We have stayed at Brunswick City Campground owned/operated by the town of Brunswick MD. It a little ways from DC (50 mi?) but is within walking distance to a major Amtrak commuter station where you can catch a ride to Union Station in DC. From there you can walk to many of the downtown DC attractions, or you can connect to the Metro. I can't recall the camping rates, but I seem to remember they were very reasonable. It is on the Potomac River and also adjacent to the C&O canal towpath park, which is great for bike riding. There is also lots of Civil War history nearby including Harper's Ferry and Antietam battlefield. We love the area.
Great recommendation,Footslogger. Reasonably priced, friendly CG if you have time. 75 min drive to DC. Amtrak is pleasant commute to DC attractions especially M-F. Brunswick is our favorite CG (just under an hour drive for us) on weekends to kayak, fish and camp on the Potomac River...away from DC hustle bustle : )
A caution I hesitate to mention: Flooding in the area.Rarely happens and would have to be at or near historic levels for it to affect Brunswick CG but the very reason it is such a lovely spot also means it is more vulnerable to very high water after a storm.
Cherry Hill seems to be the spot. We just booked for the week before Easter. Hoping the Cherry Blossoms are open. The Cherry Blossom Festival runs from the middle of March to the middle of April. The plan is to take the DC trip from the CG then a day at Manassas Battle field and maybe to Mt Vernon.
If you are looking for a commercial campground within a reasonable travel distance and access to the metro to D.C. there really is nothing else other than Cherry Hill.
The rest are regional parks in Maryland and Virginia and many of those are fine, but they are not offering the amenities (if that is important to you) that Cherry Hill offers. As said, there is a public bus that stops at the gate of Cherry Hill and takes you to the Metro Station. The bus trip is 20 to 30 minutes as it does its route - stopping at other stops - and then the Metro ride is about 30 minutes into D.C. to the Mall which is central to where most attractions are located.
This blog page lists a lot of the DC area campgrounds and gives the writer's perspective on them.
SInce this is your first visit to DC, you're best bet is Cherry Hill. Well kept campground, close to restaurants and food stores, the staff is very familiar with DC and can help you with your visit. The WMATA bus stops right at the camp store and takes you right to the Metro stop in College Park. And as I remember, the CG has a shuttle to the Metro. Or if you have a toad, you can drive over to the Green Belt Metro station (just a few minutes away). Don't plan on driving downtown. Its just a big hassle for first time visitors. I don't like to drive downtown and I live here. The Metro is user friendly and will take you to all of the tourist spots downtown.
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Great info, just what I needed. Probablly would like hookups, but could go a few days without. Last time we were in DC (not camping), we had a monsoon and all federal employees were sent home. What a mess and us tourist in an open sided trolley!!!
There is a Maryland DNR State Park that is just south of DC. Drivetime from the campground to Bolling AFB (using it as a landmark) in rush hour is about 30 minutes, and even less time to get to the major roadways surrounding DC.
The campground has 30amp service and water at each site. Dump station is easy to get to in the campground. All sites are back-in, but all are wide and about 5 of them are big enough to be accessed by large rigs (our TH is 43' and we fit...). The campground is a ghost-town during the week, but is full of families on the weekends. Cost is ~$28/night.
Also, there is bus service nearby to get you to a metro station. You could easily leave your vehicle parked in Indian Head or Bryan's Rd without worry - very quiet communities. Probably be okay in Accokeek, too, but there is more crime there...
I have been thru downtown DC a few times in a school bus and in our dually. It's not exactly fun... Lots of traffic and pedestrians. Haven't yet ridden any public transportation, but we might soon... But anything in the Mall/White House area we will access in our own vehicle, since DH's job entitles him to a reserved parking spot down there that we can use anytime.
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