Breaking camp around region

Maryland and its neighbors offer great sites for pitching a tent this fall

August 28, 2008|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,

It's still warm outside, but not quite as warm as it has been. There aren't so many bugs buzzing. And as the days are getting shorter, the crowds at the region's parks, lakes and beaches are thinning.

This time of year provides a window for those who love to sleep under the stars.

There are plenty of fall camping opportunities around the state and region. Before the temperature plummets, go take a hike, a bike ride, a walk, a swim or just laze around a fire ring.

Here are some places to go pitch your tent, from the mountains to the shore:

Assateague State Park


The lowdown: It's right on the Atlantic Ocean and has two miles of beaches. There are plenty of spaces to explore in a kayak and lots of opportunities to see wildlife, including the famous wild ponies.

If you go : There are 350 sites available for camping in the park, 7307 Stephen Decatur Highway, Berlin. There are fire rings and picnic tables at each, with limited electric hook-ups available. Reservations are available through Oct. 26 and sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis after Oct. 13. The cost is $30 a night and $40 with electricity. The campground is open through Oct. 27. Call 410-641-2120 or 888-432-2267 for reservations or go to assateague.html.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park


The lowdown: The C&O Canal, once used for commerce, is now a recreational opportunity. The towpath runs nearby the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington to Cumberland.

If you go : There are five drive-in campsites along the canal: Antietam Creek at Mile 69.7, McCoys Ferry at Mile 110.4, Fifteenmile Creek at Mile 140.9, Paw Paw at Mile 156.1 and Spring Gap at Mile 173.3. They are first-come, first-served and have grills, chemical toilets and water. The cost is $10 a night through Oct. 1. Call the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal headquarters, 1850 Dual Highway, Hagerstown, at 301-739-4200 or go to

Deep Creek Lake State Park


The lowdown : The park boasts a one-mile shoreline on Maryland's largest man-made lake. There's a boat ramp, canoe rentals and hiking opportunities in this Western Maryland getaway.

If you go : There are 112 campsites at the park, 898 State Park Road, Swanton. Some have electricity, and all are near heated bathrooms with hot showers. The cost is $25 a night; $30 with electricity. The campsite is open through Oct. 13. Call 301-387-5563 or 888-432-2267 for reservations or go to

Delaware Seashore State Park


The lowdown : With the Atlantic to the east and Rehoboth Bay to the west, the park is for those who love water and sand and the popular beach resorts of Rehoboth and Dewey after the main beach season has passed.

If you go : There are 182 sites at this campground, 130 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach, Del. Most have water and electric. The cost is $30-$38 a night for nonresidents. The campground is open through Nov. 30. Call 302-539-7202 or go to www.destate

Hart-Miller Island State Park


The lowdown : Near the mouth of Middle River in the Chesapeake Bay, the island offers a safe place to moor a boat and wade in the sandy surf on its western shore, as well as access to campsites and hiking trails.

If you go: In the Baltimore County waters of the bay, the campsites are first-come, first-served and accessible only by private boat. Camping is allowed through Sept. 30 for $6 a night. Call Gunpowder Falls State Park, 2813 Jerusalem Road, Kingsville, at 410-592-2897 or go to

Monongahela National Forest


The lowdown : In the rugged Appalachian Mountain region, the national forest offers 500 miles of hiking trails, 75 tree species and the state's highest peak.

If you go: There are several campgrounds within the forest, 200 Sycamore St., Elkins, W.Va. The Big Bend Campground, one of the larger, has 45 sites that have access to 30 miles of maintained trails and outlets for river tubing. The cost is $18-$28 a night. The campground is open through Oct. 25. Call 877-444-6777 or go to

Shenandoah National Park


The lowdown: Near the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 105-mile park has meadows, hiking trails, waterfalls and wildlife. There are four campgrounds, including Mathews Arm, Big Meadows, Lewis Mountain and Loft Mountain. Most of the park is open to backcountry camping, but a permit is required.

If you go: The park is at 3655 U.S. Highway 211 E., Luray, Va. Three are open through October, and Big Meadows Campground is open through November. The cost is $20 a night on the reservation system. Call 877-444-6777 or go to for reservations or for information.

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