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“Nice Campground in the North District”

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Mathews Arm Campground
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
404 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 735 helpful votes
“Nice Campground in the North District”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2014

Matthews Arm Campground is the only campsite in the north district of Shenandoah National Park. The campground has individual campsites, group campsites, and some accommodations for RVs. Many of the campsites are first-come, first-served, but a few can be reserved. We stayed here as a group in the summer on four individual sites. The sites are a little close together and the ground is a bit rocky for tent stakes, but overall, a nice campground. The staff were friendly and the bathrooms were good as far as campgrounds go. Unfortunately, this campground does not have showers, however. Elkwallow Wayside is just two miles away, so if you forget anything or just want some snacks or even beer and wine, it's just a short drive. Remember that this is bear country so take utmost precautions with food or anything that might smell like food (toothpaste, deodorant, etc.) and keep it safely locked in the car at all times. Never put any food in your tent! The rangers had to scare off a couple of bears in the campground when we first arrived. There are plenty of trails leading through the campground, including the trail to Overall Run Falls, the highest waterfall in the park, and spur trails leading to Appalachian Trail. The only complaint I have about the campsite is that many of the other campers can be loud and inconsiderate during "quiet" hours. The rangers don't really enforce this much at all. I sleep pretty soundly, but some of my friends complained about being woken up at 2 in the morning to loud talking and partying. I guess the proximity to DC makes this a popular spot for the partying crowd.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jmpncsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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49 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    4
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    3
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Monterey, California
Level Contributor
57 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2014

We camped at the campground in July with one other couple. The location is not far from DC (just 2-3 hours), and it had some beautiful vistas on the way in. The campground itself is wooded and does not have any views. Check-in was easy and we ended up buying firewood as we were told it would be hard to find dry wood, given the rain (probably a good idea). We got there late in the day on a Saturday and immediately went for a hike to a waterfall (just 4 miles or so roundtrip and the waterfall was pretty but not everything I had imagined). Campsites are individually assigned and were nice. Each one has it's own grill/"firepit" (I hesitate to call it a real firepit) and a picnic table. Basically there's a concrete block which has a grate that you can pull down on top of it to make it a grill or you pull it up and it's a firepit. It was still pleasant, though. Unfortunately, it quickly started raining, so we went to bed in the pouring rain and woke up pretty early to head home. A great spot, though, and I would definitely go back. It was a good mix of couples and families, so I didn't feel out of place either.

Room Tip: To choose a campsite, take a look at the google images type option on the campsite selection. Make...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LER627
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Coupeville, Washington
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2014

I've camped here off and on for the past 10 years but only because the kids love to go to Luray Caverns. If you're able to go during the week, then it's better but the weekends here seem to be party time for the DC populace who want to have a weekend adventure. None of the usual rules are respected and what should be a relaxing night in the wilderness ends up being a frustrating encounter with people who simply don't know how to behave in a campground. This is also probably one of the most crowded campgrounds I've ever been too so don't expect nice, secluded sites. On one horrible visit, the guy at the site next to ours decided to BLARE Beethoven's Ninth as a 'wake-up call' for everyone at about 6 a.m. Yes, really. The bathroom doors bang over and over all night, echoing through the whole place. RV's are mixed in with the sites so you will hear the generators running. Or you could have the same sad experience as the couple who picked out a nice spot, set up their little tent and chairs and then had a huge,ridonculous RV pull up right next to them so they got to spend their weekend looking at the side of it. :/

Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank ClaudiaPlumwrecker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Texas
Level Contributor
83 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 June 2014

We've often stayed at Mathews Arm - and always enjoy the peace, the beauty, the convenience and amenities. It's clean, well spaced and just about perfect. The problem we had this time (which was a first) was a rowdy bunch of young parents and their 6 kids who took the 3 neighboring sites….and screamed and talked loudly every waking hour - and early in the mornings. While they *technically* did not break the "quiet hour rule", it would be nice if someone had posted or listed campground etiquette of speaking on low voices and not running around like banshees, and yelling 6 campsites away to "hurry up and come on", etc, etc. Rude. Just rude.
But THAT's not the campground's fault - just some examples of very poor parenting. We love the site and will do it again - although maybe during the week instead on busier weekends.

Room Tip: Loops A and B are great - C a bit more open to your neighbor.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank txstransplantnomore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
97 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 June 2014 via mobile

We stayed for two nights. First night was great. Nice fire pit area, it wasn't too crowded. Everyone was very respectful of quite hours.

The bathrooms are fine for camping standards. Toilet paper, soap, electricity, and running water.

The guys took about a 2.5 mile hike to some beautiful waterfalls.

All the park employees were friendly.

Some sites have very little usable tent space due to either lack of grassy space or rocky ground. Pick carefully.

However, because the sites are so close together (some with nothing in between two sites), on the second afternoon three families all with multiple kids under the age of 6, decided to set up right next to us. They were loud, obnoxious, rude, and undisciplined. The parents were as bad as the kids! The ranger stopped by and asked us to move our tent because we were encroaching on their site, even though they had twice as much usable tent space than we did. The parents stayed up till all hours of the night talking around their fire, and their kids were up at the crack of dawn.

Stayed June 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank DCNewleyweds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 June 2014

We camped Memorial Day weekend. It was completely booked. Sites are nice and wooded, most have fire rings, some only have standing grills, and some even have food lockers, which is nice. Rangers were friendly, and did frequent the loop every 10-15 minutes from 7-11, it seemed. Quiet hours are enforced, and begin at 10pm. There are plenty of trails around the campground, and one even leads to the largest falls in the park. There is a general store with basic sundries about 1 mile from the campground. Facilities, consisting of flush toilets, sinks, and potable water are clean and fairly close to any site. We had little to no cell coverage in the campground. This campground is much better than the overcrowded, village-like Big Meadows campground. If you can live without showers for a few days, it is definitely worth choosing Mathews Arm!

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank carterfinley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington D.C.
Level Contributor
47 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2014

If you want to stay here be aware that it is a dog-friendly campground which, unfortunately these days, means it will be overrun with pit bulls. We met some lovely dog owners with some really cool and sweet dogs (whippet, golden retrievers, ridgebacks) but they were greatly outnumbered by people with pit bulls, probably 2:1. I kept my daughter close and the bear mace at the ready just in case.

Other than that its a really scenic area for car camping with easily accessible sites, basic facilities and some pretty nice hikes right out of the parking lot. It gets really crowded on weekends because it is the closest campground to the north park entrance/I-66 and everyone who wants to escape from DC for the weekend ends up here.

Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank thiswaythatway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mathews Arm Campground

Property: Mathews Arm Campground
Address: Mile 22.1 Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA
Region: United States > Virginia > Shenandoah National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 8 Speciality Lodging in Shenandoah National Park
Number of rooms: 179
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A campground with no showers. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mathews Arm Campground Hotel Shenandoah National Park

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