SP Campground Review – Shenandoah River State Park, Bentonville, VA
A superbly-designed and enormous State Park in the western part of VA, just ~30 mins from the entrance to Shenandoah National Park. Certainly one of the nicest State Parks we’ve ever stayed at!
Link to campground here: Shenandoah River State Park
Link to map location here: Shenandoah River State Park
- Site Quality = 4.5/5
Outstanding sites here, perhaps some of the nicest we’ve seen at a state park (anywhere). The RV camping area has 32 water/electric (50A) sites, arranged in two loops on a hill. All sites are HUGE gravel sites (large enough for any-sized rig), either back-in or pull-through with fabulous separation and enormously spacious “sitting areas” containing picnic table, fire-pit and lantern hangers. The upper loop campsites (#1-18) are on a somewhat steep road, but many of the sites have lovely views of the hills around the park, whereas the lower loop campsites (#19-32) are in a flat section and have pleasant green views, but no hill views. Only (very) minor dings are that a few of the pull-throughs (in particular #4,6,7 in the upper loop) are somewhat unlevel and awkward to get into. Also there are a select number of “buddy sites” (#15/16, #23/34, #29/30) which share a single entrance and are great if you’re traveling with friends, but are too close together for my liking if you’re traveling alone and don’t want to be right with your neighbor. The rest of the sites are fabulous and I don’t think you can go wrong with ANY of them. There are also 4 camping cabins in the RV area (for rent by folks traveling by car) which were very small, but looked nice as well.
- NOTE1 – Road Access: The road coming down to the campground is somewhat steep and the entrance into the campground is somewhat abrupt (watch your speeds), but the road itself is fine and wide enough for any-sized rig. Inside the campground itself the upper loop (sites #1-18) has the steepest roads, so if you’re worried about driving a big rig around a steeper road target to stay in the sites in the lower loop.
- NOTE2 – Reservations: At this park you can currently book a spot, but not a specific site. So you simply drive around and chose an open (available) site after you’ve checked in. Site-specific reservations ARE coming however and will be started on March 2, 2018. DO RESERVE! This is a popular campground in a great location with very few sites.
- NOTE3 – Cabins & Tenting: In addition to the 4 camping cabins in the RV campground there are very large rentable cabins (in a separate area of the park) which look amazing, as well as a walk-in primitive tenting area (also in a separate area along the river-front) which are super spacious, quiet and private.
- Facilities = 5/5
Outstanding facilities here. There are modern flush toilets & several large, individual walk-in shower stalls with bench and pegs for your clothing. Everything was clean and the showers had good shower heads with outstanding temp control (there’s actually a thermometer on the temp control so you can chose exactly how hot you want it!). There is also a very new laundromat with 2 washer and dryers for laundry ($0.75 each). On-site dump station.
- Location = 5/5
Wonderful location here! The park itself covers over 1600 acres and offers endless opportunities for hiking/biking, kayaking (along the 6 miles of riverfront) and even horse-riding. Plus you are only ~30 mins from Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive along the ridge. Lastly the nearby town of Front Royal has many options for grocery, eating & shopping.
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
Fabulous place for doggie. Lots of space in camp, plus miles & miles of dog-friendly trails to hike. No on-site poo bags though.
Overall Rating = 4.9
BONUS ALERT = Camp just 30 minutes from the Skyline Drive of Shenandoah National Park!
Video Overview: Want to see it in living color? Check out our ~13 min overview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxHbL0LR_wA
Summary: What an awesome park! This is a newer State Park (opened 1999) and it really shows. Everything about it was done “just right” with HUGE (super spacious) campsites offering water/electric (50A), enormous “sitting areas” (just lovely!) and superb separation. Sites are large enough to accept any-sized rig and some of them also have an lovely view of the hills. Even the facilities are perfect offering large walk-in showers (with accurate temp control) and a brand new laundromat. Plus the grounds are amazing, with over 1600 acres of hiking trails and over 6 miles of river frontage. And lastly location rocks! It’s right in the heart of Shenandoah Valley, a few miles from the lovely town of Front Royal (eating, shopping) only ~30 mins from the Skyline Drive at Shenandoah National Park. The only minor dings? A few of the pull-throughs are somewhat unlevel, and there are some “buddy sites” (15/16, 23/34, 29/30) that share an entrance and are too close together for our liking unless you’re traveling with friends. Oh, and if you rely on Verizon for your internet there is literally none here (not even with a booster). ATT works great though. Lastly you DO want to book ahead. The RV camping area only has 32 sites and it’s a popular spot to stay, so plan ahead (reserve!) to stay here. Other than those minor points it’s honestly one of the nicest State Park campsites we’ve ever camped in. We LOVED our site, absolutely LOVED the hiking trails and really enjoyed the area. Put this one on your list!
Extra Info: NO Verizon (nada, zip, none…not even with mega-booster) and zero T-Mobile, but ATT worked great (3-4 bars of fast LTE). Total 32 water/electric sites all reservable on-line (currently you can only reserve a spot, not a specific site, but site-specific reservations are coming in March, 2018). Sites cost $35/night for VA residents and $41/night for non-residents. On-site dump station.SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Jacky Arnold says
I just started following your blog a few weeks ago. We’re retired to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and just bought a Class C a year ago. We basically got it to get out and travel in the winter where it’s warm, and we had a wonderful two-month trip this past winter. But I’ve been trying to plot a month of October get away–without a lot of traveling. I had finally decided on just visiting the state parks of Virginia. As soon as I started researching the parks, you started giving reviews. Thanks for reading my mind! And for your great reviews.
I’m really happy I could be of help 🙂 we had such a great month in VA at the 3 places we stayed and this last one was really the icing on top of the cake. Good travels to you!
Gerri & Mike says
This state park is beautiful!! Great review and so informative!! Very helpful
Ginger Lemasurier says
This is one of my favorite parks too! If you go during the week it is much quieter and the long bike/walking trail along the river is empty, our dogs loved running there. Also the little town of Luray nearby is very cute. Did you visit there? They have an excellent walking trail that goes miles around the town and a few little cafe’s and coffee shops. I’m so glad you enjoyed your stay in Virginia and I hope you’ll come back!! Thanks for the great reviews.
We only had a brief visit Front Royal, but we really liked the area! Would love to go back and explore the other towns around the park in a little more depth.
David D says
I really like your reviews. Thanks for doing the work involved!
Hey!! You are now about 15 minutes from my house! I’m glad you are liking the area. If you have any questions or need information about something please feel free to ask! I’ll be happy to help you if I can.
We’re up by PA now, but thank you very much for the kind offer! I’m sorry we missed you in the area.
David Michael says
Used to travel to the Shenandoah River for fantastic small bass fishing from Falls Church, VA when I was a kid. Lovely countryside. I love your comments about the State Park. In this day and age when political leaders go out of their way to indulge in chaos therapy, it is such a treat to know there are so many lovely state parks out there to sooth one’s soul. Keep up the good work!
Yeah, I think we need the calm that nature gives us more than ever right now.
John and Sharon says
we loved our stay in that state park but it sure has gotten a bit pricey now!
Yeah it’s not cheap. I do wish there were some discounts, but I can’t deny it’s one of the nicest state parks we’ve stayed at.
Ray Friebertshauser says
This is a great review, as are all of yours. We truly appreciate the thoroughness of the information you provide. We look forward to each and everyone that come out. We are getting ready to start our full time life style and you information is invaluable. Your views, interests and approach to life pretty much mirrors what we are and what we like.
Thanks again for being out there and look forward to meeting you some day.
Ray, Leslie and the Cattle dogs.
Love the park too. They also have wifi at the campground office, which is a plus.
I did not know that! Thanks for adding that info.
Mike C says
I’ve tent camped and RV camped at Shenandoah River SP. Your review was spot on for the RV sites. As for the tent sites My only company is that the gravel chunks that one pitches a tent on are big and tuff to sleep on. Bring a thick canvas tarp when camping here.
That’s an important little detail that I didn’t pick up on when I was walking through the tenting area. Cheers much for the comment!
Jim and Lydia says
Nice review, we also loved the park. We were next door on site 9 in November of last year when we were playing leap frog with you down the coast.
Site 9 is fabulous. Love the views on that side if the park. So glad you enjoyed it as much as we did!
Nina and Paul, when I saw your review of this park it was timely as we had planned a trip there ourselves over the 4th. Took your advice and staying on the upper loop for the great views. Enjoy your stay in the Finger Lakes. We’ve been there at Watkins Glen SP. The whole area is bucolic.
Also, based on your advice, we took the plunge and bought our at&t Mobley for our time at this park. As you stated, no Verizon but plenty of at&t. Cheers.
Awesome! Hope you enjoy the park as much as we did!!
Tom and Karen says
Hi Paul & Nina.
My wife and I have been to this State park several times in our 02 Discovery and have been to quite a few in the VA area over the past 12 years and this is by far one of our favorites for sure! As far as the Verizon service yea not to much of anything, unless you walk up the hill to the stop sign lean on the metal post and you might get some sort of a signal. LOL!
I enjoy ya’lls blog! And your reviews are awesome! Thanks!
Jerry and Debbra says
Hey guys, great review! Me and the wife are headed there this spring. We have a question. From the loop closest to the river, is it feasible to walk kayaks from the camp sites down to the river and or walk them up from the river? Thanks again for the great review!
Hmmmm….not sure to be honest. There was a hiking trail right by that loop, but I can’t recall if there were openings down to the water on that side of the park. I’d give the park a call and ask them.
Yes there is a near by kayak launch area, it’s bit steep but doable.
Kristen cardoza says
Thank you for this review. We have reservations for a Cabin at the state park the week after the 4th of July. Your review was really helpful!
Oh excellent! Enjoy your stay. This is such a lovely park.
Very detailed review and really help us in planning our trip and camping at state park.
Would continue to follow your adventures.