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“We stayed here for about 4 days in September. Great!”

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Big Meadows Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 15, 2011

We stayed here for our camping/hiking trip a few days ago, and loved it! We chose remote tent site 52, which was really nice. It had a flat tent pad, close access to the bathrooms, and dumpsters, but not too close. It has a nice clean fire pit, a picnic table, and a bear locker. This campground, and the surrounding areas are positively thick with both Deer and Black bears, we saw many of both, along with quite a few Monarch butterfly caterpillars, and chrysalis. The nights in mid September where cool, with warm days. The Big Meadows lodge is well within walking distance, and the camp, and especially our tent site(52) was within a 2 minute walk of the Appalachian Trail(AT). You can access pretty much everything via walking(depending on your health) and there are awesome trails within 2 miles walk of tent site 52 within Big Meadows. At night we could here the Deer walking around our tent, which at first was a little troubling, as it sounded like people, but we got used to that.

This camp is extremely clean, and well maintained, with all the amenities you would need while camping. A nice lodge, if you want to go out to diner. A VERY nice, and well stocked camp store within walking, or a very short drive, and a gas station to help you fuel up to drive Skyline Drive.

You can get cell service by walking behind site 52, taking the AT South for 200 to 300 yards, and there is an outcropping of rocks, where you will get probably the best cell service available in that area. You can generally get Verizon cell service at the Big Meadows Lodge, or 10 feet in front of the double entry doors at the Big Meadows, camp store.

There are water spickets throughout camp, and plenty of clean bathrooms, as well as hot showers that SURPRISINGLY get hot right away. At the time of this writing, you get a 5 minute shower for 1 dollar. We used these once, and they were great after hiking miles. They even have a heat lamp in them, for the colder nights.

We found both the rangers, and the camp host to be very nice, and helpful.

We found the staff at the Big Meadows Lodge, and camp store to be very polite, helpful, and friendly.

I will stay here again in a heart beat. We really loved it. I will try to attach a video to this review, so you can see some of the area for yourself.

In mid September, the camp was only 1/4 to 1/2 full at any given time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-4z3kupivI

Mark :)

Room Tip: Get Verizon cell service from the Big Meadows Lodge, or from the Appalachian trail 200 to 300 yards...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank markcas123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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127 - 133 of 148 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2011

I loved the views from this campground and the number of trails we could get to without ever getting in the car. We had a "hike in" spot, which could have felt a bit more private, but the trees at that elevation simply aren't that thick or large.

One issue we had was with a VERY insistent raccoon. He tried to raid our food from about two feet away. We learned quickly to close the bear box even if you are only turning around for a few minutes. They are sneaky, quick and not shy at all!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank sarahguent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2011

We camped for a 4-day weekend in June 2011 at a tent-only site near the entrance. Facilities were nice - bathrooms were very clean and not too far away. The pull-up sites are VERY small, close to the road and one another, and have little tree cover. I'm glad we took a walk-up site so we could hang a tarp over the picnic table. That wouldn't be possible at a drive-up site. Also we found it very peaceful at night - it started to get really quiet around 9 PM. However the site itself (especially the fire ring) was covered in bottle caps, aluminum foil, and paper. The park staff should really inspect sites for proper cleanup before allowing people to check out.

Upon our first hour there, we saw several deer walk within a few yards of the site - they were not bothered at all by people, probably because they're used to the crowds and food. Although cool at first, it originally got me worried that other animals would act similarly. And I was right - that first night, our dog got sprayed by a skunk that wandered into our site. The rangers were very good about letting us borrow some ingredients for a peroxide-based remedy, but it really put a damper on the weekend. Over the course of the entire weekend, we saw (maybe the same) skunks at least once a day at our site and by the showers.

One thing that really bugged me was the nickel-and-diming - don't our tax dollars help pay for these facilities? To enter the park, it costs $15 at the gate. The campsite reservation is $20/night, but showers cost $1 for 5 minutes, washing machines cost $1 per load, and dryers are $25 per 10 minutes (payable in quarters only, and pray that the change machine is working after hours). You cannot bring firewood into the campground, and they sell about a cubic foot of kiln-dried (i.e. fast-burning) wood for $5. Buy your gas outside the park, because the wayside sells it at a 50-cent markup. I

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with friends
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12  Thank chrisAndAllie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2011

I went here as a chaperon for a Girl Scout Trip. We got two sites ($20 per site per night) because you can fit only 6 people to a site (and only two tents per site). On the map given on the nps.gov website the sites 20 and 21 Loop A (tents only) made it look like the sites were quite a bit apart, when in fact they were right next to each other. So when choosing a site, keep in mind the sites are closer then you think and yet not on top of each other.

Pros:
> Deer were grazing all around the site. The girls got to stand 10 feet away.
> It was quiet.
> At night, especially when the moon is not out, the stars are AMAZING. I could make out the Milky Way. I haven't done that in years. :)
> There is a picnic table at each site.
> Site 21 had a bear box (site 20 did not)
> Very nice at the registration booth - I found this to be true through out Shenandoah. I think the people who work there truly love it there.
> Our trail was right next to the story of the Forest Trail. Although a narrow trail, it was nice to have one right next to our sites - lots of deer.
> For us, being that we had Girl Scouts - this is a plus for us - the bathroom and parking lot is close.
> We were surrounded by tents, no RVs.

Cons
> There was a campsite (I think #18) where the people staying there had to walk through our sites to get in and out. We had nice neighbors so it didn't bother us.
> Part of the site had bare earth which was very rock. It was the flattest part of the site on site 20 but very rocky. we did put down a tarp but still frustrating. Site 21 had the same problem but our tents were small enough that they could fit on the grassy patches.

Room Tip: Reservations recommended. Camp filled by 3 pm
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  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with friends
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4  Thank VirginiaSnoweater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2011

We camped in a Starcraft 17CK, plus two smaller tents for other family members. Our site was level, and clean. The paved area was a little short, and might have presented a problem for bigger vehicles, but other sites had more room.
The staff was friendly and helpful; restrooms and showers were clean and convenient. The camp store, restaurant, and gift shop were well stocked and reasonably priced. Hiking opportunities are in every direction, and for a variety of fitness levels.
The display and programs at the Byrd Visitor Center were very well done. We highly recommend the tour of Herbert Hoover's Rapidan Camp - very educational.
This was a great 3 days!

Room Tip: Reserve early - the campsites filled quickly
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Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
3  Thank Curmudgeon61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2011

Let me start out by saying that I love SNP, and I visit regularly. However, its campgrounds need improvement - particularly Big Meadows. My expectations aren't unreasonable, but I do know the difference between a good and a bad campground. I've camped in national parks all over the country.

First of all, the tent sites are so close together you can practically hear your neighbors breathing. The noise from bathrooms/ generators/ people talking may keep you up all night. A 'no noise' policy is supposedly in effect from 10pm. This was definitely not enforced on the night I stayed there! My neighbors were very loud and obnoxious. I imagine this is what it would feel like camping in a city park.

Secondly, most sites are about 10 feet from the access road. The road is a one way system that loops through most of the campground, so you will have difficulty finding a spot where everyone looking for a site/ entering/ exiting will not drive right by your campsite. There was a pretty steady stream of headlights hitting my tent until about 1am on a Saturday night. Definitely NOT a wilderness experience.

For what it costs to camp here ($20 bucks) I'd rather spend another 20 bucks and get a cheap hotel room near the park.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled solo
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12  Thank Nyemike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2011

Stayed for 3 nights in June 2010. It was our first time staying at a campground in Shenandoah NP and I am glad we chose Big Meadows! The location is very central in the park and is close to several trails (Appalachian Trail, Dark Hollow Falls, Lewis Falls). You can pick up several trails just by walking to the amphitheater area. Our first and third nights in the campground, we saw a set of a mama bear with 2 cubs. Rangers were there to watch for campers' safety and they helped create a path so the bears could make their way out of the campground. If you are like us and did not bring a camp stove, you can go to the wayside and get some of the best breakfast around. Only downside to the campground is the proximity of the campsites - we felt like we had very little privacy! This is probably not much of an issue if you have a camper/RV but it does seem like the tent sites are very close together. We stayed in one of the tent sites with a driveway for our car, but there are also options for walk-to spots. I would not recommend the walk-to spots close to the road because they seemed to be the least-private in the campground. We were in Loop A, right near a bathroom. Bathrooms are ok, but could be kept a bit cleaner and get crowded in the morning and evening (not sure about the men's room, but this is true for the women's room!) The grill at our site was on the ground and it was sort of challenging to cook our food, since the adjustable grates were far from the coals, so be patient! I noticed that in some of the RV/Camper sites (maybe loops C or D?) the grills were higher off the ground. The park is beautiful, and this is definitely the place to stay if you are camping!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Mego86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Big Meadows Campground

Address: Mile 51.3 Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA
Location: United States > Virginia > Shenandoah National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Shenandoah National Park
Number of rooms: 217
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Offers 217 campsites with full ammenities. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Big Meadows Campground Hotel Shenandoah National Park

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