Elk Neck State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Located on a stunning Peninsula, Elk Neck State Park is a great park to visit for RV lovers who want a lot of variety. The park is located within Cecil County, Maryland and features 2,370 acres of marshlands, sandy shores, wooded areas, and white clay cliffs. This diverse peninsula is surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay on its western side and the Elk River on its eastern side, and it just so happens to be that this river is where the park got its name. The park first came to be in 1936 when naturalist Dr. William Abbott donated his holdings along the Elk River to the state for use as a state park.

Elk Neck State Park is divided into four sections, each of which have their own exciting features and unique characteristics. You can find Turkey Point Lighthouse at the southern tip of the Elk Neck Peninsula. Here is where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Chesapeake Bay and get to see the historic lighthouse for yourself. The Turkey Point Lighthouse area is also a great place to come watch big birds fly overhead, so if you are a keen bird lover you need to check it out. The Northeast River Area of Elk Neck State Park is the main aquatic area of the park, and it is the perfect location for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and picnicking. Next is the Rogues Harbor Boat Launch Facility, which is the main boat launching area within the park.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Elk River Camping Area. This is the only RV-friendly campground available within Elk Neck State Park but it does have some stellar site options, including full hookups. Elk Neck State Park is open all year round, so rent your RV, set up your base camp, and get out there on your Maryland adventure.

RV Rentals in Elk Neck State Park

Transportation in Elk Neck State Park

Driving

Getting to and from Elk Neck State Park is fairly easy thanks to its location in far northeastern Maryland. The park is not too far away from many towns that will have any supplies or amenities you would need before you begin your stay. These include North East (around 10 miles away), Charlestown (around 12 miles away), and Elkton (around 13 miles away).

Driving directions to Elk Neck State Park are fairly simple, so you should have no problems finding the entrance. All of the visitors to the park will be heading southbound since the park is located on a peninsula, regardless of which direction you come from. One thing to keep in mind though is that the highway that you’ll need to take to get to the park is narrow and windy. This shouldn’t be any problem, however, you might want to take it slow if you are traveling in a large and heavy RV.

Parking

Parking outside of the campground can be limited, especially when it comes to RVs and large vehicles. If you brought another smaller vehicle, it’s best to set up your RV at a campsite, then venture out in your car. There are also several overflow parking areas available in case parking gets too limited.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Elk Neck State Park

Campsites in Elk Neck State Park

Reservations camping

Elk Neck State Park Campground

There are eight camping loops inside Elk Neck State Park, giving you lots of options when it comes to picking a camping spot that is the best suited to your needs.

You have the option to choose the amenities that you’d like for your RV camping experience, and some sites offer full hookups. If you can go without, you can also get a site with just the electric hookups, or no hookups at all. If you choose to stay at a full hookup site, it will be a pull-through site. All other sites at the loops are back-in. No matter what site you choose though, you’ll be guaranteed to have a fire ring, grill, and picnic table on site. At each camp loop, you’ll also have access to nearby bathrooms, showers, and potable water.

You should reserve a campsite before you begin your journey to the park in order to make sure that you will have a place to stay on arrival. Whether you are a first time RV renter or a seasoned one, Elk Head State Park will itch that RV camping scratch.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Cabin Camping

There are 19 cabins at Elk Neck State Park that you can opt for if you'd like a change of pace from the RV. Eleven of these are mini/camper cabins, while the other eight are rustic cabins. Some of these cabins can hold only four, while others can hold up to six guests. That makes these comfy little cabins the ideal place to come for a family vacation.

Whatever size cabin you choose, you’ll be guaranteed to have certain amenities. These include a ceiling light with a fan, an electrical outlet, heating and air condition, a small open front porch, an outdoor picnic table, and a fire ring with a grill. Keep in mind that you’ll need to bring your own linens and dishes, and that there is no running water or refrigerator in the camper cabins. The rustic cabins do have cold running water at kitchen sink though, and they also have a refrigerator. A bathhouse is located nearby. When making reservations for one of these great cabins, keep in mind that you’ll need to reserve at least two nights.

Seasonal activities in Elk Neck State Park

In-Season

Picnicking

The Northeast River Area of Elk Head State Park also functions as a fantastic picnic area. There are plenty of great amenities that will make your picnic great, including picnic shelters, picnic tables, grills, and nearby restrooms. The views at the Northeast River Area are amazing, and there’s no better place to hold a family get-together. Afterward, you should go play in the water or take a hike on one of the nearby trails.

Hiking

For all the hiking lovers out there remember to pack your boots in your motorhome before you begin your journey to Elk Head State Park. There are 12 miles of trails located all through the park, and each trail guarantees you great, scenic views. Skill levels for these trails vary greatly, but there really is something for everyone. The trail leading up to Turkey Point Lighthouse is an easy 1.5-mile stroll, while the trip to White Clay Cliff is a strenuous three miles.

Paddling

If going for a paddle is more your thing than you should check out the Northeast River Area. Here you’ll find a canoe and kayak hand-launch area so that you can get your own canoe or kayak in the water. This is a great way to explore the waters, learn to relax, and get a little bit of a workout all at the same time. Please bring your own equipment if you are a seasoned paddler as there are no guarantees that rentals will be available during your visit to the park.

Boating

One of the more popular boating trips at Elk Head State park is to take your boat on over to Rogues Harbor. Here you can use the convenient boat launch ramp to access the waters surrounding the park and enjoy your day exploring them. There are four boat launch ramps in total, and they will give you access to the Elk River, Chesapeake Bay, and other waterways surrounding the area. There’s so much to discover when you take a boat out, so get out and do it!

Swimming

The best place to go swimming at Elk Neck State Park would be at the Northeast River Area. This area of the park has areas for swimming that will suit all ages as there is shallow water to be found here. This way, the whole family, even the younger ones, can enjoy a nice dip in the water when it’s warm outside. When swimming at Elk Neck State Park only swim to your abilities as there are no guarantees that lifeguards will be there to save you if something bad were to happen.

Off-Season

Nature Photography

If are a keen photographer you must bring your camera with you when you stay at Elk Neck State Park. Thanks to the contrasting scenery available throughout the park, you will have plenty of chances to take some snapshots that you will remember forever. If you’re really lucky, you might be able to snap pictures of the local wildlife that call the park home. Since there are so many different places in the park to check out it would be wise to bring a range of lenses so you can be flexible with your shot selection.

Wildlife Viewing

There are many animals that call Elk Head State Park so you will be spoiled if you go on a search for some local wildlife. If you are quiet and patience you will get the chance to see many different animals, including birds, land critters, and water dwellers. Having a chat with some of the park staff will be a great way to get some tips about the best places to go looking and what time of the day suits what animal. You can help keep their habitat clean and safe by picking up trash when you see it, so if there is any around please dispose of it properly.

Hunting

Love to hunt? If so, you will be happy to know that there are 570 acres in the park designated for hunting. Archery, muzzleloader, and shotgun hunting is allowed, but make sure that you are up to speed on seasons and regulations, sign in before heading out, and that you have a valid hunting permit.

Fishing

The Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay provide lots of excellent opportunities for anyone who loves to go fishing. There’s no better way to relax and take everything in than to settle in with the fishing pole for a day. The Elk river system is known for its bass. Before you go and cast out a line please remember to check and follow the fishing rules and guidelines for the park.

Nature Center

The Nature Center is the place to go to learn more about the nature and history of Elk Neck State Park. Here you will get to see historical displays, live animals, and also participate in some hands-on activities. Different programs are offered all year long except during the winter, so you can find lots of things to get into.

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