The Best Places to Go Camping in West Virginia, USA

The Mountain State of West Virginia is a wondrous place to camp, in and amongst its vast forests and mountain ranges
The Mountain State of West Virginia is a wondrous place to camp, in and amongst its vast forests and mountain ranges | Courtesy of Panoramic Images / Alamy
Photo of Nick Dauk
21 July 2021

When it comes to finding elite camping spots in America, there is arguably no better place than the Mountain State of West Virginia.

It comes as no surprise that West Virginia is an exceptional place to set up camp. With miles upon miles of secluded forests and protected wildlife areas, you could just as easily spend days exploring the wilderness as you could spend hours gazing up at the stars. The small towns surrounding the mountainous landscape offer another glimpse into the area’s history, with small museums and the mom-and-pop diners cooking up long-time favorites. Whether roughing it with a tent or sleeping under the comfort of a cabin, these are the best places to camp in West Virginia, USA.

Berkeley Springs

Historical Landmark
Map View
Gazebo and other buildings at the Berkeley Springs Resort in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Courtesy of Alpha Stock / Alamy

For a small town, Berkeley Springs is absolutely brimming with historical landmarks. This section of the Washington Heritage Trail includes the unique George Washington’s Bathtub, the sole outdoor monument dedicated to presidential bathing. If you prefer to explore things not quite as niche, the Berkeley Springs Salt Cave, state park, castle, and museum will draw your attention. Even the shortest stop into town will pique your interest, as the ales at Cacapon Mountain Brewing and fresh roasts at the Fairfax Coffee House are well worth the detour.

Quail Hollow Farm

Camping
Map View
Quail Hollow Farm
Courtesy of Quail Hollow Farm / Tentrr

With orchards, forests, and fields accompanying a mountainous backdrop, you’ll need nothing more than your tent and a good book to feel at peace on Quail Hollow Farm. This campsite is just over 8mi (13km) from downtown Berkeley Springs and has room for six plus a four-legged friend. Located adjacent to the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area, Quail Hollow Farm provides nearby parking, though everything else is carry in and carry out. If you’ve got a heart for horticulture, the farm’s owner, Janine, would be happy to give you a tour of her gardens and greenhouses.

Red House

Historical Landmark
Map View

Red House, on the shores of the Kanawha River, is a small town less than two hours away from New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. You could also opt to journey across the border into Wayne National Forest if you follow the river north into Ohio. Aside from kicking back with calm river views, your stop to refuel in Red House can also take you into the Walter Nature Park or across the Kanawha to the Mary Ingles Trail – which leads into the Kanawha State Forest.

Skyedanser Campsite

Camping
Map View
Skyedanser Campsite
Courtesy of Skyedanser Campsite

Swaying flames licking the dark night’s sky will keep you in a peaceful trance at Skyedanser Campsite. This barebones patch of land in a sunflower field provides you and up to nine others with a fire pit, charcoal grill, and endless starry skies. You’re welcome to rent fishing poles and tackle boxes to cast a line in Saltlick Creek or purchase a firewood bundle and s’mores kit to keep your crew extra cozy.

Shepherdstown

Historical Landmark
Map View
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Courtesy of Charles O. Cecil / Alamy

Though it embraces its history as much as any other West Virginian small town, Shepherdstown shakes off the dust of yesterday to blend its hometown culture with a little contemporary cool. Look in any direction and you’re sure to find a live music or theatrical performance – plus boutique shops and locally-owned restaurants fill every end of this university town. For more historical hiking and wilderness walking, you can drive to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and Antietam National Battlefield only a few minutes away.

Black Barn Farm Wooded Site

Camping
Map View
Black Barn Farm Wooded Site
Courtesy of Black Barn Farm Wooded Site / Tentrr

Ever wondered what the simple life was like on an 1800s farm? Black Barn Farm Wooded Site will give you a glimpse into the past. A Civil War-inspired tent sits atop a platform and contains a queen-sized bed, dining table, wood stove, solar shower and fire pit. Spend every afternoon sitting on the front porch or cast a line into the gold medal trout stream nearby. This campsite is only 5mi (8km) from downtown Shepherdstown and is an easy walk from the Potomac River.

Summersville

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Rocky Point on Summersville Lake, West Virginia, United States of America, North America
Courtesy of Robert Harding / Alamy

It doesn’t need to be summer in Summersville for you to have a great time outdoors. Cool mountain water flows into the town, offering endless opportunities to spend time on the water. From boating Summersville Lake to whitewater rafting Gauley River, you’d be wise to bring an extra towel – or two. Stay dry on the river banks by hiking the Muddy Creek Trail and spotting native birds, coyotes, deer, black beer, and wild turkey that call Summersville home all year long.

Field on the Mountain Lower

Camping
Map View
Field on the Mountain Lower
Courtesy of Field On The Mountain Lower / Tentrr

Looking for a cozy stay in the backcountry? This spacious sheep farm, on the border of the Gauley River National Recreation Area, is where you’ll want to set up camp. The open campsite can sleep up to fourteen people and is pet-friendly so do bring your loyal sheepdog. Dozens of trails and the Gauley River are nearby which means you should leave room for mountain bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, and fishing rods in your haul. A fire pit, grill, charcoal, one bundle of firewood – and a portable restroom – are waiting for you on the mountainside, while a shower and water source rest at the check-in site.

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  • Pence Springs

    Historical Landmark
    Map View
    New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
    Courtesy of Zachary Frank / Alamy

    Pence Springs is your gateway to the best hiking on both sides of the New River. Bluestone National Scenic River, New River Gorge National Park, and Little Beaver State Park are among the vast parks, trails, and wildlife areas – just a half-hour west from the center of Pence Springs. Head east and you’ll run into the Greenbrier State Forest, Lost World Caverns, and L&R Rail Trail just as quickly. If you’re hiking through Pence Springs in the warmer months, a stop at their weekly flea market for handmade soaps, fresh food and eclectic finds is a must.

    Skyhawk

    Camping
    Map View
    Skyhawk camping field
    Courtesy of Skyhawk / Tentrr

    Get ready to glamp along the Greenbrier River at Skyhawk. Fly in your five favorite people to this campsite on the historic Hinton-Alderson Airport or park your car on-site and settle into your tent with ease. Adirondack chairs, propane heaters, sun showers, picnic tables, toilets – and even memory foam mattresses – will make your stay extra comfortable. Quiet hours overnight will leave you with nothing but good conversation and the sounds of the river flowing by. Skyhawk is only an hour and fifteen minutes away from New River Gorge National Park, giving you a ready-made way to continue your adventure when you decide to leave camp.

    Mathias

    Historical Landmark
    Map View
    The stone shelter of Cranny Crow Overlook in Lost River State Park of West Virginia.
    Courtesy of Nick Palastro / Alamy

    The wild and wonderful Lost River Valley of Mathias is an excellent place to gaze upon the mountains, as they carve the skyline from West Virginia through Virginia. Lost River State Park and the George Washington National Forest beckon you to explore the Mountain State as deeply as you desire. Caverns line the surrounding area, with quick day trips made easier by the warm welcome and hot meals at The Home Place restaurant in the center of Mathias’s small town.

    Deep Wilderness Campsite with Natural Spring

    Camping
    Map View
    Deep Wilderness Campsite with Natural Spring
    Courtesy of Deep Wilderness Campsite with Natural Spring / Tentrr

    Hugging the state line with Virginia, near Hunkerson’s Gap and embraced by thousands of acres of the George Washington National Forest, this campsite offers endless serenity and silence. You and up to thirteen others can spend the weekend enjoying each other’s company with weather – or wildlife – as your only interruption. The owner lives close by and will accompany you up the access road to the campsite, and should you desire a little luxury during your trip, rent a cabin near the spring which includes a queen-size bed, one set of bunk beds, and a wood stove for heating.

    Princeton

    Architectural Landmark
    Map View
    A serene waterfall within the Brush Creek Nature Preserve in West Virginia
    Courtesy of Jesse Thornton / Alamy

    The former coal-mining town of Princeton embraces its roots here – literally and figuratively. Though you can spend the day eating your way through cafes and bistros or scouting vintage finds at the many thrift stores, Princeton is a great homebase for hiking to waterfalls at Brush Creek Preserve – as well as Pinnacle Rock State Park, and Camp Creek State Park and Forest. When you’re not exploring the wooded nature trails on two feet or wheels, a trip into town grants a glimpse into the past via the Mercer County War Museum and Princeton Railroad Museum.

    Pressley Retreat Almost Heaven

    Camping
    Map View
    Pressley Retreat Almost Heaven
    Courtesy of Pressley Retreat Almost Heaven / Tentrr

    You’ll get much more than seven heavenly minutes in Pressley Retreat Almost Heaven. Lovingly referred to as the Ark, this peaceful campsite invites you to hang out with the local wildlife. Go on a hike on one of the many walking trails or ride your mountain bike through calm country back roads, before coming back to your camp and cooking up a hearty meal. The quiet, safe campsite comes with firewood and a grill provided. With no hunting or ATVs allowed in the area, there’s always a chance to spot a neighborly bear meandering through the woods.

    These recommendations were updated on July 21, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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