Tucked neatly into the heart of Virginia, about 25 miles from the North Carolina border, Staunton River offers much to families and outdoor enthusiasts. The 2,400-acre park offers woodlands, meadows and shoreline along the Dan and Staunton rivers. Cabins built in the 1930s by the CCC and a campground offer overnight lodging. The equestrian campground offers large campsites and horse stalls. Access to Virginia's largest lake, Buggs Island Lake, offers freshwater fishing and boating, along with water skiing and many other aquatic activities. The park also has Olympic-sized and wading pools, picnic shelters, three playgrounds, tennis and volleyball courts, several boat launches and more than 17 miles of multi-use trails. River Traders, just outside the park entrance, rents canoes and kayaks.
This park is the first state park in Virginia to be designated an International Dark Sky Park and is ideal for stargazing. Park staff conducts associated interpretive programs and rents telescopes. Contact the park for more information on star-watching opportunities.
8 a.m. - 10 p.m.during the summer season and 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. the rest of the year.
Staunton River State Park is 18 miles east of South Boston. Take U.S. 360 to Route 344. Follow Route 344 for 10 miles to the park, located southeast of Scottsburg, Va.
Its address is 1170 Staunton Trail, Scottsburg, Va. 24589-9636.
Latitude, 36.696066. Longitude, -78.685254.
Northern Virginia, three and a half hours; Richmond, two hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, three hours; Roanoke, two hours
From the north: Take U.S. 501 south to Halifax, Va. At intersection of U.S. 501 and state Route 360, turn left; go about eight miles. At intersection of state Route 360 and U.S. 360, go straight through the stoplight to Route 344. Travel 10 miles to the park entrance, which is southeast of Scottsburg, Va.
From the south: Take U.S. 501 north to South Boston, Va. At intersection of U.S. 501 and U.S. 58, turn right onto U.S. 58 east; go approximately one mile and turn left at stoplight onto U.S. 360; travel east on U.S. 360 approximately eight miles and turn right onto Route 344; go 10 miles to park entrance.
From the west: Take U.S. 58 east to the intersection of U.S. 58 and U.S. 360; turn left at stoplight onto U.S. 360; go east approximately eight miles and turn right onto Route 344; travel 10 miles to park entrance.
From the east: Take U.S. 360 west to Scottsburg, Va; at intersection of U.S. 360 with state Route 360 and Route 344, turn left at stoplight onto Route 344; travel 10 miles to park entrance.
2,336 acres. Buggs Island Lake (Kerr Reservoir): 48,000 acres.
Cabins and camping. 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.
Visit a Flickr photoset of typical cabins and lodges at the park. Cabins and lodges vary. Dwellings 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.
There is a two-night minimum stay on all cabins.
The park's cabins are on the Staunton River but they are not waterfront. In late fall and early spring, there is a limited view of the water. There is a line of trees between cabins and the water. Boaters should remove boats from the water after use because no docking facilities are near the cabins.
Bring food, extra towels, coffee filters, salt and pepper, cooking spray, charcoal, starter fluid and any unusual cooking utensils.
Late arrivals: Guests expecting to arrive after 4 p.m. should call the park beforehand.
Total sites of each type: One-room frame efficiency, 1; One-bedroom frame, 2; Two-bedroom frame, 4
Total sites of each type: EW 45-ft, 4; EW 30-ft, 10; EW pop/tent, 20; Tent Std., 13
EW 30-ft - Electric and water hookups, various equipment up to 30 feet, bathhouse available.
EW Pop/Tent - Electric and water hookups, popup and tent campers up to 20 feet, bathhouse available.
EW 45-ft - Electric and water hookups, pull-through up to 45 feet, RVs only, bathhouse available.
Tent Std - Tents only, no hookups, bathhouse available.
Total campsites: 47
Camping Lodge (Bunkhouse) in Campground Area. Two-night minimum.; no full-week requirement. This camping lodge’s maximum occupancy is 14. There’s also a fenced-in campsite (bring your own tent) just behind it that accommodates up to six people. The three-room dwelling has seven bunk beds, a large back deck, picnic tables, a fire ring with cooking grate and one electrical outlet in each room. There’s no water spigot. Cooking and smoking are not permitted inside the camping lodge (bunkhouse). Parking for up to five vehicles is covered; all other vehicles must pay the park's daily parking fee and park in the overflow area. It’s available during camping season only, from March 1 to first Monday in December. This facility is not sold 11 months in advance. It becomes available for rent in January. Check-in is 4 p.m., check-out is 10 a.m.
The transfer deadline policy and cancellation and pet fees are the same as those for cabins.
Equestrian Camping: Electric and water hookups and a central dump station are available. Sites 1-10 are pull-through with paved surfacing and can accommodate a camping unit up to 50 feet long and one vehicle. Sites 11-13 are back-in with a gravel surface and a tent pad and can accommodate camping units up to 30 feet long with one vehicle. There are 20 covered horse stalls, a bathhouse with showers and a picnic shelter. Picnic tables, fire-rings and charcoal grills are available at each site.
Hiking and self-guided trails; horses allowed on multi-use trail. Ten wooded trails provide miles of hiking along the Dan and Staunton rivers as well as Buggs Island Lake. Multi-use trails are open for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Bring your own horse and bike.
Note: To prevent damage to the park's trails, trails are often closed during wet conditions. Please call the park at (434) 572-4623 prior to your visit to ensure that the trails are available for use.
Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Staunton River's trails.
The park has an Olympic sized pool and a wading pool open from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. The larger pool has a 70-foot waterslide known as "the Moccasin" as well as a smaller log slide in the shallow end. The Pollywog Pond has a frog slide and many fun water toys for kids and toddlers. (You must be less than 45 inches tall to play in the Pollywog Pond.) The pool complex is open from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day and includes a bathhouse and concessions area. In-season, swimming is free for overnight guests in campsites, cabins and the camping lodge, however it cannot be guaranteed should circumstances beyond the park's control require that swimming be closed. We do not give refunds for swimming to overnight guests under any circumstances. Also, prior to mid-June and after mid-August, pool hours may vary. Contact the visitor center for details. Click here for park fees.
The pool facility can be rented for after-hours use on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit the visitor center for rental details.
The Dan and Staunton rivers and Buggs Island Lake are famous for the number and size of fish there. Bass, bluegill, crappie and perch are plentiful. Although the park doesn’t rent boats, River Traders, just outside the park, rents canoes, kayaks and jon-boats. The park has a boat launch. A Buggs Island Special Pass that covers boat launching and parking for Occoneechee and Staunton River state parks is available. A valid Virginia fishing license is required; purchase one in the park's visitor center. Annual boat launch passports are available by calling 1-800-933-PARK.
No boat rentals at this park. Guests must bring their own boats. Boat launching ramp is available. These facilities may not be accessible if the water level is too high or low. If your visit depends on the ability to launch your boat, please call the park in advance. Both motorized and non-motorized boats are permitted on Buggs Island Lake. River Traders, just outside park entrance, rents canoes and kayaks. Call 434-575-1022 for pricing, more information and reservation. Click here for park fees.
The park was designated as the 25th International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association in July 2015. The park hosts guided observing sessions monthly throughout the summer and sessions for special astronomical events throughout the year. The Chapel Hill Astronomical Observational Society has donated two Newtonian-reflector telescopes that may be rented at the visitor center. The telescope, two lenses, a star map, printed instructions and hands-on tutorial by park staff come with rental.
The park hosts the Staunton River Star Party, along with the Chapel Hill Astronomical Observational Society, every March and October. Registration is required, however each Saturday night during the event is free and open to the public. Here's more information about the Star Party.
A field next the visitor center is available year-round for astronomical observing. Parking fees apply. Contact the visitor center for more information.
Horseback riders are allowed on multi-use trail. There are no horse rentals in the park or nearby, but there are overnight facilities for horses at the park. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park. Horses must be kept on designated trails and are not allowed on park roads, in camping areas or in day-use areas.
Click here for the park's trail guide.
South Boston Museum, South Boston Speedway. 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 Banister River. Check www.gohalifaxva.com for current local offerings. Visit www.gohalifaxva.com for current local offerings.
Shelters can be rented from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 1-800-933-PARK to reserve. Parking and swimming fees are not included in shelter rental. Click here for park fees.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee. The policy applies as well to the park's two mini-shelters decribed below.
Amenities: Both shelters have grills, picnic tables and access to nearby restrooms.
Shelter 1: Near the Dan River, this shelter provides a shady setting for reunions, picnics and other special events. It accommodates up to 60 comfortably. There is a spigot that allows access to potable water and a large grill at the back of the shelter. There's no deck but there is a graveled area by the grill. This shelter offers no view of the river; access to the river is limited. A walk of about two minutes brings you to the river. The shelter is near a playground, horseshoe pit and trash disposal, and bathrooms are about five minutes away. This shelter offers access to the pool area via the Tutelo Trail, a 5-10 minute walk. First-come, first-served picnic tables that can be used to accommodate more people are around shelter. (Note: Several distances mentioned above might prove difficult for the disabled.)
Shelter 2: Beside the Dan River, this shelter provides a shady setting for reunions, picnics and other special events. It accommodates up to 60 comfortably. There is a spigot that allows access to potable water and a large grill at the back of the shelter. First-come, first-served picnic tables that can be used to accommodate more people are around shelter. This shelter has a spacious deck near the grill and offers a waterfront view and easy access to the water. There is a boat launch that can be used when the water level is high, but users must pay a launching fee. Also, the shelter features a playground, horseshoe pit and trash disposal, and universally accessible bathrooms are only a short distance away. The shelter is not, however, equipped with a ramp for easy access by the disabled. Spacious grounds for softball, badminton, soccer, etc., are nearby. Guests must provide their own equipment.
Turkey Trail mini-shelter 1: This small picnic shelter, open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. March 1 through Nov. 30, allows up to 15 people. It can be rented all day for a small fee. The 18 by 20 foot structure is covered, with all sides open, and has a 12-foot table, a 6-foot table and one small charcoal grill. It’s near a water spigot, restrooms and a trash bin. The shelter is not universally accessible.
Deer View mini-shelter 2: This small picnic shelter, open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. March 1 through Nov. 30 annually, allows up to 15 people. It can be rented all day for a small fee. The 18 by 20 foot structure is covered, with all sides open, and has a 12-foot table, a 6-foot table and one small charcoal grill. It’s near a water spigot, restrooms and a trash bin. The shelter is not universally accessible.
None at this park.
The visitor center, which was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, was extensively renovated in 2009. Today the building houses the Discovery Center, a gift shop and park offices.
None. This park has a snack bar in season.
The campground bathhouse has laundry facilities. Check with the visitor center for availability during the off-season.
None at this park.
Tennis courts and volleyball courts are near the pool. There's also a playground behind the visitor center.
Guided hikes, evening amphitheater programs, canoe trips, guest speakers/entertainers. Call the park for details. Click here to view all parks' events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
Snack bar from Memorial Day to Labor Day only. No concessions otherwise.
Staunton River State Park takes its name from a river that borders the park. The river was named for Captain Henry Staunton who, before the Revolutionary War, commanded a company of soldiers to protect early settlers from Indian attacks. The soldiers patrolled from the mountains to the mouth of the Dan River. This section of the Roanoke River became known as Captain Staunton’s River and later, Staunton River. Forty years later, in the 1810s, the river became an important means of transporting tobacco, a popular cash crop. Many large plantations were built in the area. During the Civil War, most of these plantations were destroyed.
In 1933, Virginia's Commission of Conservation and Development bought 1,766 acres of farmland bordering the river from several owners. From 1933 to 1935, a unit of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built most of the buildings and facilities that are still seen today at the park. The CCC barracks were near what is today a nature trail in the park. The park opened June 15, 1936. Buggs Island Lake was formed with the construction of the Kerr Dam in 1952. Although creation of Virginia's largest lake was an asset to the park, more than 150 acres of the original park lands were flooded.
Staunton River State Park was recognized in 2007 as a National Historic Landmark and a Virginia Historic Landmark. Many structures in the park, including the cabins, visitor center, pool-house and picnic shelters, are little changed from when they were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s.
The park continues to grow. A recent land purchase has increased its size to 2,400 acres. Facilities are modern and well-maintained, but Staunton River State Park remains true to its roots. Its sturdy structures honor and memorialize CCC members who worked so hard to build them.
Master plans must be written for parks before they're built. The plans are updated at least once every 10 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.