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!
- 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.