Potomac River Campgrounds

I’m looking for information on camping along the Potomac River, preferably in Virginia. I’m planning a week long trip from DC to Virginia Beach and would like to camp along the way. I’m having trouble finding campsite near the river. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for any help.


Chesapeake Paddling Association
You might try the forum on the CPA site - it’s a large paddling association in the area:


Purchase a Maryland Gazzatteer
There’s not many campgrounds in Virginia along the Potomac between Harper’s Ferry and DC. I know of exactly none. That land is filled with million dollar homes, where you and your tent are unlikely to be welcome.

Along the Maryland shore is the C&O canal tow-path, which is a national park. It is actually the nations skinniest national park. There are camp-sites here and there along between the river and the tow-path. In Brunswick there is a family campground (Brunswick Family Campground) where I’ve stayed a few times. Reasonable rates and a clean campground.

My recommendation is to check out the camp-sites that are along the C&O canal. You can check with the national park service, they have a headquarters in Harper’s Ferry, WV. I’m not sure which hq serves the C&O, but I’m certain that the Harper’s Ferry rangers would be able to either help or put you in touch with the right people. There may be a fee, and there may be a registration requirement so call in advance and take care of things to stay legit. The rangers I’ve met in HF and along the C&O have all been top-notch helpful folks, but they’re not going to let you break the rules. The Maryland Gazzetteer is also chock full of information on campsites, backroads, and such.

  • Big D

C&O Campsites
Back in June I cycled the C&O from DC to Cumberland and back. I camped at the sites along the towpath. They are spaced 10-15 miles and are free but be warned they are primitive sites. They do have well pumps for water and port o pots but nothing else. The issue you might have is finding them from the river.

Maybe call the State Parks shown …

– Last Updated: Nov-22-08 6:14 PM EST –

..... along the route that meet the Potomac shoreline , from DC on out to the Bay .

How do you plan to get from the Bay down to Virginia Beach , paddle it ??

You could use this site to see the State parks along the shore line .

http://dev.live.com/virtualearth/sdk/ or another simular .

Look up the parks by name on the net for detail info. of specific park , open seasons , camp/cabin facilitys , contact info., etc. .

Point LookOut at Potomac and Cheasapeak for instance .

Pohick Bay Regional Park
is an option about a day’s paddle downstream from DC. I can’t recall exactly how far the campground is from the river but I do remember the campground is NOT at the water.

Potomac Campgrounds
There are not a whole lot of campgrounds on the potomac but there are a few. Someone already mentioned Pohick Bay. Two more are Westmoreland State Park and Point Lookout where the Potomac meets the Bay. Westmoreland is a beautiful place to paddle and a great campground but the campground is NOT on the water. You can also camp, with prior permission, on Saint Clements Island.

If you are planning on paddling the Potomac check out the Potomac Water trail map (http://www.dnr.state.md.us/greenways/greenprint/maporder.html). It is a series of 6 maps covering the river and includes access points and possible campsites.

Paddling the entire Potomac is doable but requires some creativity in planning.