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SeaDawg

Greenbelt National Park, near D.C.

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To visit Washington D.C., we camped for three nights at Greenbelt National Park, Greenbelt, MD.

The location of the park offers a lot of convenience. A traffic light at the entrance, it sits just off highway 193, and the Metro station, with an enormous parking lot, is just a few miles from the park entrance. The Green Metro line takes you to L'Enfant, and one more stop after transfer lands you at the Smithsonian/National Mall stop. The relaxed 35-40 minute ride sure beats driving in DC, and trying to locate a parking place. Also convenient to shopping, restaurants, IKEA, and I-495 and I-95.

 

The park itself is an amazing 1100 acres, twelve miles outside the DC city center. Lots of deer, squirrels, some red fox, and a maturing hardwood forest. Our site was home to a naturally "braided" dogwood, and many laurel and holly bushes. Their lower height allowed our solar to recharge the battery daily, while we still had pleasant shade on the other side of the trailer for the afternoon. No services, however, so our rather rude neighbor across the road ran his noisy generator for hours at a time. Generators are ok from 6 am til 10 pm. We were in loop B, and got a fair amount of siren noise and helicopter noise through the evenings, reminding us of our proximity to the city.

 

Bathrooms are older, but fairly clean, but with only one shower stall each for men and women in each loop of approximately 50-60 sites. Not a problem during the shoulder season, as we only had a half dozen campsites occupied around us, but could be a long waiting line in the summer. However, at $16 a night, (and half that for anyone with a geezer pass), it's a bargain in the DC area. A very nice volunteer staff, too.

 

The park apparently suffered a lot of damage in a summer storm, as we saw hundreds of downed trees everywhere, and two loops were closed for repairs.

 

A really unusually sighting was a fungus called "elegant stinkhorn," which sprouted daily in our campsite. Resembling a carrot growing upward rather than into the soil, in the morning the carrot tip was coated with a bright green slime. They attracted lots of flies, but wilted to the ground by the afternoon of each day. We see a lot of odd mushrooms and toadstools around the Appalachians, but I'd never seen one of these before.

 

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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We'd definitely go back to Greenbelt, and probably will in 2013 for the next Decathlon, if not before. The setting is quite amazing for being 12 miles out of DC center, and a mile or two from the Metro, shorter drive to restaurants and shopping.

As with most national parks, facilities were a bit weary, and limited. One shower per sex for 50-60 camping spots is a bit shabby, especially in a park with zero hookups. Not to mention, a bit on the long-in-the-tooth side for decor. However, the bathhouses were pretty clean, and in late September, not very busy, even though most of our neighbors were tent-campers.

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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