Whether your family is camping for the first time or wants to stay close to home, these camping options in Northern Virginia will create memories sweeter than s’mores.
47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling, VA 20165
For those who prefer “glamping,” Algonkian’s riverfront cottages are perfect for enjoying nature without sacrificing modern amenities. Cottages vary in size from two to five bedrooms and feature furnished rooms, kitchens, parking and a scenic view of the Potomac River. Deluxe models even include hot tubs. While at the park, visitors can enjoy seasonal attractions such as the 18-hole champion golf course, mini golf, boat rentals, fishing, playgrounds, hiking trails and the Volcano Island Waterpark (open Memorial Day through Labor Day.)
7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, VA 20121
Camp at Bull Run with your family at one of the tent sites, RV sites or in rustic cabins. All campsites are equipped with a charcoal grill, fire ring and a picnic table. The on-site camp store is open daily and sells supplies, snacks, ice and firewood. The campground also has two bathhouses that feature showers, toilets and laundry facilities. Other attractions at Bull Run Regional Park include disk golf, diverse hiking trails for every ability, playgrounds and the Atlantis Waterpark (open seasonally.)
7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, VA 22039
From April to October, the campground at this popular Fairfax County lake is open for RV and tent camping. The low-key atmosphere and convenience to the Beltway makes Burke Lake a perfect campground for novice campers. Each site has a picnic table, charcoal grill, a fire ring and space for at least one vehicle. The park also features boating, mini-golf, an 18-hole par-3 golf course, fishing, a carousel and miniature train ride, an ice cream parlor and trails around the 218-acre lake. Please note the campground operates on a first come, first served basis and only takes advance reservations for groups of 15 or more. It’s suggested to go early to secure a campsite.
Harpers Ferry Adventure Center
37410 Adventure Center Lane, Purcellville, VA 20132
Harpers Ferry Adventure Center is more than a campground. Its setting offers whitewater rafting, zip line and ropes courses, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, fishing and hiking on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. Accommodations include cozy mountaintop cabins, tent campsites along the river and mountaintop platform campsites with a scenic view of old town Harpers Ferry. All campsites are equipped with a picnic table, fire ring and charcoal grill, and the newly renovated bathhouse boasts hot showers and indoor plumbing. Families can enjoy the many outdoor activities and venture into nearby Harpers Ferry for a quick day trip. In the summertime, live bands perform on the weekends.
1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston, VA 22039
Lake Fairfax’s large campground is open year-round for tent, RV and large group camping. The beautiful 18-acre lake is a great place to enjoy fishing, pedal boats or a ride on one of the park’s narrated tour boats. Lake Fairfax Park also features playgrounds, a restored antique carousel and a skate park. During the summer months, the park is home to the Water Mine Family Swimming Hole, a waterpark for all ages complete with a lazy river, interactive water features and plenty of waterslides for all thrill levels.
6501 Pohick Bay Drive, Lorton, VA 22079
Enjoy Pohick Bay by staying at a tent, RV site or one of the park’s cabins. Each rustic cabin is complete with electricity, air conditioning/heat and a small refrigerator. The deluxe cabins offer a full kitchen and bathroom. The park boasts great amenities and hiking, including a 1-mile loop that connects the campground to the historic Gunston Hall; Pirate’s Cove Water Park (open seasonally); canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals; and a huge playground.
18170 Park Entrance Road, Triangle, VA 22172
The largest campground in Northern Virginia, Prince William Forest has three front country campgrounds, one backcountry campground and five cabin camps. Four of the cabins are even on the National Register of Historic Places. The park contains 15,000 acres of forest with 37 miles of hiking trails to explore. Little ones can enjoy a large playground, picnic areas and a few shorter trails with educational signage. Older children can take advantage of longer hikes and ranger-led programs.
Micaela Williamson is a co-author of local travel guide Kid Trips Northern Virginia, an extraordinary resource that provides descriptions, useful information and insider tips for hundreds of local destinations. Micaela is also an award-winning blogger who enjoys supporting area businesses and scouting out family-friendly venues with her two young sons.(Courtesy of Tiffany Brown, Mamaratzy Photography)