St. George Island sits off the southwestern tip of St. Mary’s Peninsula in the heart of Maryland's tidewater basin. A bridge connects the island in the Potomac River to the town of Piney Point on the mainland. Just a short distance west of the point, where the Potomac flows into the Chesapeake Bay, the island offers visitors a gateway to the region’s water-related recreational activities, including boating, canoeing, crabbing, fishing, sailing and swimming. During both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, British forces seized the island, which was prized because of its strategic location near the mouth of the Potomac. If you’re planning a camping trip to the area, you can choose from four campgrounds within 25 miles of the island.
At the southern end of St. George Island, Camp Merryelande offers a mix of rental cottages and campsites just steps from the water’s edge. Open to tents only, the beachfront campground has 13 individual sites, each of which can accommodate up to four people, and one group site with a maximum capacity of 20 campers. Also available is a wooded individual campsite. Each individual site has its own picnic table and fire ring. If you prefer not to rough it, you can book one of Camp Merryelande’s rental cottages, all of which have air conditioning and TV. Amenities include covered activity pavilions, a camp store, swimming beach, fishing pier, volleyball court, tiki bar, two playgrounds, restrooms and showers.
Sprawling Take-It-Easy Campground, roughly 8 miles north of St. George Island, has more than 300 campsites and can accommodate tents and RVs up to 46 feet in length. About 100 RV sites have full hookups, including free Wi-Fi. Open year-round, the campground is just a short drive from the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum, which celebrates the colorful history of the 1836 lighthouse, its central attraction. Among the facilities and services for campers are a fishing lake, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, basketball court, picnic area, playground, coin-operated laundry facilities, restrooms and showers.
Dennis Point Marina and Campground
A drive of about 90 minutes from either Washington, D.C., or Annapolis, Maryland, Dennis Point Marina and Campground covers 50 acres near the confluence of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Also nearby is historic St. Mary’s City, site of Maryland’s first capital and the fourth permanent settlement in British North America. The campground, open year-round, has 89 RV sites with full hookups and 11 tent sites with easy access to potable water. If you’d like to sample the camping experience but have no gear, two cabins are available for rent. For the benefit of boaters, the marina has 80 deep-water slips, a ship’s store and gas dock. Other facilities and services -- available to both boaters and campers -- include a restaurant, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, volleyball court, picnic area, fishing pond, nature trail, bike rentals, horseshoe pits, restrooms and showers. Dennis Point is 11 miles north of St. George Island.
Sea Side View Recreational Park
Only about 5 miles east of St. George Island, as the crow flies, Sea Side View Recreational Park is 25 miles by road from the island. Located on one of the many coves along the coast of St. Mary’s Peninsula, the campground has dozens of campsites for RVs and tents. The tent camping area is level with both open and shaded sites. Many RV sites have water views. Campers at all sites have easy access to restrooms and showers. Other facilities at the recreational park include a marina with boat slip rentals, a fishing boat available for charter, a waterfront restaurant and playground.
- St. Mary's County Division of Tourism: Visit St. Mary's
- The Baltimore Sun: Maryland's Treasured Islands
- Camp Merryelande
- Take-It-Easy Campground
- Chesapeake Bay Gateways: Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Park
- Dennis Point Marina & Campground
- Historic St. Mary's City
- Sea Side View Restaurant and Recreational Park
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images