Just spent this last weekend at Watermelon Park camping on Friday and Saturday night and canoeing all day Saturday. I really enjoy this part of the Shenandoah and was looking forward to a fun camping trip with friends. While Watermelon Park is extremely convenient, located right on the river, and the canoe rental operation had affordable prices, a shuttle service and decent rental boats, I would not recommend camping here. You pay per person to primitive camp, but there seems to be no limit to the amount of people they let on the property. Arriving early on Friday allowed us the opportunity to secure a somewhat private spot, but the situation quickly changed on Saturday and Sunday. After arriving back from canoeing on Saturday evening I had to politely ask a family to move their tent and camping equipment that was set up 30 feet away from us in our absence. Another car pulled in at 2:30 AM and attempted to set up camp just 20 feet from us while their headlights were shining into our tent. Car alarms were going off sporadically through the night and what little quiet we experienced from 3 AM to 6 AM was quickly shattered by loud music and shouting. Previous campers leave trash and belongings upon their departure and it appears there is little effort to clean these things up.
If you go camping to get away from people and enjoy the outdoors, do not pick Watermelon Park as your destination, instead just rent boats or tubes here and find another spot to camp. If your like me and enjoy spending time outside the city and you value and respect our natural areas then do not stay at Watermelon Park, you will be disheartened by the stress this natural area is experiencing from entirely too many people staying in one area and not respecting what is around them.