The #1 Camping App
Search 500,000 listings, reviews & tips from anywhere in the US. Our free app is the top-rated camping app on Apple and Android.
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.
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:
Happy Camping! Pamela and Keith
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.
This campground is great! Primitive camping at its best. Very friendly staff. We stayed here and went tubing on the Rappahannock River one day. The tubing trip was organized by the same people that run the campground so that was very convenient!
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.
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!
My husband loves to go DC and we recently purchased a travel trailer. This campground was the best of both worlds. It was close to a metro stop, so we were able to hope on there and head into DC. Since we stayed in October and temperatures were getting cooler, we only played putt-putt and it was very well kept and the tiny cost ($1.00) to play goes to a great cause. The shower houses were clean and the other facilities were in great condition, with what we saw when we walked around. We had an enjoyable stay and would consider coming back when it’s a bit warmer and when we have more time to experience more at the campground itself.