Trip planning: Five days in the WV/VA/TN mountains

welcome to Virginia

[EDIT: See end of this post to find out where we ended up going!]

Our Airstream has been sadly sitting all alone since we brought it home from the repair shop after our last trip in the spring to the mountains of WV and NC. We had to get the leaky hot water heater and bent stabilizer crank arm fixed and want to make sure we’re good to go for our trip to Tucson for Christmas, so it’s time for another short pop to the mountains! But where to go?

We used our previous quickie-to-the-mountains planning post as a starting point, but Asheville won’t be an anchor for this trip.

Destinations under consideration, all within a couple hours’ drive from Central VA:

Fayetteville, WV

view of the bridge from Long Point Trail
Bugsy smiling because everybody loves the New River Gorge Bridge

We love spending a night in Fayetteville and hitting The Handle Bar at Arrowhead Bike Farm for a beer on the deck, Burrito Bar at Breeze Hill for dinner and a margarita, and New River Gorge National Park for a morning hike. If you’re heading to Fayetteville, be sure to check the hours of any business you’re interested in patronizing, as many change seasonally. Currently, Burrito Bar is closed Wednesdays. A couple new campgrounds have opened in town; next trip to Fayetteville we plan to try camping at Arrowhead Bike Farm.

Erwin, TN

sunset over the Airstream and Nolichucky River
our campsite on the Nolichucky River

Nolichucky Gorge Campground is a scenic and fun place to park your home, with big river views and a super cool little outdoor bar next door at USA Raft Adventure Resort. RV camping is available year-round, but the bar, Take Out Tavern is only open Thursday – Sunday during rafting season, so plan accordingly. We stayed for a night in late 2021 and promptly added Nolichucky Gorge to our list of favorite regional stops.

Boone, NC

Bugsy on Rough Ridge off the Blue Ridge Parkway
Bugsy hiking near Boone/Blowing Rock

Boone and Blowing Rock, about 20 minutes from each other, are both good options. Blowing Rock has a cute downtown and is closer to hiking, while Boone has a better brewery scene and more camping options. Near Blowing Rock, there’s a beautiful but bare-bones NPS-managed campground off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, and Boone has a few commercial campgrounds near town. We looked into trying a new-to-us campground this trip, but no luck: Buffalo Camp RV didn’t return our calls, and Honeybear Campground had no availability a couple weeks out.

Asheville, NC

beer on the deck at New Belgium
one way to enjoy Asheville is with riverside booze

We normally love to include Asheville on these short Airstream jaunts, but since this one is shorter than usual and we’d prefer to spend more than one night in AVL, we’ll probably save it for later. Our Asheville to-do list has grown recently so we need to get back there soon!

Floyd, VA

Bugsy with her ball at our campsite
Camping in Floyd with lots of room to chase the ball

Floyd Family Campground, which we have loved in the past, has a two-night minimum the week we’re traveling. I can’t tell from their website if that’s a blanket rule or for certain times of year. Floyd Event Center, which we are unfamiliar with, is closer to town than Floyd Family CG and offers limited dry camping for RVs. Upon calling, we learned that RV camping there means you can overnight in their parking lot and use their shared facilities for $30.

Damascus, VA

dog at damascus brewery
this is how long it’s been since we were in Damascus–look at baby Bugsy!!

We liked our previous campground experience in Damascus, but next time we’ll try staying in the middle of the sweet little town at Damascus Creekside RV Park. The campground is open seasonally, with creekfront campsites and rental cabins, and Damascus has a handful of charming restaurants and shops. The multi-use Virginia Creeper Trail runs through downtown Damascus, as does the Appalachian Trail. Fun fact: the AT crosses through only three downtown areas in its ~2200-mile span: Damascus; Hot Springs, NC; and Hanover, NH.

With options like these, we can’t really go wrong. Where would you choose for a quick five-day trip?

***

So, where did we end up going? In a move unusual for us, who prefer to chill for more than a day in one spot, we spent five nights in five different locations! Gotta pack in as much adventuring as possible! We ended up with this itinerary:

It was a great little trip, full of hiking, biking, rafting, eating, and drinking!

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