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Recreation Across Virginia

Hungry Mother State Park

Hungry Mother State Park, Virginia Dept. Conservation & Recreation
Hungry Mother State Park has a story as unique as its name.

Legend has it that hundreds of years ago, Native Americans in southwestern Virginia were destroying settlements along the New River. Molly Marley and her toddler child survived.

As they wandered through the woods, they had little more than berries to eat, and eventually Molly collapsed from exhaustion and hunger.

The toddler kept walking until he could find help, explaining the situation with only two words, “hungry mother”.

When the search party finally found Molly, she had died by the stream where she had collapsed.

Today, the creek is named Hungry Mother Creek.


The park is located in Smyth County, about two hours from Roanoke.

Hungry Mother State Park is five hours from Richmond, and six hours from both Northern Virginia and Virginia Beach.


Hungry Mother State Park has a variety of landscape: woodlands, beach, and a lake sprawling across 108 acres.

The lake has a supply of largemouth, smallmouth, hybrid, and spotted bass. The lake is also populated with carp, sunfish, and catfish.

Fishing is permitted with a valid Virginia fishing license. A fishing pier is located next to the beach area.

Canoes, paddleboats, and kayaks can be rented from the boat house between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Rentals can be made on weekends through October, weather permitting.

Hungry Mother State Park has more than five miles of hiking and bicycle trails, open year round.

The park has three picnic shelters, all of which can be reserved by calling the Reservation Center 1800-933-PARK.

Each shelter has a charcoal grill, picnic tables, a fireplace, electricity, lights, and access to restrooms.

Overnight Facilities

Hungry Mother State Park has cabins, lodges, and campsites available for overnight accommodations.

The Camp Burson campground, located just before the entrance to Hungry Mother State Park proper, accommodate tents, pop-up campers, and RVs.

Two of the three campsites in the Burson campground have electric and water hookups.

Swimming is free for overnight guests.

Cabins are available for rent on a weekly basis. Weekly rentals start on Saturdays and Sundays.

All cabins have a kitchen with utensils, a stove, a coffeemaker, and dish towels.

Cabins also have a living room, bedrooms, with linen sets, fireplaces, picnic tables, and a charcoal grill.

The Hungry Mother Lodge is a six bedroom lodge that sleeps up to 15 people, making it a great place for reunions and family get togethers.

The lodge has six bedrooms, a porch, washer and dryer, gas grill and fireplace, horseshoe pits, and a large deck. The kitchen has a refrigerator, a coffeemaker, dishes, and utensils.

Guests should bring their own food and extra bath towels.

Location: Smyth County
Address: 2854 Park Blvd., Marion, Va, 24354
Telephone: 1-800-933-PARK
Web site:
Cost: $2 weekdays, $3 weekends
Latitude: 36.882561
Longitude: -81.533867

State Attractions

Virginia Air and Space Center
Amazement Square - Rightmire Children’s Museum
Busch Gardens
Central VA Attractions
National Museum and White House of the Confederacy
Virginia Aquarium
Jefferson’s Poplar Forest
Walton’s Mountain Museum
Yorktown Battlefield
Virginia Beach Attractions
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