Anyone loving the outdoors will find an array of activities at Maryland’s Point Lookout State Park. But even more exciting are the vistas and views on this peninsula that is formed by the Potomac River and Maryland’s historic and beautiful Chesapeake Bay. The exciting history of the park’s peaceful surroundings is that it was once the location of a prison camp for over 52,000 Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. There is a Civil War Museum in the park that documents this history. Another exciting fact about the park is that it has been listed in Coastal Living Magazine for having one of the top ten haunted lighthouses on the coast.
Point Lookout State Park is such a popular destination that during summer and holiday weekends it is often filled to capacity. It is good to call ahead to check visitation volume, as when the park is full no cars are allowed to drive through the park, nor can anyone enter. That is a testament to not only the beauty of the park, but to the vast variety of activities for fun and recreation. On holiday weekends the park requests a service charge for people driving through due to the high volume of park traffic.
Fun Park Activities
Swimming is always a family-fun adventure in the park. Swimming is allowed from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It should be noted that lifeguards are not always on duty. Beaches are complete with grills and picnic tables, and there is a playground area for children. There are clean restroom facilities along with a shower area. Because the park is on the Chesapeake Bay, jellyfish can be in the water.
For families who love to camp, the park has 143 wooded campsites; 26 of them have full hook-ups available, and 31 sites have electricity. There is a camp especially for youth groups. There is a campground with full hook-up that is open year around for self-contained campers. No restrooms are available at this location.
A camp store opens on Friday and stays open until Monday. The store sells snacks as well as fishing licenses, gasoline for boats, supplies, and ice. For the convenience of campers there is a self-registration check-in service for the times when the office is not staffed. Campers should call the camp office to make reservations to ensure a space on the campgrounds.
For people who like to camp but do not have their own campers there are six camper cabins that accommodate four people and can be rented for overnight stays. An outside fire ring is available for cooking, as no cooking, smoking, or pets are allowed in the cabins.
Fishing is also a popular activity in the park. There are three fishing areas that are open 24 hours a day. One fishing area is a 710 foot pier that operates 24 hours from March through November. A Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing license with the appropriate stamps is required. Night fishing passes are valid from sundown to 6:00 a.m., and a night-use service charge of $3.00 per vehicle is assessed. Out of state residents pay $4.00 per vehicle. Fishing is also allowed on the Causeway area with the same requirements. Fishing on the Chesapeake Bay is some of the best fishing around, which is a testament to the popularity of the area for fishing and camping.
For those who like to hunt the park has 200 acres that are set aside for deer hunting (bow and black powder only). There are also two waterfowl blind sites. Valid hunting licenses are required.
Point Lookout State Park Features
Among the many activities available at the park are boat rentals, boat launch, camp fire programs, flat water canoeing, hiking trails, pet trails, a Marshland Nature Center and pavilion, and historic sites. During the summer months from May to September, the park has a service charge of $5.00 per person for in-state residents, and $6.00 per person for out-of-state residents. Times other than summer months have a service charge of $3.00 per vehicle and $4.00 per vehicle for out-of-state residents. The day use charge allows for park use from 6:00 a.m. until sunset; after sunset only those actively fishing may remain in the park.
It is good to check the website for Maryland’s Point Lookout State Park for daily events and activities at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/pointlookout.asp