Public transport accessible campsites in DC, Virginia or Maryland?
July 6, 2010 8:20 AM   Subscribe

I live in DC and have just had a great weekend away, camping down near Virginia Beach. Now I want to plan another couple of camping weekends this summer but I'm not keen on the cost of renting a car to do so. Does anyone know of any campgrounds in DC/Virginia/Maryland that are accessible from DC via public transport?
posted by uk_giffo to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Litttle Bennett Regional Park in Montgomery County has a campground. The WMATA trip planner says there is bus service available.
posted by massysett at 8:47 AM on July 6, 2010

Well, if you're willing to hike, you can get a metro to Rosslyn, cross the Key Bridge, and then head NW on the C&O Canal. Camping sites every 5 miles once you get to Swain's Lock (#21). Since 16 miles might be a little ambitious, are you averse to bike rental? If so, consider taking the train up to Harper's Ferry and picking up the trail there.
posted by crunchland at 9:25 AM on July 6, 2010

How about Greenbelt Park? It's the closest park to D.C., at roughly 12 miles away.

If I remember correctly, there's a shuttle that runs to it from some Metro. Maybe you could give the ranger station a call: (301) 344-3944.
posted by AAAAAThatsFiveAs at 9:27 AM on July 6, 2010

A little more info for you. According to this site:

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION - The University of Md/College Park Metro station is a 2.5 mile walk to the campground. The F-6 bus headed toward the New Carrollton Metro station runs on weekdays only. Tell the driver to let you off near Parkdale High School. There is a entrance with parking area. Take the paved trail to the chain linked fence and take a left. The Ranger Station is two hundred yards on your right.

The Greenbelt Metro station is 3 miles from the park. It has a very large parking lot. We recommend that you drive to the Greenbelt Metro instead of driving to Washington, D.C. because of the lack of parking especially on weekdays.

And here:

The College Park Metro is closer to the campground than the Greenbelt Station. Ask at the ranger station about a 200 yard trail to Parkdale School, where you can catch a Metrobus to the station on weekdays. Otherwise, plan on hoofing it 2.5 miles in muggy Washington weather to College Park Metro, or three miles to Greenbelt Metro. Greenbelt has a large parking area though, so if you have a car, you can park there for the day and get around on the Metro quite easily.
posted by AAAAAThatsFiveAs at 9:32 AM on July 6, 2010

You can also reach the Appalachian Trail via Amtrak out of Union Station or MARC out of New Brunswick
posted by chrisulonic at 9:47 AM on July 6, 2010

On preview crunchland beat me to it.
posted by chrisulonic at 10:07 AM on July 6, 2010

Keep in mind though that if you can reach a campground easily via public transit, the atmosphere may not be as campy as you are looking for. You are probably going to be in town, urban environment, near a major road with traffic noise, etc.

You could get pretty close to the Prince William National Forest via the Prince William Commuter Bus Network. The commuter lot on 234 is only a couple of miles (if that) from the RV campground. I'm not sure if they have tent sites in that particular campground or not. I've only camped at the group sites at Prince William.
posted by COD at 10:26 AM on July 6, 2010

Lake Fairfax Park in Reston, VA is surprisingly big. It's near the W&OD trail if you are interested in biking. Also, I am pretty sure you can get a bus there from the Falls Church metro.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:32 AM on July 6, 2010

When I was a kid (25 years ago) we camped several times along the tow path not far from Georgetown. I remember it quite fondly, but the last time (two years ago) I was running by and looked at the sites they were pretty seedy. You might check them out, though.
posted by OmieWise at 10:43 AM on July 6, 2010

Actually there was just an article in a Post Express about how to get to Greenbelt Park on Metro.

Greenbelt Park

ANY METRO RIDE can seem like an adventure these days. But Washingtonians often forget that when you get bored of wonk-watching in the urban jungle, you can head to the real wilderness. Just swap your briefcase for a backpack and head to Greenbelt Park, a year-round campground a mere 13 miles from the White House — and an easy walk from the appropriately named Green Line.

A quick mile-and-a-half hike from the College Park station down Paint Branch Parkway will deliver you to one of Greenbelt's 174 campsites. They almost never fill up (although reservations are available). And at $16 a night, camping via public transportation is a bargain getaway

posted by waylaid at 11:25 AM on July 6, 2010

Don't forget the Eastern Shore-- the Delmarva peninsula. There are federal parks on the Atlantic side and the Bay side. I don't know Public Transportation but you coiuld Google that.
posted by ohshenandoah at 3:22 PM on July 6, 2010

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