On the edge of the Chesapeake Bay lies a summer-time wonderland reclaimed by nature to provide a beautiful state park. Janes Island State Park was initially created in 1963, and from 1965 to 1978, the park underwent restorative procedures to revert the island to what it used to look like before human contact. The park is now protected by the state of Maryland, with a continuous effort to minimize the pollution of the island.
The scenery at this park is well worth a trip in the RV. The park sits perfectly at zero elevation, providing a unique ecosystem with the majority of the park being marshland. In the marshland, there is a seven-mile kayak trail that takes you along the white sandy beaches. There are over 30 miles of water trails throughout the park of varying lengths. You can either rent a canoe or kayak at the park store or bring your own. The water trails also accommodate paddleboards. The park’s unique ecosystem is great for catching crabs and fishing near the pier and in the marshland.
There are 100 sites for RV camping. While there are no sewer hookups, the park does provide a dump station along with 30-amp electric hookups. The park is open year-round with various activities like birding, picnicking, fishing, and swimming. Janes Island State Park offers 2,700 acres of marshland to discover and enjoy the great outdoors. In the summer, the muggy weather makes a great habitat for bugs, so bringing your bug repellant is recommended. The winter and fall months offer a much cooler and relaxing atmosphere for the weary traveler. You’ll be guaranteed a great time whenever you visit Janes Island State Park in your RV.
Janes Island State Park is located just minutes from the Chesapeake Bay, two hours from Virginia Beach, and only a few minutes from Crisfield Municipal Airport. Route 413 is just 13 miles from the entrance of the park. The roads leading to the park are leveled and provide good signs to direct you where you need to go. With the Chesapeake Bay just minutes away, you can tour the historic center and buy souvenirs for your family and friends. It’s relatively easy to stock up on groceries and bug spray for your summer getaway.
If you own a canoe or kayak, it would be wise to bring it along to explore the water trails. It is recommended that you walk or ride your bike around the park for the best experience. After all, if you try to come during the peak season, the roads and parking lots can be crowded, especially for an RV.
If parts of the park are under construction, there will be a notice and detours leading you to the appropriate campsite. The campsites are mostly gravel or concrete, which helps to prevent puddles from forming during the rainy season. If there is inclement weather, the park may close to protect visitors from getting caught in the rough waves. If the wind speed is above 10 miles per hour, there will be an advisory for all water trails.
Loop C Campground provides fully shaded lots with plenty of space for your rig and privacy. Just like the other campgrounds, Loop C can fit a trailer or RV that’s up to 45 feet in length. Several of the sites have electricity, but there are no sewer or water hookups. The park does provide restrooms, potable water spigots for your convenience as well as an RV sanitation dumpsite. There are several drinking fountains and dumpsters throughout the loop, as well. Each of the sites has its own lantern post, a fire ring with a grill for cooking, and a picnic table that seats six comfortably. You’ll also find hot showers and laundry machines for a small fee.
You are not allowed to bring your own wood, but you can buy some from the staff. If you plan to go into town often, this is a lovely place to camp because it leads right back to Canal Road, which goes directly into the heart of downtown. There are 35 spots available for reservation, but you should reserve early to make sure that you are able to get a spot. You can only stay a limit of 14 days at a time and can register up to 11 months in advance. Pets are allowed, but you have to supervise them and keep them restrained at all times.
Loop B Campground provides 40 campsites, all of which are spacious and shaded for your comfort. They can fit a max of a 45-foot trailer or RV. Only a few sites have electricity, and there are no water or sewer hookups. There is a dump station, and the park does provide areas where you can get water. This campground has one site reserved for those who have a disability. Amenities include a lantern post, fire ring, hot showers, restrooms, picnic tables, and laundry facilities.
The park does not allow you to bring your own firewood, but you can purchase it from the camp host or staff. The lots are leveled, and you have plenty of privacy from your neighbors. This loop is rather close to the Daughtery Creek Canal, so there is a possibility of flooding in inclement weather, but it is a great spot for those who plan to launch their boats from this area. You may stay a max of 14 days at a time and may register up to 11 months in advance. You can bring your pooch as long as they are restrained and supervised during your stay.
Loop A Campground provides shaded lots with plenty of room to hang out by the fire. The sites can accommodate RVs up to 45 feet in length, but keep in mind that there are a limited number of sites with electric hookups, and no water or sewer hookups are available. The park does have an RV dump station and provides potable water spigots where you can get drinking water. Each campsite has a picnic table, lantern hanger, and a fire pit with a grill for cooking. You can also find modern restrooms, hot showers, and pay laundry machines nearby.
You cannot bring in your own wood for your fire due to the spread of disease and certain insects. However, you can get some from the park host or staff. The lots are spacious and semi-private, with bushes and trees as boundaries. If you wish to walk around this loop, you may need to bring a map with you to find your way back to your site. There are 15 spots available for reservation, and you can reserve them up to 11 months in advance. Pets are welcome as long as they are properly restrained and supervised while you are visiting.
If you want to get out of the camper and onto the water, Janes Island State Park offers a scenic setting to do just that. There are over 30 miles of water trails that you can explore in your kayak or canoe. The park also provides guided tours along some of the water trails. You can pick up a map of the trails at the park store and rent a kayak or canoe if you don’t have one. Remember to wear your life jacket when on the water and follow the safety rules for the best time. You can take one of the trails to the Chesapeake Bay, but be sure to remember where you parked your ride.
You can take your motorboat on the water to catch striped bass, trout, flounder, and bluefish. You do not need a license to fish from the piers or your own boat. There are a few shops in town that sell bait and rods if you need them. Fishing in the park is available all year, and you can dock your boat in the docks while you camp in the park. Some of the park staff will be able to tell you the best fishing spots and where your hook may get caught on weeds rather than on fish.
The island provides a lovely habitat for shorebirds, migratory waterfowl, egrets, and brown pelicans. Over 400 species of birds call Maryland home year-round. More than 220 of these have been known to nest in the state on various occasions. You’ll see a variety of birds along the shore and the water trails as you go. Also, some of the trails are the primary habitat for certain birds such as egrets, loons, swans, and other water birds. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and pack a good pair of hiking shoes if you plan to do a day of birding.
Although many people think fat biking is just for snow, fat biking is also the perfect way to ride your mountain bike on the sand. With seven miles of sandy beaches at Janes Island State Park, you’ll love riding in the sand. During the off-season is the best time because you don’t have to dodge all the sunbathers and beachgoers. If you’ve never heard of fat biking, it’s just like regular mountain biking; only the tires are extra-wide, and you don’t air them up as much. This fat-tire and low air combination allow you to ride atop the sand so you can get some traction. So, make sure you bring your bike along with you to the island.
With seven miles of pristine white sand along the Chesapeake Bay, Janes Island State Park is a great place to collect shells and rocks as well as other beach curiosities you may find. In fact, Chesapeake Bay is listed as number one on the “World’s Best Beaches for Hunting Seashells” in an article by The Travel Channel. The cliffs around the bay have been eroding for millions of years, spitting out artifacts from 10 to 20 million years ago, such as shark’s teeth and other fossils. Grab a bucket and shovel and spend the day looking for buried fossils.
If you are towing your boat behind your rig, this state park is the perfect destination for you. The waterways around the park provide the ideal place to go boating. Janes Island State Park also provides areas to dock your boat. You must bring along the correct license and registration for your boat. While the park does not offer boat rentals, there are a few businesses that offer boat rentals and boat tours along the Chesapeake Bay. For a small price, you can even see the landing place of some of the first pilgrims to the area.
The marshlands provide a wonderful environment to catch crabs. You will need a net, water boots if you plan to get in the water or muddy areas, and a bucket or large container to put your crabs in. Crab season does not last all year, but you can still catch some delicious blue crabs when the time is right for them. If you plan to eat your catch the same day, be sure to clean it properly. A bit of salt in a pot of boiling water can do wonders for the flavor.
While swimming is a great way to beat the heat if you want to swim at this state park, you can't get there by RV. Swimming is only allowed in the Tangier Sound area, and that side is only accessible by boat. You will need to be responsible for your safety due to the unguarded beach. If you plan to go swimming, remember never to go alone and make it a fun trip by bringing a few people along with you. The summers are very humid and muggy, so bringing along food and water would be a good option as well.
Whether you have been geocaching for a while or are just a newbie, Janes Island State Park has its own geocache system to entertain you and the kids while you are here. According to the website, there are more than 40 geocaches along the Captain John Smith Geotrail, which reaches from Delaware to Maryland. You can win geocoins, and other prizes for finding certain geocache amounts, and some even have secret prizes inside them! Grab your phone and get out there and do some treasure hunting.
Be sure you don’t forget to pack your hiking boots because the trails here are pretty awesome. The 1.1-mile main trail, which is called the White Tail Fitness Trail, takes you on a winding path through the hardwood forest and loblolly pine. You’ll also find some unmarked trails around the campground that meander along the water’s edge and through the salt marshes. Pack a lunch and spend the day fishing at one of the secluded fishing hotspots in the woods. Maybe you can catch something for dinner. along your hike.