Let's Go Camping!

First time campersSo you've heard about our beautiful state parks and now you're ready to camp. That's great and we can't wait to see you. If you're new to camping or maybe just new to camping in Maryland, we've created a frequently asked questions page just for you. We want to eliminate the guesswork and make your visit to our Maryland State Parks more enjoyable. We've also included a list of what to bring that should be helpful to you, even if you're a seasoned camper. We encourage you to visit the web page of the park where you plan to camp for details on that park and their amenities.

Now get ready to pack up the car and the kids and come visit us!

Do I need to bring my own equipment?
You are responsible for your own camping gear. Campsites are equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring. Some parks have fire rings with grills for cooking, but it’s a good idea to check ahead or bring a grill grate with you as some parks only have open campfire rings. Some parks also provide a lantern post for hanging a lantern. Most parks have camping pads that are stone dust based; Assateague camping areas, however, are sand based. We recommend you bring a foam sleep pad or inflatable pad/mattress for your comfort.

Does the length of the camping pad include the tow vehicle length?
The camping pad area dimensions are for placement of camping equipment (tent) and does not include the driveway length.

Will I need a container to carry water?
Yes, you will need to bring a container. Potable water is available within or near each camping loop.

How many people can I have at my campsite?
A maximum of six people at a time (children count as people). There is normally a maximum of 2 tents or sleeping units (campers, RV, trailer, screen tent, etc.) at a site. However, these may differ by park, so check ahead of time to make sure how many people a site can accommodate. Two vehicles are allowed to park at each site as long as they fit on the paved surface.

Is firewood available at the park? How much does it cost?
Yes, firewood is sold in the campground. It is sold by the bundle and usually $5-7 per bundle. You cannot bring firewood with you in an effort to stop the spread of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer.

Is there a store in the park to buy basic supplies?
Yes in many, but not all parks. Camp stores have basic supplies like ice, marshmallows, bug spray, etc. Some parks have larger concession operations with food service and souvenirs. Call ahead to confirm.

Where can I find a map or layout of the campground?
Maps of the camping areas can be found on the individual park web pages. You can also view photos of the actual campsite in addition to the layout of the camping loops in the park on our Reservation website at http://reservations.dnr.state.md.us/.

Is the campground wooded?
Most of the campgrounds are wooded, with a few exceptions such as Assateague and Point Lookout.

Can we collect wood in the park to burn in our campfire?
Yes, you can gather kindling and downed branches to burn in your fire ring. Campfires must be in the fire ring only. Cutting down trees is prohibited. Use of chainsaws is not permitted.

How do you cook outside?
Each campsite has a fire ring, but not all parks have fire rings with a built-in grill. You should check ahead of time or bring a grill grate so that you are prepared for cooking. You can also bring a camp stove.

Are there bathrooms near the campsites?
There is a bathhouse (with electric outlets for hair dryers, etc.),which has both restrooms and showers in or near each camping loop. Showers have hot and cold running water and bathhouses have flush toilets. Usually, they are centrally located with various access points in the campgrounds.

Hiking with a petCan we bring our dog camping with us?
Good news! We have pet loops in many of our campgrounds, but not all. Please read the Maryland Park Service Pet Policy to understand our policies, and to ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience. When making reservations please make sure you reserve a designated ‘pet-friendly’ campsite.

Do I have to pay in full when I make my reservation?
Yes, full payment is required when completing reservation both Online, Call Center and walk-in at the Park.

I noticed you have equestrian trails in the park. Do you have horses for rent?
We manage the public lands and multi-use trails that allows for equestrian use at many state parks. We do not rent horses. There may be horse stables nearby the park and additional information can be found on the Maryland Horse Industry Board website.

Can our kids ride their bikes on the road in the campground?
Children and adults are permitted to ride bicycles in the campground. Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet.

If we have a problem at night, is there anyone working in the campground?
To report a problem or concern please contact the Natural Resources Police Communications Center at 1-800-260-8888 at any time, day or night. This number is also posted in the campground. The dispatcher will identify the nature of the call and assist in getting help as needed.

Can we put our tent on an electric site or are electric sites reserved for RV’s only?
You sure can! As a tent or pop-up camper, you may reserve an electric site. When reserving campsites that accommodate RV’s, do not assume you are getting amenities with full hook-ups. Site amenities will be listed with electric/water/sewer if available at the site you are reserving. Also be aware, that your tent may be located next to an RV.

Is there WiFi in the campground?
There is not WiFi capability in the campground area, however, some parks offer Free WiFi - Janes Island State Park (Camp Store and Lodge), Pocomoke River State Park (Camp Store), New Germany State Park (Lake House) and Deep Creek Lake (Discovery Center).

Will I have cellular service in the campground?
Most state parks report cell service, although it can be spotty at times. There are two locations in western Maryland where currently there is limited to no cell service in the campground - Herrington Manor State Park (depending on your service provider) and New Germany State Park. To some folks, that’s a good thing!

What is your policy on alcoholic beverages?
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the campgrounds, except for inside motor homes and cabins. To maintain and ensure a safe, family-oriented outdoor recreational experience for all park guests, the Maryland Park Service regulates the consumption of alcohol in State Parks. This policy has been adopted in the interest of all park patrons to maintain the family atmosphere in our campgrounds. For more information, review our Alcohol Policy.

Where do I put my trash?
All Maryland State Parks are “trash-free!” What does this mean to you? It means there are no trash cans to ruin the view, or to attract flies, bees, and other wildlife in our day-use areas. In the campgrounds, you will find dumpsters for campers to dispose of trash. Whenever possible, we encourage visitors to take their trash home with them. Maryland State Parks promotes reduce, reuse and recycle. Please do not burn your trash within your fire ring.

Are there wild animals in the area?
Yes, there is a wide variety of animals that live in the parks such as chipmunks, squirrels, fox, skunks, bears, snakes, mice, beavers, deer, raccoons and birds. At Assateague there are wild ponies. Please secure your food items to avoid attracting hungry wildlife. This means keeping food in locked coolers, sometimes with even using a bungy cord, and in Western Maryland, using bear food lockers at the campsites.

Are there going to be bugs in the campground?
Yes. Bugs are certainly a part of our natural environment. You can expect and prepare for flies, mosquitoes and ticks. Be sure to bring insect repellent and/or a screen tent.

Kid playing in a parkHow do I find out about events at the park such as nature walks or kids’ programs?
You can check the DNR Calendar of Events for some programs before you go. Be sure to also check with park staff or on the bulletin board when you arrive at the park for additional programs not listed on the website.

How big are your campsites?
Gravel pad areas vary from park to park, an average size is approx 20x20; some sites are smaller and can only accommodate 1-tent/1-vehicle; and other parks camping pad area are 24x24 or larger. Details are available when making reservations. Make sure all camping equipment is on the camping pad and not on the surrounding area. For site-specific information, check the Reservation website.

I see there is fishing offered at your park. Do I need a fishing license?
If you're planning on fishing at one of MD's state parks, and you are 16 years of age or older, a valid fishing license is required. For more details about the licenses and how to obtain one, visit the DNR Licensing website.

Do I need to pay the daily entrance fee if I am camping?
No, you may enjoy all of the park amenities while camping. Be sure to display your camper hang tag in your vehicle.

How late can we check in? What happens if we arrive after check-in time?
Campers check in by driving to the ranger station/camp store designated as a check-in location. At these locations, park staff will verify your name, the number in your party, confirm holders of golden age/other passes, and provide gate codes for re-entry into the park. Campers are required to be set up by quiet hours (10 p.m. - 7 a.m.) If you anticipate arriving after 8 p.m. you should check for instructions by calling the park directly.

Are generators permitted in State Park campgrounds?
Generators are permitted, but all aspects of their use and operation must conform to the established quiet hours at each park and all applicable safeguards designed to prevent disturbing other visitors and to preserve the peace and tranquility of the park environment.

Revised Generator Policy - Effective January 1, 2017 - The operation of generators is prohibited during the established quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Managers may make limited exceptions (e.g. medical necessity). At times outside of quiet hours, all aspects of their operation must conform to standards designed to prevent disturbing other visitors and to preserve the peace and tranquility of the park environment, to include COMAR