Tidewater Virginia

Is there a place we can rent a canoe (or kayaks) this spring in the Dismal Swamp area? I tried a couple years ago when we were there and although it was in the 50’s it seemed like everything was shut down for the season. We’ll be in the area over the kids’ spring break and I’d like to do a couple days, including spending the night in the Great Dismal. Thanks!

I read that

– Last Updated: Jan-25-09 6:25 PM EST –

the campground on the feeder canal to Lake Drummond was closed in 2007 to overnight stays by the Army Corps of Engineers. I'd like to know myself if it's been reopened.

guess I won’t
pitch a tent in the campground then.

Tidewater/Hampton Roads/Seven Cities
I live in Hampton Roads - Here are three local outfitters:




The first website is your best chance for renting kayaks b/c they’ll let you cartop them and take them whereever you want.

Tom at Virginia Sea Kayak Center is a great source of info, and he operates an outfitter about 15 mins. from the GDS, but I don’t think they do rentals.

I know that in 2007 the Army Corps of Engineers was going to shut down overnight camping for good in the GDS. There was a fair amount of public outcry. I never heard the outcome and haven’t attempted to camp there since then. I did paddle it twice last summer. If camping was banned, there’s plenty of other places to camp in Chesapeake or VA Beach.

Here’s a phone # and website where you can check on the camping from the GDS Fish & Wildlife Service:



Feel free to email me if you have any other questions.

Open in 2008
I looked into camping in Dismal last February as a backup to False Cape, in case it was going to be too windy. We ended up at False Cape. But I talked to the park people (I forget who) and they sure made it sound like it was open. But don’t take my word. Look them up on the web and give them a call.


I think it’s open…
Some friends camped there a few weeks ago, and there were other folks camping there too.


– Last Updated: Jan-26-09 7:02 PM EST –

I found at least a couple of sources that say it was reopened to campers on 8/31/07, after a public backlash :)


AFAIK camping is prohibited elsewhere in the refuge.

The campground is open.
I camped there last year twice.