Mum asked me to share some of the reasons I love Virginia State Parks. When I was a young pup we called this show and tell, so let me just show you:
We started going to Virginia State Parks in 2008. Our first state park was Bear Creek Lake State Park, that was when my sisters were young and they brought their fun friends along and I was treated like a princess. From that time I have hiked the trails, paddled the rivers and even beat Mum and Dad at Yahtzee many times!
I would like to share a few of my favorite adventures with you at Virginia State Parks
1) We always stay in a cabin after finding out that Virginia State Parks allows us four-legged kids in them for a daily fee. Mum says it is less than putting me away (in a kennel that is), she knows how much I hate going there! I am happiest when I am with my family on vacation.
This cabin was James River State Park (where we played Yahtzee and hiked and I chased rabbits, well I tried to, but I had to keep dragging Dad on his lead).
2) We went to Natural Tunnel State Park in the month of September and we felt like the only ones there as we climbed all those stairs down to the tunnel floor. It was a pretty neat experience, but as I told Mum “What goes down must come up!” as she was out of breath climbing all the stairs back up.
The scenery was breathtaking, excuse the pun.
3) Hungry Mother State Park was one of our favorite places to go walkies early in the morning. One morning there was a light fog drifting across the lake and the ducks were everywhere! I was in heaven. Then Mum decided we should all hike Molly’s knob and it was too much for a dog with short legs.
Dogs, if you have shorter legs I recommend the trail that goes around the lake and back, which is flat and very pretty, especially over the dam.
4) We were surprised at the beauty of the river and the marshes at Belle Isle State Park. There was a lot to see there and although there were no cabins, only camping and a grand mansion, we still enjoyed a day visit. We were there in the winter-time so next time we will rent a canoe and paddle around to see it from the water.
Mum said the Rappahannock River is famous for oysters, but I am not sure why anyone would want those, I prefer crabs, they are more entertaining.
5) People think of fall leaves in the mountains and forget how beautiful all of Virginia can be in the autumn. We went to Staunton River State Park the first week of November and were shocked at how pretty it was!
This park is at a point where two rivers intersect, and it was a lot of fun to walk on the beach and play on the grass where we flew a kite and ran around.
6) When my family could not find any sharks’ teeth at Westmoreland State Park they asked me to lend a paw. I am happy to help dig for fossilized sharks’ teeth with them! This park had lots of deer and wildlife, although I was strictly forbidden from chasing them. We want to go back to this park to explore some more next time. The trail that led to the beach had fallen logs to climb on and even a boardwalk over a swampy wetland.
There were boats to rent and a big swimming pool right near the Potomac River. The view from the cliffs was amazing.
7) Just about every Virginia State Park has some sort of water feature and Douthat State Park is no exception. We loved the trails around Douthat and even up high behind the lodge that has really pretty views of the mountains.
The cabins are older and there are lots of squirrels and mice and chipmunks at this state park.
8) The swimming beach and walking trails are fun at Claytor Lake State Park, but my favorite part of this park is fishin’ with the fam! We had a lot of fun fishin’ off the dock near our cabin for bluegill. They were only small ones, Dad said, but they sure were fun!
I especially liked watching my sisters scream when they had to put a worm on the hook. That was probably my favorite time of all!
9) This one is very important for me to share with you as there are not many places in Virginia where a dog can go on a beach, so dogs take note of First Landing State Park. I was able to sit in the shade under a chair while the family went swimming and helped them build sandcastles. Every once in a while a crab would poke its head up from a hole in the sand!
My oldest sister was stung by a jellyfish and my other sister crashed her bike and scraped up her knee, but I still had fun.
10) O Shenandoah I long to hear you away you rollin’ river. We had fun in the water at Shenandoah River State Park. The water was so clear we could see the fishies swimming around. Mum said the sound of rushing river at night made it so peaceful from the cabin.
We loved riding bikes at this state park, even though there were a lot of hills.
11) For the first day hike we went to Smith Mountain Lake State Park and hiked the Turtle Island Trail. It really does go out to an island where you can see more of the lake. It was cold, but we had a blast! This is a state park that is really popular for swimming, fishing, boating and camping.
The lake is really beautiful and there is a ton of wildlife to watch.
12) The entire family had fun at our first Virginia State Park in the Cumberland Forest region of Central Virginia, Bear Creek Lake State Park. The cabin was perfect to sit out on the porch when the summer time thunderstorms rolled in and the family had to leave the swimming beach. I was not allowed on the beach, but I sat in the shade under a picnic table and saw skinks and even a black snake.
We made s’mores and played hide and seek and made lots of memories.
13) We have discovered that Virginia State Parks are open year-round and still have plenty to do when you can’t go in the water. Fairy Stone State Park was really neat in the off season when we could have a fire in the fireplace and sit around and play board games. Mum set up a critter cam outside and each day we laughed at all the animals that were right outside our cabin at night!
There were deer, raccoons and even foxes. We went to dig for fairy stones and found a few, but also bought some that were polished up and nice in the gift shop to wear as a necklace.
REMEMBER DOGS “PAWS WERE MEANT TO GET MUDDY!” - JUNIE B. http://dlvr.it/6lzVsZ