If you're looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of big city life on your next RV excursion, point the rig towards Deep Creek Lake State Park. What was once an area used for logging and mining is now a tranquil oasis for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and of course, the flora and fauna of the park. Located in western Maryland, the park will afford you a sense of remoteness without going too far off the beaten path.
Situated at the base of Meadow Mountain, this 1,800-acre park sits lakeside and offers visitors some seriously stunning scenery along with an abundance of outdoor recreation to be enjoyed. After you set up camp, head out along one of the park's nine trails, take a dip in the cool lake waters, or drop a line and try to catch some dinner. If you're visiting during the cooler months, you won't have to stay hunkered down in the campervan, because there is still plenty to do once the dog days of summer are over. Explore the trails via snowmobile, skis, or snowshoes, head to the ice for some wintertime fishing, or stop in at the Discovery Center to learn more about the park and the surrounding area.
RVers can stay in comfort at one of the park's 26 electrical sites, or choose one of the primitive sites to really reconnect with nature. Wherever you choose to rest your head, you'll be glad you parked the rig at Deep Creek Lake State Park.
Located in Garrett County in the Allegheny Highlands of western Maryland, Deep Creek State Park is surrounded by unspoiled wilderness. Although the park will leave you with a refreshing, off-grid feeling, you're really never far from civilization or the major routes that will take you there. US-219 can be accessed on the other side of the lake, along with restaurants, gas stations, and stores where you can stock up on supplies before heading to the park. Roads around the park are mostly flat with a few gradual inclines along the way. Whether you're maneuvering a big rig, hauling a trailer, or simply driving a passenger vehicle, you should have no trouble accessing the park.
The park entrance is located off of Brant Road, and overnight guests will find the campground just a few minutes away. Extra parking can be found at the Park Headquarters, the day-use area, the Discovery Center, and at various trailheads. If you're staying overnight, you'll have your own private parking spot available at your campsite. If you're visiting during the peak summer months, parking lots fill up quickly, so you may want to arrive early if you're not staying overnight.
Deep Creek Lake State Park's campground is comprised of three loops, two of which are pet-friendly. The campground features 86 basic sites without any hookups and 26 electric sites. Site lengths vary, with the maximum allowance being 40 feet. Each site is equipped with a picnic table, a lantern post, and a fire ring. Within the campground, guests will find heated bathhouses, a dump station, and a water fill-up station. The campground is open from mid-April through mid-December. Reservations are required in the peak season from late May through mid-September, and campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis for the remainder of the year.
While you'll need a reservation to camp at Deep Creek Lake State Park's campground during the peak season, first-come, first-served sites are available for the rest of the year. As there are only 26 electric sites for RVers, you may want to get to the park early if you're hoping to snag a spot. There are also 86 basic sites for those who don't mind roughing it a bit. The campground is open from mid-April through mid-December.
If you'd like to get out of the campervan for a night or two during your time at Deep Creek Lake State Park, consider renting one of the two Mini Cabins or the Yurt. These cozy bungalows are equipped with modern conveniences like heat and electricity, and enough beds to sleep up to six people. Guests will also find a picnic table, lantern post, and fire ring outside of each edifice. Although there is no running water in the cabins or yurt, heated bathhouses and water spigots can be found close by.
If you were unable to snag a spot to camp at Deep Creek Lake State Park, there are a few alternative options for RV camping in the surrounding area. Swallow Falls State Park sits just 20 minutes to the west and offers overnight guests 65 campsites spread between two loops. Some sites offer full hookups, some just water and electricity, and some sites are primitive. Big Run State Park is about 20 minutes to the east and is equipped with 29, primitive style campsites. New Germany State Park is just a few minutes further north than Big Run State Park and features 48 primitive sites. There are also numerous private RV resorts located near the park that offer an array of facilities.
With over 20 miles of trails available, you won't want to forget to pack your hiking boots along in the airstream when you visit Deep Creek Lake State Park. Trails vary in distance and difficulty, so whether you're a novice, a seasoned backpacker, or somewhere in between, you're sure to find a trail that fits your skill level. Beckmans Trail is the most popular of the nine trails and will lead you past information about the Brant Coal Mine that was situated in the park back in the 1920s. At two miles, this trail is an easy hike and is a great way to learn more about the area's history. For an especially memorable hike, take to the trails in early autumn to beat the crowds and experience the fall foliage in its prime.
Deep Creek Lake is a popular fishing hole, and anglers from near and far come to fish from these plentiful waters. Common catches include northern pike, walleye, trout, bass, and yellow perch. You can cast out from one of the piers along the park's shoreline, or drop a line from the middle of the lake via boat. There is a boat launch available, but you'll need to provide your own watercraft, as the park does not offer rentals. Be sure to bring your Maryland fishing license along in the campervan, or head to Park Headquarters to purchase one.
If you'd like to learn more about Deep Creek Lake State Park's history, geology, or the flora and fauna of the park, then head to the Discovery Center. Open year-round, the building houses hands-on displays, aquariums, and a nature shop where you can pick up a souvenir to remember your RV vacation. The Discovery Center also offers a variety of educational programs throughout the year where visitors both young and old can learn something new. Possible programs include nature walks, campfire talks, and guided hikes. Don't forget to stop in at the Aviary right next door!
Even when the sun refuses to shine there is plenty to do at Deep Creek Lake State Park. Once the snow hits, the park transforms into a winter wonderland and visitors can enjoy a plethora of outdoor sports. Hiking trails convert into routes for snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and snowmobilers. Meadow Mountain Trail is a favorite amongst winter sports enthusiasts, but check that there is at least four inches of snow on the ground before enjoying the trails. Anglers can also enjoy the park in the wintertime when the lake freezes over; just be sure there is a healthy layer of ice before dropping a line.
At nearly 4,000 acres, Deep Creek Lake is a popular summer destination. Exploring the park's shoreline by boat is a great way to get a unique perspective of the area, and you could easily spend a whole day out on the water taking in the spectacular views of the forested bluffs in the distance. A four-vehicle boat launching area is available at the park, along with a pump-out station, boat trailer parking, and overnight docking for those that are staying the night. You'll need to tow your own vessel behind the Sprinter, as the park does not offer rentals of any kind.
If you prefer to be in the water rather than on it during the warm summer months, there are two sand swimming beaches available in the day-use area of Deep Creek Lake State Park. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day (weather and staffing depending), and a changing station, restrooms, and beach shower house can be found nearby. Once you've had your fair share of splashing around, you can enjoy the picnicking facilities or have some fun on the nearby playground.
One of the best ways to experience the great outdoors is to enjoy a picnic with your family and friends. There are numerous tables available in the day-use area, including four picnic pavilions available for rent from May through September. These pavilions are equipped with sheltered tables, grills, electricity, a fireplace, water spigot, and they even have their own parking lots. Each pavilion can seat 75 people, and make for a great place to host a birthday party, family reunion, or even a wedding. Restrooms and a basketball court are also located nearby. If you prefer a more private picnic, you can enjoy your lunch right outside the pop-up at your own private table.
If you're interested in learning about some of Deep Creek Lake State Park's wildlife, leave the motorhome back at camp and spend a few hours in the Aviary. Located next to the discovery center, the Aviary houses nine rehabilitated raptors that are unfit to live in the wild. Both kids and adults will be mesmerized by these large creatures, all of which are native to Maryland. You'll see a turkey vulture, a golden eagle, a great horned owl, and more.