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Darnestown, MARYLAND

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Camping Maryland Darnestown
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Most Recent Darnestown Camping Reviews
Marginal Muddy Mess

I'll give them credit for opening early in the season, and for the quiet location, but the place is a muddy mess when it rains. The septic system is the quest I've seen at any campground, basically just a hole flush to the ground with a loose cap on it. I can see where it could have some redeeming qualities when it was manicured, or even cleaned up a bit. But KOA, you can do a lot better. Clean your act up.

Convenient Pull-through

Snug campground with nice, clean bathroom and pool. Adjacent to Prince William Forest, near shops and restaurants, and less than an hour away from Washington, DC. Good nature getaway from the city. The downside is that there are no trails accessible onsite and the campground is pretty close to main road. It is a slight drive to the main park entrance.

Love this place

This place is heaven… Busy on weekends, but for a reason. I've been going here since I was a little kid and I'm 33 now. Brought my spouse last year for the first time and now we're both in love. You're in the woods. Can't see the other sites at night other than a fire. Be a good neighbor though and keep it quiet after dark.

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.

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

Excellent Place

My kids never stopped running! We will be back.

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!

Nice, but expensive

It was a nice place to stay for kids, lots to do for them. But very expensive for tent camping. I still paid nearly 100 a night.