Outdoors, With Kids

Camping with Kids: Grayson Highlands State Park

August 16, 2016

This wasn’t our first camping trip, but it was our longest (so far). We spent four days at Grayson Highlands in Virginia. Mistakes were made. Tears were shed. We had a hella awesome time.

Grayson Highlands is a state park near Mt. Rogers (the highest peak in Virginia). We did not do the Mt. Rogers trail–it’s 9 miles round trip, and although I think it would make a fun, short backpacking trip with my 7 year old, no way in hell am I crazy enough to try that with my 3 year old. Instead, we took advantage of the shorter trails in the park, including Twin Pinnacles Trail and Massie’s Gap.

Why did I choose Grayson Highlands State Park? Two words: Wild. Ponies.




Let’s break it down.

Favorite Trail:

  • Evelyn: Massie’s Gap (wild ponies!)
  • Lily: Massie’s Gap (wild ponies!)
  • Lynn: Massie’s Gap (wild ponies!)

(Funny story. We had been hiking for about half a mile when we came across another family, who told us that they had met another hiker who said she had hiked for two miles and only seen one pony. The family was turning back. The Dad: “They should really put the ponies closer to the parking lot.” Me: “Huh.” Lily: “How long is two miles, Mommy? Is that how far we walk to Politics and Prose?” Yes. Yes, it is. We kept walking. Two miles later, we found a whole herd of ponies and their babies.)

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Proudest Moment:

  • Evelyn: Peeing in the woods without peeing on self
  • Lily: Using her first aid kit to bandage Evelyn’s scrape
  • Lynn: Doing ten cartwheels across the field

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Suckiest Moment:

  • Evelyn: Losing her shit in an epic hour-long meltdown. Still fuzzy on the details, but I think it had something to do with goldfish.
  • Lily: Losing her shit because she was bored during Evelyn’s meltdown.
  • Lynn: Losing her shit because her children were losing their shit and oh my gooooood, you guys.

In short, we all lost our collective shit at pretty much the same goddamn time.

Would we do it again?

  • Evelyn: Yes
  • Lily: Yes
  • Lynn: Yes

Photo Credit: Lily


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  • Reply Karen August 17, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I laughed so hard at this! I can’t decide what was funnier, the collective meltdown or peeing in the woods, which is a useful skill to have for sure! Super impressed that you did 10 cartwheels. I don’t think I’ve done a cartwheel since I was eight.

    • Reply Lynn August 17, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Thank you! I won’t lie–the cartwheels were harder than I thought they would be. I almost pulled an inner thigh muscle.

  • Reply Morgan August 25, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Oooooh! I was just at Grayson Highlands State Park a few weeks ago! It was fantastic! Though I haven’t written my blog post about it yet.

    We went as part of a roadtrip, so I probably won’t be back again soon, but you guys live closer. If you go back in the summer time, I recommend the Cabin Creek trail to the waterfall. The waterfall is pretty and has a small pool good for splashing. The water is freezing, but feels so good in the hot summer.

    • Reply Lynn August 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Thanks for the tip! We love waterfalls.

  • Reply Art August 25, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Politics and Prose used to be in my neighborhood!!! Living in W. Maryland and HAPPY to be so close to the state and national parks out there, but, when brought up like that I remember walking to P&P for a coffee or to browse, or Comet for pizza and a beer. Ahh, memories.

    I have never heard of Grayson Highlands. Looks like it’s going on the list!

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