Lake Phoenix SCUBA Park and Family Campgrounds

Lake Phoenix SCUBA Park and Family Campgrounds, Rawlings: Hours, Address, Lake Phoenix SCUBA Park and Family Campgrounds Reviews: 4/5

Lake Phoenix SCUBA Park and Family Campgrounds

Lake Phoenix SCUBA Park and Family Campgrounds
4
Bodies of Water • Parks
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9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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About
Now OPEN owned as Lake Phoenix SCUBA Park & Family Campgrounds. Open by reservation during winter season, see website. SCUBA, snorkeling, swimming, camping, RV sites amd more. Summer hours start 1 May.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.0
94 reviews
Excellent
47
Very good
21
Average
11
Poor
7
Terrible
8

AmineL
Springfield, VA4 contributions
Friends
We use Lake Phoenix for training and fun diving
and have never been disappointed. My son and daughter loves
to dive there, and the atmosphere is relaxed
compared to most scuba lakes. Camping there is
fun and the diving is great.
Everyone has bad days and although it is a
relaxed atmosphere there is still policies and
procedures that must be followed for everyone's
safety. I recommend Lake Phoenix whenever I can.
Written July 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Polita1
Prince Frederick, MD59 contributions
Family
Lake is clean and temperature is great. Campsites are great with lots of trees, free wood, picnic table fire Ring and grills. Trash is regularly picked up and bath house is well maintained. This is the place if you want to learn and train scuba.
Written July 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

pat21784
Sykesville, MD9 contributions
My stepson and I traveled to Lake Rawlings for a weekend with our local dive shop to complete our open-water qualification dives. After having read numerous negative reviews of the place and its staff (on other sites), we arrived with some trepidation. I will critique Lake Rawlings on a pros vs. cons basis:

Pros: A nice big quarry lake to explore, with very clear and relatively warm water. Lake Rawlings is a former granite quarry which, unlike a limestone quarry, has much less silt at the bottom. Visibility was at least 25', even at a depth of 20'. Maximum depth in the lake is around 70', which is just about perfect for recreational diving. Water temperature (around 70 deg.) was quite tolerable for late October. I was wearing a full 5mm wetsuit (no hood, no gloves), and was quite comfortable in the water, even as I descended into thermoclines below 20 feet. There are fish (bluegill and trout) in the lake, and they aren't shy about checking out the divers -- as soon as they hear your bubbles, they swim over to check you out -- I think they're expecting to be fed. There are also lots of sunken things to explore at the bottom -- boats, a plane, an old school bus, and submerged platforms which are great places for scuba classes to gather and conduct training.

The dive shop staff was friendly (for the most part), efficient and professional (for the most part).

The place has ample campsites, which is good for out-of-towners, as the only nearby lodging is a little B&B, which I'm told is rather pricey. There are many (but not quite enough) picnic pavilions, which are great not only for picnics, but for dive groups to stage their equipment and plan the dives for the day.

Now, the cons: The location is not really convenient for anyone, unless you live in extreme southern Virginia or northern North Carolina. As my dive instructor put it, "it's 30 miles from nowhere." As mentioned earlier, lodging is very limited in the immediate area, so you may want to plan on camping there, or stay at one of the hotels in South Hill, VA, about 30 miles to the south.

They need more of the picnic pavilions closer to the water. My group (and many others) had to make strenuous 1/4-mile hikes from our pavilion to the lake, wearing wetsuits, weight belts, BCD's and tanks, and carrying our fins and masks.

Parking was quite difficult -- every vehicle is assigned a parking area upon entering the park, which may or may not be close to your pavilion (which must be reserved ahead of time). If your parking area is not close to your pavilion, it means you must either hump your heavy scuba gear a long way, or "sneak" your vehicle in closer to your pavilion to offload. Most of the unpaved roads around the park are narrow, and when people sneak in to offload, traffic gets rather chaotic. That leads me to the biggest "con" at Lake Rawlings -- a cranky old lady (who became known as "the parking nazi") who rolls around the park in a golf cart, ordering people to move their vehicles to their assigned parking areas, "NOW!!!" It does no good to explain that you're just offloading your gear and you'll move your car in just a few minutes. Yes, the parking in the pavilion areas does get chaotic when everyone is arriving and offloading at the same time, but there's no excuse for treating people (customers) rudely.

The dive shop is not much more than an old tin shack, lacking air conditioning, and I'm told it gets outrageously hot in there during the summer. I wouldn't consider purchasing any equipment there except in case of an emergency -- missing or broken gear. They do offer air and nitrox tank fills, but be advised, they fill your tanks "hot," meaning they don't put them in a tub of water during filling. The result is that you will have less air in your tank than you'd expect from a place that cools tanks during refills.

There is a snack shop at the park, but be prepared to be gouged -- if you haven't brought your own food, they've got you by the short hairs, and they know it.

The restroom/shower facilities leave a bit to be desired. If you want a shower before you head home, bring a roll of quarters (yes, they charge for showers), and bring a pair of flip-flops -- there isn't a square inch of dry floor in there.

I know my list of "cons" is rather long, but we really did enjoy our weekend at Lake Rawlings. I would still recommend it to anyone who'd like to do some diving but can't get to the ocean. A few small improvements would make the experience hugely better for customers -- more pavilions and/or a shuttle service to/from the lake entry point and parking areas; cleaner, drier bath house with free showers; a more permanent building for the dive shop.

Overall, I give the lake an A -- a great place to dive if you can't get to some warm, tropical ocean waters. I give the facility a C -- not bad, but plenty of room for improvement.
Written November 19, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kelsey K
Portsmouth, VA3 contributions
Couples
Absolutely terrible and a joke to the SCUBA community. Money hungry owner, who cuts people off, when I was calmly telling him our problem. Terrible customer service a d horrible attitude from front desk ladies. Don’t waste your time or money here.
Written September 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jerry B
Stafford, VA1 contribution
Family
The guy Kevin in the dive shop is very rude and has a smart-allek comment for everything. You would think if you're paying them money they would be helpful and nice. Don't waste your money here go somewhere else.!!!
Written October 8, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alfred & Rose R
Fredericksburg, United States3 contributions
Friends
A dive buddy and I visited the new Lake Phoenix (formerly Rawlings) yesterday, and were impressed with both the dive site and customer service. It is very apparent that the new operation is upping the game; they have made improvements to the facility and the staff seem genuinely friendly and welcoming. That is very unlike the previous (Rawlings) operation.

Scuba diving has always been very good here, and now the customer service is on par.

Kudos guys!
Written May 18, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for the kind comments. We are working on getting the name here changed on Trip Advisor!
Written December 31, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DiverHoo
1 contribution
Solo
Just a heads-up that if you're okay with kneeling during the National Anthem, you're not welcome at Lake Phoenix. The owner has made this perfectly clear on Lake Phoenix's Facebook page. If you're good with that, this is the place for you.

If you're not good with giving your money to someone who explicitly states that you're not welcome there, then I'd seek another dive location.

It's your call.
Written September 25, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rico1965
Williamsburg, VA71 contributions
Family
Lake Rawling is gone and Lake Phoenix is open for business! I dived at the old Lake Rawling for over 10 years and can't be happier with what the new owner has done with Lake Phoenix. The first thing that will strike you is the condition of the dive shop which is now fully lit, clean, organized and business like. The Lake Phoenix owner has employed numerous paperless solutions online and in the shop that has the operation looking and feeling like a real business. The biggest change though is the customer service. Like all successful small business owners Rob Grose and his staff are dedicated to providing first class customer service in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere which is a great change from previous management. I had the chance to speak with several Lake Phoenix staff members and all were equally friendly and helpful. Mr. Grose has made many enhancements to the property and is in the process of making more. Lake Phoenix is on its way to reaching the potential that many knew it had for years. If you liked diving at Lake Rawling you're going to love Lake Phoenix.

PS - Trip Adviser needs to create a Lake Phoenix entity and put the name Lake Rawling to bed forever.
Written July 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for the kind comments. We are working on getting the name here changed on Trip Advisor!
Written December 31, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alison H
Brindle, UK62 contributions
Family
Went to Lake Rawlings for my daughter to complete her junior PADI training in October 2012. the lake itself is lovely with very clear water and well equipped with diving platforms at various levels and stuff to see under water. It was busier than I expected, but the groups were all checked in and out and this aspect was well organised.
I can agree with previous comments about rudeness of staff in the checking in building. It was our first visit and we were spoken to as if we were idiots for not knowing the routine, which I nearly flashed at as the way I was spoken to was so rude. We are Brits and had always enjoyed the friendly welcome we received pretty much everywhere in the US apart from Lake Rawlings, which was a shame. Other members of staff were ok though and the little cafe served cheap and cheerful food for hungry divers.
As for the actual training this was undertaken by the individual companies using the site so is a separate matter. A matter of slight concern was that one member of the party my daughter was with started to have trouble breathing. One of the members of the group was shouting for help and it took a while before anyone on the bank responded, at first we didn't know if it was a real incident or not, because the cries were intermittent and not coming from the group leader ( which was also a bit odd) but nonetheless someone fronm the safety team should have been in the water straight away just in case.
For these reasons I only gave the Lake an 'average' rating but it could get more easily if it trained its staff ( one guy in particular) to be more polite and welcoming, and sorted out its organisation a little better. It is a great facility and my daughter loved the diving aspect which I guess is the main thing.
Written April 13, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

chris k
Winchester, VA435 contributions
This is the venue where junior divers come to certify and those who already have come for practice or higher certifications. The site is an old quarry and the water is famed for being clear, with large and curious bass who like to greet divers new and old. All this is utterly soured by the staff, most especially an elderly lady w glasses who appears to have never had a nice day in her life. There is a sign on the site that reads “be nice or leave”. This staff member should have left long ago.
Written August 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Lake Phoenix SCUBA Park and Family Campgrounds

Lake Phoenix SCUBA Park and Family Campgrounds is open:
  • Mon - Thu 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Fri - Fri 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
  • Sat - Sun 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

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