Many of us have just survived days of teeth chattering low temperatures, thanks to the polar vortex inversion. If days like these make you want to escape to some place sunny, it’s a good time to grab a cup of hot cocoa and start planning for your summer vacation.
The beach at Fairy Stone State Park is the main attraction in summer
This year, why not plan a trip to Fairy Stone State Park? Virginia State Parks air-conditioned cabins come equipped with everything you need except clothes, food, and your toothbrush. If you prefer to rough it, you will find shaded sites for your camper or tent. Want to bring the horses along? Fairy Stone now offers an equestrian camping area too.
Whether you come to stay for a while, or just for the day, there are plenty of things to do and see in and around this park located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Rural Patrick County is a pastoral setting, and the Blue Ridge Parkway is a short drive from the park.
A dip in the waters of the 168-acre Fairy Stone Lake is a great way to cool off on those steamy summer days. The lifeguarded swimming beach features a shallow swimming area with toys for the little ones, along with a diving platform for more proficient swimmers. The beach is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day (although hours might be limited to weekends in late August).
A canoe or paddle boat ride is a fun way to exercise
If you need a little exercise to work off all those s’mores, what about a paddle boat or canoe ride around the lake? Rentals are available at the beach area, or you can bring your own boat. The "fishin' is easy" here, but no gas motors are allowed in this lake.
An abundance of produce and other goodies can be found at Monday Markets in the park
Rural Patrick County is a great source of fresh produce in summer, and Fairy Stone visitors need not travel to find nature’s bounty with Monday Markets in the park . Vendors also offer baked goods and other treats, while local musicians may be on hand to entertain shoppers.. If you're already in the area, you can park free to visit the market.
Bill and Maggie Anderson performing at a Monday Market
Fairy stone hunting is a popular activity all year
Ranger lead hikes, fairy stone hunts, canoe rides, and other programs are a good way to learn about nature and have fun at the same time. Weekend programs at Fairy Stone often include music such as the annual Homestead at Fairy Stone series. There are also plenty of venues near the park to hear the traditional music of the Crooked Road Trail. Check out the Town of Floyd, about 30 miles away, nearby Martinsville, and surrounding Patrick County. You will also find plenty of places nearby to shop for handcrafted items, art, and antiques.
Of course, if you want to simply relax in a rocking chair on the porch with a cool glass of sweet tea, Fairy Stone State Park is the perfect place to just be, any time of year.
Virginia State Parks begins taking camping and camping reservations eleven months in advance, and the prime dates and locations fill up early. For reservations click here, or call our Customer Service Center at (800) 933-PARK (7275).
967 Fairystone Lake Drive, Stuart, VA 24171. Drive Time Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., six hours (from Washington, DC); Richmond, four hours; Tidewater/ Norfolk/Virginia Beach, five hours; Roanoke, one hour
Keep thinking warm thoughts, and make those reservations now!