7 Best Tent Camping Locations in Washington DC in 2024

The tent camping is a unique adventure for those who know where to stay and what to bring with them. Some people enjoy being under the sky and to visit camping destinations regularly because it helps them take a rest, heal and connect to nature.

Many people are skeptical about this type of vacation, but there are proven ways that you can make your tent trip as comfortable as a rented apartment or with RV.

How to make a tent camping good and comfortable?

If this is your first time, you should try to set the tent up at home. Experienced campers won’t need to do that, because they already know how to set it after they arrive at the destinations. You should pick a campsite and make a reservation because many of the camping areas have rules and policies.

After that, make a list of all of the necessary things you need to take with you, including prepacked meals that are campfire-friendly, extra padding for the tent’s floor, waterproof cover, a few packs of coffee and a coffee thermos, to keep it warm longer. All of these supplies should be high-quality and the coffee thermoses should be made of good material and easy to clean, according to thecampinggear.com, especially if you are a passionate coffee drinker that appreciates a good mug of this drink.

There are a lot of beautiful camping sites near Washington DC, that you can visit during the work week or on the weekends.

Here are some of them:

1. Shenandoah National Park

Source: Reddit

It’s located about 75 miles from DC (120 kilometers) and it offers you a unique experience of closeness with nature and environment. You should take a permit and then you can set your tent and the sleeping bags and enjoy the beautiful nature around you. You can hike or you can bike, but, surely, the views are breathtaking and you are surrounded by many sorts of wildlife.

2. Bald Eagle Farm on the Patuxent

Source: Hipcamp

This is a private tent area around the Patuxent River, with a campsite for visitors available. You should bring your tents or RVs because the owner offers just a space to set them.

There is a beautiful forest to take a walk and a few attractive touristic places. This place is great for those who need to take their pet with them and who need to stay connected to the digital world because the whole area is covered with WiFi. But, you should think about the alternatives for toilets and showers, and also you should bring kitchen supplies and folding tables and chairs.

3. Coopers Rock State Forrest

Source: YouTube

People love this place because it’s pretty affordable and great for quick weekends. It’s open from April to October and offers two main campsites. The first one has electricity, showers, and WiFi, and the second one is for those who need to disconnect from the digital world for a few days and enjoy the untouched nature. Both camping sites are pet friendly.

4. Mountain Views campsite

Source: Virginia’s Travel Blog

This campsite is located near the Shenandoah State Park and the Belle Grove Historical Park. You can walk around the beautiful nature and enjoy the campfire. The best thing about this campsite is that it’s great if you want to camp together with a lot of your friends or family members, because there are 15 sites available, with capacity for up to 21 persons per site. Also, there are toilets and kitchen supplies, but you should get creative about showering because there are no showers.

5. Caledonia State Park

Source: Franklin County Visitors Bureau

There are a lot of things that you can do here while you are tent camping. You can choose between horse riding, swimming, water rafting and so on. And if you are not a fan of tents, you can choose a cottage or cabin instead.

6. Sinclair’s Mill campsite

Source: Beyond The Tent

This is a woody site near the Manassas National Park and Prince William Forest National Park. It offers you an option for private camping on Lake Jackson. You can swim, fish or hike the trails around. There are four sites in the campsite and you are allowed to bring a tent, but not a car or RV. In the evenings, you can set a campfire and enjoy yourself with your friends or the family. Pets are allowed, toilets are available, but there is no WiFi.

7. Cowans Gap State Park

Source: Yelp

This area is available for camping throughout the whole year. It’s located near a lake beach and you can camp there, swim and fish, even in the winter. This is Pennsylvania’s state park but it’s close to Washington DC, less than a two-hour drive. There are many trails that you can hike, or you can enjoy swimming in the artificial Cowans Gap Lake. The hunting is also an option if you have an allowance and you follow the rules and regulations.

Can everyone go to tent camping?

You need to know that it is really OK if camping is not your cup of tea. Many people can’t stand the idea to spend days in some parks or mountains, without the Internet and television, eating canned food or sleeping on the ground. It’s understandable and if someone doesn’t like it, you shouldn’t make them come with you. Of course, they are missing too much, but if they are not comfortable with the stay, they won’t see the beauty of the outdoor vacation.

Also, there is nothing weird if you want to camp alone, without friends or family members. But, it’s safer for you if you choose a licensed campsite to set your tent, so you can avoid unwanted situations and you won’t stay alone in the wild. Whatever you choose, one thing is for sure – you can have the time of your life alone, calm, meditating in nature and reading your favorite book on the lakeside, while you drink a good cup of coffee. Forget about boring beaches and try something different and we can guarantee that you won’t regret. We hope this list of campsites around the DC area helped you to choose where to stay.