visit the on-site brewery.

The RV sites don’t offer water or sewer but do feature 50 amp electric and a water spigot, with availability all year round, though December through March is considered offseason.

2. A More Natural Stay at Chantilly Farm

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If you favor views and quiet over a variety of activities, perhaps Chantilly Farm Campground located at Milepost 150 would be a better fit. This style of Blue Ridge Parkway RV camping is more about relaxation and going where nature takes you. 

Here you have a diverse selection of hookup arrangements, such as the more conventional campground with water, electric, and septic. Or, you could opt for a partial hookup that gives you more secluded options to set up camp. 

However, if you’re like us and want the opportunity to boondock, the Hilltop Dry is truly special due to the camp’s majestic view. Perfect for stargazing!

And there's still plenty to do!

Chantilly Farm also has its own 9-hole disc golf course and plenty of trails for biking, hiking, and running. It’s even a recommended location for birdwatching– Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains features over 150 types of bird species.

Speaking of wildlife, keep your eyes peeled while exploring the Parkway, trails, and rivers. Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains contains more than fifty species of mammals including beavers, elk, black bears, and flying squirrels, not to mention over 40 species each of reptiles and amphibians.

Look out for those snapping turtles!

3. Even More Secluded Blue Ridge Parkway RV Camping

Further down the path but no less awe-inspiring in scope is Rocky Knob at Milepost 161.

While the RV hookup is nonelectric, you can camp near meadowlands, green pastures, and beautiful seasonal flowers. It's the most secluded RV campgrounds in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains.

During the day visit the breathtaking Rock Castle Gorge stretching 3,500 acres. It's one of the park’s premier geological attractions that historically was home to mountain families. Hike the 10.8 mile Rock Castle Gorge Trail and take in the rock crystalline quartz formations.

Like the other sites, wildlife viewing and bird watching are plentiful. Unique to this location though – wine tasting!

Then at night, enjoy a late-night s’more and stargaze at your RV spot’s picnic area.

Just south of Rocky Knob at Milepost 176.1 is Mabry Mill, a former gristmill and sawmill that is now a community gathering place (not to mention the most photographed structure in the whole park).

Other Places to Camp (Doesn’t Hurt to Ask)

For those seeking more boondocking opportunities, it doesn’t hurt to ask a park ranger a recommended spot upon arrival.

While there are national park and privately-designated RV campground locations, a park ranger may gift you a nugget of knowledge about the best place to set up camp. Perhaps even advise your dream secluded location!

Your Take on Blue Ridge Parkway RV Camping

Share with us if you ever visited Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and if you had any favorite camping spots!

Looking for more ideas for road trips?

We've written a library of RV Travel books3 of the Best Blue Ridge Parkway RV Camping Sites 7 that lay out seven-day guided explorations of scenic areas of the US that we've explored and think would make an excellent RV trip for you.

In each location, we provide a suggested route and itinerary (7 stops in each guide, one for each day of a week trip!) as well as links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, local tips, and interesting things to do at each location.

You can hit everything in seven days, do a whirlwind weekend tour, or you can take your time and explore the area over a 2+ week period.

Planning an RV trip can be very time-consuming so that’s why we’ve done the research for you! Just take our guides and use them, we’re sure you’ll have an RV trip for the ages! Instant download. CLICK HERE for information on our RV Travel Guides

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

2 Comments

  • Hi Mike,

    Your article about the Blueridge Parkway hit close to home because my husband and I have lived in Northern VIrginia (NOVA) for 46 years. We have traveled extensively through the eastern section of the state but it hasn’t been until this year that we’ve traveled to the Blueridge Parkway. Retirement and a camper have enabled us to explore more areas of VA.

    The first campground on the Blueridge Parkway we stayed at was the small Fancy Gap Cabins and Campground in Fancy Gap, VA. The name Fancy Gap is an oxymoron because the area and campground are anything but Fancy. The area is bucolic, quiet, scenic. This is the area to go if you seek tranquillity. A well maintained campground with 13 full hookups. In addition there are tent sites, cabins and a motel. Nearby is fishing, hiking, a river for water activities, winery and brewery, golf, and historical sites. Driving through this section of the parkway the road is lined with rhododendrons, a real visual treat in late Spring.

    Often there is confusion between Skyline Drive, a 105 mile road that travels through Shenandoah National Park, and the Blueridge Parkway, a 469 mile road through the Virginia and North Carolina mountains and ends near Cherokee, North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rockfish Gap in VA is the junction between Skyline Drive and the Blueridge Parkway. Luray Caverns, mentioned in your blog, is located off Skyline Drive at the Luray exit. There is a KOA and a Jellystone Camp in Luray.

    Did you know there are over 300 wineries and 200 craft breweries in VA.? The amount of historical, natural, biking, military and enterprise sites is staggering. As an example of biking, a 52 mile paved Capital Bike Trail between Colonial Williamsburg and Richmond opened in 2015 which travels through historical, cultural and environmental sites.

    It would be great if you and Jennifer were to prepare travel ebooks on the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) and Pennsylvania.

    Thank you for your blog on the Blueridge Parkway and the 3 campgrounds mentioned. Peter and I will add them to our list of go to campgrounds.

    Happy Trails.

    Despina Raizes and Peter Kehoe

  • The article suggests you can just overnight at any point or overlook. This is certainly not true and it specifically prohibited. Though seldom enforced, the NPS is quite aware that increasing numbers of people are doing it.

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