Top 5 Shenandoah National Park Campsites & Campgrounds

Shenandoah National Park is a stunning natural haven located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Spanning over 200,000 acres, the park is renowned for its breathtaking vistas, lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife. It offers you various recreational activities, including hiking, camping, wildlife watching, and scenic drives along the iconic Skyline Drive.

As a camping destination, Shenandoah National Park is immensely popular for its diverse and well-maintained campgrounds. Nestled within the park’s picturesque landscapes, these campgrounds allow you to enjoy a remarkable outdoor experience. 

Whether you prefer pitching a tent or parking your RV, the campgrounds offer various amenities and facilities to ensure a comfortable stay.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the Top 5 Shenandoah National Park Campsites. Note: There is an entrance fee to enter Shenandoah National Park ($30 per vehicle for a 7-day pass). I have also noted the camping fees for each specific campground.

1. Big Meadows Campground

A pop-up camper is parked at the Big Meadows Campground in Shenandoah National Park
A pop-up camper is parked at the Big Meadows Campground in Shenandoah National Park. NPS / Neal Lewis
  • Location: At mile 51 on Skyline Drive
  • Number of Campsites: 221 campsites (tent and RV sites)
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, drinking water, picnic tables, fire grates, camp store
  • Camping Fees: Campsite fees range from $32/night for a single unit to $64/night for a double unit. Backcountry sites are $15 per night (fees are subject to change)
  • Pets Allowed: Yes, pets are allowed on a leash (not allowed on park trails)
  • Nearby Hiking Trails:
    • Dark Hollow Falls Trail
    • Rose River Loop Trail
    • Lewis Falls Trail
  • Nearby Attractions: Big Meadows area, Big Meadows Lodge (dining, gift shops, scenic views)
  • For more info., visit the NPS.gov site here

Big Meadows Campground is at the top of my list. Situated at mile 51 on the iconic Skyline Drive, this campground boasts stunning meadows, towering trees, and a serene atmosphere. 

The campground features 221 campsites, catering to both tents and RVs, and provides amenities such as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and fire grates. Its proximity to popular hiking trails, including the renowned Dark Hollow Falls trail, allows you to easily explore the park’s natural wonders. 

Moreover, the nearby Big Meadows area and the charming Big Meadows Lodge offer additional attractions and services, from dining options to captivating views. Whether you seek outdoor adventure, wildlife encounters, or a peaceful retreat, Big Meadows Campground promises an unforgettable camping experience.

2. Lewis Mountain Campground

Spring day inside Lewis Mountain Campground in shenandoah
A lovely Spring day inside Lewis Mountain Campground. NPS / Mary O’Neill
  • Location: At mile 57 on Skyline Drive
  • Number of Campsites: 30 campsites (tent and RV sites)
  • Amenities: Basic amenities, including picnic tables and fire pits
  • Camping Fees: $30 for a standard, non-electric campsite for a tent or RV (motorhome, pop-up, or 5th-wheel). Standard campsites are limited to six people (or one immediate family) per site and one RV.
  • Pets Allowed: Yes, pets are allowed on a leash (not allowed on park trails)
  • Nearby Hiking Trails:
    • Dark Hollow Falls Trail
    • Rose River Loop Trail
    • Lewis Falls Trail
  • Nearby Attractions: Scenic surroundings of Shenandoah National Park, including the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • For more info., visit the NPS.gov site here

Lewis Mountain Campground is tucked away at mile 57 on Skyline Drive.

Known for its rustic charm and beautiful surroundings, Lewis Mountain Campground provides a quieter camping experience compared to larger campgrounds in Shenandoah. With a limited number of campsites accommodating both tents and RVs up to 16 feet in length, this campground offers a more intimate atmosphere. 

This campground also provides easy access to nearby hiking trails, including the popular Dark Hollow Falls trail. Whether you’re looking for a serene retreat or an outdoor adventure, Lewis Mountain Campground offers a delightful getaway.

3. Loft Mountain Campground

A quaint picnic table and grill seen at the Loft Mountain Campground
A quaint picnic table and grill seen at the Loft Mountain Campground. NPS photo
  • Location: At mile 79 on Skyline Drive
  • Number of Campsites: 196 campsites, accommodating both tents and RVs.
  • Amenities: The campground provides amenities such as restrooms, showers, and a camp store.
  • Camping Fees: $30.00 for a standard, non-electric campsite for a tent or RV (motorhome, pop-up, or 5th-wheel). Standard campsites are limited to six people (or one immediate family) per site and one RV.
  • Pets Allowed: Yes, pets are allowed on a leash (not allowed on park trails)
  • Nearby Hiking Trails:
    • Loft Mountain Loop Trail
    • Bearfence Mountain Trail
    • Doyles River Falls Trail
  • Nearby Attractions: Scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dark Hollow Falls, and the Big Run Wilderness.
  • For more info., visit the NPS.gov site here

Loft Mountain Campground is a fantastic destination nestled within the park. Located at mile 79 on Skyline Drive, this campground offers a picturesque setting with stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. 

With 196 campsites catering to both tents and RVs, Loft Mountain Campground provides a perfect retreat for nature lovers seeking a memorable camping experience. There are also some convenient amenities such as restrooms, showers, and a camp store. 

The campground is also close to popular trails, including Loft Mountain Loop, Bearfence Mountain, and Doyles River Falls, allowing you to explore some of the park’s best hikes

4. Mathews Arm Campground

A tiny camper sits at the Mathews Arm Campground in Shenandoah National Park
A tiny camper sits at the Mathews Arm Campground in Shenandoah National Park. NPS / Neal Lewis
  • Location: At mile 22 on Skyline Drive
  • Number of Campsites: Mathews Arm Campground offers a total of 166 campsites, accommodating both tents and RVs.
  • Amenities: The campground provides amenities such as restrooms, picnic tables, and fire grates.
  • Camping Fees: $30.00 for a standard, non-electric campsite for a tent or RV (motorhome, pop-up, or 5th-wheel). Standard campsites are limited to six people (or one immediate family) per site and one RV.
  • Pets Allowed: Yes, pets are allowed on a leash (not allowed on park trails)
  • Nearby Hiking Trails:
    • Overall Run Falls Trail
    • Beecher Ridge Trail
    • Elkwallow Trail
  • Nearby Attractions: Scenic surroundings of Shenandoah National Park, including Overall Run Falls, the highest waterfall in the park, and Elkwallow Picnic Area.
  • For more info., visit the NPS.gov site here

Situated at mile 22 on Skyline Drive, Matthews Arm Campground is yet another hidden gem. With 166 campsites available for both tents and RVs, this campground provides a peaceful retreat amidst the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

This campground also offers basic amenities such as restrooms, picnic tables, and fire grates as well as a variety of hiking trails to explore, including the popular Overall Run Falls Trail and Beecher Ridge Trail. 

5. Dundo Group Campground

A family enjoys a beautiful day at the Dundo Group Campground
A family enjoys a beautiful day at the Dundo Group Campground. NPS / Mary O’Neill 
  • Location: Near mile 83 on Skyline Drive
  • Number of Campsites: Designed for large groups that can accommodate up to 25 people. They do not have individual campsites.
  • Amenities: The campground provides amenities such as picnic tables, fire pits, and vault toilets.
  • Camping Fees: $75. This is a group campground with three non-electric group sites. Each group site can accommodate 7-20 people.
  • Pets Allowed: Yes, pets are allowed on a leash (not allowed on park trails)
  • Nearby Hiking Trails: Skyline Drive trails offer various options for hiking within Shenandoah National Park.
  • Nearby Attractions: Dundo Group Campground is conveniently located near Skyline Drive, providing access to the park’s scenic drives, overlooks, and other attractions.
  • For more info., visit the NPS.gov site here

Located near mile 83 on Skyline Drive, this campground is specifically designed to accommodate large groups of up to 25 people. Whether you’re planning a family reunion, a group outing, or a gathering with friends, Dundo Group Campground provides the perfect setting for larger groups.

The campground offers a range of amenities, including picnic tables, fire pits, and convenient vault toilets.

Tips for Camping in Shenandoah National Park 

  • Plan and make campground reservations in advance, especially during peak seasons.
  • Familiarize yourself with the park’s rules and regulations to ensure compliance.
  • Pack appropriate clothing, including layers for changing weather conditions.
  • Stay hydrated and bring plenty of water for drinking and cooking.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles by disposing of waste properly and leaving the campground clean.
  • Store food securely to prevent encounters with wildlife.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and stay on designated trails while hiking.
  • Check weather conditions before your trip and be prepared for changing weather.
  • Carry a map, compass, or GPS device to navigate the park’s trails.
  • Respect wildlife and observe from a safe distance. Do not feed or approach them.
  • Have a first aid kit on hand and be prepared for minor injuries or emergencies.
  • Follow fire safety guidelines and use designated fire rings or grills for cooking and campfires.
  • Stay informed about any park alerts or updates that may affect your camping plans.

Final Thoughts

Shenandoah National Park offers a variety of unique campgrounds, each providing an opportunity to experience the beauty of the outdoors. Each location offers unique charm and amenities, from the popular Big Meadows Campground to the serene Lewis Mountain Campground. Whether you prefer a larger campground with modern facilities or a smaller, more rustic experience, Shenandoah National Park has something for everyone.

By following the visitor tips provided, you can make the most of your camping experience while ensuring safety and respect for the park’s natural environment. Be sure to make reservations in advance, practice Leave No Trace principles, and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, solace, or connection with nature, these campgrounds offer a gateway to unforgettable experiences in one of America’s most stunning national parks. Enjoy your camping adventure in Shenandoah National Park!

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FAQs

Where is Shenandoah national park located? 

Shenandoah National Park is situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, extending along the eastern part of the state. It is approximately 75 miles west of Washington, D.C., and covers a vast area spanning over 200,000 acres. 

The park is bordered by the Shenandoah Valley to the west and the Piedmont region to the east. The popular scenic Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that runs the length of the park, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

Is there free camping in shenandoah national park? 

No, there is no free camping in Shenandoah National Park.

What campgrounds are first come, first serve in Shenandoah? 

Mathews Arm and Loft Mountain Campgrounds have a mixture of reservable and first-come, first-served sites. Lewis Mountain Campground offers first-come, first-served sites only. Sites at Big Meadows Campground are by reservation only. 

Make your reservation at Recreation.gov. It is advisable to check the official Shenandoah National Park website or contact the park directly for the most up-to-date information on campground reservation policies and availability.

How do I choose a good campground? 

  • Location: Look for a campground in a desirable location, such as near scenic views, hiking trails, or attractions you wish to visit.
  • Amenities: Determine the amenities you desire, such as restrooms, showers, electricity, water hookups, picnic tables, fire pits, or access to Wi-Fi.
  • Campsite Size: Consider the size of the campsites and whether they can accommodate your camping equipment, such as tents or RVs.
  • Accessibility: Check the accessibility of the campground, including ease of arrival, proximity to main roads, and any specific requirements or restrictions.
  • Reviews and Recommendations: Read reviews from other campers or seek recommendations from friends and family who have visited the area before.
  • Availability and Reservations: Check the availability of the campground and make reservations in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure your desired dates.
  • Rules and Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the campground’s rules and regulations, including noise policies, pet restrictions, and quiet hours.

What are the best camping sites in Shenandoah National Park? 

Each offers its own unique features, amenities, and proximity to hiking trails and attractions. So, you should choose based on what your needs and desires for your experience are. My favorite is Big Meadows Campground.

What is the best time of year to camp at Shenandoah National Park? 

The best time of year to camp at Shenandoah National Park is typically during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November). The weather is generally mild during these seasons, and the park showcases vibrant foliage in the fall and beautiful wildflowers in the spring. 

Summer (July to August) is also popular but can be busier and hotter. Winter (December to February) camping is possible, but weather conditions can be cold and unpredictable, with potential for snowfall.

Are there full hookup campgrounds near Shenandoah National Park? 

No, there are no full hookup campgrounds within Shenandoah National Park. The campgrounds in the park offer basic amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic tables. However, they do not provide full hookups for water, electricity, or sewer connections. 

However, private campgrounds and RV parks near Shenandoah National Park offer full hookup options for those seeking those amenities.

What is the best campground in Shenandoah National Park? 

My choice is Big Meadows Campground. It is often considered one of the top campgrounds in the park due to its scenic location, range of amenities, and proximity to popular hiking trails and attractions. It offers a mix of tent and RV sites and provides facilities such as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and a camp store. 

It’s advisable to check availability, amenities, and consider personal preferences when determining the best campground for your needs.

Does Shenandoah National Park require camping reservations? 

Some campgrounds in Shenandoah do require reservations, but some are on a first-come-first-serve basis. It is a good idea to check with the campground in advance for availability, especially during peak seasons.

About Me

My husband and I have three precious daughters and live in the Kansas City, KS area. One of our favorite things to do is travel across the country visiting our extraordinary US National Parks!

Let us know what you think about our content and if you have any questions, suggestions, or have any favorite memories or tips you would like to share. We would love to hear from you!

Happy Travels! Sandy

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