This summer I am working a motorcycle tour of the entire Virginia State Park system – all 36 state parks!
I just hit the halfway point, visiting my 18th park today. Even though I have always been a huge fan of our Virginia State Parks, I always frequented the same two or three parks each year. Being an avid motorcyclist, I saw a fantastic opportunity to see Virginia in a unique way.
Starting the tour at Pocahontas State Park
I started my visits with a trip to the Passport Plus was an obvious choice. Looking at the map, I was excited to see that the park system covered every corner of Virginia, from the Eastern Shore to the Blue Ridge.
To this day, I have avoided traveling on highways whenever possible. Taking the path less traveled has made some of the trips a little longer, but they have been much more satisfying.
I have met so many great people, visited locally owned businesses and restaurants and had experiences far beyond what I had anticipated.
Visiting the newest State Park in Powhatan
As to the parks themselves, it has been so interesting to learn the personality and history of each park. While Virginia State Parks all share common features, each park definitely has a flavor all its own. From the active parks like Leesylvania to its more passive cousin, Mason's Neck, each and every park I have visited has left an impression on me. I have met park staff that is very new to the system (like at the newly opened Powhatan State Park) and others that have years of experience. Each and every one, regardless of their role, has impressed me with their passion for the parks and their positive attitudes. I want to take this opportunity to thank those folks that I have met. You all have helped me make memories that will last a lifetime.
While riding through the countryside, I have been exposed to the real Virginia of today. Spending time in the parks has exposed me to so much of Virginia's history. First Landing, Chippokes Plantation and Twin Lakes are just 3 examples that span distinct periods in our state's development. Along the way, I have visited the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, the George Washington Birthplace National Monument and countless local monuments and sites. Add that to the opportunity to unwind in some of the most beautiful scenery in the state, like in the magnificent James River State Park, and you can imagine how much I have enjoyed the first half of my tour.
To help commemorate the trip, I have a license plate on my motorcycle that reads VAPRKS. When people ask me about it, I always discuss the parks and explain my goal of visiting every park. So often, I see a gleam in peoples eyes as they think about taking the time to experience everything our diverse state has to offer. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to have this opportunity. It is a privilege to live in Virginia and have the benefit of such a strong park system. I encourage everyone to explore Virginia, explore our parks and build some memories of your own.
Hitting the halfway point at Twin Lakes State Park
Today marked my halfway point at Twin Lakes State Park. That wraps up almost every park in the eastern half of the state. I have a few camping trips scheduled over the next 8 weeks which should allow me to head towards southwest Virginia and visit all the parks in that area. What could be better than camping and riding in the Blue Ridge? Add in a few day trips to the Buggs Island area and north on Skyline Drive and I should have no problem completing the next 18 parks by the end of September.
The license plate on my motorcycle
If you find yourself driving down a back road and see my motorcycle with the VAPRKS tags, beep your horn and follow me to a park. I'd love to have you be a part of my adventure! -Keith
VIRGINIA STATE PARKS WANTS TO SALUTE THIS AWESOME STATE PARK GOER!
RIDE ON BROTHER! WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR VISIT TO THE REST OF OUR BEAUTIFUL VIRGINIA STATE PARKS.