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.
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.