All of Virginia’s state parks are pet friendly, and those with campgrounds and cabins also welcome canine overnight guests for a small additional per night fee. Dogs must be on a six-foot leash at all times while in the parks, and are not allowed in public buildings, swimming or concession areas.
Virginia has more than 35 parks across the state, some with hardwood forests, some with coastal marshes, some with flowering meadows and some offering access to the four largest lakes in the state, the Atlantic Ocean or the Chesapeake Bay.
The most visited park in Virginia, First Landing State Park, in Virginia Beach was the site of the settlers’ first footsteps in the New World, although a skirmish with Native Americans convinced them to re-board their ships and look for a safer location at Jamestown. The park offers shady hiking trails, as well as beach frontage on the Chesapeake Bay.
At Grayson Highlands State Park in Southwest Virginia, you may come across wild ponies. The views are spectacular in this area—featuring the two highest peaks in Virginia, Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain—and the park offers hiking trails, horse trails and even horse campgrounds, with easy access to the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail and for hikers, the Appalachian Trail.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park sits alongside the second largest freshwater lake in the state and offers a variety of water activities including boat rentals and a large fishing pier. It’s a popular place to cool off during the hot and humid summer months.