We had reservations for JRSP for a Saturday and Sunday in early July. We knew we were going on a weekend, and that often means that campsites are more crowded but we read the reviews here on TA and thought we’d give it a shot anyway. We tent camped in the RV loop “Red Oak”. Camping with kids=needing to be close to bathrooms and showers.
The park was busy- in fact the loop was full. We had a VERY LARGE private site-not all of the sites were as private as the one we had, but they did all seem very large. We had trees on 3 sides of us! I think we were site 19. The bathroom was a regular camp bathroom- although there were 3 sinks which is nice to not have to stand in line to wash your hands. The showers were very nice. They were hot, and free! They also had good water pressure and a large dressing area. The campsite was nice and quiet after 10:15.
The visitor center was small but had lots stuff for the kids to touch. (skins, fur, leaves, bugs, twigs,) The day we were there the river was the color of caramel and was moving faster than normal so the park wasn't renting any watercrafts - bummer. But I’m glad they are keeping people safe.
It was HOT and HUMID here and it didn't cool down much at night. It also seemed to be a haven for ticks. I mean I think we tallied a total of 16 in a 5 minute span of sitting outside the tent at one point.
The road to JRSP is….ummmmm- well narrow, unmarked and rural- So be prepared for that. The park rangers there were less than welcoming. I don’t think they even said hello when we went into the visitor center- and we were the only ones there! The Jr. Ranger program costs 10.00!!!!!! Enough said!
There appeared to be a random private residence? Property? on the park road. It was a house with surrounding structures in varying degrees of completion or deterioration-
The last thing worth mentioning is that I think EVERYONE smoked in the park-EVERYWHERE! At the river, at the campground, IN THE BATHROOMS, even the park ranger outside the visitor center! We couldn't get away from it.
The park seemed designed for recreational activities as opposed to connecting with nature. The park did have some nature trials and a small meadow however, overall I would say James River State Park is there for people to use rather than to experience.
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