Camping Sites in and Around Washington, Virginia, and Maryland

by Jane Sophia
Camping Sites

I am exploring the most convenient camping sites in and around Washington DC, just on the outskirts of the U.S. capital and towards Virginia where I am planning to stay with my sister during Christmas holidays. And I also have heard good things about a few camping sites near Maryland where there are abundant waterways and long coastlines on the Atlantic Ocean.

I am a sucker for pitching my tent on sidewalks facing the road but surely away from the noise. At least 100 meters distance is required between the camping sites and the road. If I am not properly equipped to pitch my own tent or if I don’t find a companion, I will seek permission to stay in one that is already pitched.

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I have even borrowed a book titled, “Camping Washington’. It is a perfect guide for campers. It lists the best public camping sites and RV parks in and around Washington DC.

Based on the camping sites guide to camping spots near the capital of the U.S., I have written this blog post for the benefit of camping buffs. I am surprised (you too will be) to read that there are as many as 600 camping sites near Washington DC. Unbelievable!

Why else the hotels are always full in the capital? Strange preferences for strange people-eh?

After my first fast glance at the book, I realized camping near big cities won’t be all that charming as camping in the countryside. It will certainly lack the rustic appearance and feeling.

I recommended the camping guidebook because it published reviews and rates of all camping sites including details such as:

  • The earth condition of the camping sites surfaces
  • Nearby water-bodies for bathing and fishing
  • Level of expected privacy, etc
  • Fun activities
  • Store front

Burke Lake Park Camping Sites.

There are two excellent spots to erect your tent in the Fairfax County, Virginia. It’s only 29 km from the DC area. The camping sites are the Burke Lake Park camping grounds and the Lake Fairfax Park Camping sites . Since both seem to be approved, you can tent without fear of trespassing.

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As I already said, camping near big cities and large towns has its own advantages rather than the inconveniences of staying in a tent in a faraway place.

Camping in any one of the above parks will give you quick access to metro rail. It’s like, you can have the cake and eat it too; the best of both the worlds at your camping spot.

If you choose to pitch your tent at Burke Lake Park, you have 100 spots to choose from. All are located in a wooded area but you have to put up without electricity. Additionally, there won’t be any natural lake or pond nearby but the big lake is there but far away.

However, you can still use the public bathrooms. Moreover, there is a mini store from where you can hire most of the camping gears including picnic tables and campfire rings.

Camping Sites in Washington

Lake Fairfax Park’s camping sites

Unlike the Burke Lake Park, which is closed from November to March, Lake Fairfax Park’s camping sites in Reston, Virginia, is open throughout the year. In addition, there are 35 more camping sites than the Burke Lake camping area. More than 50 sites are electrified.

When I read about the availability of fun activities at the park that includes:

  • Swimming
  • Canyon Crossing
  • Water Slides

I thought the charm of staying in a silent tent listening only to the sound of nocturnal insects will be missed.

Shenandoah National Park

It is a well known natural park because of the presence of wetlands, rocky hills, waterfalls and several hiking trails; the most used of them is the Appalachian Trail. In addition, it is a perfect abode for birds, deer, and squirrels.

Cherry Hill Park

The image of this RV Park showed several RVs parked and a few tents erected on the green top facing a small lake. I would call it a pond. This camping spot is very close to the Washington DC.

There are shuttle services from the camping ground to Washington DC several times a day. Amenities include a manmade swimming pool and a sauna too.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Ah, I think it is just perfect to stay camped in this sea facing camping ground. It is a protected area says the book. (Protection from what and whom?)

 Why it is mentioned as perfect camping sites?

  • Beach is less crowded
  • No children are playing
  • Pine forest
  • Sand dunes
  • Plenty of wild horses (Strange dweller in a bay area)

Children if exposed to camping outdoors would pickup survival basics and develop a bond with nature and the wildlife. The Virginia state has more camping sites that you think because of scenic landscapes and large wineries.

False Cape State Park—Virginia Beach camping sites

False Cape State Park is big and occupies quite an extensive area (4,321-acre). The park with many camping sites is located in the Currituck Banks Peninsula, Atlantic Ocean.

The beach wears an unspoiled look but certainly not desolate. However, during the night it looks eerie because of no artificial lights.

Activities available for campers include:

  • Kayaking
  • Biking
  • Swimming in privacy because of less number of tourists and vast area.

Access to the beach is only through boat or by walk because of lack of access to motorized vehicles.

Christopher Run Campground camping sites

This campground on the shores of Lake Anna in Louisa County, Virginia is probably a complete tenting site because of a lot of activities that include:

  • Canoeing
  • Row and paddle boat
  • Basketball
  • Shuffleboard for children

Douthat State Park—Clifton Forge camping sites

The added attraction in this park is the 50-acre lake out of the total area of over 4000 acres of greenery. It’s located in the Alleghany Mountains which is a part of the Appalachian Mountain Range. The Alleghany Mountains form a scenic backdrop to the look and tree-studded park circling up to 64 km.

I believe there are 100 more camping sites in Virginia and Maryland alone. We will cover more of them in due course.


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