Hipcamp host James R.
Hosted by
James has self-certified that Hipcamp’s COVID-19 Safety Standards have been implemented at this listing. See what’s being done here.
Blackwater Birds and Bees is a developing farm that became my full time project in 2016. If you're looking for privacy, you won't find a better place in Southeastern Virginia. It's 110 acres on the Blackwater River with access to over 2 miles of waterfront without leaving the property. The river is much like a cypress swamp with large channels running through the middle and i
Blackwater Birds and Bees is a developing farm that became my full time project in 2016. If you're looking for privacy, you won't find a better place in Southeastern Virginia. It's 110 acres on the Blackwater River with access to over 2 miles of waterfront without leaving the property. The river is much like a cypress swamp with large channels running through the middle and it creates a perfect environment for all kinds of spectacular wildlife. We have kayaks and canoes available for campers to use for free and a Jon boat with trolling motor available for rent. Fishing is permitted in our 10 acre pond and on the river. The farm currently features an apiary, a peach orchard, vegetable garden, blueberry bushes, and animals including ducks, chickens, geese, and goats. *If you are bringing a large camper or RV please pick site #3 or site #2. *Site #4 is about 75 yards into the woods away from the parking space. Firewood is available. $10/bundle. We are now offering beekeeping classes and edible wild plant tours for guests! Check us out on Instagram @blackwater_birds_and_bees
Campsite area
Bring your own tents, vans and truck campers, trailers, RVs
5 sites
Up to 9 guests per site
Park at listing
No ADA access
Campfires allowed
Toilet available
Pets allowed
Potable water available
Picnic table available
No kitchen
No showers
No wifi
Pack it out
Camping vehicle details
Generators allowed
No electrical hookup
No water hookup
No sewage hookup
No TV hookup
Pull-in site
Max length 32ft
Accommodates slideouts
Surface type: grass or field
Surface levelness: flat
Have a question? Send James a message!
  • Check in: After 1PM
  • Check out: Before 12PM
  • Cancellation policy: Moderate
  • On arrival: Meet and greet
  • Minimum nights: 1 night
  • Accepts bookings: 9 months out

You know what would make this trip even better?

Take advantage of these offers available to add to your trip to Blackwater Birds and Bees


14’ Jon Boat/ Trolling motor

Perfect sized boat for our pond! Holds 3-4 people comfortably. Comes with an ...Read more

Add to trip

Edible Wild Plants Tour

Mike Rasnake has over 40 years experience leading foraging groups and can hel...Read more

Add to trip

Blackwater Birds and Bees T-Shirts

NEW! Black Tees with white lettering sizes S-XL

Add to trip

Firewood bundle

A generous portion of dry firewood.

Add to trip


Offered on the Host's property or nearby.


Bass, crappie, pickerel, bream and a few other freshwater species are regularly caught in the pond. All of those fish can be fo...Read more

Horseback riding

We don't have horses but our private dirt road is a great place to ride if you have horses you'd like to bring.


We have two canoes, four kayaks, and two John boats available for use by guests.

Off-roading (OHV)

If you have ATVs we have some good paths and a dirt road for riding.


The river has a few sandy areas that a good for swimming.

Wildlife watching

Whether you'd like to see Birds, mammals, reptiles or amphibians, we have just about every species that's native to this area.



Natural features you'll find at Blackwater Birds and Bees in Virginia.


Zuni is part of the ancient shoreline that started here and ended in Texas. For that reason, our soil is almost pure sand. For ...Read more


Great for fishing from the shore or from a boat.

River, stream, or creek

The Blackwater is designated a scenic river by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Swimming hole

Conditions for swimming in the river can vary based on the water level.


At one end of our pond we have created a bog and introduced native carnivorous pitcher plants and a variety of other native wet...Read more


Fruit trees, blueberry bushes, vegetables, birds, bees, and goats


The entrance is just under one mile off of the paved road on the right.

The vibe at Blackwater Birds and Bees

204 Reviews

This listing has no reviews yet.
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
Hipcamper nicole
Nicole D.
recommends this listing.
(Site 5)
August 20th, 2019

Short Review: This place is amazing. BOOK NOW.

Long Review:
Blackwater Birds and Bees is 100% amazing place to visit. We drove 3.5 hrs from Annapolis for a day trip and the place is absolutely worth the drive. There are about 5 camp sites . You can probably drive up to all of them except for one, but the walk is not far. As far as amenities,the description of BB&B here is super accurate. The sites are far enough from each other that you can get privacy, but close enough to walk to if you come with several people who want their own spots but still be close to each other. There were all kinds of bugs, plants, and passion flowers everywhere. THE PLACE IS GORGEOUS.

What they don't have in the description is how incredible James and his family are. They took real good care of us. When we got there James's mom came by with cold water, flowers, tomatoes and cold watermelon. For a girl like me who can't even with any temp over 68 and thinks the sun is out for blood, this was a god send. She told us all about the property and oriented us to where things are. The bee keeping class was lit. James knows his bees, and also goats. We learned a lot about how bee colonies work, how male goats can be jerk faces and how to handle them, learned a little about monarch butterflies and got to taste the honey they harvested. They love the place and it shows, and they want to share it with all of us. So take the invitation, get you some peace and quiet ! I'm never an outdoors person but I'd go back here and camp.

P.S. I get mauled by mosquitos all the time, I did not get one bite during our night there. That in itself is a draw.

Blackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and Bees
Hipcamper Leisa

A perfect wanderlust destination

Leisa C.
recommends this listing.
(Site 4)
June 25th, 2019

After a ten plus hour drive from Florida we were warmly greeted by James' mother Phyllis near dusk. She took us to the lakeside site, near the bathrooms for a convenient trek for our 4 and 7 year old grandchildren and plenty of room for them to play. She adorned the picnic table with a basket, within a bouquet of wild flowers of bee balm, yarrow and black-eyed Susan's, a jar of raw honey, oh yum, a large mason jar of fresh water and a standalone hammock near the lake. A much appreciated warm welcome.
This property is an bird lovers paradise. At dawn the avian symphony was just mesmerizing, songs from numerous birds a couple of which I had never heard before.
Due to a foot injury I was not able to explore the property but was pleasantly surprised as I sat in my zero gravity chair I was still able to snap some awesome pictures. My husband entertained the kids with a boat ride on your picturesque lake, visited the enclosure of goats, chickens, geese and pick some blueberries.
James, your parents walked the goats passed our site, our grandchildren were just in awe of being among them.
This was our first time being hip campers and really cherish the experience. We have camped BLM, State and National parks and truly believe you will have success with your property. A piece of paradise. Thank you for being part of creating memories with our grandchildren.

Blackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and Bees
Hipcamper Christina

Absolutely wonderful

Christina T.
recommends this listing.
(Site 4)
June 30th, 2019

This was by far one of my favorite camping experiences thus far. James was very easy to communicate with, and his mother, Phyllis, greeting us upon arrival at the property. She guided us to a few of the available sites, all of which have plenty of privacy from each other. We chose the site located on the edge of the river, where we also had access to a canoe and kayak that were available for our use. Firewood was readily available, trash and recycling as well. The pit toilet was well-kept and not too far of a walk. There was great bird watching, and the animals on the farm were just delightful (our five year old was thrilled!). It was a very, very warm and humid weekend, but we were able to easily find a sandy bend in the river that was perfect for wading and cooling off. It was pretty buggy, but it’s summer, so that’s to be expected. We would love to come back during the fall and spring as well. Oh! And we also received flowers, a jug of water, and a jar of their own honey when we arrived. I highly recommend this beautiful camp site.

Blackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and Bees
Hipcamper Trenton
Trenton R.
recommends this listing.
(Site 1)
July 15th, 2018

We had a blast this weekend at James' property. James and his father went above and beyond to make our stay great—our entire group said we felt like we were at a luxury hotel with the service they provided. James went out of his way to show us around his property (and introduce us to his animals), shuttle kayaks so we could float down the river, and ensure that everything was taken care of (including trash, firewood, and all the little things that come with camping).

Beyond the warm hospitality, the property is beautiful. The Blackwater swamp ecosystem is truly unique for Virginia and is a fun area to explore on kayak. We spent hours enjoying the river. While we didn't do any fishing, we would want to bring poles next time. James even offered to set up a trotline for catfish. The campsite backs to this swamp and is a perfect location to watch the sunset and enjoy a beer and a bonfire. Highly recommended and would definitely stay again!

Hipcamper James
Response from James, the Host, on July 15th, 2018

Trenton and the rest of his group were perfect guests! Welcome back anytime.

Remove vote :(
Hipcamper Moussa
Moussa D.
recommends this listing.
(Site 3)
September 14th, 2018

My girlfriend and I had a great time visiting James (and co.) on their south-eastern VA farm, and would recommend it to any friends/persons looking to get away! We were first clued into their kindness and hospitality when we got a message from James saying that there was a reservation mistake and HipCamp had somehow let us book a site even though they were full, however, James was willing to make us a new site with a campfire pit if we still wanted to come. The offer was too good to pass up. When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed and given a tour of the farm. We passed stands of long-leaf pines, wildflower meadows, and rustic, sandy roads leading off in all directions. We were showed their small lake and the canoes/kayaks that were available for use. We were then guided to our newly built site, which was complete with a campfire pit, table, plenty of firewood, a gallon of water, trash, recycling, and bug spray. After settling in for a bit we decided to say hi to the farm animals that are on the property. A gaggle of geese, some hens, a rambunctious rooster or two, and about five adorable goats greeted us at the gate. While the hens and geese were fun to observe, it was really the goats that stole our hearts. We strolled back to our campsite and on our return, it began raining. No sooner had we gotten our small two-person set up did the thunder crack and the heavens open. Since we only live 1.5 hours away, we decided to call it quits and pack up during a brief break in the rain. On the way home, we stopped in Smithfield for ice cream, which is an adorable colonial town. All in all, we had a splendid time at Blackwater Birds and Bees, even though we didn’t even spend the night!

Blackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and BeesBlackwater Birds and Bees
Hipcamper James
Response from James, the Host, on September 14th, 2018

Thanks for the great pictures Moussa! Sorry for the bad weather. We are getting a small cabin beside the pond next week so nights like that will be easier to deal with.

Remove vote :(
Hipcamper Shannon
Shannon G.
recommends this listing.
(Site 1)
May 29th, 2019

Private campsite on a lovely property with gracious hosts! We couldn't ask for more for our 1st Hipcamp trip. We camped with our 3 kids (ages 5-10) who loved seeing the goats, canoeing/kayaking in the pond, watching the chickens/ducks/geese and exploring the riverbank. It was such a unique experience and they learned a lot about nature. We added the Beekeeping Tour for our oldest & it was very interesting to see the hives up close. The hosts were very helpful with all the accommodations -fresh water, trash, recycling, firewood, etc. Overall, we would highly recommend Blackwater Birds & Bees and would love to camp here again!

Hipcamper James
Response from James, the Host, on June 3rd, 2019

Shannon lost a paddle of ours that was complete junk and insisted that we take money for it. When we refused she sent us two canoe paddles in the mail. Amazing guests! Welcome back any time.

Remove vote :(
Hipcamper Kylie

Primitive but luxurious!

Kylie L.
recommends this listing.
(Site 1)
June 1st, 2019

This place was awesome! We have never used hip camp before and I really had no expectations but will definitely be coming here again! When we arrived, I was nervous that we would not have cell reception but that was not the case. James was available when we got there and was eager to show us to our site and even gave us a couple options to choose from. When we got to our site there was plenty of space for our tent along with a great amount of firewood, a trashcan and a recycling bin. Everything was great and we had the perfect amount of privacy that I was looking for that you can't really get from normal campgrounds in the area. Having access to water and bathrooms was a plus, and there was tons of land to explore during our stay. Even though we were far from any of the other sites where other people were staying, it was only a short 10 minute walk to the main house where the water and animals were. We had to leave early because one of our dogs wasn't doing well in the heat, but we would love to come back during colder months. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone that is looking for the private and primitive camping experience with normal campground luxuries.

Hipcamper James
Response from James, the Host, on June 3rd, 2019

Thanks for the great review Kylie! We'd love to have you back any time.

Remove vote :(
Hipcamper Susan

Phenomenal camp sites and hosts

Susan W.
recommends this listing.
(Site 5)
July 15th, 2019

When we first arrived, James was unable to meet us and his mother, Phyllis, met us instead. She had a beautiful center piece of wild flowers, a sample of honey with cold well water as a welcome. It was incredibly hot and the bugs were vicious, and when my 9 year old complained, she gave us a small fan to use during the evening in our tent. My 5 year old fussed about the heat, and directed is straight to the Blackwater River where we cooled off.
Once James came back from his trip, he came right over and introduced himself and Stanley...he even went above and beyond and fixed my fishing line making it easy for my son to cast. James also gave us a very wonderful tour of what it was like being a beekeeper. It was quite fascinating and both my young children learned new things about bees as did I! Wonderful family, wonderful experience! I can’t state it enough!!! The well water is excellent and so refreshing and cold, never have I drank so much water in my life! Truly a good choice, not one regret.
As a single mother, taking two children to camp by myself, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I’m definitely going back here with my kids and without them!

Great canoe rides with available safety jacketsBeekeeping tour with JamesHoney comb up close! Gorgeous clear Blackwater River
Hipcamper Valerie

Great stay w/ fam on a rooftop tent

Valerie M.
recommends this listing.
(Site 3)
March 17th, 2020

JUST BOOK IT! My family (myself, husband, 3 y.o. & pup) had a great stay at Blackwater Birds & Bees. We were greeted by Phyllis (James' mom), who gave us a tour of the property -- later she introduced us to the animals (goats, geese, chickens, ducks). We were at site 3 & it was perfect for our roof top tent. We were welcomed to our site with complimentary eggs & honey. The site was kept up really well and it was private. There was access to the lake and kayaks that we could use. Another plus was that our pup was able to hang off-leash! All around great place. We've already told our friends about it and want to plan another trip!

Perfect spot for the roof top tentComplimentary eggs, honey, & waterOur pup loved swimming in the lakeThere were grills available, but we brought our own just in case.


Best in 2021 Virginia
1st place
Best of 2019 Virginia
1st place
Best of 2018 Virginia
1st place
Blackwater Birds and Bees
United States
5 Sites

Lists including Blackwater Birds and Bees

79 camps including Riverside Salmon Cabin and Erwin Estate High Point
48 camps including Madrone Tree Hill and Lakeside Paradise & Great Sunsets
45 camps including CampWay Cabin and Lakeside Pigs Pears & Fishing

Safety at Hipcamp

Inclusion Policy

We have a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination at Hipcamp and are committed to helping our Host and Hipcamper community be inclusive.

Learn More
Hipcamp Hand

Hosting Standards

All Hosts should review and adhere to these standards around providing a positive Hipcamp experience, being a thoughtful neighbor, and serving as a responsible citizen.

Learn More

Hipcamper Standards

All Hipcampers should review and adhere to these standards for safety, trip preparation, and respect in order to uphold Hipcamp’s most important value: “leave it better.”

Learn More

Safety partners

Recreate Responsibly

  1. Know before you go
  2. Practice physical distancing
  3. Plan ahead
  4. Play it safe
  5. Explore locally
  6. Leave no trace
  7. Build an inclusive outdoors
Learn More

Leave No Trace

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors
Learn More

National Weather Service

We integrate with the National Weather Service to provide valuable fire advisories to Hosts and Hipcampers. Real-time Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watch Warnings help keep our community safe.

Learn More
Hipcamp is created with ❤️ and hope for our future