Bull Run Regional Park
This family-friendly park in Centreville, just off Interstate 66, is around 30 miles from the District: close to the city but not too close. “A lot of people describe it as a surprise getaway in the woods — we’re hidden back here, and people don’t really expect it,” said Megan Schuster, assistant park manager.
Bull Run is a history buff’s delight: It’s a couple of miles from the Manassas National Battlefield Park and provides access to the nearly 20-mile Bull Run Occoquan Trail, which was utilized during the war. The trail is one of many hiking options on the 1,500-acre grounds. Another popular choice is Bluebell Trail, a 1 1/2
-mile loop that lights up with its namesake flower in the spring. Expect terrific foliage-viewing during the fall, Schuster says. Or time your visit to align with the Bull Run Festival of Lights, a nearly three-mile holiday light spectacular that opens Nov. 22.
Bull Run’s year-round lodging includes nine rustic cabins ($85 to $95 per night) that accommodate six people and offer such luxuries as electricity, heat and a charming front porch with a swing. Those more willing to rough it can choose among a variety of electric and nonelectric campsites.
Starting at $25 per night for a nonelectric campsite in nonpeak season (Nov. 1 through March 31). 7700 Bull Run Dr., Centreville. 703-631-0550. novaparks.com.
Savage River Lodge
There are two kinds of people: Those who love the thrill of roughing it, and those who prefer their nature with a solid roof and a side of luxury. Savage River Lodge in Frostburg — in the western part of Maryland, about a three-hour drive from the District — specializes in the latter: Guests can glamp in well-equipped cabins and yurts.
There are 18 two-story wood cabins and eight yurts on the mountainous Savage River grounds. Each yurt has a private deck, king-size bed with fancy linens, heated floors and gas fireplace — plus the ultimate camping perk: Its own bathroom. The yurts are sufficiently warm even during the coldest parts of winter.
Savage River is surrounded by more than 700 acres of thick forest, and popular activities include fly-fishing, biking, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The property’s central gathering spot, a three-story lodge, is home to a restaurant that serves up filet mignon, pistachio-encrusted lamb and plenty of wine. Most guests come from the District and other nearby cities, smitten with the idea of disconnecting: There’s limited cell service and no television or WiFi in the yurts and cabins, though there is WiFi in the lodge.
Cabins start at $250 per night; yurts start at $270. 1600 Mount Aetna Rd., Frostburg. 301-689-3200. savageriverlodge.com.
Cherry Hill Park
Given its proximity to the District, this family-owned campground is particularly appealing to visitors who are traveling to the area via RV. It offers buses to Metro and organizes sightseeing tours (as well as daily educational sessions, in which attendees are briefed on SmarTrip cards and other D.C. nuances). But Cherry Hill Park has plenty of accommodations for locals and those not camping with an RV, too.
At the campground, guests can play mini golf, go fishing, rent a golf cart for the day, hit the game room or basketball court or head to the gym. The hot tub and sauna are open year-round, and an on-site cafe specializes in comfort food: cinnamon rolls and pancakes for breakfast, cheesesteaks and pizza later in the day.
Cherry Hill offers a variety of all-season lodging options, and those new to camping can purchase a tent on-site (the campground’s staff will help set it up). Or consider staying in a log cabin, cottage, yurt — or one of the funky glamping pods. These wooden half-domes lure visitors with a solid roof, air conditioning and heat, WiFi and electricity; there are built-in beds and a small kitchenette in each. The pods accommodate two to four people, depending on the size you book, and each one has its own picnic table, fire ring and charcoal grill.
Glamping pods start at $99 per night. 9800 Cherry Hill Rd., College Park. 800-801-6449. cherryhillpark.com.
The Treehouse Camp at Maple Tree Campground
Come to this secluded 20-acre campground in Rohrersville, Md., to sleep under the canopy of trees. Stay for nature’s evening show: “Our place always has really pretty sunsets,” owner Louise Soroko says. “They’re very pink and purple.”
Most of the lodging options at the Treehouse Camp at Maple Tree Campground are rustic, and many are open year-round. Spend the weekend in a tree cottage that’s eight to 10 feet off the ground, for example — while there’s no electricity, guests can use a wood stove for heat and cooking. Or check into the charming, blue-doored hobbit house: Between the enchanted forest mural on the wall and handmade harvest tables, it feels otherworldly.
The Treehouse Camp — which is about a 90-minute drive from the District — is situated along the Appalachian Trail, and about 10 minutes from Harpers Ferry and Antietam Battlefield. Guests typically enjoy nearby hiking, biking and rafting — or just staying put on the quiet grounds. “Nature is revitalizing to people in ways that are surprising,” Soroko says. “I think it’s a combination of being in the trees and unplugging and getting away.”
Starting at $8 per night for a field tent site; tree cottages start at $65 per night, and the hobbit house is $140 per night. 20716 Townsend Rd., Rohrersville. 301-432-5585. thetreehousecamp.com.