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Columbia, MARYLAND

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Most Recent Columbia Camping Reviews
No Camping Here

There is no overnight camping in this small city park. There is a small dog park, a small pond, and an unimproved trail around the pond.

First camping trip

Went camping for the first time in for ever

Great DC Area Day Trip for Lovers of History, Engineering, or Architecture

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.

Slice of Nature near big cities

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:

https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Documents/Patapsco_HollofieldPickallmap.pdf

Happy Camping! Pamela and Keith

Late season camping

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.

Small but nice

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.

A Crime of Opportunity

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.

Nice hiking opportunities!

Ranger Review: Firebiner and Fiber Light Fire Starter at Greenbrier State Park

Campground Review: 

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.

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Product Review: 

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!

Gets the job done

Area is well maintained. Bathrooms are close. Affordable but I would bring your own wood. It isn’t that cheap. Great to bring little kids. Camp store is open until 9. The staff is super nice and are easy to get a hold of. Only reason I don’t give it 5 starts is the campsites are a bit close together and I don’t really feel like I’m out in nature but it’s nice to use to get away and hang out with friends.

Stay here to explore DC!

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!