A Guide to Activities & RV Rentals at Grayson Highlands State Park | RVshare (2023)

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Perched high in the Virginian Appalachians, nestled within the George Washington and Jefferson National Park, you’ll find Grayson Highlands State Park — home to grassy balds and mountain meadows, peaks soaring 5,000 feet tall, herds of wild ponies, and streams surrounded by rhododendron and hardwoods. Opened in 1965 as an access point to Mount Rogers, Virginia’s highest peak, and the Appalachian Trail, Grayson Highlands State Park attracts thousands of visitors each year and is a popular destination for hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and bouldering.

As winters are cold and harsh, early May through late October is the best time of year to visit Grayson Highlands State Park. During this timeframe, the park sponsors a variety of programs including music festivals, wild pony hikes, s’mores making, woodworking demonstrations, star gazing, and adventure programs. Whether traveling solo, with a group of friends, or with your family, there are activities for everyone to enjoy at Grayson Highlands State Park. Plus, with breathtaking views, awesome hiking trails, and the occasional wild pony, what’s not to love? Read more about where to eat, sleep, and play if you decide to make Grayson Highlands State Park your next travel destination.

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Spring 46-65 F
Summer 63-80 F
Fall 47-65 F
Winter 31-47 F

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Nearby Cities
Sugar Grove, VA
Adwolf, VA
Jefferson, NC
McMullin, VA

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RV Resorts & Campsites in Grayson Highlands State Park

There are campgrounds galore in and around Grayson Highlands State Park, providing you with the opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. If tent camping is too rustic and staying in a yurt is not appealing, then consider renting an RV and you won’t have to sacrifice comfort or amenities, no matter your budget. RVShare makes it simple to find and rent an RV catered to your preferences, either in your area or near your travel destination. Close to Grayson Highlands State Park, you can find RVs in Roanoke, Charlotte, and Winston-Salem. Here are three campgrounds to consider for your stay:

Grayson Highlands State Park Campgrounds

With beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor adventure to be had, staying at the campground of Grayson Highlands State Park is an easy, inexpensive way to experience all the park has to offer. The campgrounds have 36 RV sites with water and electric hookups, plus an additional 23 RV sites for visitors with horses. From May to November. rates are $40 per night ($35 for Virginia residents).

Pro tip : Reserve your RV spot at least 30 days in advance as they fill up quickly, especially in the summer.

Grindstone Recreation Area Campground

Located on the other side of Mount Rogers in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, these campgrounds adjoin Grayson Highlands State Park to the north and have 53 reservable sites for tent and RV camping. Have fun splashing in the creek, bird watching in the wilderness, or hiking the Mount Rogers Trail and other scenic trails. From April to November, rates are $32 per night.

  • Water hookup: Yes

  • Electrical hookup: Yes

  • Sewer hookup: No

  • Wifi: No

  • Pet friendly: Yes

  • Other amenities: Showers, flush toilets, fire pits, picnic tables, playground, amphitheater, volleyball courts, swimming, hiking, fishing, biking, dump station

New River Campground

Situated on the New River near Independence, Virginia, this campground offers a peaceful retreat with scenic river views and shaded, grassy RV sites. Head to the mountains for a hike or stay on-site where you can go for a dip in the water, take a guided canoe tour, or tube down the river. Rates are $29-$33 per night.

  • Water hookup: Yes

  • Electrical hookup: Yes

  • Sewer hookup: No

  • Wifi: No

  • Pet friendly: Yes

  • Other amenities: Bathhouses, camp store, picnic shelters, fire pits, playground, tubing, fishing, swimming, canoeing, tube and canoe rentals

RV Rentals Near Grayson Highlands State Park

Nearby RV Rentals

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What to Do at
Grayson Highlands State Park

Inside Grayson Highlands State Park

Boasting panoramic views, scenic trails, and exposed rocks, there’s something for everyone at Grayson Highlands State Park. Hikers and bikers are drawn to the park for its stunning views of mountain tops including Virginia’s tallest peaks, Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain. Easy-to-moderate trails will allow less serious hikers the opportunity to experience the park in smaller doses. On the trails, you’ll likely encounter wild ponies, which were introduced in 1974 to prevent reforestation of the highland balds.

Recreational activities aside, the park has numerous nature and history programs from stargazing and weaving demonstrations to s’mores nights and wild pony hikes. The park also hosts several music festivals during the year, most notably the Wayne Henderson Festival.

Here are more details on popular park activities:

Hiking - Thirteen trails weave throughout the park, plus others that lead outside the park. Trails range in length and difficulty and feature breathtaking overlooks, amazing waterfalls, and diverse plant life. One recommended trail is the Rhododendron Trail, which connects to the Appalachian Trail and takes you toward Mount Rogers.

Bouldering - The park’s unique geology and mountainous slopes make it well suited for bouldering. In fact, it is known as Virginia’s best bouldering site! There are 700+ climbing routes over four main boulder fields and three smaller fields. Popular climbing sites include the Listening Rock Trail and Highlands Bouldering Area. Climbers can rent crash pads, if needed.

Fishing and Boating - Nearly 10 miles of streams lie within the park, providing anglers the chance to fish for native brook and wild rainbow trout (with a permit, of course) and take in the scenery. During the summer, the park offers a 6-mile guided canoe trip on the crisp, clear waters of the New River.

Outside Grayson Highlands State Park

When you’re ready to come down off the mountain, you’ll find Southern-style restaurants, breathtaking sights, lively entertainment, and local shops with antiques and uniques souvenirs. The towns of Independence and Damascus are closest to the park, but if you’re feeling adventurous, cross the state line into North Carolina or Tennessee for even more places to eat, sightsee, and shop.

Highlander Cafe at Grayson Highlands General Store

This quaint restaurant is close to the park and open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Start the day with a hot breakfast and wrap it up with casual fare like pizza, sandwiches, hamburgers, barbecue, and salads.

Type: American, casual

Location: Rugby, VA

Roots at Grayson

This bistro offers lunch and dinner with great service and a cozy atmosphere. Step into Blue Ridge Mountain culture while dining on local cuisine like crab cakes, shrimp scampi, Carolina boil, and ribeye steak.

Type: American, Southern

Location: Independence, VA

Country House

This diner offers homestyle cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with friendly staff and reasonable prices. Seafood dishes like flounder and fried shrimp receive rave reviews, as do Southern staples like biscuits and gravy, hush puppies, and beef tips.

Type: American, diner

Location: Lansing, NC

Pie on the Mountain

This family-owned restaurant serves up delicious pizza made with fresh ingredients. The menu also includes calzones, hot wings, and salads, plus a wide selection of beer and wine.

Type: Italian, pizza

Location: Lansing, NC

Holston Mountain Artisans

Run by a cooperative of local artisans, this shop features their handmade crafts and artwork, including decorative wood carvings, intricately patterned quilts, handwoven baskets, and repurposed jewelry.

Location: Abingdon, VA

Zephyr Antiques

Zephyr Antiques offers a wide variety of antiques and collectibles covering four levels, including mid-century modern, English antiques, and Civil War memorabilia.

Location: Abingdon, VA

Virginia Creeper Trail

This 34-mile multi-use trail starts in Abingdon and is renowned for its spectacular scenery and interesting railroad history. Bike rentals are available in Abingdon and Damascus and shuttles let you start at different points along the trail.

Location: Abingdon, VA to Whitetop, VA

Barter Theatre

Opened in 1933, this venue is the country’s longest running professional theatre. It puts on shows several times a week for audiences of all types, from Shakespeare aficionados to Dr. Seuss fans and everything in between. Tickets range $15-$45+.

Location: Abingdon, VA

Bristol Motor Speedway

As the nation’s third largest sports venue, this speedway is renowned for its NASCAR races but also hosts other events including live musical performances, streetcar races, monster truck rallies, and car shows.

Location: Bristol, TN

The Blue Ridge Parkway

Take a relaxing drive on the parkway to soak up views of the rugged mountains and verdant landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. Stretching 469 miles from North Carolina to Virginia, consider driving this route when traveling to or from the park.

Location: Virginia to North Carolina

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How to Get to
Grayson Highlands State Park

Grayson Highlands State Park is located in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, midway between the towns of Independence and Damascus.

From Interstate 81, take exit 45 at Marion and then turn south onto Route 16. Drive 24 miles until US 58 in the community of Volney. Turn right onto US 58 and drive 8 miles before reaching the park’s entrance.

Address : 829 Grayson Highland Lane, Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363

Frequently Asked Questions About Grayson Highlands State Park

What is the climate of Grayson Highlands State Park?

The climate is cool and moist with average temperatures ranging from 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit. The park experiences all four seasons, but the winters are relatively mild. Precipitation is plentiful with an average of 50 inches of rain and snowfall each year.

What is the best time of year to visit Grayson Highlands State Park?

The best time to visit Grayson Highlands State Park is from mid-April to early June or from late September to mid-October. These months offer the most pleasant weather with moderate temperatures and little precipitation. However, the park is also beautiful when covered in snow.

Do you have to reserve a camping spot at Grayson Highlands State Park and what is the cost?

You must reserve a camping spot in advance for $15 per night. You can make a reservation by calling the park office or visiting its website.

Are pets allowed at Grayson Highlands State Park?

Yes, pets are allowed at Grayson Highlands State Park. However, they must always be kept on a leash, and they are not permitted on trails or in the backcountry. Pets are also not allowed in the park office, visitor center, or group camping areas.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Grayson Highlands State Park?

Grayson Highlands State Park is home to various wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and ruffed grouse. You may also see a variety of songbirds, hawks, and other birds of prey. In addition, the park is home to a herd of wild ponies.

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