STAUNTON RIVER STATE PARK
Staunton River State Park is one of the six original state parks that opened in June 1936. It is located on 1,597 acres along the shoreline of the John H. Kerr Reservoir (also known as Buggs Island Lake), as well as the Dan and Staunton rivers. The largest lake in Virginia is only one of the parks many attractions, which include a swimming pool, camping, cabins, picnic shelters and nature trails.
Staunton River State Park takes its name from the river that borders the park. The river was named for Captain Henry Staunton who, before the Revolutionary War, commanded a company of soldiers to protect early settlers from Indian attacks. The soldiers patrolled from the mountains to the mouth of the Dan River. This section of the Dan River became known as Captain Staunton?s River and later, Staunton River. Forty years later, in the 1810s, the river became an important means of transporting tobacco, a popular cash crop. Many large plantations were built in the area. During the Civil War, most of these plantations were destroyed.
In 1933, Virginia's Commission of Conservation and Development bought 1,766 acres of farmland bordering the river from several owners. From 1933 to 1935, a unit of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built most of the buildings and facilities that are still seen today at the park. The CCC barracks were located near what is today a nature trail in the park. Buggs Island Lake was formed with the construction of the Kerr Dam in 1952. More than 150 acres of the original park were flooded, leaving some structures completely underwater.
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The park provides both a wading pool and larger pool for swimming during the summer. The pool complex includes a bathhouse and concessions area. In the summer, swimming is free for overnight guests in campsites, cabins and the lodge, however it cannot be guaranteed should circumstances beyond the park's control require that swimming be closed. We do not give refunds for swimming to overnight guests under any circumstances.
No boat rentals at this park. Guests must bring their own boats. Boat launching ramp is available. These facilities may not be accessible if the water level is too high or low. If your visit depends on the ability to launch your boat, please call the park in advance. Both motorized and non-motorized boats are permitted on Buggs Island Lake. River Traders, located outside park entrance, rents canoes, kayaks and jon-boats.
Buggs Island Lake and the connecting Lake Gaston are famous for the number and size of fish found there. Bass, bluegill, crappie and perch are plentiful. A valid Virginia fishing license is required. Annual boat launch passports are available by calling 1-800-933-PARK, in Richmond 225-3867.
Staunton River State Park is located near South Boston
Two shelters can be rented from 8 a.m. to dark (all day). Call 1-800-933-PARK (in Richmond, 225-3867) to reserve. Parking and swimming fees are not included in shelter rental.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
Amenities: Both shelters have grills, picnic tables and access to nearby restrooms.
Shelter 1: Near the Dan River, this shelter provides a shady setting for reunions, picnics and other special events. It accommodates up to 60 comfortably. There is a spigot that allows access to potable water and a large grill at the back of the shelter. There's no deck but there is a graveled area by the grill. This shelter offers no view of the river; access to the river is limited. A walk of about two minutes brings you to the river. The shelter is near a swing set and trash disposal, and bathrooms are about five minutes away. This shelter offers access to the pool area via the Tutelo Trail, a 5-10 minute walk. First-come, first-served picnic tables that can be used to accommodate more people are around shelter. (Note: several distances mentioned above might prove difficult for the handicapped.)
Shelter 2: Beside the Dan River, this shelter provides a shady setting for reunions, picnics and other special events. It accommodates up to 60 comfortably. There is a spigot that allows access to potable water and a large grill at the back of the shelter. First-come, first-served picnic tables that can be used to accommodate more people are around shelter. This shelter has a spacious deck near the grill and offers a waterfront view and easy access to the water. There is a boat launch that can be used when the water level is high, but users must pay a launching fee. Also, the shelter features a a swing set and trash disposal, and handicapped accessible bathrooms are only a short distance away. The shelter is not, however, equipped with a ramp for easy access by the handicapped. Spacious grounds for softball, badminton, soccer, etc., are nearby. Guests must provide their own equipment.
Hiking and self-guided trails; horses allowed on multi-use trail. Six wooded trails provide miles of hiking along the Dan and Staunton rivers as well as Buggs Island Lake. Some of the landscapes are little changed from the times when generals from the Revolutionary and Civil wars camped with their troops.
Multi-use trail open for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Bring your own horse.
Staunton River State Park is 18 miles east of South Boston. Take U.S. 360 to Route 344. Follow Route 344 for 10 miles to the park, located southeast of Scottsburg, Va.