Places to Go Camping in Maryland

Places to Go Camping in Maryland
Ranging from the sandy sea grass dunes of the Eastern Shore to the pine grove mountains of the west, Maryland is nicknamed "America in Miniature" due to the diversified topography throughout the state. Containing 41 of the 2,160 miles designated as the Appalachian Trail, outdoor enthusiasts seeking a few days of solitude among nature have an array of choices for camping from developed campsites within national parks to back country Adirondack shelters in the state forests.

Assateague Island National Seashore and State Park

Home to the famous wild ponies, Assateague Island National Seashore and State Park offers visitors a chance to explore the diverse ecology of the 37-mile long barrier island just south of Ocean City, Maryland. Camping at the National Seashore is open year round, while Assateague Island State Park is open from late April until the end of October of each season. Voted as "One of the Top 10 Best State Parks in the United States," in 1994 by National Geographic Travel Magazine, Assateague Island State Park accepts advance reservations for any of their 350 campsites through mid-October of each year. Assateague Island National Seashore accepts reservations from April 14th through October 16th of each year for all campsites while operating on a first come, first served basis during the remaining winter months.

Both parks offer campsites with RV hook-ups, picnic tables, chemical toilets, cold-water showers, drinking water and upright grills. Assateague Island has only very low lying vegetation and can often have quite a few bugs due to the marshes, so bringing a shade or bug screened tent is highly recommended.

Assateague Island National Seashore
7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, Maryland 21811
(877) 444-6777 Reservations
(410) 641-3030 Campground Information

Assateague Island State Park
7307 Stephen Decatur Highway
Berlin, Maryland 21811
(410) 641-2120
(888) 432-CAMP Reservations


Catoctin Mountain Park

Offering two designated campgrounds and two hike-in Adirondack shelters, Catoctin Mountain Park is a convenient base camp hiking within the park's 25 miles of trails traversing the Blue Ridge Mountains or rock climbing at the nearby Wolf Rock. Located in Thurmont, Maryland, Catoctin's Owens Creek Campground is open to campers from May until November every season on a first come, first served basis. Larger groups can make advance reservations at the Poplar Grove Youth Group Tent Campground which is open from April through February every season. Backpackers can obtain a free permit at the visitor's center to hike into Catcotin's primitive Adirondack shelters that are open year round. These three-sided shelters are capable of accommodating up to five people each.

Catoctin Mountain Park
14707 Park Central Road
Thurmont, Maryland 21788
(301) 663-9388

South Mountain State Park

Known as the home to a large section of the Appalachian Trail that passes through Maryland, South Mountain State Park offers multiple trail heads for day hikers and backpackers. Backpackers are able to camp at any of the six primitive shelters located along the main trail at Dahlgren, Pogo, and Annapolis Rocks. Travelers and their leashed four-legged companions are welcome on the trails and in the campgrounds. Potable water sources are available along the trail, but purifying it is high advisable before drinking or washing dishes.

South Mountain State Park
21843 National Pike
Boonsboro, Maryland 21713
(301) 791-4767

Green Ridge State Forest

Containing 46,000 acres of oak hickory, Green Ridge State Forest is the second largest state forest and is located in western Maryland. Campers and backpackers can enjoy campsites within the forest or along the Potomac River year-round on a first come, first served basis. Featuring 100 designated campsites, campers must retain a camping permit at the Green Ridge Forest Headquarters or self-register outside the office after closing. Backpackers can hit the 24-miles of developed trail within the state forest that offer Adirondack shelters every eight miles for overnight camping.

Green Ridge State Forest
28700 Headquarters Dr, NE
Flintstone, Maryland 21530-9525
(301) 478-3124

Savage River State Forest

Encompassing 54,000 acres, Savage River State Forest offers campers 52 primitive roadside campsites that are available by self-registering at the Savage River State Forest Headquarters or any of the six self-registration stations located on the forest. Backpackers looking to head off the beaten path can obtain camping permits through self-registration and leaving an itinerary of the planned trip.

Savage River State Forest
127 Headquarters Lane
Grantsville, Maryland 21536
(301) 895-5759


Article Written By Patricia Poulin

Patricia Poulin is a freelance writer based out of the western slope of Colorado. Poulin's travels and insight have chronicled in print media resources, such as "Inside Outside" and "Breathe" magazine. She is also a regular contributor for other various publications including "USA Today." Poulin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Nice easy flat trail that leads to beautiful red rocks.
Stunning hike but extremely steep and tiring! Bring plenty of water.