We recently took a trip to Pocahantes State Park. Pochantes is near Richmond, VA. At almost 8,000 acres, it is the largest Virginia State Park. It is a very popular park as it is only about a two hour drive from anywhere in the Eastern part of Virginia.
We arrived the weekend before Memorial weekend – before the big summer season. There was a lot to do. We took advantage of some of the miles of hiking/biking trails. One day, we hiked down to the small lake and rented a paddleboat. They also have canoes and kayaks for rent. There are also several playgrounds available.
Unfortunately, many of the key attractions of this park don’t open until Memorial weekend. The pool – which looked really nice – was closed. The CCC museum and nature center were also closed. I guess we will have to come back later in the summer to see those.
Pocahantes has over 100 camping sites. They can be reserved, but you cannot reserve a specific sites. Sites are available on a first come, first served basis. You drive around the campground until you find an open site you like, then you call the office to inform them which one you selected. The advantage to this system is that you can see your site before you select it. At many campgrounds, I have had to select the site when I reserved, not really knowing if it was a good site. However, the down side to this system is that some of the largest sites may be taken by people who don’t really need them; tent campers or small RVs; leaving a big rig trying to fit into a smaller or unlevel site.
There are two sections to the campground. The first one as you drive in is the older section. It is fairly wooded. There are some pull-through sites and some back-in. The back in sites provide more privacy and shade. There is also a newer section. This was being built when Hurricane Isabel came through the area a few years back. Unfortunately, the hurricane removed a few more trees than the campground wanted. So, this side is a bit more open and less shady. However, the sites appear to be more level. There is a nice playground and the camp store on the newer side.
Fortunately, we arrived before dark. After a quick loop around the park, we selected a pull through site that worked well for us. Sites here are large, easily accommodating our 50 foot combination of truck and camper. It wasn’t perfectly level – but with just a few blocks in front we were able to get pretty level. It is always a good idea to bring along some blocks of wood or plastic blocks to help ensure you can get level in your site. Sites are water and electric. Prices are fairly reasonable at 25.00 per night – but you need to add a 5.00 processing fee plus 5.00 per night if you bring a dog.
This is a nice campground. It is clean and quiet. I have only a few things that could have been better. It would be nice to have easier access to the facilities like trash bins and bath houses. Maybe I was spoiled by Fort Wilderness having a trash & recycling bin at each site. Trash bins are at the far end of each section of the campground. I could find only one recycling stop and that was by the dump station.
Overall, we really enjoyed our weekend at Pocahantes and are looking forward to visiting again soon.
What is your favorite campground? Do you prefer State Parks or Private Campgrounds? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.