Staunton River State Park is a part of the Virginia Parks System. Close to the North Carolina border where the Dan & Staunton Rivers converge and with access to Buggs Island Lake, this park has plenty of water views and activities. Staunton River has campsites for tents, RVs and equestrians. We like the wooded campground, night sky views, and trails along the water.
Staunton River State Park is located in Scottsburg, VA about 2 hours southwest of Richmond, 1.5 hours southeast of Lynchburg, and 2 hours north of Raleigh. Staunton River Battlefield State Park is a half hour away for those interested in Civil War history. The drive from Richmond was easy and full of small towns. Admission to the park is $5 per vehicle, plus $3 for a boat trailer or $4 for a horse trailer.
A big reason we visited Staunton River State Park is its designation as an International Dark Sky Park from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). There’s a large field next to the visitor’s center that’s wide open for star gazing. We walked over one night from the campsite to observe and try our hand with a telescope the park office loans out. I know very little about astronomy, but I suspect we didn’t have good conditions for viewing the sky since no one else was out. Regardless, we enjoyed looking up at the sky and stars.
There’s over 15 miles of trails in Staunton River State Park for hiking and horseback riding. The River Bank Trail, the longest in the park, can be joined from the campsite. The trails were a bit muddy from rains earlier in the week, but they were wide. The water views along this route were fantastic. Several spots walk right along the water, and there are a few spots to stop and enjoy the views. The Buggs Island Overlook is a short trek out and back, and it is so worth the extra steps. There’s a tiny pebbled beach with panoramic views of the water. We rejoined the River Bank Trail in the woods and hiked around to the visitors center, where we got ice cream and borrowed a telescope for later.
I booked a campsite about a week ahead of time, and chose a spot on the outside of a loop. We were in Site 23, and it was lovely. It backed up to the woods and we had neighbors on one side. The other side was a small distance to the bathhouse, but far enough away we weren’t disturbed. The bathhouse had a washing machine and double sink for dishes in addition to restrooms and showers. It was very clean.
Our site was marked with the typical welcome packet – a map and park brochure. There was also a pet guide with numbers for local vets and tips for camping with your dog. While we didn’t use it, I found it thoughtful to have recommendations for local vets handy if we needed them.
One afternoon we ventured out to Springfield Distillery about 35 minutes from the park. They have a relaxing outdoor space with lots of seating and tasty cocktails you can consume there or get to go. We enjoyed everything we got. The blackberry lemonade was SO good and we brought home some of their brown sugar cinnamon whiskey. They regularly have food trucks (The Smokehouse Bandits’ mac & cheese was phenomenal).