Trail News

7 Incredible Spots to try “Paddle-Glamping” Along Virginia’s Water Trails

April 23, 2021

People everywhere seem to be spending more time outdoors, immersing themselves in nature, unplugging, and reconnecting with loved ones.  Some have taken up hiking and bicycling, some are trying their luck at fishing, and others are (of course) taking up kayaking or paddle-boarding.  Maybe you’re new to paddling, or maybe you’re not, but you know that getting out on the water is the perfect way to unplug.

Once you’ve mastered planning the perfect paddling day trip, you might be curious about a way to extend your day trip and make it an overnight.  That’s when you start thinking about paddle-camping.  Packing up your kayak with a tent, sleeping bags, and food for the evening sounds delightful, but it also sounds like a lot of work and planning!  But there is a happy medium: glamping.  Yes, you’ve probably heard that term before (think “glamorous camping”).  Maybe you’ve even done some glamping before.  But have you ever been paddle-glamping?  It might be time to try it!

To help you out, we’ve rounded up 7 incredible glamping spots that you can paddle to or from, in coastal Virginia:

1. Chesapeake Bay KOA

Region: Eastern Shore

Glamping Type: Safari Tent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re willing to rough it enough to sleep in a tent, but not quite ready to sleep on the ground, the safari tent at the Chesapeake Bay KOA in Cape Charles is meant for you!  Each platform tent is furnished to sleep six, but there is no private bathroom, so be prepared to walk to the bathhouse.  The campground also has a wide variety of amenities like community campfire experiences, a waterfront restaurant, and fitness center.  The safari tents are just a short walk from the beach, so it’s perfect for your first paddle-glamping adventure.

 

2. Kiptopeke State Park

Region: Eastern Shore

Glamping Type: Yurt

If you’re willing to go even more rustic than the safari tent, the yurts at Kiptopeke State Park offer a true camping experience, but still without sleeping on the ground.  According to Virginia State Parks, “recreational yurts are a modern adaptation of an ancient nomadic shelter.”  Each yurt is furnished with beds, but you’ll need to provide your own linens.  Everything else is just like a regular campsite, complete with a picnic table, charcoal grill, and fire ring.  They do have one “deluxe” yurt that includes heat and A/C – perfect for glamping!

 

3. Sun Resort’s Gwynn’s Island

Region: Middle Peninsula

Glamping Type: Cottage

You can bring a kayak on an RV, but you can’t bring an RV on a kayak!  If you want to arrive at your glamp-site via kayak AND get a taste of RV life, the premium cottages at Gwynn’s Island Resort would be a perfect choice.  These cottages have a fully stocked kitchen, heat and A/C, flat screen TVs and a fireplace!  Don’t own your own kayaks?  No problem!  Arrive by car and rent a kayak from their onsite fleet.

 

4. Nan’s Place

Region: Middle Peninsula

Glamping Type: Steamboat

Thinking about jumping ship?  How ‘bout from a kayak to a steamboat?  Say what?!  Yes, you read that right.  Part of “Nan’s Place” is actually the wheelhouse of an old steamboat!  This spot also has a small kitchen, sleeps 3, and is dog-friendly (1 dog max, please!).

 

5. White Stone Cottage

Region: Northern Neck

Glamping Type: Cottage

Located a short paddle from the Little Oyster Creek water trails on the Northern Neck, the White Stone Cottage is a sweet little bungalow that sleeps up to 4 people.  This glamping experience not only includes the use of kayaks, but it also has everything you’ll need to unwind under the stars.  A fire pit, screened-in porch, gazebo, patio, grill, and private beach; what more could one ask for when paddle-glamping?

 

6. Belle Isle State Park

Region: Northern Neck

Glamping Type: Cabin

 

Plan on glamping with the whole extended family?  The bunkhouse at Belle Isle State Park sleeps up to 14 people!  Although this spot is technically a cabin, it is quite rustic and includes no heat, A/C, or bathrooms, so be prepared to walk to the campground bathhouse to use the facilities.  Please note that the kayak launch is about a half mile from the bunkhouse, so paddling to this glamping location could be a challenge.  But you can always arrive by land, stay in the bunkhouse, and launch kayaks for a day trip.

 

7. Westmoreland State Park

Region: Northern Neck

Glamping Type: Cabin

The cabins at Westmoreland State Park come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so if you’re having a romantic weekend for 2, or an entire family reunion, this park can accommodate.  It’s important to note that during the summer months, cabins are only available by the week.  The kayak launch area is also over a half mile from the cabins, so we recommend arriving at the park by land, and using the park as a launching spot to explore the Potomac River trail.

No matter where you choose to go paddle-glamping this season, we’d love to hear about it!  Just use the hashtag #VirginiaWaterTrails when sharing your photos.  Happy Water Trails!