Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2018 - 30
5. New River Trail State Park,
Foster Falls, Virginia:
You can cruise for 39 miles along the
New River on this rail-to-trail, multitown park. Explore Foster Falls, the Shot
Tower and historic Austinville. Then
make your way to Fries, a textiles town
with a storied past.
OUR READERS' FAVORITES
From wild ponies and rocky outcrops to sandy beaches and pristine
lakes, here's a mix of our readers' favorite parks, and what you can
do when you get there:
6. Mount Mitchell State Park,
Burnsville, North Carolina:
You can drive to the highest point
east of the Mississippi River at this
state park, featuring a lookout tower,
campground, museum and a fullservice restaurant.
7. Chimney Rock State Park,
Chimney Rock, North Carolina:
COURTESY OF THE VIRGINIA STATE PARKS
Survive the stairs and reach for the
heights of an icon at Chimney Rock
State Park. This longtime member of
the Southern Highlands Attractions
boasts views from perches called the
Opera Box plus an overlook of Lake
Hungry Mother State Park, winner of Best State Park, offers not only great scenery, but also great
dining, trails and more.
1. Hungry Mother State Park,
3. Grayson Highlands State Park,
Mouth of Wilson, Virginia:
2. Douthat State Park, Millboro,
4. Claytor Lake State Park,
What's not to love about the 108-acre
lake, top-notch restaurant, sandy
beach, hiking trails and mid-summer
arts festival? Well, here's the bonus:
a legend told here that attempts to
explain the wildly weird "Hungry
Established in 1936, this longtime
destination features striking scenery,
stream fishing and a 50-acre lake
stocked with trout. Rent a boat and stay
in a cabin then take a trail-on bike,
foot or horseback.
Elevations reach nearly a mile high
in the Montana-looking landscape of
this southwest Virginia slice of heaven.
Come here to hear mountain music.
Look for the waterfalls on Cabin Creek.
And seek friendly nibbles from the wild
ponies along the Appalachian Trail.
From luxury cabins and a campground
to the historic Howe House, you get a
little bit of all at Claytor Lake State Park.
And that includes a wide, sandy beach
to work on your tan.
8. Smith Mountain Lake State
Park, Huddleston, Virginia:
More than 1,000 acres of this park lie
along the second largest freshwater
lake in Virginia. Look for a boat ramp,
fishing pier, campground, trails and a
9. Fairy Stone State Park, Stuart,
You'll find hiking trails, a walk to a
waterfall and a lake with a sandy beach
at this Patrick County paradise, lying
just off The Crooked Road: Virginia's
Heritage Music Trail. What's more, you
can also hunt for fairy stones: cherished
symbols of luck.
10. Natural Bridge State Resort
Park, Slade, Kentucky:
Take the Original Trail for a fantastic,
family-friendly workout to see the
unforgettable Natural Bridge. This
wonder can also be reached by a chair
lift. This state park features a hotel plus
a restaurant with a bountiful buffet.