Boondocking in West Virginia
If you’re wondering where to boondock in West Virginia, there are plenty of beautiful places to do so. The Potomac region starts in the state’s panhandle and slopes its way downward along the Potomac River. This is especially a great place to visit in the fall when you can often pick apples and peaches, and you will want to explore the historic city of Harpers Ferry.
The Alleghany Highlands region lies to the west of the Potomac region, and it is a fantastic place to go for a hike on the gently rolling hills. This region is home to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Further to the west, one enters the Ohio River Valley. This is a fantastic area to visit because the Ohio River offers many unique recreational opportunities, and you will love shopping in the nearby small businesses, especially in Parkersburg. With so many fantastic things to see and do in the state, you will want to go boondocking in West Virginia often.
Boondocking Sites in West Virginia
Cranberry River Sites
If you are looking for a beautiful setting to go camping and not see many other people, head to Cranberry River Sites. The sites are dispersed along a five-mile section of Forest Road 76 near Richwood. There are single and double sites available. While you can camp at this location in the Monongahela National Forest throughout the year, vault toilets are only available from March through November.
Lake Buffalo is an excellent place in the Monongahela National Forest to go boondocking in West Virginia, especially if you are an angler. This area near Bartow is open from March to November. There is a concrete boat ramp to launch a kayak or a small boat with an electric motor. A vault toilet is available.
Spruce Knob, which offers spots along County Road 29 near Gandy Creek, may be an excellent option for free camping in West Virginia for those who love to go hiking. There are over 50 miles of trails in this area that also includes Seneca Creek. Since Spruce Knob sits at 3,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level, it can be a fantastic place to go to escape the summer heat. Snow is possible in this area from October through April, so check the weather forecast.
Stone Cliff Beach Campground
Stone Cliff Beach Campground near Oak Hill in the New River National Park and Preserve offers seven sites. It is easy to access the New River for a kayaking adventure. This section of the river is also a fantastic place to go fishing, and you can swim near this campground if you want to cool down.
Grandview Sandbar Campground
The Grandview Sandbar Campground is just before you cross the New River near Prince within the boundaries of New River National Park. There are 18 sites at this campground, with most able to accommodate small to mid-sized RVs. There are pit toilets available. You can easily access the river for fishing and canoeing.
Gauley River National Recreation Area
You can find many spots at the Gauley River National Recreation Area near Summersville. Be sure that you camp on federal land because much of this area is privately owned. Gauley River has many white-water rapids, making it a great place to go kayaking. You can also fish and swim in nearby Summersville Lake.
St. Albans Roadside Park
Located along U.S. Route 60, St. Albans Roadside Park is an excellent place for boondocking in West Virginia. This park offers picnic shelters. With its historic downtown area filled with many stores, you will also love exploring the community of St. Albans.
Hawk Campground near Wardensville is a great place to go boondocking. This is especially true if you love to go hiking because this campground is inside the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The campground sits at a higher elevation, so it can be a great place to escape the summer heat.
Where to Boondock in West Virginia
There are many choices for boondocking in West Virginia. Many areas within New River National Park and Preserve are available. There are also options within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and in Monongahela National Forest. Some cities offer free camping in West Virginia at their city parks.
Free Camping in West Virginia
When preparing for your boondocking trip to West Virginia, consider the elevation. Weather at upper elevations can be much different than at lower elevations. Therefore, make sure that you have packed the right clothes for the location at which you will be boondocking in West Virginia.
It is also important to remember that campgrounds at higher elevations may become inaccessible in the winter. Even if you reach your destination, be aware of the weather because you do not want to get iced or snowed in without the supplies needed for a longer stay.
When you head to remote locations, consider your gas situation. It may be challenging to find a nearby gas station. Therefore, it is usually a smart idea to fill up your gas tank before leaving the last city on your trip. This ensures that you will have enough gas to get back to that location.
Unlike many states, you do not have to get off the beaten path to enjoy boondocking in West Virginia. There are fabulous locations in national parks and national recreation areas. If you choose, there are also great free campgrounds in remote locations.
Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about boondocking. It is filled with helpful tips to make free camping in West Virginia even more enjoyable.
There are many great reasons to go boondocking in West Virginia, and traveling in an RV is a great way to explore this beautiful state. If you don’t own an RV, rent one on RVshare.com.