Occoneechee State Park

1192 Occoneechee Park Rd., Clarksville, VA 23927; Phone: 434-374-2210; Email: Occoneechee@dcr.virginia.gov

Location of Occoneechee State Park in Virginia

About this park ...

Google map thumbnail showing Occoneechee State Park's location Click for Occoneechee State Park Forecast
Latitude, 36.626101. Longitude, -78.524101.

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General Information

Named for Native Americans who lived in the area for hundreds of years, Occoneechee is on the John H. Kerr Reservoir, better known as Buggs Island Lake, and is popular with anglers and boaters. Facilities include cabins, campsites, an equestrian campground, picnic shelters, an amphitheater, a playground, boat ramps, and a private concession offering boat rentals and snacks. Occoneechee Marina offers a fuel dock and boat slips with water and electric service for annual rentals. Six slips are available for rent to overnight camping and cabin guests. The park also has 20 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The visitor center and museum introduce visitors to Native American history and the indigenous Occoneechee people.

Providing 24-hour access Virginia’s largest lake, three boat ramps open the door to 48,000 acres of fishing, boating and aquatic recreation. Forty-eight campsites are available for tent and RV campers. Some sites are right on the shoreline, providing easy fishing and boating access. The park also has 13 cabins that allow guests to enjoy the comforts of home as well as beautiful views of the lake. An equestrian campground with 11 sites and 11 covered horse stalls offers easy access to the park’s trail system. Occoneechee also has picnic areas near the lake, a playground, boat rentals and a lakefront amphitheater.

Hours

8 a.m. – dusk.

Location

From I-85, take Route 58 West Exit at South Hill. Park is located on Route 58 one mile east of Clarksville.

Its address is 1192 Occoneechee Park Road, Clarksville, VA 23927-9449; Latitude, 36.626101. Longitude, -78.524101.

Drive Time: Northern Virginia, three and a half hours; Richmond, two hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, three hours; Roanoke, two and half hours

Park Size

2,698 acres. Buggs Island Lake (Kerr Reservoir), 48,000 acres. Panhandle Area is 1,900 acres.

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Cabins, camping

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES

There are 11 cabins, two lodges 48 campsites for tents and RVs, and 11 equestrian campsites. Water view sites by reservation only. There are no designated swimming areas at this park. Boat launch is free for campers. Most campsite areas are shaded. For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK. Click here for park fees.

Click here to visit a Flickr photoset of typical cabins and lodges at the park. Cabins and lodges vary; any given dwelling may not match what's shown in the photos.

Click here for details on reservation cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for cabin stays.

Cabins and Lodges: Weekly rentals, which are required for these facilities during prime season, start on Saturday or Sunday. No bed rentals. A two-night minimum stay is required the rest of the year, however in prime season guests who wish to stay less than a week may call 30 days prior to desired arrival date to see if there is vacancy for two-night minimum stay. Cabins and lodges are open year-round and may be reserved up to 11 months in advance.

Lodges: Occoneechee has two 6-bedroom lodges. During prime season, both lodges are rented for week-long stays. L009-SAT stays start on Saturday and L012-SUN stays start on Sunday.

Each lodge has:

  • Kitchen: Refrigerator, stove, coffeemaker, dishes, dishcloth, dish towels, silverware, cooking utensils, pots, pans, microwave oven, toaster, electric can opener, clock radio.
  • Bring food, dish detergent, extra dishcloths, coffee filters, coffee, salt and pepper, nonstick cooking spray, soap, extra bath towels, etc.
  • No smoking
  • No dishwasher, phone or TV
  • Furniture is rustic
  • Front and back decks have rocking chairs
  • Maximum occupancy: 16; no bed rentals
  • Maximum six cars, including trailers, per lodge. The maximum number of vehicles allowed to park at the lodge proper varies. A daily parking fee is charged for additional vehicles All vehicles must be parked in designated areas, at the lodge or in the overflow parking area.
  • Six bedrooms: One set of bed linens per bed and one set of towels per person; these are not changed daily. You may wish to bring your own pillow as well as a comforter for chilly nights.
  • Two bedrooms have queen size beds, two have two single beds, and two have two sets of bunk beds each
  • Three bathrooms
  • Next to the lodge are a picnic table, a charcoal pedestal grill and a campfire ring
  • The boat launch is free to overnight guest. (There are no designated swimming areas.)
  • universally accessible: kitchen, dining area, living room, two bedrooms and one bathroom
  • Climate-controlled
  • Linens provided; one set per week (additional linens available for a fee)
  • Gas logs
  • Washer and dryer
  • Pets are allowed. There's an extra fee per night per pet plus tax.

Cabins: During prime season, cabins 1-6 rent weekly starting on Saturday; cabins 7, 8, 10, 11 and 13 start renting on Sunday.

  • Kitchen: Refrigerator, stove, coffeemaker, dishes, dishcloth, dish towels, silverware, cooking utensils, pots, pans, microwave oven, toaster, can opener, clock radio.
  • Bring food, dish detergent, extra dishcloths, coffee filters, coffee, salt and pepper, nonstick cooking spray, soap, extra bath towels, etc.
  • No smoking
  • No dishwasher, phone, TV, washer or dryer
  • Rustic furniture; mission style
  • Deck
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood available for purchase.
  • Late arriving guests should phone the park to arrange check-in several days before arrival, if possible.
  • Bedrooms: Bed(s), nightstands, dresser, closet with hangers, clock radio. One set of bed linens per bed and one set of towels per person; these are not changed daily. You may wish to bring your own pillow as well as a comforter for chilly nights.
  • Climate-controlled
  • Boat launching is free to overnight guests. There are no designated swimming areas.
  • Picnic table and a charcoal pedestal grill in the yard beside the cabin
  • Wrap-around deck; open porch with rocking chairs and end tables
  • Cabins 4 and 11 are universally accessible.
  • Cabins 4, 8, 11 and 13 are water-view
  • Two vehicles, including trailers, are allowed per cabin. A daily parking fee is charged for additional vehicles. The number of cars allowed to park by the cabin proper varies. All vehicles and trailers must be parked in designated areas, at the cabin or in the overflow parking area.
  • Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. Only overnight guests are allowed in the park after 10 p.m.
  • Pets are allowed. There's an extra fee per night per pet per night, plus tax.

Total sites of each type: Two-bedroom frame, 6; two-bedroom frame water-view, 3; three-bedroom frame, 1; three-bedroom frame water-view, 1; six-bedroom lodge, 2

Site Types

Two-bedroom frame – two-bedroom frame cabin, sleeps six maximum, one queen bed, two sets of bunk beds (sleeps four); no bed rentals.

Two-bedroom frame water-view – two-bedroom frame cabin, water-view, sleeps six maximum, one queen bed, two sets of bunk beds. (Cabin 11, which is universally accessible, has a queen bed that sleeps two, a fold-out queen sofa bed that sleeps two and bunkbeds that sleep two. No bed rentals.

Three-bedroom frame – three-bedroom frame cabin, sleeps eight maximum, one queen bed, two single beds in second bedroom, two sets of bunk beds (sleeps four) in third bedroom; no bed rentals.

Three-bedroom frame water-view – three-bedroom frame cabin, water-view, sleeps eight maximum, one queen bed, two single beds in second bedroom, two sets of bunk beds in third bedroom; no bed rentals.

Six-bedroom lodge – six bedrooms, sleeps 16 maximum, three baths, universally accessible, two bedrooms with a queen size bed in each, two bedrooms with two single beds in each, and two bedrooms with two sets of bunk beds in each; no bed rentals.

Total: 11 cabins; two lodges

Camping

  • Campsites have round grills on a cement pad on the ground. The grill can be used to make a campfire or for cooking. Campfires are allowed only in designated area.
  • All sites are color-coded. If you arrive late, set up on a site that's coded with the color you were assigned. Register at the visitor center the next morning.
  • Only Campground C has waterfront sites with water and electric hookups (C Orange EW-W 30ft sites).
  • Only Campground B (B Green EW 35ft) sites allow equipment up to 35' long. The remaining campsites in the park allow equipment up to 30' long. Campground B sites (B Green EW 35ft) are open only from May 1 through Oct. 1.
  • Campground C has waterfront sites without utilities (C Red Std-W 30ft) and can accommodate equipment up to only 30' long.
  • Firewood is for sale; to help prevent the spread of invasive species, please do not bring your own firewood. Hardwood firewood from Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William is not allowed.
  • Campgrounds have bathhouses with hot showers and flush toilets.
  • Two vehicles are allowed per site. A daily parking fee is charged for additional vehicles. The number allowed at each campsite varies, depending on site design. Vehicles parked at a campsite must be parked in the designated parking area. Camper vehicles that don't fit on the site, whether or not a special camper vehicle fee is required for them, must park in the designated overflow parking area.
  • Only those registered on the site may stay the night; other guests must leave the park by 10 p.m.
  • Dogs are allowed. There's an extra fee per night per dog. Dogs must at all times be kept on a leash no longer than six feet. Owners must clean up pet waste and properly bag and dispose of it.

Total sites of each type: Standard, 3; EW, 33; StdWaterview, 6; EW Waterview, 6

Site type:

Campground B

B Green EW 35ft: Electric and water; RVs up to 35 feet allowed only in Campground B (no exceptions); various equipment; no sewer. Accepts outlets for 20 and 30-amp current. These sites are not on the lake.

Campground C

C Purple Std 30ft: Various equipment, no hookups; RVs up to 30 feet only.

C Blue EW 30ft: RVs up to 30 feet in Campground C (no exceptions); various equipment; electric and water hook-ups. Accepts outlets for 20 and 30-amp current.

C Red Std-W 30ft: Waterfront sites for various equipment with no hookups; RVs up to 30 feet only (no exception).

C Orange EW-W 30ft: Waterfront site for various equipment with electric and water hookups; RVs up to 30 feet (no exceptions). Accepts outlets for 20 and 30-amp current. These types of sites are in Campground C only.

Total campsites: 48.

Occoneechee Equestrian Campground: Eleven 100 by 24-foot campsites with electricity; eleven 12 by 12-foot covered stalls (not specifically assigned). This campground operates from March 1 to the first Monday in December. Check-in is 4 p.m., check-out is 3 p.m.

One vehicle in addition to RV or horse trailer, popup or two small tents; maximum occupancy is six people per campsite. The campground is designed mainly for self-sustaining horse trailers and RVs, but equestrian customers with other camping equipment are welcome. Trails are open but may be in poor condition after heavy rain. The park is stabilizing the trails with material to prevent such conditions in the future.

  • Pets allowed. An extra fee per night per pet plus tax is charged.
  • Each site has a 50-amp electrical pedestal.
  • Each campsite has only electric hookups (no water hookups) and a gravel driveway, pedestal grill, picnic table and lantern posts. Water is available in three central areas.
  • This campground also has a central wash-down rack and 75-foot diameter exercise ring.
  • Campers must have a reservation for a stall for each horse.
  • Horse stalls may be rented only along with the rental of a campsite in the equestrian campground. The campsite also must be occupied by someone. All horses brought to the park by overnight guests must be kept in rental stalls.
  • Vault toilets are provided; no bathhouse.
  • Each campsite is pull-through, 100 by 24 feet, and accommodates trailers up to 65 feet long.
  • The two hitching posts are for temporary use; horses must be confined to a covered stall and will not be allowed to graze or be tied out on the grounds.
  • Pets are allowed. There's an extra fee per night per pet per night, plus tax.

Camping Lodge (bunkhouse) – Two-night minimum; no full-week requirement. The two-room lodge has seven bunk beds, a refrigerator, a microwave, a coffeepot, and heating and air conditioning. A small front deck and a large (12 feet by 24 feet) covered back deck with two picnic tables are just outside the building. Cooking and smoking are not permitted inside the lodge. This facility is not sold 11 months in advance; it goes online in January each year. Check-in is 3 p.m., and check-out is 10 a.m.

The transfer deadline policy and cancellation and pet fees are the same as those for cabins.

  • Linens are not provided; guests must bring their own linens and pillows.
  • Maximum occupancy is 14. Guests are responsible for any damage.
  • Two-night minimum. No weekly requirement.
  • No bathroom, kitchen or fireplace.
  • No cable hookup.
  • Gas and charcoal grills are allowed but not provided.
  • Four vehicles are allowed for camping lodge guests. There's a daily parking fee for any additional vehicles, and those vehicles must be parked in the designated overflow parking area.
  • No extra bed rentals.
  • The camping lodge is in the Campground C area. It's available only from March 1 through the first Monday in December.
  • Camping lodge guests use the bathhouse in Campground C-35 loop.

Recreation

TRAILS

About 3.1 miles of walking trails wind through woodlands throughout the park. A one-mile self-guided interpretive trail takes visitors through a terraced garden and land where Occonneechee Plantation once was. The park also has a 15-mile round trip multi-purpose linear trail for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Va. Outdoors sign

Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Occoneechee's trails.

SWIMMING

The park has no designated swimming areas.

FISHING, BOATING

Boat slips still available! Click here for a flier or click here to apply for a boat slip.

Buggs Island Lake and connecting Lake Gaston are famous for the number and size of fish there. Striped and largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and perch are plentiful. Three boat ramps provide motorized and non-motorized boat access to Buggs Island Lake. A Buggs Island Special Pass that covers boat launching and parking for Occoneechee and Staunton River state parks is available. Call 1-800-933-PARK for more information. Pontoon and fishing boats, including safety equipment, can be rented at boat ramp 1 from Clarksville Marine Rentals Inc.

Boating: Available year-round. Motorboats are allowed. Three boat launching ramps are available for access to Buggs Island Lake for both motorized and non-motorized boats. Call 1-800-933-PARK to purchase an annual boat launch passport. Click here for park fees.

Pontoon and fishing boats, including safety equipment, can be rented at boat ramp #1 from Clarksville Marine Rentals, Inc. It's open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Boats must be returned by 6 p.m. Thirty gallons of gas are included in the rental. Call (434) 374-2525 or (434) 374-2755 to make reservations.

HORSES

Horses are allowed on the Panhandle Multi-use Trail. Equestrian camping is available. See the camping section above for information about overnight horse facilities here. There are no horse rentals. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.

HUNTING

The Occoneechee Panhandle Area provides public hunting for those with a valid state hunting license; you must register at the area's access gate.

Park Trail Guide

Click here for the park's trail guide.

Nearby Attractions

Prestwood Plantation; John H. Kerr Dam with Visitor Center. Molliver Vineyards and Winery offers wine tastings, tours, wine sales and a variety of outdoor recreation on its 134-acre vineyard and winery on the Bannister River. Visit www.clarksvillva.com for more information about the area.

Picnic Shelters

The park has two shelters that can be rented from 8 a.m. to dusk (all day). Call 1-800-933-PARK to reserve. Shelter users may use the volleyball area, and the park lends volleyballs as well as horseshoes. The shelters are available for rent from the first weekend in March through the first weekend in December. Parking fees are not included in the rental (see above for details). Click here for park fees.

Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.

Shelter 1 (small): Accommodates up to 35 people comfortably. It has lights as well as electrical outlets and is near the playground, which makes it ideal for kids. It also features horseshoe pits, a trail leading to a beautiful lakefront view and a modern restroom facility.

Shelter 2 (large): It accommodates up to 100 comfortably and is near the playground, horseshoe pits and restrooms. This shelter is universally accessible, has lights and electrical outlets and is on the left just past the visitor center.

Meeting Space and Facilities

MEETING FACILITIES

None, but the park rents family lodges that may be used for small retreats and get-togethers.

VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP

Camper registration. Also, the center features Native American history, "The Occoneechee Story," a living hut and artifacts. Also within is a year-round gift shop featuring Native American merchandise, t-shirts, hats, souvenirs, postcards and educational material.

RESTAURANT

There are several nearby in Clarksville.

LAUNDRY

The closest laundry facility is nearby in Clarksville.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER

None at this park.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Overlooking the lake is an amphitheater with a partially covered stage. There are benches that accommodate up to 120 people. Two earthen terraces allow additional seating.

Other Info

ACCESSIBILITY

  • The office-visitor center facility meets requirements for ADA. The walkway to the facility, the reception area, restroom and display areas are ADA compliant.
  • Campgrounds: Currently there are no campsites fully ADA compliant. Recent renovations improved comfort and accessibility of all campsites. Three of four campground bathhouses meet ADA requirements.
  • Picnic area: The park has one picnic shelter, parking, restroom and a universally accessible walkway.
  • Boat launch: Boat ramp #1 provides access for disabled visitors, a parking area and a walkway system.
  • Playground.
  • Although motorized vehicles are not permitted on park trails, electric wheelchairs and electric scooters that meet the federal definition for wheelchairs are allowed to enable people with disabilities to use the trails.
  • Cabins 4 and 11 and both lodges are universally accessible.

NATURE, HISTORY PROGRAMS

Click here to view all parks' events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.

CONCESSIONS

Pontoon and fishing boats, including safety equipment, can be rented at boat ramp #1 from Clarksville Marine Rentals, Inc. It's open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Boats must be returned by 6 p.m. Thirty gallons of gas are included in the rental. Call (434) 374-2525 or (434) 374-2755 to make reservations.

HISTORY

The Occoneechi Indians lived on an island near what is now the park until 1676. The strategic location enabled them to play a major role in the fur trade up and down the East Coast. When Europeans arrived, the tribe's influence was at its peak, and their language was commonly used in trade.

Bacon's Rebellion abruptly ended their prominence in 1676. This armed rebellion is considered to be the first to occur in the New World. It began when Nathaniel Bacon’s plantation was raided by Susquehannock Indians, who had been displaced from their home to the north. Bacon asked Virginia Gov. Berkley to raise a militia and retaliate. Berkley denied the request so Bacon raised a militia, in violation of the governor’s wishes.

In pursuit of the Susquehannocks, the militia encountered the Occoneechi at their island home. Fearing indiscriminant treatment by Bacon's militia, the Occoneechi offered to fight the Susquehannocks themselves. The Occoneechi defeated the Susquehannocks. Upon returning home, however, a conflict erupted between the Occoneechi and Bacon’s men over spoils and the fate of the captives. The conflict decimated the Occoneechi, and remaining members of the tribe moved south to an area where Hillsboro, N.C., now stands.

In 1839, William Townes built Occoneechee Plantation built here. The 3,100-acre plantation occupied much of what is now the park as well as Occoneechee Island. The house and many features of the plantation were on land through which Plantation Trail now passes. The plantation was sold to Dempsey Graves Crudup, who lived there with his family until the house burned down on Christmas Eve in 1898. Candles on a Christmas tree probably caused the fire.

In 1947 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began building the John H. Kerr Dam. It was completed in 1953, and the land flooded, forming the John H. Kerr Reservoir, more commonly known as Buggs Island Lake.

In 1968, the state began leasing the land of Occoneechee State Park for recreational use.

FRIENDS GROUP

The Friends of Occoneechee State Park is a group of volunteers registered with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to support the park, its staff and park users. The citizen support organization (CSO) group’s mission is to identify and promote activities to conserve, enhance and interpret the park’s natural, cultural, scenic, historic, educational and recreational resources. Learn about or join the friends group or send an email note.

MASTER PLAN

Master plans must be written for parks before they're built. The plans are updated at least once every five years thereafter. The plans cover the size, types, infrastructure and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources. Three public meetings are held during the initial development of each plan. Click here for this park's master plan.

WILDLIFE

Virginia State Parks are great places to discover and reconnect with the wild world. Bring a camera and share your captures with the world. But please don't disturb or get too close to the animals. The park is, after all, their home. Here are a few recent natural encounters others have had at Occoneechee State Park.

View all wildlife encounter photos from Occoneechee State Park.

 

Upcoming Events

 
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At a Glance

The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or click here to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
BikingBoat LaunchBoat Rentals, Canoe AccessCabins, Family LodgesCamp Store/Gift ShopCampground, Camping Lodges **Dump StationEquestrianEquestrianHikingMotor Boats PermittedNature/Cultural Programs, Visitor CenterParking feePicnic Shelter Rentals, Picnic TablesPlaygroundsRestroomsSelf (interpretive) TrailShoreShowersUniversally Accessible
Biking, Boat Launch, Boat Rentals, Canoe Access, Cabins, Family Lodges, Camp Store/Gift Shop, Campground, Camping Lodges **, Dump Station, Equestrian, Equestrian, Hiking, Motor Boats Permitted, Nature/Cultural Programs, Visitor Center, Parking fee, Picnic Shelter Rentals, Picnic Tables, Playgrounds, Restrooms, Self (interpretive) Trail, Shore, Showers, Universally Accessible