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Six Virginia state parks will test site-specific reservations

Six Virginia State Parks are involved in a two-year pilot program to test a different way of making camp site reservations.

Under the pilot, customers can reserve a specific site rather than reserving space in a park campground. The pilot is good for visits starting May 1, 2015. Campground reservation can be made 11 months in advance making April 1, 2014 the first day they can be made in these pilot parks.

The six parks participating in the pilot are Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster, Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry, Douthat State Park in Millboro, First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth-of-Wilson and Hungry Mother State Park in Marion.

Reservations for Grayson Highlands are not available until May 1, 2014 due to a later weather-related opening date. More information on the pilot, including specific sites to be reserved, can be found at

Traditionally the more than 1,700 campsites in Virginia State Parks are reserved using a non site-specific method. A customer books a site of the type and size desired but the actual site is assigned upon arrival at the park. This method allows for maximum flexibility and efficient usage of available sites.

Some customers have begun asking for the ability to select a specific site at the time they make their reservation. Most public and private campgrounds have transitioned to this method.

In 2013 Virginia State Parks surveyed past and present customers to determine the preference of its customers. The results were divided.

There was, however, sufficient interest that a decision was made to pilot a system where some sites in the park would be site-specific and others would remain non site-specific.

“The pilot will help gauge our campers’ reactions to the dual system and help park staff resolve any management challenges,” said Craig Seaver, DCR’s acting state parks director.

Six parks across the state representing different camping experiences volunteered to participate in the pilot. The pilot will run for two seasons and be evaluated to see if changes will be made to the entire reservation system starting in 2017.

For more information on all Virginia State Parks or reservations for the pilot or for any state park campground or cabin can be made through the Virginia State Parks Customer Service Center by calling 800-933- PARK (7275), Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; or online at

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

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