New River Campground & Canoe: Family Fun by the Fire



BY AMY HILL

People are tired of being cooped up indoors all winter and the best remedy is to spend some time in the Great Outdoors. The perfect place?  New River Campground & Canoe. Less than an hour and a half from Downtown Winston-Salem, folks can set up camp and channel their inner adventurer with family and friends this spring and summer. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Independence, Virginia, the campground is conveniently and scenically located along the New River – the oldest river in North America and second oldest river in the world.

The campground, which originated in 1978, has only had two owners since its opening, and after 20 years, current owners Rhonda and Aaron Blevins are ready to retire.  They only visited the campground once before they fell in love with it and purchased it back in 2001. To bring the property up to par initially, the pair had their work cut out for them and spent several years sprucing up the facilities and campgrounds.  But it was a labor of love and they poured their heart and soul into the property for 20 years.  While the last two decades have been “cool living” for the Blevins family, Rhonda and Aaron are naturally ready to pass the torch and hope that another young, friendly couple can take over the property, grow with it, and be fortunate enough to have the same enriching experience that Rhonda and Aaron have had themselves. It is a thriving business with repeat customers and new ones as well – part of the fun is getting to know the families!

A Place for Families

In fact, New River Campground is notorious for its family-oriented atmosphere. In addition to the New River, which surprisingly – and counterintuitively – flows south to north, there are two creeks that children flock to. Campsites sit along the river, which allows for a peaceful sleep inside campers’ tents and sleeping bags. In her years of experience, Rhonda has seen first-time campers typically starting with tents, later progressing to pop up or towable campers, and eventually breaking into the world of motor homes or RVs. The campground also offers camping cabins and efficiency apartments as well, for those who want to spend less time setting up camp and more time on the river. Efficiency apartments come fully stocked, requiring renters to only bring food, clothes, and their favorite pillows.

During the 20 years they have owned the campground, Rhonda and Aaron have seen camping couples grow from teenagers to adults and to eventually bring children and teenagers of their own to the New River to camp. The couple has adored watching so many children grow up and make so many friends throughout their property ownership. After the campground’s website was created in the early 2000s, the campground even began attracting international campers.

A Stocked Store

The camp store sells necessities such as coffee, groceries, water shoes, firewood, ice, and even tents and air mattresses, making packing and planning meals for a camping trip a less daunting task. Fishermen (and fisherwomen) can find live bait and artificial lures to help catch dinner. For those new to the world of camping and not sure which fireside meals to feed the family, Rhonda advises that campers can never go wrong with grilling steak or cheeseburgers, roasted corn, and, of course, campfire s’mores.

A Full Calendar

Reservations fill up fast! The campground opens the last weekend in March and typically stays booked (especially during weekends and holidays). “On opening day, the parking lot is full and people are standing on the porch waiting to make reservations,” says Rhonda. “Some people even spend the night to be first in line to get a reservation. By the end of the day, we have no reservations left for Memorial Day or Fourth of July.”

Come Join the Fun!

Ready to take a ride down the river? Visitors can rent canoes, kayaks, and ski tubes for the day, with shuttle service provided. If you would like to bring your own kayak or canoe, staff can shuttle your equipment for a fee, making your trip to the river a breeze. Visit the campground’s website at canoeingthenew.com to view daily rental rates. To stay up-to-date on the campground’s latest happenings, follow New River Campground and Canoe on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Call (336) 372-8793 or email inquiries@canoeingthenew.com for more information on accommodations and river safety tips.  Contact inquiries@canoeingthenew.com for information on purchasing the property.


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