Maryland is known for its sun-drenched shores, fishing and boating; camping in and around the Chesapeake Bay delivers on those promises. But Maryland packs a remarkable variety of other adventure options too, including rugged mountains in the north and west and the pastoral hills of Central Maryland. As a plus, the thrills and relaxation provided by camping in Maryland are all within easy access of historic towns and the big cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Maryland’s beaches have long been a popular family vacation destination. Not far from the bustling Ocean City, campers can find restful fishing and swimming and beautiful ocean sunrises on Assateague Island, a 37-mile strip of sand and marsh where wild horses roam. Find dozens more options for waterfront camping in Maryland on the Eastern Shore in the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Generations of watermen there have harvested blue crabs, oysters, clams, rockfish and their towns retain their red-bricked charm.
Another popular way to see Maryland is to bike or walk parts of old towpath for the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. The 184.5 miles of easy, shaded trail follows the Potomac River, passing through dozens of historic lockhouses, the breathtaking Great Falls, and historic towns like Harper’s Ferry to connect Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. Campers can find sites every few miles.
Mountain lovers can also find camping in Maryland along the remnants of the greater Appalachian range. These sites offer easy access to viewpoints and waterfalls, including the tallest in the state, the 78-foot Cunningham Falls. Sugarloaf Mountain is a small peak south of Frederick, Maryland with a Civil War history that now offers far-reaching vistas on the surrounding vineyards and forests to hikers, rock climbers and campers. Find more options for camping in Maryland’s mountains or beaches on The Dyrt.
The beach. A national park. Wild ponies. OC boardwalk 10 minutes away. What could be better.
It's dry camping with ice cold showers, but it's quiet and beautiful. Nothing is more magical than waking up to ponies breathing in your tent.
Fort Washington is a massive brick and stone fortress majestically guarding the Potomac River approach to the nation's capital. It was constructed in 1809 and saw service from the War of 1812 until WWII. Now a National Park Service (NPS) site, the park is expansive, with trails and day use areas to complement the fortress grounds. As an NPS facility, it offers a welcome center and small museum, and a place to get your National Park passport stamped. Fort Washinton is only about five miles south of the DC Beltway, so it makes for a nice afternoon or day trip for your individual or family outing for getting the kids outside. Parking is plentiful. Most of the fortress grounds are handicapped accessible, as are the pathways around the park.
This is part of a super large park that runs 32 miles along the Patapsco River. It has 8 recreation areas and we stayed at the Hollofield Area in April- one of our first experiences in a Maryland State Park. Beautiful park with 70 miles of hiking/biking /multi use trails. There are parks on both sides of the river to explore and experience the trails. Be sure to bring/download maps. You are close to Ellicott& Columbia in Maryland and DC.
Campsites- nice size gravel sites, some are a bit close to each other in the “electric” loop and some face a neighborhood that probably couldn’t be seen if the trees had regained all their foliage. There is only 20/30amp electricity and NO water or sewer- although there was a dump and a place to fill your water tank. No washer or dryers. There is one bathhouse for the campground, which was clean and well maintained. Tenters will be happy because many of the smaller sites were more secluded and had great views of the woods. Cell coverage was good with our sprint/Verizon.
ALSO- APPROACH THIS PARK ONLY FROM THE WEST IF YOUR VEHICLE IS OVER 11 FEET HIGH. (There is a 11’ bridge coming east bound into this park.)
We enjoyed hiking the trails directly from our campsite that led us down to the Patapsco River. There is a lot of history associated with the River and the area. You can even swim in this river. Fishing looked like fun too but we didn’t have time.
We really loved road biking to the nearby H Mart to have fun shopping and browsing their unique selection. (This is a super large Korean store packed with fruits, vegetables, seafood and other food stuff that could put an American grocery store to shame. If you are into K Beauty, they have a nice selection)
You can also bike/drive to nearby Ellicott city which has a charming downtown area.
There is mountain biking and kayaking in the area but we were not in explorer mode this visit because we were visiting family.
Here is a link to the updated trail map of the area:
Happy Camping! Pamela and Keith
Finished the season at this state park in MD with full hook up (20, 30, and 50 amp, water and sewer) and the water was still on in November. Bathhouses were open with hot water. Nice clean bathhouses. Sites were level, spacious, spaced apart, with packed gravel surface. Back in and pull through sites available. Near the state forest with a rifle, archery, and handgun ranges including skeet shooting. In summer there is a beach on the North East River for swimming and the Turkey Point Lighthouse is nearby. The town of North East is close and is a quaint town with a Main Street and great little shops. Woodys famous crab house is there along with other restaurants. Turkey Point Vineyard is nearby. There are views of the Elk River from many sites. Stayed in the North East loop and there are mini cabins available as well.
Weekend was cold but the park was pretty full. This is close to us so it was an easy trip. Full hookup but we’re told to turn off and unhook water the night it dropped below freezing. They do fill up propane but there’s a Tractor Supply about 20min away that will also fill them. Bathhouse available but I didn’t use it. Pool was closed but looked nice. There was a fenced dog area and play set. The sites are close but there were all sizes of RVs there, even large class A. Many sites are on the water. No swimming in the Bush River but you can fish from the pier or right from your site. There appeared to be a boat dock as well. I read they had a couple bungalows to rent too. Fire pit was nice and situated near the water. Picnic tables at each site. It’s a gated park and nestled at the back of a quiet neighborhood. I didn’t take many pics this time. It was all about relaxing and we never left the campground. It’s located about 40 min. from Baltimore Harbor, Ravens and Orioles stadiums. Bel Air is 20 min. away and has several restaurants. Walmart is 10-15 min. away. There is a grocery store, beer store, Walgreens, and a couple restaurants just 5-10 min. away and a 7-11 at the neighborhood entrance. It seems like a great overnight as you’re passing through the area. It’s 5 min. from Interstate 95.
My kids never stopped running! We will be back.
We booked online and the owners contacted with confirmation. The location is beautiful and has dry camping and hookups. The view of the town below is beautiful and open skies at nights. The owners plan to expand and update more with the summer season.
If this campground is convenient - and given that it's open through October and <60 minutes from DC it might well be - this campground is good to go. But without that convenience factor I would not rate this site as worth visiting.
The loop is very small, with all the sites pretty close together. The forest behind the site was sparse, enough so that it was hard to find fuel for the fire and we were basically part of the youth group activities happening. From 8am to 4pm I learned A LOT about what number to dial in case of emergency.
The site itself was very small - difficult to get 2 cars and two tents in - and the fire ring was smaller as well. Though it was cleaner than the average state park site.
We stayed in site 21, which was fine enough except for its proximity to the nearest pavilion and all the small children screaming "stop drop and roll" at the top of their lungs.
But at the end of the day it was $20 (with a $6 booking fee) and for better or worse we never interacted with a single park ranger or camp host. The upside is we could do what we wanted, the downside is there wasn't a sense of community, or regulation.
I'll say I have never been to a site where the firewood is padlocked, and you have to call someone to come unlock it so you can buy firewood. In fact I'm downgrading the review from 3 stars to 2 as I write this - there really weren't many positives about this campground other than that camping is a terrific hobby.
Ranger Review: Firebiner and Fiber Light Fire Starter at Greenbrier State Park
We were here one week before this campground closed for the season (open April through October) and it was so quiet that it was hard to imagine what it is like in the summer when the beach is open and the campground is likely full. There are four loops; two with no hookups and no pets allowed, one with no hookups that allow pets and one with electric sites that allow pets. Each site is clearly defined, and the sites all appeared level with gravel pads. The bathrooms were reasonable. There are several trails in the campground plus it is close to several AT day hikes.
There is a large day-use area and beach with lots of picnic tables. While the beach was closed for swimming, we saw a kayaker and two people fishing from a boat. Many hiking trails and this is an excellent place to camp if you’d like to do AT day hikes.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I have the opportunity to test products. At this campground, we tested the Firebiner and Fiber Light Fire Starter by Outdoor Elements. I’m reviewing both products since they can be used together, and we had much more luck with one than the other.
Upon unpacking my box from Outdoor Elements, my first experience was that it took a sharp knife to free the Firebiner from its cardboard backing, which was not an auspicious start. Once at our campground, we were able to use the safety blade to easily open the plastic packaging on our firewood. Unfortunately, it took several tries by two men trying the Firebiner to get a spark; they had to really crank on it, and it was not enough to light a fire. I’m guessing that with more patience and practice, it would have worked. Admittedly, we are car campers and not backpackers (and have the luxury of being able to carry/use a butane lighter), but I was looking forward to trying a new method.
We did use the Fiber Light Fire Starter and using our tried and true fire-starting methods, we got a roaring fire started very quickly. So, we had a 50% success! Packed in a small tin, you only need a pinch to easily get a fire started so we will use this in the future.
We also used the cutting tool on the Firebiner a few days later to remove the wristband from an activity we participated in and also used it to hang our lantern on a hook; this little tool is very strong (did not test but appreciate the 100-pound weight limit). I appreciate that it can also be used as a screwdriver, so the Firebiner is truly a multi-use tool!
We rescheduled to this weekend after our original reservation weekend was flooded out 2 weeks ago. They never notified us but our camping buddies got there earlier than us and called us. I thought the park could’ve emailed about being closed for flooding before people showed up. This weekend was Halloween weekend. It was quiet with a couple activities planned. We only had 2 trick or treaters. Our site 119 in Hoffman loop was long and very private. Most of the sites on the outside of the loop were private and long driveways. Inside the loop were more open. Our original loop was Greens Loop but that didn’t have availability this weekend. Those sites were out in the open but most were waterfront. Site 99 was gorgeous. Site 97 was long and narrow but there was a Fifth wheel with 2 slides in it. Tulip loop had FHU and no bathhouse. Another loop we walked was closed for the season. Nearby is the Pt. Lookout lighthouse and a Civil war museum, as well as Fort Lincoln. There were piers to fish and crab from in Green and Hoffman loops as well as a huge pier just a short drive or bike ride away. No hammocks are allowed which we found odd. Pets are allowed in many loops. Overall, a nice campground with very nice rangers. Also a small camp store and firewood for sale. No Wi-fi. Sprint service was no good anywhere near this campground. We were an hour away before getting any kind of cell service.
We arrived after dark so really didn't see much and left early and I only took a few pictures while my wife was chasing the dogs around with the little green poopy bags…. Quick take on the place is that it is nice and I wouldn't hesitate to return. The store had basic t-shirts hats and trinkets. Not sure of food supplies other the freezer burnt ice creams, (3), left over from the summer hordes. Firewood was for sale at $6 bucks a bundle, fair warning - it's primarily fireproof as it didn't burn well. There are canoes for rent. There is a nice dock and looks like a great place to canoe/kayak. It was very dark away from the office area but where we stayed there was some light from the parking lot lights filtering through the trees. Not bad though. There was a bit of road noise early on but was not bad and ended by 9pm. Driving out in the morning the place appeared well kept and has fairly spacious sites.
Our site E-106 was a perfect site for my wife and I. Close to beach access, clean facilities and friendly staff. Surf fishing was slow but the bay offered up some opportunities to reel in a few fish. Warm fall temperatures, only a handful of other campers made our stay enjoyable. The campers we met with are friendly along with our camp host and staff. Beautiful sunsets, Asseateague ponies with there new foals and a beautiful full moon rounded out our stay.
This park is a lot of fun in warm weather with kids. The facilities are also top-notch. I couldn't get over how nice the bathrooms were! We rented mini cabins which each have electricity but no bathroom or running water. Ours had a futon, folding table, double bed and bunk beds. The office will lend you a box fan at check-in and the cabins do get stuffy.
The swimming beach and playground are absolutely beautiful! We had a great time at the nature center reptile feeding program. We also walked around the aviary, where you can see many of the birds from the outside even if it isn't open for a program. We hiked the loop around the lake, not realizing that it was over 5 miles! It also takes you right through the casino parking lot and crowded day use area at one point. If there's a drawback to this park, it's that it really doesn't feel very remote. You're basically across the lake from a big hotel and casino. But it's convenient to DC and a great place for kids and new campers!
The best park in the DC area! Very nice grounds, clean, and amenities galore! The staff are nice here. They have so much going on! Plan and reserve you DC tours right at the campground. No need to drive anywhere, the tour buses pick you up at the park! Pool, playgrounds, game room, camp store, pavilions, everything!
Cute location right on the river and the C&O bike path. Would be great for through bike camping. Not much regulation. Our campsite had been taken by another family so we had to use a different one. Good for a quick camp weekend.
The campsite was very convenient. The fire pit had an attached grill for easy cooking if you do not have a grill yourself. Each site is tamped down with sand for your tents to rest on and can fit a single car comfortably. The only thing that might not be great for some is that you are rather close to other sites. This wasn’t a bother for us. There was a water sticker for cleaning and boiling as well as an honor system firewood shed. Nearby is a small lake where you can rent canoes. Would return!
My husband loves to go DC and we recently purchased a travel trailer. This campground was the best of both worlds. It was close to a metro stop, so we were able to hope on there and head into DC. Since we stayed in October and temperatures were getting cooler, we only played putt-putt and it was very well kept and the tiny cost ($1.00) to play goes to a great cause. The shower houses were clean and the other facilities were in great condition, with what we saw when we walked around. We had an enjoyable stay and would consider coming back when it’s a bit warmer and when we have more time to experience more at the campground itself.
Beautiful campgrounds situated near a creek. The campgrounds have a homey feel and were decorated nicely for fall & Halloween. The staff & hosts were incredibly nice & helpful. The restrooms & showers were the cleanest I've seen. The sites were very nice and equipped with an upgraded firepit with a swivel grill for cooking instead of the standard ring or rocks. I only stayed one night due to traveling through but would love to go back & stay again
This campground is mostly seasonal campers that keep to themselves. Not much for the kids, they do have a pool and small playground. There is a nice pier and boat ramp. Bathrooms by the pool are nice and clean did not check the second bathhouse but was told you needed a code to access it. No cable or internet and cell service for att, sprint, and T-Mobile was spotty. I can’t say anything bad about the place other then there is nothing to do or activities for the kids but if you would like to get away from it all and do a little fishing this is the place. You have to drive at least 20 minutes to find food and things to do.
Campground Review: This state park in MD is very popular in the fall for leaf peepers and this weekend was no exception. We were there the last weekend in Sept. The areas of the park that were available were pretty full. All electric sites were full. Our site 16 was spacious and private except for the pathway to the bath house but I only saw a half dozen people walking by. There are many paths from the 30 sites in the A or Ash loop to get to the bath house which was decent and clean. My sister-in-law and her husband stayed in a pull through site #15. It was extremely spacious and very private and backed up to the woods. We checked in at 8:05 on a Friday and there were 2 rangers in the office. The campground has a gate. There are loops A-I with A being all electric and pet friendly. B, C, D, and E were pet friendly with a couple electric sites but seemed to be used by hosts. Loops F through I were no dogs and no electric. There is a beach and a dog beach area which is a huge plus! The camp store was open but the Aviary and Nature center were closed for the season. There appeared to be boat rentals but I didn't inquire. We hiked throughout and around the lake at the campground and then drove to the other end of the lake (there is a 5 mile trail around the lake) and hiked to Canyon Overlook and the dam which was very pretty. There was a scavenger hunt paper we could've used to search for objects in nature. Great for kids! There are 278 sites total with just 30 having electric hook-up. I would definitely camp there again! Hope it's a bit cooler next time. It was nearly 90!
I used the Eclipse sun protection clothing for a little bit on Saturday. It was so hot I couldn't keep it on even with the side vents. I had the shawl cover up as well. I found the one size fits all poncho to be too big for me. I am small stature (5'4" and 110 lbs) so one size fits all doesn't usually fit me. I emailed a review to the company and they responded quickly that they were going to offer sized clothing in the very near future! The material was light weight and I think is as good as or better than any other sun protection clothing I've owned. I would recommend it!