Lyman Run holds a special place for me. It’s nestled within the gold level dark sky area. This means on a clear night and with a waning or new moon, one could see the arm of the Milky Way with millions of stars- more than most people see in a lifetime. The camp sites are a bit rough- there are two loops, with one loop catering to the mostly RV crowds and the remaining one for tents. There are a few really good and shaded tent sites in the RV loop. The location of the park is near Cherry Springs SP, which gets all the attention for the night sky viewing. We were able to use Lyman Run as a way station as we visited Kinzua, the PA Grand Canyon, and other sites in the PA Woods area. There’s even a chance to watch elk nearby. Each site has a fire ring, with wood available nearby. Amenities include a beach at a nearby lake, warm showers, and good hiking trails. There is a general store nearby, but the nearest town is almost 45+ minutes away. But hey, there’s a Fox’s Pizza there, so … win? Since Cherry Springs (at the time of this writing) does not take reservations, we opted for the sure thing. Tent pads are well taken care of and the bathrooms are clean. This park is worth the time and view- you will not be disappointed.
I’ll begin by saying Tuckahoe has little in the way of amenities. There is no swimming. The hiking is minimal, but very scenic. But the fishing is truly good. The big draw here though is the water trail. Grab a canoe or kayak and have at it. One could reach places in the park deemed unreachable otherwise. The camping here is quiet. The loops (2- one electric and one not) are tight with some tent pads (on the non electric site of course being much smaller that others. Still, some pads are large enough for our eight person tent we must bring because two adults, three to four girls and a dog or two need space. The night skies are dark. Done nearby city light on the darkest of nights seep through, but not too much. The small camp store( closed due to COVID at this time of writing) is located at the electric/RV loop. There is a large picnic area with an equally large playground. Add a frisbee golf course and a ball field too. Nearby are a few small towns with diners and such. Not far is Blackwater NWR and Cambridge, MD. Hen not sure if we want to go north , east to DE or south to OC or all three, this campground makes a good way station/ home base.
Hearts Content is best described as a way station. The sites are nestled within a grove of immense pines. Some are large enough for large RV’s . There are no showers. Bathrooms are vault toilets. Two of the sites include Adirondack type shelters. A picnic table and fire ring are within each site. I used this site as a staging area to explore Allegheny National Forest for a week. Used a camp shower. The closest town is Warren, PA. Firewood is available at the camp host site. Across the road is an hiking area with picnic tables and the like.
Shad Landing ( and it’s parter site Milburn Landing) offer enough for you to spend a week close enough to the beaches of Assateague, Ocean City, and Chincoteague to smell the ocean. Sites are medium to large. There is one pet loop that is popular with the RV crowd. The park offers a warm shower, clean restrooms, a camp store that houses a small kitchen(pizza, sandwiches, ice cream) and canoeing through a pretty decent water trail. When not blocked by pandemic proposals, the nature center is a hub of educational activity and some great ranger programs. The park can get crowded fast. The eastern shore gets busy quick, even on the weekdays. When open, there is Assateague National Park, Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge, Wallops Island NASA center, and the fun of Ocean City- all within an hour drive. The towns of OC, Pocomoke City, and Berlin all have enough food to satisfy. The waterfront loop has no attached bathroom/showers, but instead uses the facilities under the camp store- a long walk in the middle of the night. There is water available. There is a washer/dryer available as well. Cabins are also available for rent. The one big problem with both Shad and Milburn are the bugs. It gets insanely humid here, and the mosquitoes, flies, and ticks take full advantage- especially if you decide to hike through the nearby State Forest. As of this writing, both the pool and the nature center is closed due to COVID. As well as the Marina and the Camp Store, which we found out on arrival. Wal-mart and Dollar General are just eight miles from the park. As we had already booked the week, we stayed- but without the pool at least and without the presence of the staff and the camp store ( and the boat rental as well) the experience was not as good as it was in the past. Until the COVID restrictions are relaxed and the park gets its amenities back, I cannot recommend staying here as much as I have in the past. The bathrooms in the fox den loop need updated as well- I noticed the doors are rusted and the stalls are very small.
Dan’s Mountain is small when compared to other state parks in the area. It’s larger that just one other park in the area- Castleman Bridge. DM offers trails, fishing, picnic, pavilion rental, has a large in ground public pool, and in season, hunting. There is no camping sites. There are a few geocaches in the area. It’s open dawn to dusk and the pool is open during the summer when there isn’t a pandemic going on. Bring your family and snacks.
Every campsite at Green Ridge SF is worth getting. Some are more hallowed than others, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Green Ridge lies to the western most area of Allegany County. The woods here are teaming with deer, bear, turkey, and hunters (in season of course.) There are no amenities unless you bring it yourself. None of the sites are appropriate for RV’s . Maybe a small camper, but one must remember a good portion of the campsites are reached by notoriously thin and rough roads. For solitude and the price(very cheap) it’s worth bringing a bucket to do your business in, the sites along 15mile creek are the ones that usually go first. There is a small camping loop at the end of Kasekamp road that just reopened due to road washout in 2018. There are a few gem sites that offer nearly complete solitude- your nearest neighbor is at least two miles away. There are no markets nearby and only a couple of small diners- all in the Little Orleans/ Artemas regions. Remember this is bear country and they are around this year in force.
I’ve only camped at NGSP once, but is very familiar with the park itself. The camp sites are varied. The website has the camp pad measurements, but I believe they are over stated. There are two loops- one pet friendly, one not. The larger ( not pet friendly) loop is nearer the lake. Some of the sites are close together, some are not as large as they are made out to be on the reservation site. The best sites are 11, 12, 24, 26, 38, 39. They offer the most in shade. 11,12,38, and 39 offer a bit more privacy as well. There is one bathroom that offers warm showers. If you’re camping at sites 14-26, the walk may seem a bit long to use the john. The park has about 15 or so miles of trails. The trails are easy to medium and are open to cross country skiing in the winter months. The lake has a small beach and the water is always cool. We noticed fewer ranger patrols than in other state parks, but we stayed near the beginning of camping season and I don’t know if that was a factor. The ranger station at this time was closed due to COVID. There is NO cell coverage, so bring your conversation starters or a book. Nearby is a few small restaurants, and a small convenience store, but the closest market is in Frostburg. (The local Sav-a-Lot has closed) Also nearby is Savage State Forest with ample trails, ORV access, and fishing, Forbes State Forest (PA), Deep Creek Lake, Swallow Falls, Herrington Manor, Garrett State Forest, Potomac State Forest, and the brand new Wolf’s Den State Park all with their own trails and varied amenities. Kudos to the park for sereneness, but man, that late night long walk to the bathroom sucks.
Rocky Gap is our go-to place for quick family camping. We tend to stay in either the F or C loops, as we have pets. We take a large family tent with us and all the trims. Most of the sites are large enough for big family tents and many are made for RV’s in mind. Each loop has a centralized bathroom with showers (and warm water!) There are dish washing stations as well. The beach at the lake is not far away for any loop. Prior to COVID, there was a camp store with basic amenities as well as ice cream, but that has not happened as of yet due to regulations still in place. There is a small cafe type place near the camp store that is run by volunteers that is open on the weekends. When COVID doesn’t rule, the nature center is open and ranger programs abound. (They are quite popular as well) the is an aviary near the campground entrance and is one of two in Western Maryland that houses birds that cannot be released due to injury. (The other is at Deep Creek Lake.) Nearby there is the resort and casino attached to the park on the public side. Close by are many restaurants that have remained opened during COVID. The park itself offers miles of trails, many of which are rated for mountain biking as well as hiking. Every campsite has a fire ring. There is waste bins at the campground entrance. Remember Western Maryland is bear country, but also deer, eagle, hawk, and plenty of fish. The one improvement I’ve heard, but don’t really care for is that some campers wish for a shuttle to the casino. I say let’em walk. As of this writing, no lifeguards patrol the beach. The bathrooms and playgrounds are open. You’re going to have to get your groceries in town. I’ve noticed weekend’s fill up quick and getting a holiday site is best if you plan MONTHS ahead.
This campground is within Allegheny National Forest near the town of Warren and Tidouette. The sites are few but spacious. Good for car camping, though I’m sure a smaller RVcould get by. Each site has a fire ring. Two sites have Adirondack type shelters. The night sky is promising but light pollution from Warren inhibits a truly awesome night sky. There is a vault toilet. No showers. No water either. Bring what you need! The closest town is about 30 minutes away. Lots of critter life. My dogs loved it here. We spent all days exploring the nearby trails and creeks. Price was cheap. No frills but a quiet respite for sure.
The small loop here accommodates both tent and RVs, which is fine but some of these damn things are so huge, I have trouble believing they could wedge themselves here. The sites for tents are big enough for a 4 person tent. There are clean bathrooms and the hosts, who I have spoken to many times, are friendly and knowledgeable about the area. There is however a great bit of light pollution at night here due to its approximation to DC. Minimal noise except for planes overhead. There are decent trails to hike here too. There’s a sacrifice of space here- I’d like to see it expand a bit, as the campground can fill quickly, especially if RV’s are involved.
Shad Landing,along with it’s sister park Milburn Landing, make up Pokomoke State Park. It’s just 45 minutes away from the beach at Assateague Island and an hour or so to Ocean City or Chincoteague. The sites are varied- some are more apt to hold smaller tents than larger ones, there are RV sites as well- cabins too. Each loop, with the exception of Waters Edge have full bathrooms with warm showers and flush toilets. Pets are allowed in some loops. The marina/ park office has a well stocked camp store as well as a kitchen that serves pizza and the like. Boat rental are available as well (try the canoe loop trail) There have been years when we stay here instead of hotels at OC- much cheaper and close to more than just commercial crap. Besides the beaches, it’s also close to the truly excellent NASA Wallops Island center that my kids thoroughly enjoy, as well as incredibly awesome food in nearby Berlin and Pocomoke City. Each site provides a picnic table and fire ring. Most have a lantern hook. In season there is a large swimming pool- free for campers. The nature center regularly holds programs and there are a few hiking trails here and in the nearby Pocomoke State Forest.
When we camp as a family, we seek out site that provide a sense of security. The campground at Point Lookout State Park gave us the sense they could not have cared less. The sites are small, though there was room for our large tent. There are RV sites a plenty that offer larger areas. The grounds themselves are covered with poison ivy. There is also little to no Ranger presence. We were staying here during a yearly Maryland park event called Park Quest. The site was easy enough to get to, but the immense crowds made the area noisy and dangerous. Alcohol was flowing freely (it’s not allowed in State Park lands unless it’s inside a RV). The noise level kept us up all night and when we called to complain, we were told no Ranger was present and that if we felt it was necessary to call Natural Resources Police “about 45 minutes away.” We found tons of trash everywhere. There were condoms left used in the bathrooms. The camp hosts refused to do anything. It was the absolute worst experience we’ve had camping and it nearly turned us away from the MD state park system as a whole. The only bright spots were the historic areas and the nature center, which was very well done. I think I’d rather sleep in the back of my truck in a Wal-mart lot than return here.
Green Ridge State Forest camping is a bare bones affair. There are no showers, bathrooms, or campstores. What it does have is solitude. There are nearly 100 campsites within the forest boundaries and with the exception of the Kasekamp sites (that cater more to river floating and the nearby C&O Canal) most of them have no neighbor within half a mile. The sites with the most to offer as far as self contemplation are #’s 23, 100, and a couple along fifteen mile creek. The pads are wide and can accommodate multiple tents. There are three group sites within the forest. Backcountry camping is also allowed. Each established site has a picnic table and fire ring. Nearby are the towns of Flintstone, Little Orleans, and Hancock where supplies can be bought. Be aware that every site is approached by roads that are gravel ( if your lucky) or dirt, which is more likely. Light pollution is median- most of the lights are from nearby I-68. A night sky will still be beckoning with more stars that one can count. Price is cheap. I rented a site for an entire week for less than 75 dollars. As far as what to do, the forest has huge trail miles, great fishing at the Potomac River and both 15 mile and Flintstone creeks, hunting in season, good fall colors, geocaching, and access to mountain biking as well. Minimal ATV use since the ORV trail closed. This is good deer and black bear country as well. Get dirty and rough it here. You absolutely won’t regret it.
I was amazed at the shear size of this campground. It is immense. Granted most of the grounds are devoted to cabins, but the tent sites are great too. I got a lone site tucked half way up a hill, hidden under a dark canopy and at least 500 yards away from my nearest neighbors. Water is readily available. Bathrooms are just as large and very clean. Showers available. Bears congregate frequently. Trails nearby, as are quite a few other natural areas.
Small and limited, Hearts Content offers serene quiet evenings.i was lucky enough to get a site that provided an additional shelter that provided cover from the extensive rain we received one night. The canopy is dense here. The tent sites are moderately sized and there would be no problem bringing the largest of tents. Though I stayed here alone with just me and the two dogs, there is enough room at some for entire families. Water is available. Showers are not. Bathrooms are if the privy type but are well kept by the host. Firewood and ice is also available from the host. The great thing about this site is it lends availability to the rest of the National Forest. I spent a week here and barely scratched the surface on what was available for hiking and discovering. Go to nearby town of Warren or Tidouette for supplies. (Stop at the store just outside of Tidouette just across from DG- they have the best deli sandwiches around)
We stayed here a few times just to get out for a bit. It’s quiet, but not too dark, as the lights from DC interfere with the night sky here. The camping loop is small and is shared by tent and RV. The trails are maintained well. I’ve never left this park without at least one tick. No camp store. Firewood is available. Supplies can be gotten nearby. Tent sites can accommodate maybe up to a six person tent comfortably. Bathrooms are clean and showers are warm. Water is readily available.
Small by some State Park standards, Tuckahoe offers two loops: a tent/cabin site, and an electric site for RVs. The sites are well maintained. The bathroom/ showers are the cleanest I’ve ever seen, especially since we stayed in the hottest time of the year. There are a few trails here. Nearby is the Chesapeake bay with all its amenities, an Arbouretum that is a bit over priced. And access to the Tuckahoe River for fishing and kayaking. No swimming. There is a Bird Aviary that housesthose that cannot be fully healed. We tend to use Tuckahoe as a way station while camping our way up and down the Bay. I wish it had more to offer. One note is if you’re here for the annual Easter egg hunt GET There Early and make reservations, the campsites fill quickly. There is opportunity to see a great night sky if the clouds stay away.
We settled for Point Lookout because it was the nearest of the State Park campgrounds to what we were doing( Maryland ParkQuest) The first thing we noticed was the size of the sites. We were told the sites could handle large tents and true to their saying they were… barely. The sites themselves were covered in trash and bordered by the largest collection of poison ivy I have ever seen. The bathrooms were dirty and poorly stocked. What bothered us the most was the lack of presence by the staff. Past 8,we saw no Rangers or staff at all. There were people yelling, arguing practically fighting, and the response we got from the staff was that the Natural Resource Police could be there “around 30 to45 minutes” in case of emergency. People were loud. We did not sleep all night. My kids were frightened- not a good thing for a State Park. In the morning, I found a pile of used condoms and drug paraphernalia in the bathroom and a lot of alcohol thrown everywhere. The camp host wasn’t even there, though the RV they stayed in was parked. We reserved two nights and stayed only one. There was one good part- the nature center offers a great learning opportunity for the kids and has an impressive museum as well. Never. Going. Back.
Open from April to September (except Waters Edge and Robins Nest loops which are open year round) the tent sites here can be a little close together. Particularly the sites at Waters Edge. The camp sites , which are up to 200 or so are just large enough for a 6 person tent. Larger sites at the Fox Den loop can accommodate larger tents for larger families. Each site has a fire ring and table. Most have a lantern pole.all sites have access to water and all but Waters Edge have shower and bathrooms. ( Waters Edge bathrooms are under the camp store which is next door, but can be a long walk in the middle of the night). Shad landing offers good fishing, boat rental, and in season a well maintained pool. The camp store is not only well stocked, it offers a lunch and dinner menu, which the kids love as they’ll eat pizza whenever. Firewood is available for purchase. What is truly great about Shad Landing is it’s location. Want to go to the beach? Assateague Island is 30 minutes away, Ocean City 40 minutes. Chincoteague just shy of an hour. Wanna try local food? Pokomoke City, Berlin, OC, and several other place can help out. Just outside of Chincoteague is Wallops Island- a NASA launch and testing center. The science center is a huge hit with the kids. Assateague and Chincoteague both offer National Park activities. Chincoteague also has a wildlife area that is astounding to view ( as well as lighthouse tours and another science center. ) We’ve come here regularly for years and have never had what would be considered even a mediocre day.
The campground is easily accessible- there are 9 loops and a group site. The best loops for families with pets are Dogwood and Elm. No pets? Go to Ironwood loop and get a site close to the water. Water is readily available. The bathrooms are clean and the showers warm. After October, most of the loops close, the exception being Ash loop, which offers electric hookup for RV. The camp store is stocked well, but dinner may have to come from a local market if you’re planning a cookout at your site. The beach is also pet friendly. There is boat rental and several opportunities for Ranger led activities for all. Recently, the park has been taking part in American Chestnut revitalization. If there is any detractors at all, it’s the casino on the other side of the park. It’s bright and loud ( though and outdoor events are quiet by 10 ish) There is a strict no alcohol policy unless your in an RV or a cabin. Meaning the alcohol must stay inside at all times. Firewood is readily available. The sites can be a bit close, but as a family camper with a load of six people plus two dogs, we never have felt claustrophobic in our site choice. The web site offers limited photos of the sites. This park is our go to place for a weekend with kids and as it’s cheap and nearby, it’s well worth it. As a side note, the food at the casino isn’t bad. Just not a good place for kids. The trails are well maintained. Keep a careful watch for snakes and bears.