When we camp as a family, we seek out site that provide a sense of security. The campground at Point Lookout State Park gave us the sense they could not have cared less. The sites are small, though there was room for our large tent. There are RV sites a plenty that offer larger areas. The grounds themselves are covered with poison ivy. There is also little to no Ranger presence. We were staying here during a yearly Maryland park event called Park Quest. The site was easy enough to get to, but the immense crowds made the area noisy and dangerous. Alcohol was flowing freely (it’s not allowed in State Park lands unless it’s inside a RV). The noise level kept us up all night and when we called to complain, we were told no Ranger was present and that if we felt it was necessary to call Natural Resources Police “about 45 minutes away.” We found tons of trash everywhere. There were condoms left used in the bathrooms. The camp hosts refused to do anything. It was the absolute worst experience we’ve had camping and it nearly turned us away from the MD state park system as a whole. The only bright spots were the historic areas and the nature center, which was very well done. I think I’d rather sleep in the back of my truck in a Wal-mart lot than return here.
This is one of the most picturesque state parks in Maryland. One big problem, though, was that the site we had was all swamp. We had to pitch our tent in the driveway, so we couldn’t stake it down. The light house and area has some neat history though.
We settled for Point Lookout because it was the nearest of the State Park campgrounds to what we were doing( Maryland ParkQuest) The first thing we noticed was the size of the sites. We were told the sites could handle large tents and true to their saying they were… barely. The sites themselves were covered in trash and bordered by the largest collection of poison ivy I have ever seen. The bathrooms were dirty and poorly stocked. What bothered us the most was the lack of presence by the staff. Past 8,we saw no Rangers or staff at all. There were people yelling, arguing practically fighting, and the response we got from the staff was that the Natural Resource Police could be there “around 30 to45 minutes” in case of emergency. People were loud. We did not sleep all night. My kids were frightened- not a good thing for a State Park. In the morning, I found a pile of used condoms and drug paraphernalia in the bathroom and a lot of alcohol thrown everywhere. The camp host wasn’t even there, though the RV they stayed in was parked. We reserved two nights and stayed only one. There was one good part- the nature center offers a great learning opportunity for the kids and has an impressive museum as well. Never. Going. Back.
Interesting location with lots of early American history nearby.
This is the campground I grew up on. We've been camping at this place since I was a child. Now I take my own children here. Its the place we frequent the most. It is chalk full of historical significance as the grounds used to host a prisoner of war camp for the Union during the Civil War. The land was initially used as a resort then made into a hospital followed by a prison due to its ideal location. It is at the tip of Southern Maryland. The location of the campground is ISOLATED. The sites offer moderate space and vegetation between the pads to allow for privacy. The facilities are well maintained. There are playgrounds throughout as well as access to docks and the bay to fish and crab from. Their is a musuem and camp store where they rent canoes. They also offer cabins, which I haven't ever used. This is by far my favorite campground, but it is probably because I am sentimentally attached.
The campground is enormous, so bring your bike! You can choose a spot on the marsh and over the water and there’s you will see your neighbors, but we choose to stay tucked into the back where there are full hookups. There, each site is surrounded by tall reeds and you have near total privacy. The spots are enormous. A quick drive to the other end of the park and there is a beach area for swimming (go early: it gets full in peak season with day use partiers, but it’s still wonderful) and a Civil War fort. Inside the campground is a great nature center which rents kayaks and canoes, and offers programs for the kids.
State campground where the Potomac meets the Chesapeake. Our site was wooded and relatively private, with fire ring and picnic table. Area is flat for easy biking and walking and there is a nature center. Most importantly was the beach along the river and bay which was a great place to chill. Large picnic areas and pavilions, nice bathrooms and showers.
Within 5 minutes there is groceries/Redbox/Dollar General and get an excellent Italian sub from Ridge Market. Historic St. Mary's city nearby.
From Civil War prison camp to one of Maryland’s most diverse and popular natural areas, Point Lookout State Park is located at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River in St. Mary’s County. We chose Point Lookout State Park to spend Memorial Day Weekend, and were thrilled with everything but the weather, which flip-flopped from stormy to super hot and muggy.
Point Lookout State Park Campground Review
This is just one of those parks where there are a million things to do. We were last minute campers on Memorial Day Weekend, so we didn’t have many sites to choose from. We also brought a dog with us, and while the park is mostly dog-friendly, there are definitely some restrictions. Dogs are not allowed in Loop C or D of the campground, and are prohibited from some of the beaches and day areas as well. While we didn’t score a waterfront site, or even one with a view of the water, we did get a nice shady site with lots of privacy (in the Tulip Loop).
All of the sites are plenty big, and the loop we were in came with water and electric hook-ups. We were originally hoping for something in the B Loop, but we ended up being really happy in our spot because while the B Loop was beautiful with waterfront campsites, the bugs were awful and there was no shade anywhere. I think it would make for pretty miserable camping, at least in the summer.
As for activities, fishing is probably the biggest draw here. There are piers for fishing, separate piers for crabbing, and a fishing beach. There is also a full-service boat launch with a fish-cleaning station and a park store with provisions, including bait.
The swimming beach was busy, but the water was clean with a sandy bottom. There is a separate beach for dogs. Other attractions include the original Point Lookout Lighthouse, which was built in 1830 (currently closed for renovations), a Civil War and nature museum, kayak and canoe rentals, and a nature trail.
What We Loved:
- Clean restrooms
- Spacious, private sites
- Nice, sandy beach
- Designated dog beach
What We Didn’t Love:
- So many horseflies in the B Loop, on the nature trail, and near the shore
- Not a lot of hiking opportunities
- Plenty of poison ivy
- The lighthouse was closed
Ethnotek Premji Pack Review
As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I am occasionally offered products to test and review while camping. On this trip, I tested the Ethnotek Premji Travel Daypack, which I used at this campground, and on a 2,000-mile road trip exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park.
First, a bit of background info about the Premji Daypack:
This is a 20-liter pack. It is roomy enough for all your day-hiking essentials, including extra layers, lunch, water bottles, and your 10 essentials. When I ordered my pack, I was able to choose the outer fabric from a collection of 14 different fabrics from around the world. The ethically sourced fabrics are handmade in villages across five countries (Ghana, Guatemala, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia). I fell in love with almost all of the designs, but settled on a blue and white pattern created using a batik dyeing method in Indonesia.
The pack features a very roomy main compartment, is lightly padded, and opens from the top or the side for easy access. There is a separate partition for a small laptop in the main compartment, but if you’re looking for a designated laptop bag, I would definitely go with the Setia Laptop Backpack, which is a bit slimmer and more padded.
There are a bunch of things to love about the Premji Daypack, and I only have two small complaints. Let’s start with the awesome:
- In addition to the main compartment, there are two strategically placed pockets. First, a large, flat pocket on the front of the bag. This is where I keep my trail maps and my journal. There is also a smaller compartment on top, which is perfect for a phone and wallet. Both pockets are easy to get to quickly. I love that this bag isn’t full of pockets and partitions that I’ll never use.
- There are side straps on both sides of this bag so you can carry a beach towel, yoga mat, etc. I used it to carry my tripod, which was so awesome! Where the side straps cross the front of the bag, they form two loops, which are great for attaching a carabiner to. This is how I carried my sandals when hiking.
- The molded high-density foam back panel and the contoured shoulder strap make this pack extremely comfortable. I maxed out at 7 miles while wearing it, but I’m sure I could wear it all day without a problem.
- The main fabric of the bag is 100% recycled PET plastic bottles. The interior fabric is ripstop nylon and very easy to clean. Both fabrics are water resistant, and you can buy an optional rain cover if you want it to be totally waterproof.
My minor complaints:
- There is a handle on top of the bag for carrying and/or hanging. While I love this in theory, you can’t hang the bag from a hook and keep it open for easy access. I would rather see a handle on the back of the bag above the straps so there isn’t so much pressure on the main zipper. This would allow you to hang the bag open or closed.
- The side zipper to the main compartment is supposed to make it easy to access things at the bottom of the bag without pulling everything out, but the zipper opens from top to bottom, and a few times while hiking, it worked its way open a bit. This wasn’t actually a big deal because I had my rain jacket in the bottom, but if I had smaller items, I would worry that they would fall out while hiking.
All in all, I’m thrilled to have discovered Ethnotek. The bags are beautifully and sustainably made, the price is reasonable, and there are so many cool designs to choose from. A great product from a great company!
Site was very level, with a nice long driveway. Right on the water, with beautiful views. Surrounded by tall marsh grass and a few pine trees, so it felt very private. Close proximity to the bathhouse. Seems like most other sites on the outside of the loop were similar (grassy setting backing to water or trees), while the sites inside of the loop were in an open, marshy field. All sites included a picnic table and fire ring with grill grate. Campground in general was very well-maintained, and saw the hosts mowing different grassy areas several times throughout our stay. Only negative was the amount of pollen that coated every surface within minutes (although I know this is a seasonal concern pretty much everywhere). We had to wipe down every single item multiple times. Bath house was very clean and well-maintained. Looks like host cleaned it several times a day. Only two shower stalls, but they were nice and roomy with fairly hot water. There was also a dishwashing nook in the bath house with nice double-sink, which is always a bonus. This park offers tons of activities and amenities, such as a huge fishing pier, camp store, canoe/kayak rental, lighthouse, historical sites, swimming beach, etc. Most of those were still closed for the season, which was fine. Still beautiful to look at, and we didn’t have to fight the summer crowds. The park used to be a prison for Confederate soldiers, so lots of cool exhibits and memorials for history buffs. Again, the setting was very beautiful, but the bugs were killer. Luckily, there was a nice strong breeze blowing off the water during the vast majority of our stay. However, the second it stopped, the bugs descended on us. Mosquitoes, gnats, biting flies, you name it. If they were this bad in April, I can only imagine how awful they would be in the middle of summer. Overall, we really enjoyed this park, and the being on the water was a nice change of scenery from our normal mountainy/wooded campsites. I would highly recommend to boating and fishing enthusiasts and/or history buffs. However, the bugs alone would keep me from returning, at least during peak season.
This is a very popular fishing area. If you look on the map the park is located at the very tip of a peninsula. Unfortunately the word is out and the fishing area does get crowded during fishing season. There is also a crabbing pier and sandy beach. The camping area is located to the right side as soon as you pass the entrance to park. The sites are ok to excellent depending which site you choose.
Do not pick a spot near the marsh, this park also has lots of horseflies. The sandy beach they have is nice, its still part of the bay so the waters tend to be very calm.
If you are going to fish make sure you have a md fishing lic. and follow state rules in regards to size of fish and quantity you can catch. The park police are very very diligent!! They will ask you for fishing lic and go through your ice box!!!! I have had friends getting huge fines for catching fish that was 1/4 inch smaller then what was allowed. Be warned!!!
FYI this is a MD state run park so no alcohol allowed on site.