Get Back to Nature

Story by Carol Harvat
Explore the Great Outdoors With These Camping Options in Southern Maryland

Some souls seeking a nature experience don’t mind a little dirt or roughing it in a tent. Others wouldn’t fathom sleeping on the ground but may be inclined to exploring the outdoors if they could sleep  in a cushy recreational vehicle or in a cabin with a roof overhead. The latter is known as glamping – glamorous camping, and Southern Maryland has an abundance of choices for vacationers to lay their heads while surrounded by natural settings.

FAMILY-ORIENTED
Camp Merryelande Beach Campground on St. George Island, family owned since 1984, offers tent and RV sites on the beach and cottages that can sleep from two to 24 guests.
“We have a beautiful sandy beach with shallow water. It’s what families like because it does not get too deep,” says Cesar Sanchez, assistant manager. The campground has a variety of free activities such as bike riding, mini golf and ping pong, and rents kayaks, canoes and a two-person, small-engine pontoon boat.
Fishermen can wet their line off its pier and kids can go “chicken necking” for crabs.
“The kids love that,” Sanchez says. “We’re not trying to be a famous five-star resort. We’re affordable, clean and have many options.”
Along with RV and tent sites with picnic tables and fire pits, Dennis Point Marina & Campground in Drayden has two cabins, dock space for boats and the Riverside Bistro restaurant. The campground boasts fresh water ponds, a pool, playground, horseshoe pit and family movies.
“There’s quite a bit to do for families,” says Tammie Johnson, campground manager.
In Charles County, Aqualand Campground in Newburg and Goose Bay Marina and Campground in Welcome are both on the water with access to the Potomac River.
They offer tent and full hook-up RV sites and plenty of activities for kids. On the Chesapeake Bay, Breezy Point Campground, operated by Calvert County, provides a roped-off swim area and playground.

PEACEFUL CAMPING
For a back-to-nature camping experience, LaGrande Resort RV Park in Leonardtown sits on 33 acres with wooded, well-spaced, large campsites with fire pits and picnic tables. “It’s a nice quiet campground, a peaceful area,” says owner Noni Evans. The campground features hiking trails and easy access to Leonardtown Square.Many of her campers like the feel of the woods and to be near the historical sites, she says. A laundry facility is also available.

MARYLAND STATE PARKS
Stay on the Potomac River and learn a bit of history while sleeping in a cabin, tent or RV at Maryland state parks in Southern Maryland.
Smallwood State Park, a 628-acre park in Marbury, has plenty of woods and nature trails. Named after Gen. William Smallwood, the highest-ranking Marylander in the Revolutionary War, the park owns his original residence.
“Our biggest draw is the house. They rebuilt it like a museum,” says Nannette Wolford, a state park reservation agent.
At the mouth of the Potomac River on the Chesapeake Bay, Point Lookout State Park in Scotland, a prison for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, caters to history buffs, fishermen and adventurers. Campers can fish from a 710-foot fishing pier, tour the Civil War museum, swim and launch a boat. “We do have some nice campgrounds in Southern Maryland,” Wolford says.
Take time to explore the outdoors and relax under the stars this summer. Discover the beauty that brought early settlers to our shores.

RESERVE A SPOT
Maryland State Parks
reservations — 1-888-432-2267
Calvert County
Breezy Point Campground —
410-535-0259
Charles County
Goose Bay Marina and
Campground — 301-932-0885
Aqualand Campground —
301-259-2222
St. Mary’s County
LaGrande RV Resort —
301-475-8550
Dennis Point Marina & Campground — 301-994-2288
Camp Merryelande —
301-994-1722