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“This is a great spot to camp with family”

Belle Isle State Park
Ranked #568 of 2,189 things to do in Virginia
Attraction details
Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“This is a great spot to camp with family”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 21, 2014

Belle Isle is a beautiful park. We tent camped and had a great time. There are about 30 campsites, and the camping area is very clean and well-maintained. Staff and rangers are super friendly. There is kayak rental, fishing areas, a small beach that is great for swimming, a playground in great condition. It's a great place to bring your bikes with little ones. With wide open fields and beautiful waterfront, this is a place with plenty of activities that still manages to feel like you have the whole park nearly to yourself. We will definitely be back.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Stacey M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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43 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Plymouth, Michigan
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Plan B ended up being the best Plan of all!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2014

We had been planning a trip to my paradise - the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I had spent many summer vacations on that beautiful National Seashore and craved a return. It has been over 10 years. Finally - we snagged a week off and decided to brave the coastline by reserving a camp spot on Ocracoke Island - Enter Arthur - the first Atlantic hurricane of 2014. The NPS closed the park before we even arrived, causing us to have to change our plan. Being that it was the 4th of July week, we had a tough time finding any campground near the water. As I watched the dismaying reports of the growing tropical storm Arthur - and threats of it morphing into a hurricane, I realized that my 10 year dream would be put on hold again. :-( Right about then, my husband said," ...what about Belle Isle State Park on the Rappahannock River?!" I was always intrigued with the name of that river, but had never had the opportunity to explore. My hubby said, "There is one more site left - should we take it?" As I sadly came to terms with my OBX vacation loss, I said, "sure, why not." We reserved online at reserveamerica, then called to be sure it went through. The lady who answered the phone was surprised there was a spot available, as she was sure they were full, however, our reservation had gone through! We were set for a site at Belle Isle State Park!! It was only a couple hours drive from Fredericksburg, where we had stopped for the night, so we were at Belle Isle by 11am. We were able to go right in and pick our site - it is first come first served at the park (though in 2015 some sites will be reservable) - there are 30 sites - we chose #15 - just around the bend - nice little nook. The camp area is very clean, and the sites are beautifully set up with a pea gravel square for a tent set up - will fit 2 decent sized tents or, for us, a tent + a screened house for sitting. There are picnic tables at each site, a fire ring with grill attached, and a parking space for car and/or travel trailer. Electric and water set up and two poles for lanterns or clothes line. Two things we realized at once - Virginia is very hot and muggy in the summer - and the bugs are plentiful! So no matter what else you pack...bring your deep woods bug repellent. We set up and then decided to take a little tour of the park - So much to see!! Bel Air Mansion and Guest House, which can be rented, a visitor's center that was still being worked on, a picnic area/beach on the shores of the Rappahannock (water is warm, beach sandy but small, osprey nest out from shore, water shallow (knee high as far as we could go), Primitive Campsite that can be accessed by walking trail or by canoe/kayak, boat launch for canoes, a little amphitheater, and acres of trails, wheatfields, marsh areas, and lots of scheduled activities put on by the park rangers. Everyone who worked at the park - employees and volunteers - were friendly and so very helpful. The cute little camp store provides information, a few little gift items and equipment for crabbing, canoeing etc. You can rent canoes, motorboats, kayaks, bicycles and GPS units for Geocaching. They offer free park packs to do wetlands, insects and nighttime exploration (back packs include information and activities). The park is a great homebase for exploration of the Northern Neck of Virginia as well. If you take a right out of the park, and drive along 354 (River Rd.) up to White Chapel Rd - take a left and up to Mary Ball Rd, then a Right - (Also known as route 3) - you can venture into the southern end of the Northern Neck where you will find Lancaster, Kilmarnock, Irvington all the way to Windmill Point. If you venture left out of the Park on 354 - you will find that route 3 meets up with 354 and takes you to the northern end of the peninsula including Warsaw, Montross, and up toward Colonial Beach and George Washington's Birthplace. Each town has its own little personality and history. Take the time to traverse the little nooks and crannies like Menokin - an incredible project of preservation and education! Sleeping in the campground is fabulous. Quiet and safe. The restrooms and hot showers are immaculate. Arthur did clip us on Friday 3am-8am - it poured, but our camp was well sheltered and we made it through with no leaking or flooding! Saturday night we partook of their "Triple Treat" activity - for $10 a person, we took a guided canoe trip, a hay ride and a little camp gathering at the amphiteater with s'mores. The evening was lead by Ranger Charlene who knew the park like the back of her hand and obviously has a passion for her beloved Belle Isle. Ranger Brandon helped with the tour - it was a fabulous way to end our stay. We then traversed over to the beach and watched 4 sets of fireworks across the river all at the same time! Belle Isle will definitely be at the top of our "Let's go there again!" list. For a Plan B trip - it ended up being the best Plan of all!!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
8 Thank Dorrie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Natural beauty close to downtown”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2014

Great place for an evening walk or a run. Great people-watching. Beautiful views of the river. Interesting history too.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank JerePatt77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
37 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Loved it!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 27, 2014

We decided to give Belle Isle State Park a shot for Memorial Day Weekend in our 24' camper. What a great park for family and kids. The staff was super nice, the ground clean, spacious, and each campground was very private. The entire park was very oriented around educating kids on nature and enjoying the outdoors. We went canoeing, crabbing, hiking, bike riding, a hay ride, and an outdoor concert which included many kids games and activities. I would defiantly recommend this park to anyone with kids and will go again.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Redbug2193
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport News, Virginia
Level Contributor
59 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Beautiful and quiet”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 19, 2013

I agree with the other folks that this park is a gem. Everything was so clean and nice, the people very friendly, lots to do and do bring bikes. It is flat for those of us who are not up to biking hills anymore and would be great. Kids would enjoy the playground and would have the opportunity to see some animals. We saw wild turkeys, several deer, and one fox.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank andreweth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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