We've camped here on 3 separate occasions. The grounds were clean and perfect for us. The bathrooms and showers were clean and well lit. Mattawoman Creek is right there and great for kayaking. We'll definitely be back!!
Smallwood State Park offers a more intimate setting for camping. There is only 1 circle for camping with tents and cabins intermingled. The sites are moderately separated giving some privacy. They are in short distance from the water. There is a playground, bathhouse, and historical buildings that are accessible to campers. There are hiking trials, but none are two extensive. The trails can be massively over grown at times making some inaccessible.
This place is a great quick little escape from DC (just about an hour south). The entire grounds are very well maintained, and the bathrooms are some of the cleanest I've come across for campgrounds. There are some neat little hikes, and some good fishing spots, but mostly spent my time relaxing at camp.
Dated and not very well maintained for a state run park
The site was large, almost perfectly level, and wooded. It was also right next to the bath house, which was great for the kids. There were several paved walking paths leading to the bath house, so no one cut through our site to get to it. Site was equipped with a fire ring, grill grate, lantern post, and nice long picnic table. There was a nearby shed with firewood for $5/crate, sold on the honor system. However, there were lots of downed trees around, so we never had to buy any firewood. Sites were all very wooded and spread out; nice amount of trees and separation between each site. We were near the “top” of the oval loop, so also had close access to the foot trail through the forest, as well as the foot bridge over the creek, leading to the marina.
Bath house was old, and quite buggy, but reasonably clean. No dish washing sink, which was a bummer for me. Showers looked ok, and the stalls were quite large, but we didn’t use them this trip. Marina at the day-use area was very nice, and seemed to be one of the main focuses of the park. Several docks for strolling and fishing, and saw quite a few boat slips available as well. The store at the marina sold souvenirs, camping and fishing essentials, snacks and ice cream. Staff was very friendly. There is also a discovery/nature center and art center in the day use area, both of which we really enjoyed. There is a nice, brand new playground, and a pavilion which looked pretty basic and old. The day use area seems to see the most action (and maintenance) in the park, by far.
There is a separate historic area in the park, which contains Gen. Smallwood’s mansion, and a few other historic buildings. According to the website, these are only open a few days out of each month during the summer, and for an open-house type event around Christmastime. There is another pavilion in this area, as well as a recycled tire playground. The playground is about 15 years old, and you can tell it was really nice at one point, but has been somewhat neglected over the past few years. In pretty sore need of paint and mowing.
Pretty much nothing to do in the immediate area, but not too far of a drive to DC, and a few other national/historical sites (Ft. Washington, Piscataway Park, etc).
Overall, we thought this was a nice, quiet park, and enjoyed the fishing and woodsy setting. This is definitely one of the smaller, less popular MD State parks, and that shows in the lack of maintenance and updating of some facilities. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a place to just hang out, camp and fish, and don’t need any bells or whistles, this could be a good option.