Fall in Love with the Outdoors : A Guide to Camping in the River Realm

There are a lot of ways to wake up on the water here in the River Realm. Luxury resorts and yachts aren’t bad options. We are also home to several campgrounds, which help you get a little more personal with our wild realm of wonder. Each campground is a little different and opens up new possibilities to appreciate and honor the scenery, the wildlife and the sunsets here.

Here are a few ways to fall in love from a campsite…

State Park Vibes 

Belle Isle State Park (1632 Belle Isle Road, Lancaster) is nearly 900 acres and has seven miles of shoreline on the northern shore of the Rappahannock River.  There are a number of ways to rest your head here. The campground has an RV park, full service and primitive camping, and two houses for rent. The Bel Air Houses were built in 1942. These historical landmarks are fully furnished and perfect if your family doesn’t want to rough it, but still wants to get away. 

Kilmarnock is the nearest town. Stock up on fresh produce and local treats at the Kilmarnock Farmer’s Market on the fourth Saturday of each month (September 28 and October 26 this fall). Stay for dinner at one of the local restaurants and some music at the Half Shell stage. See more Kilmarnock Town Centre Park events here

All the Amenities

Grey’s Point Camp (3601 Greys Point Road, Topping) and Bethpage Camp- Resort (79 Brown’s Lane, Urbanna) have cottages, RV hookups, and other “glamping” amenities. Both campgrounds have lively water parks, beaches, kayak and paddle board rentals, camp stores and more. For some off-site fun at Bethpage, head to Cowtopia, which awaits just outside the campground. This fun little adventure park features mini golf and an ice cream shop. For something savory like fried oysters and crab balls, visit Urbanna Seafood and Raw Bar, which is adjacent to Bethpage. Save the date for the Urbanna Oyster Festival in November!

At Grey’s Point, you’re just a short car ride away from one of our signature dining experiences at Merroir. Here, you can hang out at the first tasting room of the Rappahannock Oyster Company. It’s also ground zero for its oyster farming business, which makes Merroir the perfect place to watch the sunset and see our local aquaculture industry in action. You’re also not too far from Irvington, another one of our favorite small towns. In the fall, you head to the Tides Inn for sunset cruises and events like Taste By the Bay

A Little More Natural 

Bush Park Camp (724 Bushy Park Road, Wake) and Cross Rip Camp (503 Cross Rip Road) offer a setting for more traditional tent camping as well as minimalistic cottages and RV spots right on the water. Bush Park is 97 acres of waterside wilderness. You and your family can spend the mornings on the water fishing and crabbing, afternoons by the family pool, and evenings back at the campsite cooking up your catch of the day.  If you want someone else to cook up dinner for you, just seven miles down the road from Cross Rip Camp is The Table at Wilton.  Here, chef Elizabeth Ward serves up southern classics inspired by a water-to-table mentality.

Cross Rip Camp is flanked by shoreline–the campgrounds have 833 feet of shoreline on a freshwater pond and 1,186 feet of riprap and sandy beach on the Chesapeake Bay. Bring along your boat, which you can keep in a slip during your stay or year round. When you want to take a break from roughing it, you’re just a few miles away from restaurants like the waterfront, Deltaville Tap and Raw Bar or freshly renovated Galley. Also nearby, you catch the farmer’s market and a bit of history at the Deltaville Maritime Museum & Holly Point Nature Park.  

Save the Date for More Fun

No matter which campground you decide to snuggle up at, make sure you check our Events Calendar. There’s always something new going on including festivals, music, farmer’s markets, stock car racing and more. 

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