Free Camping, Nomad Life, Off the Beaten Path, Tips & Tricks, Travel

Off the Beaten Path in Maryland. Exploring the Hidden Gems.

As full-time RV’ers we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different and maybe a little “off the beaten path”. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, some complete with pictures and all with GPS coordinates.

Late 2007 we were transferred to Maryland and lived just outside of Annapolis. We were lucky enough to get to explore a little bit of Maryland. Maryland is full of abandoned towns and schools. If that’s your thing, make sure you check out Ellicott City where you’ll find Hell House Alter and the St. Mary’s College. Kind of creepy but historically interesting to walk through this area. Getting there: Two options: 1) Park at the bend of the road where Illchester Road meets River Road then walk back to the railroad bridge (parking beneath the railroad tracks will likely get you a ticket). There are steps hidden in the brush on the south side of the railroad bridge. Look for a second flight of stairs in the woods that take you up to the ruins. 2) Take the Buzzard’s Rock trail off of Hilltop Road to get a bird’s eye view of the property

winter destinations for christmas!Bridge C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio Canal) path near Little Orleans, Maryland – Have you done any hiking along this trail? It’s actually filled with fantastic bridges, tunnels and scenery. The area near Little Orleans is our favorite.

Great Falls Natural Rock / Billy Goat Trail This is not even a 2 mile round trip hike. If you want to see some spectacular views, and maybe a few billygoats, you really should think about this trail. There are 3 major trails here. All under 2 miles. But some have some pretty crazy rock scrambles. Do you research and make sure you can negotiate the trail you choose. You won’t regret this hike! If I remember correctly, section C trail was the easiest. And just over 1.5 miles. There is a visitors center (Great Falls Tavern and Visitors Center 11710 Macarthur Blvd, Potomac, MD) you can get all your maps and information at. The area around Great Falls is amazing, and check out the Great Falls themselves.

chesapeake-bay-1170x780Hart-Miller Island – This island near Baltimore is only reachable by boat or kayak. Once you arrive, you can spend the day on the beach, fishing, or exploring the paths around the island.

Mallows Bay – You just gotta make a day of this. We love our kayaks and getting out into nature, but this is really interesting place to kayak around. Find this unique bay in Nanjemoy, where hundreds of old WWI ships rest in a watery grave. You can kayak among the ruins, making for a memorable experience like no other. If there were ever a place that could be described as a ship graveyard, it is the murky waters of Mallows Bay. (If you’re going to make a day of this, head over the the Abandoned Virginia Renaissance Faire in Fredericksburg VA — Talk about Medieval “nerdery” Ha but in a weird, kind of eerie way)

killiansburg cavemeHiking to Killiansburg Cave – If you follow our blogs, you know I love to explore caves. This one might actually be one of the most unique. Only because it’s not commercialized. There are no tour guides around, and it’s been left natural. No, you won’t see fancy lights, and walkways, but what you’ll see is a huge part of history. Some bluffs are pockmarked by dark, eerie openings in the rock. A couple of the caves are tiny — about the height and width of a human being — and reach back deep into the bluffs. Killiansburg Cave sits at mile marker 75.7 on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath, 2.5 miles each way from the parking lot. Long abandoned, the C&O is now a hiking and biking trail stretching from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. 

Really fun places to do some Geocaching! Don’t know what Geocaching is? Come read our blog where we explain exactly what Geocaching is

If you want to scare your kids take them to the Museum of Outdated Technology in Rockville, MD. Actually, they’ll have fun, and so will you! And your kids (or grand kids) will surely make you feel even older. 

Boondocking in Maryland:

  • E.A Vaughn WMA – Great area! (See Picture Below) Cell service can be spotty, but boosted it seems to work ok. GPS: 38.077881, -75.391628
  • Did you know there are a bunch of casino’s in Maryland that let you lot dock for free? Check out the websites in the area you’re going and see if there is a casino. Not going to lie, we’ve stayed at one in Michigan and they even had FREE hookup’s! Just make sure even if you’re not a gambler, that you go in and have lunch or drop a couple dollars in one of the machines. Especially if they provide you with free hookups. 
  • Though I don’t know too much about it, I did see some small disbursed camping areas along the C&O trails. I believe most are made for some pretty small van or small rv camping areas. Do your research and check out the roads in and out before venturing down. 
  • Big Run State Park – This is not technically boondocking for free, but this is a beautiful little state park and cheap! $10, water views, and … bears! Please be careful and purchase your bear spray. 10368 Savage River Road – Swanton
    GPS: 39.543235, -79.138808

boon1me

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