GENERAL INFO: Just across the James River from historic Jamestown, Chippokes Plantation is one of the oldest continually farmed plantations in the country. A working farm since 1619, the park offers modern recreational activities and a glimpse of life in a bygone era. Visitors tour the historic area with its antebellum mansion and outbuildings, stroll through formal gardens, and view antique equipment at the Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum. A campground and four overnight cottages allow visitors to stay on the historic grounds. The park has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a visitor center with a gift shop. It also provides opportunities to bike, hike, ride horseback and picnic. Chippokes Plantation also offers wedding packages and meeting facilities.
Park Size: 1,683 acres.
Current Weather: Click here to visit the Weather Channel's site for this zip code.
AT-A-GLANCE: The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Click on those of interest or read below for more detail. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
LOCATION: Surry County. From I-95 and I-295, take Route 10 towards Hopewell. Follow Route 10 East for approximately 40 miles to Surry. Turn left at the intersection of routes 10 and 31 (this continues on Route 10). Turn right at the stop light. Turn left at Route 634 (Alliance Road), and the park entrance is four miles on the left.
Its address is 695 Chippokes Park Rd., Surry, VA 23883; Latitude, 37.137369. Longitude, -76.727691.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia: 2 - 3 hours; Richmond: 1.5 hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach: 1.5 hours; Roanoke: 4 hours
PARK MAP: Click here.
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES: Cabins and camping. For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call ll 1-800-933-PARK. Rental rates for cabins and camping vary by season, dwelling and park. First, determine the appropriate season, which can vary by park, then the relevant rate.You also may want to learn about cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for overnight stays.
Note: All cabin guests must have the reservation number or confirmation letter to enter their cabin. The last four digits of the reservation number and the # symbol must be entered on a keypad to unlock the cabin's entrance.
Visit a Flickr photoset of cottages at Chippokes. Cabins and lodges vary. Dwellings may not match what's shown in the photos.
Weekly rentals during prime season begin on Saturdays.
One-bedroom cabin (Cabin 3, Osborne House). ADA accessible. Sleeps two, allows four; may rent two beds. Double bed. universally accessible. Built around 1930 as a tenant farmer’s house, this cabin has been designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities. This single-story one-bedroom cabin has an access ramp and deck.
Two-bedroom cabin (Cabin 1, Spratley House). Sleeps four, allows six; may rent two beds. Double bed; single bed with a trundle. This house was built in 1947 as a reproduction colonial structure on the site of an earlier building. This two-story house has two upstairs bedrooms in what was once an open loft.
Two-bedroom cabin (Cabin 4, Price House). Sleeps five; no bed rentals. This one-story structure was built around 1920. The master bedroom has a queen sized bed. The second bedroom has a set of bunk beds and a single bed. There is also a carpenter’s bench. The spacious living room is equipped with a TV and DVD player. The country style kitchen seats six. The cabin is on the perimeter of park land that is continually farmed and has a scenic view.
Three-bedroom cabin (Cabin 2, Brown House). Sleeps six, allows eight; may rent two beds. Double bed; two single beds; twin with a trundle. This is one of the oldest structures on the plantation and was built around 1850 as an overseer’s house. This two-story house has a master bedroom downstairs with a double bed, and two upstairs bedrooms - one with two twin beds, and one with a twin bed and a trundle. There's also a sofa bed in the living room.
Total cabins in park: Four
The park has two campgrounds; the maximum occupancy per campsite is six.
One area has 30 wooded sites (Camp A EW30ft) with electric and water; they can accommodate tents, pop-ps and RVs up to 30 feet long. Most sites aren't level. There's one ADA-compliant site here near an ADA-compliant bathhouse with showers. The amphitheater, just-behind the bathhouse, is also by this loop. Sites accept 20 and 30-amp current. Tent campers prefer these sites because they're shadier than those in Campground B.
Also in Campground A is a group camping area with four tent sites (Camp A GrpStdTent). They're for tents only and have no electric/water hookups. Maximum occupancy is 24 (six per site). Group sites that accommodate more than six people have a higher cancellation fee than do regular campsites. The group sites are not near Campground B's group sites.
Campground B has 18 water and electric sites (Camp B EW50ft) that are up to 50 feet long and accept 30 and 50-am current. RV guests and those with longer rigs prefer these longer sites, which are less shady than those in Campground A. The sites are paved and level; some are pull-through, however such sites can't be guaranteed. The sites have a gravel “living space” area. Campground B has one ADA-compliant site near its ADA-accessible bathhouse, which has a laundry facility.
Also in Campground B is a group camping area with four tent sites (Camp B GrpStdTent). They're for tents only and have one electric-water hookup for each set of two sites. Maximum occupancy is 24 (six per site). Group sites that accommodate more than six people have a higher cancellation fee than do regular campsites. The group sites are not near Campground A's group sites.
Regarding Campgrounds A and B:
Total sites: Camp A EW30ft, 30; Camp B EW50ft, 18; Camp A GrpStdTent, 1; Camb B GrpStdTent, 1
SWIMMING: Note: From mid-August through Labor Day, swimming may be available only on weekends and Labor Day. If your stay depends on using the pool, please contact the park before making a reservation. Olympic size swimming pool and separate kiddie pool open Memorial Day to Labor Day, Monday through Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; on Friday through Sunday and holidays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Click here for park fees.
In the summer, swimming is free for overnight guests in campsites, cabins and the 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.
TRAILS: The park has 3.5 miles of hiking and bicycling trails, a half-mile of which is accessible to people with physical disabilities, through the historic area, as well as an auto farm tour road. The park also has an equestrian area with about 10 miles of riding fun available around farm fields as well as two long, multiple-use trails.
Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Chippokes Plantation's trails.
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 Chippokes Plantation.
View all wildlife encounter photos from Chippokes Plantation.
FISHING, BOATING: Freshwater fishing is available with a valid Virginia fishing license.
Boating: No boat rentals. No boat launching at this park.
HUNTING: Click here to learn about this park's hunting opportunities.
HORSES: None, but there are bridle trails. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.
EVENTS: Click here to view park events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP: The park's visitor center features exhibits on the history of the plantation, the James River and agricultural methods.
NATURE, HISTORY PROGRAMS: Mansion and Farm and Forestry Museum tours, canoe programs, Junior Rangers, plantation and crop field tours, beach walks, seasonal programs.
Canoe trips are offered on most Saturdays and Sundays from April through Labor Day. (Click on the "Park Events" tab at the top of this page for details.) The trip includes basic instruction, safety tips, a guided tour of Lower Chippokes Creek and plenty of canoeing. Two types of trips - Lower Chippokes Paddle and Exploring the James - are offered, depending on tides and the weather. The trips center on the unique nature and history of Chippokes. Call the Reservation Center, 800-933-PARK Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., to pre-register and for dates and times.
Not all trips sell out, so those interested should visit the visitor center for walk-in availability. Participants may also transfer reservations by calling the Reservation Center up to seven days prior to the date the canoe trip is scheduled. A $10 cancellation fee will be charged. Transfers and refunds are unavailable after that deadline, but refunds will be made if the trip is cancelled because of small craft advisories or dangerous weather. If cancelled, Virginia State Parks will not waive cancellation fees for overnight cabin or camping reservations.
Children 6 to 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 45 pounds and pets are not allowed on the trips. All trips begin at the Jones-Stewart Mansion parking lot and include a one-mile wagon ride to the canoe dock. Bottled water, bug spray, sun screen and hat are recommended.
Chippokes Mansion Tours: Tours of the 19th century Chippokes Mansion are available weekends April through October and other times by reservation for groups of 10 or more. In the spring, special tours of the mansion and gardens are offered in conjunction with Garden Week. (Click on the "Park Events" tab at the top of this page for details.) During the Christmas season, the mansion is decked in Victorian period decorations and open for tours.
Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum: Opened in June 1990, the Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum displays more than 600 antiques to interpret rural early American farm life. The seven building complex is open for self-guided tours daily, except for Christmas, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Click here to view park events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER: None.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown. Also check out Surry County's site, www.toursurryva.com.
PICNIC SHELTERS: Picnic areas include drinking water, grills and restroom facilities. Picnic shelters are also available on a reservation basis by calling the Reservation Center 800-933-7275. If alcohol is to be present, an ABC permit must be obtained and shown to appropriate park staff. Call 757-294-3625 for details about shelters at Chippokes.
Chippokes Plantation State Park Picnic Shelters
Two shelters near the visitor center are available for rent. They can be rented from 8 a.m. to dusk (all day). Click here for park fees.
Reservations for shelters are recommended and can be made by calling the Reservation Center at 1-800-933-PARK. All shelter guests must pay applicable parking and swimming fees. Parking, swim fees and other concessions are not included in the shelter rental.
Amenities: All shelters have grills, picnic tables and access to restroom. They are all located in the vicinity of the Visitor Center with a view of the James River.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
Shelter #1: Small shelter. Can accommodate 30-35 people. No electricity.
Shelter #2: Large shelter. Can accommodate 60-65 people. Has electrical outlet.
Other facilities: A conference shelter in the park's historic area accommodates up to 200. The shelter, which has a kitchen with a range, oven and refrigerator, can be rented for wedding receptions, meetings and special events. Call 800-933-7275 to reserve the shelter. Click here to learn more about wedding facilities and packages at Chippokes.
Rental periods: Available daily from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., including setup and cleanup.
Historic area grounds: Available daily 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Mansion Conference Room: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. or 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Pool complex: This facility may be reserved before or after normal pool hours by calling the park, (757) 294-3625. Memorial Day-Labor Day: Mon-Thursday, 9 a.m. - noon or 6 p.m. - 9 p.m..
WEATHER: Chippokes Plantation State Park has on-site equipment that provides up-to-the-minute weather information. Click here for current conditions using WeatherUnderground.com, or click here to for the data on wviewweather.com. Click here to visit the Weather Channel's site for the zip code.
CONCESSIONS: Operate from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day and include a snack bar and a swimming pool.
LAUNDRY: There's a laundry facility near the bathhouse in Campground B.
RESTAURANT: None in park; available in nearby Surry.
HISTORY: Captain William Powell, a prominent colonial gentleman, received a grant for 550 acres of river frontage on Chippokes Creek in 1619. This is the first record of ownership for this land. The plantation and the bordering creek were named for an Indian chief who befriended the early English settlers. Under the ownership of Colonel Henry Bishop in 1646, the plantation was expanded to its present boundaries encompassing 1,403 acres.
In 1854, Albert Carroll Jones built the present Chippokes Mansion, which overlooks the historic James River. This Italianate structure was built of brick, stuccoed and painted on its river facade. Chippokes was once the site of one of the few legal distilleries in the Commonwealth. Local legend has it that the mansion survived the Civil War because Albert Jones sold his brandies to both sides during the war. The plantation changed owners many times before it was bought by Thornton Jeffress of Rochester, New York and V.W. Stewart of Wilson, North Carolina in 1918. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart moved to Chippokes and put much effort into restoring the property and compiling a detailed history of the plantation. Upon her husband's death, Mrs. Stewart, in order to preserve the plantation in its entirety, donated Chippokes Plantation to the Commonwealth as a memorial to her husband in 1967. Mrs. Stewart hoped that the plantation would be made into a park and preserved as a working farm to interpret day-to-day farm life through the centuries.
Chippokes Plantation State Park is operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation with cooperation from the Chippokes Plantation Farm Foundation. The Virginia General Assembly created the foundation in 1977 to establish, administer and maintain the model farm.
Funding for foundation efforts are from the General Assembly with matching private donations.
FRIENDS GROUP: The Friends of Chippokes (FOC), a 501c(3) organization, volunteers at the park and helps raise funds. It runs a seasonal gift shop, seeks donations, and helps with events and the maintenance of trails and the grounds. Click here to view the group's webcam. FOC depends on volunteers willing to work on improving the park. The group meets on the second Saturday of each month. Membership is $15 per person, $25 per family. Call (757) 294-3625 to learn more.
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 (PDF) for this park's master plan.
CONTACT INFO: Chippokes Plantation State Park, 695 Chippokes Park Rd., Surry, VA 23883; Phone: (757) 294-3625; email: chippokes.