Scenic camping close to Washington D.C.

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of January 22-28, 1998
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Scenic camping close to Washington D.C.
Question: I want to take my kids to Washington D.C. this summer, but want to camp in a fairly natural setting within easy driving distance of the metro area. Any suggestions about campgrounds in that region?

Howard Walters
Long Beach, MS

Blackwater Falls State Park in
West Virginia sparkles with falls

Adventure Adviser: I'm not quite sure what you mean by "easy driving distance," but if you want to be in a natural setting, I'd suggest hunkering down in West Virginia in one of the many state parks in the northeast arm of the state.

Here you'll find rugged mountains rising 3,000 feet, deep river gorges with cascading waterfalls, and a climate reminiscent of Canada in the summer.

Blackwater Falls State Park and Canaan Valley Resort State Park, both approximately a three-hour drive from D.C., come highly recommended. For more details on either of these parks, call the Canaan Valley Tourism Center at 800-782-2775.

Even closer to D.C. is Virginia's Shenandoah National Park 75 miles west on U.S. 211. Straddling a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the park enjoys rolling vistas, recreation along the Shenandoah River, and a spectacular winding road that runs the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

There are four campgrounds in the park, three of which are first-come, first-served, and one which is reservation-only for organized groups. There are also a number of lodges and cabins.

With more than 500 miles of hiking trails, 30 streams for fishing, and abundant wildflowers, this may be the perfect place to relax before you hit the nation's capital. For more information on Shenandoah National Park call 540-999-3500.

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