A peaceful woodland park lies along the Staunton River near Scottsburg in Halifax County. This rustic park is only 25 miles from the border of North Carolina and 2 hours from both Richmond and Roanoke.
Staunton River State Park is also along Virginia’s largest lake, Buggs Island Lake, and is one of the original state parks built by the CCC during the 1930s. It still has many of its original structures and is a favorite vacation destination for those who want to camp, swim, boat, fish, explore trails and star gaze.
This Virginia state park’s woodlands, wildflower meadows, two rivers and lake offer plenty of outdoor entertainment. This picturesque park also has rustic cabins, a campground, 3 playgrounds, 4 picnic shelters, tennis and volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and a seasonal snack bar.
The visitor center, an original structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, houses the park’s offices, a gift shop and a discovery center. You can rent tennis rackets, volleyballs and horseshoes here.
Here are some of the other activities that you can do during your visit to Staunton River State Park:
Star Gazing at Staunton River State Park
Staunton River State Park is the first of its kind in Virginia to become a designated International Dark Sky Park. Star gazing, guided observational sessions and telescope rentals are available (contact the park office for more information). A field near the visitor center is a prime spot for year round astronomical observing.
Swimming at Staunton River State Park
Staunton River State Park has a pool area that is currently under renovation and hopes to be quite spectacular when completed. Swimming is not permitted in the Staunton River but otherwise there are no designated swimming areas within the park.
Boating at Staunton River State Park
Enjoy a relaxing day on the lake or tubing down the river during your visit to Staunton River State Park. Bring your own or arrange ahead to rent a kayak or canoe from Hazel Creek Outfitters (they will deliver to the park). Several boat launches are available within the park and both motorized and non-motorized boats are permitted on Buggs Island Lake.
Two things to be aware of when planning a visit:
There are no docking facilities located near the cabins.
The lake’s water level may not permit boating at certain times of the year.
Fishing at Staunton River State Park
Buggs Island Lake is considered one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the entire country. Perch, crappie and bluegill are also popular catches here. Fish from a boat or shore and see what you might catch in either the lake or rivers, just remember to pick up a Virginia freshwater fishing license. You can pick one up online or at the visitor center.
Trails at Staunton River State Park
Staunton River State Park has 17 miles of hiking trails, most of which are also open for mountain bikes and horses. These trails are located throughout the park’s wooded areas and along the rivers and lakeside.
Here are a couple of popular trails at Staunton River State Park:
- River Bank & Twin Loop Trail – Moderate 9.6 mile loop that partly follows the shoreline of the lake and winds through the woods to an overlook of where the two rivers meet. This wide trail is relatively flat but has a few steep uphills.
- River Trail – Easy 2.4 mile trail that is well marked and leads to an overlook with beautiful views of the lake.
Disc Golf at Staunton River State Park
A challenging, nine-hole disc golf course is located in the woods inside of Staunton River State Park. The course runs along River Bank Trail and has a few secluded areas off of it. A practice basket is available for those wanting to warm-up.
The visitor center sells discs on consignment through Off the Chains of South Boston, VA and Dynamic Discs of Kansas. You may also rent discs here if you’re not interested in purchasing them.
Wildlife Viewing at Staunton River State Park
Wildlife viewing is very popular at Staunton River State Park. This is because of the park’s location – riverside, lakeside and nestled in a wooded area. Butterflies, painted turtles, frogs, toads, snakes, squirrels, white-tailed deer, waterfowl, songbirds and many, many more may be seen easily here.
While visiting this serene area you may spot Canadian geese, great egrets, eastern bluebirds, bald eagles, cardinals, great blue herons, loons, wood ducks, woodpeckers, wild turkeys, sparrows and more.
Camping at Staunton River State Park
Staunton River State Park offers camping, cabins and a bunkhouse for overnight accommodations along with modern bathhouses and laundry facilities. The camping season runs from the first Friday in March through the first Monday in December but the cabins are available to rent year round.
Here’s a closer look at each of these accommodations:
The park has 48 campsites, all cozily located within the woods but without views of the lake or rivers (or access to).
Of these sites 13 are tent-only, 20 have water and electric connections for tents or popups up to 20’, 10 have water and electric connections for vans, popups and RVs up to 30’ and 4 have water and electric connections and up to 45’ of space. Electric connections are 20 and 30-amp.
There are 13 campsites in the equestrian campground, some sites are pull-through and some are back-in. All sites have access to water and electric connections. Twenty covered horse stalls, a bathhouse with showers and a picnic shelter are also located at the site.
Virginia state law requires visitors to carry a negative Coggins report for each horse brought to the park. Horses must be kept in a stall when not being ridden.
The Bunkhouse is a 3 room climate controlled trailer located in the main campground area. It has 7 bunk beds (sleeps up to 14), a refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker and electric outlets. The bunkhouse also has a large back deck with picnic tables and a fire ring. A fenced area behind the bunkhouse can accommodate a tent for up to 6 people.
The park has 7 rustic one and two bedroom cabins near the Staunton River (with limited water views because of the line of trees between the cabins and the river). Each cabin has a fully equipped kitchen and combined dining and living room area with a woodstove and mission style rustic furniture. Outside the cabins have decks with rocking chairs.
Cabins do not have a dishwasher, washer/dryer, telephone, tv or linens. You will need to bring your own linens, pillows, warm blankets (it can get very chilly at night), food, dishwashing liquid, dish towels, coffee and filters, salt and pepper, bath towels and toiletries and activities such as board games, cards, magazines and books.
Pets at Staunton River State Park
Pets are allowed inside the park but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet or in an enclosed area. There’s an additional $10 fee per pet per night for the cabins. Please clean up after your pet and do not leave them unattended at any time.
Staunton River State Park
1170 Staunton Trail
Scottsburg, VA 24589
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Staunton River State Park:
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