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Patuxent Research Refuge is a great spot to go camping with an RV. Located very close to the city of Laurel in Maryland, the refuge is considered the only National Wildlife Refuge established to support wildlife research in the country. Covering over 12,800-acres of land, the refuge is managed by the Department of Agriculture and Defense and is divided into three major areas including North Tract where hunting, fishing, and trails are available, Central Tract that has the headquarters of the refuge, and South Tract which includes the National Wildlife Visitor Center, several trails, and educational programs. Visitors camping at Patuxent Research Refuge can only access the North Tract and parts of the South Tract, including the National Wildlife Visitor Center.
Renting an RV is a convenient way of getting around the refuge, and you’ll find a range of affordable RV rentals in Prince George’s County. With a wide range of outdoor recreation available for visitors to immerse themselves in, an RV rental vacation at Patuxent Research Refuge is a great experience for nature enthusiasts.
RV camping at Patuxent Research Refuge opens up excellent fishing opportunities for anglers. The South Tract of the refuge has the Cash Lake with abundant populations of bluegill, largemouth bass, catfish, black crappie, warmouth, pumpkinseed, eel, and suckers. The lake is open for seasonal fishing, from mid-June to mid- October, while all-year fishing is possible in the water-bodies in North Tract.
Spend an afternoon at the National Wildlife Visitor Center, going through several exhibits that allow visitors an insight into how scientists are striving to improve the conditions of wildlife. The center also includes a gift shop, the Hollingsworth Gallery, interactive kiosks, Pollinator Garden, and movie shows. The refuge also runs several interpretive programs throughout the year, including public programs, tram tours, and summer minicamps.
The Wildlife Conservation Tram Tour is a must for wildlife enthusiasts as it takes visitors through forests, meadows, and wetlands, where you get to see deer, beavers, and great blue heron, among other animals and birds.
Put on your hiking boots and explore several trails around Patuxent Research Refuge. South Tract has several trails for visitors to hike. Loop Trail is a paved and fully accessible trail while the Goose Pond Trail goes along the forested wetland area; the Cash Lake trail is a mile and a half long and goes along the edge of Cash Lake.
Whether you plan to tough it out in a tent or rent a camper near Patuxent Research Refuge, there are several well-equipped campgrounds nearby to cater to your camping needs. Cherry Hill Park in the neighboring town of College Park has 350 campsites and offers a host of features. Amenities at the park include pull-thru spots, big rig access, camping for tents, full hookups, 20, 30, and 50 amp electric service, sewer, water, central water spigot, dump station, cable television, public phone, WiFi, and phone coverage. Campers even have access to restrooms, shower stalls, laundry facilities, a camp store, designated pet area, clubhouse, café, and picnic shelters. Kids will enjoy a splash about in the swimming pool. There are recreational trails to explore, fishing, boating, mini-golf, and outdoor courts.
When looking for a place to camp in an RV near Patuxent Research Refuge, drive to the Washington DC/Capitol KOA in Millersville; it has 147 campsites and amenities include pull-thru sites, big rig access, tent camping, full hookups, 20, 30, and 50 amp electric service, sewer, water, dump station, WiFi, and cell phone coverage. There are restrooms, shower stalls, laundry, camp store, and picnic shelters. Let the kids have a blast in the swimming pool while you explore the recreational trails.
Prince George’s County campers will have a great time exploring the areas surrounding Patuxent Research Refuge. The city of Laurel is just over seven miles from the refuge and offers quite a bit to experience over a weekend trip. Located on the banks of the Patuxent River, Laurel lies midway between Baltimore and the US capital, Washington, DC. Apart from several historical and cultural attractions, the city is also home to Fort Meade Army Base.
Step back in history as you visit the Montpelier Mansion; the Georgian-style plantation house has been home to several noted politicians in previous years. Take a tour of the house and acreage that is now a National Historic Landmark.
Soak in the history of the city at Laurel Museum, housed in a former mill worker’s home, the museum displays exhibits that showcase the city’s social, cultural, and civic history. What’s more - you get to enjoy free admission to this museum.
Take the kids along to Dinosaur Park, located on the outskirts of Laurel. Preserving a paleontological site that uncovered ancient fossils, the site sits on a former iron ore mine. Set out on your exploration of this fun site.
Spend an afternoon at the Laurel Park Race Track, one of the few historic thoroughbred-racing tracks in the country. Try and catch one of the listed stakes races at the racing park.
Enjoy a variety of dining options while you’re in Laurel, including local favorites like steamed crabs, pit beef, Berger cookies, and crab cakes. Try the family-owned restaurants and local eateries for authentic local fare.
Stock up on supplies for the road from a convenience store, and fuel up your motorhome at a gas station before you hit the highway to your next travel destination.