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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan,, 804-786-2292.

Date: May 20, 2003
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442,

Virginia State Parks summer season begins Memorial Day weekend

(RICHMOND) - The pools and swimming beaches in Virginia State Parks open for the summer season Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 24.

"Although our cabins are open year-round, and campgrounds are open March through December, in the minds of many people this weekend represents the 'official' start of summer," said Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Director Joseph H. Maroon. "Vacation season is underway. With many families planning trips closer to home, our state parks are a great way to explore the beauty of Virginia without spending hours in the car."

Beach swimming is available at Claytor Lake, Hungry Mother, Douthat, Bear Creek Lake, Kiptopeke, Fairy Stone, Holliday Lake, Smith Mountain Lake, Twin Lakes, Lake Anna and First Landing state parks.

Swimming pools open Memorial Day weekend at Chippokes Plantation, Natural Tunnel, Staunton River and Westmoreland state parks. Extensive renovations of the swimming pool at Pocahontas State Park are nearly completed, and that park's swimming complex is expected to open in June with enclosed water slides and a children's water recreation area.

"There are many exciting ways to enjoy our waters - such as fishing, boating, and pool and beach swimming," said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. "With our new swimming policy, if you pay to swim and if inclement weather closes the swimming area, we give you a rain check to come back and swim another day free. Guaranteed."

Passes for unlimited visits and coupon books good for 10 or 20 visits are economical ways to visit Virginia State Park pools and swimming beaches all summer long. Discounted group swim rates are available, and swimming areas can be rented for exclusive group use.

The start of summer also marks the opening of concession stands in addition to swimming pools and beaches in Virginia State Parks, which are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"We also have dozens of festivals and concerts and thousands of interpretive programs in 34 parks across the state," Elton said. "So there's plenty to do all summer, fall and winter."

For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,400 campsites or 180 climate controlled cabins, or to reserve a picnic shelter, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 1-800-933-PARK or visit

Schedules vary for each park. Call the parks directly for individual operating schedules.

Bear Creek Lake State Park - (804) 492-4410
Belle Isle State Park - (804) 462-5030
Caledon Natural Area - (540) 663-3861
Chippokes Plantation State Park - (757) 294-3625
Claytor Lake State Park - (540) 643-2500
Douthat State Park - (540) 862-8100
Fairy Stone State Park - (276) 930-2424
False Cape State Park - (757) 426-7128
First Landing State Park - (757) 412-2300
Grayson Highlands State Park - (276) 579-7092
Holliday Lake State Park - (434) 248-6308
Hungry Mother State Park - (276) 781-7400
James River State Park - (434) 933-4355
Kiptopeke State Park - (757) 331-2267
Lake Anna State Park - (540) 854-5503
Leesylvania State Park - (703) 670-0372
Mason Neck State Park - (703) 550-0960
Natural Tunnel State Park - (276) 940-2674
Occoneechee State Park - (434) 374-2210
Pocahontas State Parks - (804) 796-4255
Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historic State Park - (434) 392-3435
Raymond R. "Andy" Guest Jr. Shenandoah River State Park - (540) 622-6840
New River Trail State Park and Shot Tower - (276) 699-6778
Sky Meadows State Park - (540) 592-3556
Smith Mountain Lake State Park - (540) 297-6066
Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park - (276) 523-1322
Staunton River Battlefield State Park - (434) 454-4312
Staunton River State Park - (434) 572-4623
Twin Lakes State Park - (434) 392-3435
Westmoreland State Park - (804) 493-8821
Wilderness Road State Park - (276) 445-3065
York River State Park - (757) 566-3036


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