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Old 05-07-2009, 04:01 PM   #1
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Shenandoah National Park

Anyone been to Shenandoah National park???
Did you camp? Where?
Did you hike? Where??

Going there in June and want to make plans & reservations if necessary.

Any suggestions for places nearby that are must see?

Also going to Colonial Williamsburg.
Any must see places near there and have you camped there??
Where did you camp near Williamsburg?

Thanks!
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:36 PM   #2
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I wrote this for another forum. I hope it will be helpful to you. Some of the links may be out of date as I haven't checked them of late. Have fun! dimurrrw

The Historic Triangle - Williamsburg, Jamestown & Yorktown
Visiting The Historic Triangle - Williamsburg, Jamestown & Yorktown

Questions regarding visiting Williamsburg are often posted on the RV sites I belong to. It is one of those places most East Coast travelers visit at least once in their lives, and then never forget. Most folks to not realize that Jamestown and Yorktown are, to all practical effects, contiguous to Williamsburg and that together they form the Historic Triangle. There is no way I can summarize for you everything there is to do and see in the Williamsburg area. I can, however, give you enough information to get started on planning your own adventure.


Overview

Let’s start out with a little information from Wikipedia. OK, so it is rather dry reading. But it is also a quick way to get a good overview of the area and discover information not necessarily included in the links below. Pay attention to the entry for the Colonial Parkway. It is lovely, and offers good connections between various sites.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_Triangle

Tourist / Historical Information Sites

Visit Williamsburg This site might have been better named Visit the Historic Triangle. It contains links to everything that you might want to see while visiting the area. This is the main site to view.
http://www.visitwilliamsburg.com/index.aspx

To save you a bit of time in searching for main points of interest, I have culled a few links from the above site. Since there are so many things to see and do, and since not everyone has an unlimited amount of time to spend in the area, I have listed them in the order of those which are, in my opinion, the most interesting for people unfamiliar with the area.

Colonial Williamsburg This is an extremely good interactive map. Be sure to read “How to use the interactive map.”
http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/visit/tourTheTown/

Jamestown Settlement
http://www.historyisfun.org/Jamestown-Settlement.htm

Yorktown Victory Center
http://www.historyisfun.org/Yorktown-Victory-Center.htm

Places that are not as “historic” as the above, but which I personally enjoy.

The Pottery Factory. See it to believe it. People literally come here by the busload from out of state.
http://www.visitwilliamsburg.com/wil...ery/index.aspx

The Army Transportation Museum. Small but interesting. Located at nearby Ft. Eustis.
http://www.visitwilliamsburg.com/wil...eum/index.aspx

The Mariner’s Museum.
http://www.visitwilliamsburg.com/wil...eum/index.aspx
http://www.mariner.org/exhibitions/

See here for additional attractions.
http://www.visitwilliamsburg.com/wil...dex.aspx?pix=1

Getting There

http://www.visitwilliamsburg.com/map...nfo/index.aspx


Campgrounds

This is just the listing of a few campgrounds from the Visit Williamsburg site.
http://www.visitwilliamsburg.com/boo...nds/index.aspx

There are quite a few nice campgrounds in the area that are not mentioned here. (Try doing a search for: Camping Williamsburg Va) I often stay at American Heritage RV Park. Perhaps some of our other members will post a reply to this thread regarding their favorite area campground.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:20 PM   #3
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We go to the Shenandoah National Park at least once a year and sometimes twice. We stay at "Big Meadows" campground (no hookups). There is a visitor's center, camp store, restaurant, and filling station at the entrance to the campground. There is a hiking trail through the woods from the campground to the visitor's center, etc. or the sidewalk along the road can be used. There is also a trail (1/2 mile long) nearby to a waterfall that has five or six different levels...very pretty. There are lots of deer that walk through this campground and they are not afraid of people. We've been told that sometimes a black bear walks near the campground, but we haven't seen one. The Appalachian Trail is along the backside of the campground. This trail can be hiked to the Big Meadows Lodge, restaurant and gift shop. We have camped at "Matthews Arm" once and never at "Lewis Mountain." "Big Meadows" is our favorite. Reservations can be made via the internet, but weekends fill up fast. If you don't mind driving a short distance in either direction on Skyline Drive, you will find lots of hiking trails (short or long). Former President Herbert Hoover's summer home (aka Camp Hoover) is also in this area, but arrangements to visit it must be made through the visitor's center. Enjoy your stay, I think you'll like it here.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:35 PM   #4
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Well Richard and Momma Tac have covered a lot for you. I would second American Heritage for the Williamsburg portion of your trip and allow a bit of time to tour the Historical Triangle. Also note that most of the Williamsburg restored area is not accessible by car so wear comfortable walking shoes, and be prepared for hot muggy conditions in June.

Even though Shenandoah is only about 2 hours from us, we have yet to camp there. We have two Blue Ridge parkway campgrounds a half hour away so that is where we end up for weekend trips. As a youngster, we did camp at Loft Mountain in Shenandoah one weekend. It was very nice and we liked it. When we do decide to camp at Shenandoah, it will likely be at Loft Mountain since that is closest for us.

Have a great trip to Virginia. We have a lot to see here. Mountains in the west and the ocean in the east and a lot in between.
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:14 PM   #5
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I will expand on Momma Tac's post a little.

Lewis Mountain is the smallest campground on the Drive. It is not very "big rig" user friendly. I pulled my SV 263 through there recently, and things are tight.

I camped at Big Meadows a couple of weeks ago. Early season, no reservations needed. During late May thought early fall, you can make reservations at Recreation.gov. There are both pull throughs and back-in sites, some with great views of the valley and surrounding mountains.

Loft Mtn. is our favorite, but it isn't open quite yet. For the most part, the sites are more wooded and private. Again, there are several sites that have a great view of the Piedmont. There are now several loops that are reservable, and the others are 1st come, 1st served.

I haven't had the oportunity to camp at Matthew's Arm yet. Non of the campgrounds offer electric, or on site water, although there are potable water faucets spread thoughout the campgrounds. Generator are permitted on most loops, with hour restrictions. Check out: http://www.nps.gov/shen/

As far as hiking, It would take several months to do all of the side trails to waterfalls and such, not to mention the AT which runs the entire length of the park.

Momma Tac mentioned Camp Rapidan (aka Camp Hoover). Usually there are tours to that that the NPS runs around President Hoover's birthday (August ??), but you can hike down to it any old time that you want....the buildings just won't be open. It is a nice little hike from Milam Gap, or the sevice road via Big Meadows.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:10 AM   #6
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Thanks Chap!
I think we're headed to Loft Mtn.
I know they have reservable sites but they show over half as first come
first served.
What do you think?? We have definite dates to arrive and depart.
Should I reserve online? The only problem with that is we've never been and
have no idea what a site looks like.
Can we drive in and take our chance and get a site??
What would you do??
We'll be arriving late in the day on Sunday June 14.
If the park tends to be full on weekends maybe sites will empty out on Sunday
afternoon???
If they were 90% reservable I'd reserve one but it looks like they are over half
first come first served.
Do I need to arrive early in the day to get a site??
Opinions please!!

I'd call the camp host or check in office but can't find the phone number.
Do you have it???

Thanks!!
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:50 AM   #7
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Dan, my experience with the Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds is that by Sunday afternoon you can go to any of them and pick your spot. While I am not sure about Shenandoah, I suspect that would be the same. Weekends can be busy but by the end of Sunday, the weekenders will have departed.

Here is a link to the pdf file for Loft Mountain.

http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisi...campground.pdf
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:44 PM   #8
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I looked all over the Shenandoah National Park website for phone numbers.
Was hoping to speak to a person who worked at a camp ground but couldn't find
a number.
I did get an information number that went on and on and finally after about 5 minutes
of recorded info it said that Loft Mountain camp ground usually only fills up on
holiday weekends.
Sounds hopeful. It is all pull thrus according to the CG map I downloaded and
printed. I think we'll just drive in there on Sunday afternoon and take our chances.
Unless I chicken out before then and go ahead and reserve one!
We're really looking forward to this trip. It'll be the longest one in a couple years
for us. Bringing my motorcycle and hoping for some sunny days so we can cruise that
Skyline Drive. Also can't wait for some good day hiking.

Thanks everyone!
Dan & Rita D.
Louisville, KY good ole USA
home of the Louisville Slugger bat!
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hokiehall View Post
Dan, my experience with the Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds is that by Sunday afternoon you can go to any of them and pick your spot. While I am not sure about Shenandoah, I suspect that would be the same. Weekends can be busy but by the end of Sunday, the weekenders will have departed.

Here is a link to the pdf file for Loft Mountain.

http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisi...campground.pdf
Dan, Kim is right on the money. If you get there anywhere from Sunday to Thursday, then finding a good spot should not be a problem, other than maybe holiday weeks. Last summer, with the high gas prices, most weekends Loft Mtn. was not full. Even on holiday weekends, I would go up early on Friday morning a get a site with not a problem.

Probably about 75% sites at Loft Mtn. are 1st come, 1st served. I believe A loop (mostly reservible) is the premium loop, with some sites having a view.

I don't have a phone number for the check-in station, but I will see if I can get 1.

I will be back on line Tuesday afternoon if you want to get more information.......I am converting my trailer to a beach house for the next couple of days.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnguy View Post
I don't have a phone number for the check-in station, but I will see if I can get 1.
Thanks anyway. I guess we'll just go and take our chances.
Their phone message told me the same about not being full except
"popular holiday weekends".

So what holiday weekend isn't popular???

Really looking forward to visiting your part of the country!!
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