Month: May 2011

First Landing State Park (Virginia Beach VA) review

Solitude/privacy: 1
Environment & Nature: 4
Available Activities: 5
Staff & Park Officials: 5
Accessibility: 5

First Landing State Park

(also known as Seashore State Park) is a pretty cool park located right on beautiful Virginia beach. Don’t expect any solitude/privacy because the campsites are on top of each other (literary). I was woken up at 6am by my neighbor, 4ft away from my tent, packing up his truck. The only reason why I gave it a 1 was because some other sites on this campgrounds seem to have a bush or two in between them.

The campgrounds

do not have any dry wood around.  I was forced to go up to the camp store (that closes at 9PM) and buy 2 overpriced bundles.  Thankfully the park doesn’t have any ticks but the ranger told me they do however have  chiggers. I found that out after I went into the woods trying to get some free dry wood.

The park offers

boating, swimming, nature and history programs, hiking, biking, picnicking, a boat launch, cabins and 20 miles of trails.  My
favorite activity was the beautiful clean beach.  Instead of hiking to it through the campground, we decided to drive a little farther down and park in the residential area.  Once we got to the beach it was quiet and empty, even though it was well over 80°F out — probably because it was Monday morning.

Accessing the park is very simple.  It’s 5 min off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel.

Big Bend Campground (WV) review

Solitude/privacy: 4
Environment & Nature: 5
Available Activities: 5
Staff & Park Officials: 5
Accessibility: 3

This campground is located

by the entrance of the park

on the Potomac River in Smoke Hole Canyon.  It’s a bit of a tricky place to get to but once you do you won’t want to leave. They offer fishing, hunting, kayaking, water tubing, and some trails to be tackled. We got there at 2 o’clock in the morning, exhausted from our travels; the camp hosts were already asleep and we didn’t want to disturb them.  We took a ride around the first level of the campground and the loop was filled with RVs & Mobile Homes which made me wonder if we were at the right place.  Once we exited the loop we found out there was a road going up to other levels, so we took it and grabbed one of the first spots that were available.  We quickly set up and went to sleep.  In the morning we heard an ATV pull up to our tent and a voice of a woman emerged asking us if we were awake.  It was the camp host.  She was very sweet and polite, thanked us for not waking her in the middle of the night and told us the amount due for the spot per night ($18).


The check out time was 1pm.

It gave us plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful nature.  Smoke Hole Canyon is connected to the George Washington National Forest so the scenery is incredible.  The campsites were not on top of each other (which made me happy, even though it was Tuesday and no one else was camping out near us).  Each site was connected to the main camp road with driveways and separated with thick bush and trees.  If we had any neighbors, we would not see them nor probably hear them that much.

Although we were staying there

only for a few hours and since it was pre-season time, we did not get a chance to do any of the activities, but judging by the environment, activities like fishing or kayaking would have been incredible.

Getting to the park, however, was a tricky situation.  The first half of the road was very curvy and mountainous (a lot of up and downs)… kind of made me sick   The second half was a lot worse – it was gravel road (about 5 miles).  Gravel is not necessarily bad but it was so bumpy, I couldn’t do more than 12 mph and in some spots 5 mph seemed too fast.  There were parts where I feared for my 10 year old car.  On the way back, we were going during the day and the nature was beautiful.  Even though it was such a bumpy road, it was totally worth it.