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We stayed at this campground during the COVID pandemic so not much was open at the campground. But from the looks of it they have a small mini golf area, nice size basketball court and a good size building for activities. This campground has horse stalls and rings if you would like to bring your own horses. There were a few families that brought their horses and they were right across from our site. Kids loved being able to see them and get close and even pet them!
This campground is minutes from town and is practically on the battlefield.
Every January for the last few years some friends and I have gone and camped along the Appalachian Trail. It's you can park at Pine Grove State Park and then hike your way into locations or park at other trail heads. Water is easily found and views like Sunset Rocks are simply gorgeous. These trips are what gave me the experience, and confidence, to go from tent camping to tarp camping.
We had a great stay at Cowans Gap. Very pretty park in a scenic valley between two mountain ranges. Very easy drive from DC. The sites around us were nicely spaced apart (we were in Loop A, site 142) but some other areas did loop more crowded. Nice hike up the Tuscarora trail - pretty steep with a few rock scrambles that made for a challenging but fun hike with our six-year-old.
It's a small campground and it was a little nerve-wrecking getting here for the last mile or two on local roads. There are a lot of fun activities for kids and the proximity to Antietam is nice. But, sites are tight lengthwise…whatever length you enter is the length site you'll get! Halloween parade was fun, but haunted house was HORRIBLE. We came in fall, so I can't judge summer and pool.
Stayed one night in September and had a nice level gravel site with fire pit, picnic table and bath house. Greeted by a friendly and helpful camp host as we backed into our site for our maiden voyage. Clean bath house and amenities. Stayed in site 25 with water spigot nearby. Dumpsters for garbage not a far drive and dump station as you leave the park was convenient.
If you are used to primitive/secluded camping this is not the campground for you. We arrived and there was a ton of trash in our site. Someone left their air fresheners, handbag tags from marshalls, and a ton of other junk. This campground is also very noisy. There are supposed to be quiet hours but people were playing loud music from their cars, from speakers, and whatever else until at least 11pm. Our site had no privacy either, we were right next to several other sites (closer than other state parks we've been to). Physical distancing and mask wearing was not enforced/required. People in the close quarters of the restroom were not wearing masks and didn't seem to mind getting within 6 feet of other people. The woman at the front office who we checked in with even took her mask off because it was fogging up her glasses. Oh, and the wood that we purchased from the camp host was wet, so the fire was a dud until a friendly neighbor gave us some of his wood.
The only positive thing about this campground was the hiking. The first day we hiked up the mountain to the west of the campground, and the second day we hiked up the Tuscarora Trail to the east of the campground. No other campers were hiking these, so we got to appreciate nature by having the trails mostly to ourselves.
Regardless of what you’re into, the Cove Campground has just about everything to get in touch with your inner Tarzan. That being said, especially since COVID-19, prices have hiked quite a bit. They’ve running water, power, and firewood if you’re able to show up early and pay a little extra. The entire premises is clean, and the owner(s) are extremely polite and laid back.
This is a great but very crowded camping area. Clearly a favorite of many DC area campers. We arrived on a Friday around 6 and found every campsite full. We ended up at an overflow site. Get there early if at all possible! And if it’s mostly full, look for breaks in the brush where other cats have pulled off. There are usually fire pits to be found near them. Campsites are well-distanced from each other. We did not hear others while we were there.
Additionally, this is not a great campground for cars that are low to the ground— the roads are gravelly, potholed, and very slow to navigate in a passenger vehicle with low clearance.
The area is gorgeous! Beautiful mountains and nature. Lots of critters and plants to check out.
Bring your own water— none available as far as I could tell. There was a creek a few hundred feet from our site, but it was too steep to get to for bathing or washing dishes (we tried).
Sites vary in distance from the road. Our overflow site was far enough that we could see the cars but not so close that them going by woke us. We could also hear nose from the interstate, but it fades into the background after a couple hours. We estimated we were 1/4 mile from the interstate as the crow flies.
There are fun activities nearby as well. We saw the tunnel at Paw Paw and went to Cumberland. You can apparently rent kayaks from a man nearby, but he prefers to take groups. Drop by his store the day before to see if you can get in on the action.
We stayed for 3 nights at a hike in island camp site and LOVE IT!! The pictures just don’t do it enough justice, it was beautiful and relaxing. We lucked out to have the weather vary from cloudy, drizzles to full sunny days. Yes, there are trains that go by, and there is a zip line that goes over some camp sites (we were aware so it wasn’t a surprise) but honestly, we were down by the water and it wasn’t too bad. All the beauty and relaxation definitely over shadowed the other noises. There are plenty of water sports to do on the spot of the river (which was pretty calm, more like a lake than river). There are plenty of hiking and other adventurous things to do in the area. Finally there are lots of local history spots to enjoy as well as some local breweries and wineries. The only downside to this camp site for us was the hike uphill to the shower houses.