All up, Virginia is home to 41 incredible state parks. Some of which rank among the best in the country.
Affectionately known as ‘The Mountain State’, many of these parks possess incredible landscapes of soaring peaks, craggy bluffs, dense alpine forest, stunning rivers and gorgeous, scenic lakes.
For those who live in or around the fringes of Lexington, these parks provide excellent places to visit, when you want to escape from the faster pace of city life.
Enabling you to go swimming, hiking, fishing, boating, camping and picnicking in the great outdoors, there are several, wonderful, public wilderness recreational spaces that are pretty much right on your doorstep.
With that in mind, here are 5 state parks near Lexington you should head to, next time you fancy venturing out and about in nature.
Map of State Parks Near Lexington VA
Here is a map of the state parks in Virginia covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Lexington
All five of the state parks near Lexington showcased below can be reached within a drive of less than two hours. This means they are terrific places to visit on a day trip.
However, should you want to stay for an extend period at any of them, they all offer a range of camping accommodation options for you to use.
Location: 6477 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge, VA 24578
At just a 20 minute drive south from Lexington, The Natural Bridge State Park is a figurative stone’s throw away from your hometown.
Incorporating picturesque forestland, rolling meadows full of stunning wildflowers, raging waterfalls, verdant valleys and stunning exceptional views of the mountainous surrounds, this 1,540 acre park is a top spot for hiking and photography.
One of its main drawcards is a spectacular 215-foot tall natural bridge. Carved out by Cedar Creek within a limestone gorge, this incredible structure has been awarded National Historic Landmark status, and is very Insta-worthy.
Onsite, the pet-friendly campground, has 31 full hook-up sites available, as well as 25 tent sites and a sprinkling of cabins.
There is also a splendid swimming pool to enjoy, while the kids are sure to make plenty of use of the playground equipment and games room.
Location: 14239 Douthat State Park Rd, Millboro, VA 24460
Established all the way back in 1936, the Douthat State Park is one of Virginia’s oldest and most popular state parks.
Situated just a 40 minute drive northeast of Lexington, this impressive destination actually features on the National Register of Historic Places, as a consequence of the pivotal role it played in creating other state parks in the USA.
Featuring the most breathtaking mountain scenery, this park is a haven for anglers, because as well as four miles of stream fishing, there is also a 50-acre lake that is filled with trout as well.
If fishing is not your bag, you can also swim, kayak, canoe or SUP on the lake, or sunbathe on its sandy shoreline. While there are also several trails for hiking and mountain biking to explore.
In terms of accommodation, the park offers 32 cabins and 3 lodges which can sleep between 15-18 guests in each one.
Location: 6620 Ben H Bolen Dr, Dublin, VA 24084
Just over a 90 minute drive southwest of Lexington you’ll find the stunning Claytor Lake State Park.
Featuring the fabulous 4500-acre Claytor Lake, which sits within a reservoir that extends for 21-miles, the 472-acre state park is a very popular destination for those who enjoy water based recreational activities.
Centered around three shimmering miles of shoreline, kayaking, SUP, canoeing, boating, swimming and sport fishing, are all regularly practiced here. While there are several hiking trails that will take you to various scenic spots around the park.
Those interested in camping will find a number of sites for tents and RVs, as well as 15 well appointed cabins and three comfortable lodges that look out to the lake.
4. Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Location: 1235 Rd 888, Huddleston, VA 24104
Another excellent state park that is a 90 minute drive, this time south, from Lexington is the Smith Mountain Lake State Park.
Home to Virginia’s second largest freshwater lake, this is another place to fully immerse yourself in a gamut of water based recreational activities. While those who like hiking or biking will enjoy the opportunity to explore the flora and fauna within several trails that wind through the 1,148-acre state park. Many of which will take you to beautiful spots with outstanding views that are great places for a picnic.
If that sounds a bit too energetic for you, there is a fantastic public beach that is a lovely place to paddle or sunbathe on.
Most of the accommodation options at the park are located near the beautiful lake. Comprising 50 sites that have been set aside for tents, trailers and RVs, (of which 14 are electric) the campground also offers 20 well furnished cabins, as well as a convenient bunkhouse too.
Location: 967 Fairystone Lake Dr, Stuart, VA 24171
Arguably one of Virginia’s most intriguing destinations is Fairy Stone State Park.
Reached via an hour and 50 minutes drive south from Lexington, it is the furthest public recreational space from the city on this list.
However, it is well worth the drive there on account of the unique ‘fairy stones’ which are prevalent throughout the park. Many of which resemble a Roman or St Andrew’s cross shape.
Spread across some 4,741 acres, one of the big attractions in this park is its wonderful 168-acre lake. Leading on to the comely Philpott Reservoir, it is an especially good spot for swimming, fishing and boating.
There is also a terrific beach here, as well as a couple of very good children’s playgrounds. While the park also boasts a number of exceptional hiking trails which showcase wonderful views of the surrounding area.
Among the parks camping accommodation options are tent, RV and trailer sites, as well as group camping and a lodge.