There’s a reason that locals refer to western Virginia’s Sherando Lake as the “jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains.” Pitching a tent there will put you in the middle of some of the George Washington National Forest’s most sought-after diversions. The campground itself sits between two small man-made lakes: the 25-acre Lower Sherando and the 7-acre Upper Sherando Lake. The larger lake has a swimming beach and both are open to fishing and paddling. Hiking and mountain biking trails begin at the campground, and even the Blue Ridge Parkway is just a hike away. Stake your spot at one of the Shenandoah Valley’s best camping hubs for launching any outdoor adventure.
The campground is inside George Washington National Forest, 45 minutes west of Charlottesville. It’s surrounded on all sides by national forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the ridgeline to the east. The two lakes within the Sherando Lake Recreation Area were built in the ’30s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, but the land is the historic territory of the Monacan Indian Nation.
Sherando Lake Campground is divided into three loops. If you have an RV, look for a site in the Meadow Loop or River Bend Loops, which have hookups. If you’re tent camping, White Oak Loop (Loop A) is the best, as the sites don’t have electrical hookups and aren’t suitable for large RVs. None of the sites have views of the lake, but Site A6 has the most privacy. Most of the sites on Loop A are tucked into the woods with plenty of tree cover, though.
When To Go
The trails are popular year-round, but the campground and lake are open from April 1 to October 31. Because of the lake, camping at Sherando is extremely popular in the summer months; try to book your reservations in advance. In October, the hardwood forest is vibrant with fall color.
The visitor’s center is stocked with vending machines and ice, but Country Store, a convenience store a few miles from the recreation area, has more options. And the town of Waynesboro (20 minutes north) has grocery stores and outfitter shops if you need to pick up anything you’ve forgotten for the trail or campsite.