What sets the Brunswick Family Campground apart is its location between the C&O Canal and the Potomac River, it’s proximity to 5 National Parks, and the fact that you can arrive by train for a camping trip. From the Campground you can rent a kayak or canoe and paddle to Point of Rocks (6 miles) or to the Mouth of the Monocacy River (12 miles). Or you can paddle 6 miles from Potomac Wayside to the Campground, enjoying beginner whitewater as you cruise through a popular birding area where the sighting of great blue heron and bald eagles are common. Like the birds, you can fish in the river or float on the surface in a tube. Renting a bike and riding from the campground to the town of Harper’s Ferry (6 miles) offers a perfect opportunity to take in the history and enjoy an ice cream or meal before your trip back. You can also hike along the C&O Canal towpath and in two miles connect with the Appalachian Trail. Hiking up South Mountain leads to a breath-taking panoramic view of the Potomac River and the surrounding mountains.
Monday thru Friday there are six trains that leave Union Station in Washington DC and stop at the Brunswick Station for a 1-1.5 hour train ride. These trains are all part of the MARC system. The schedule is as follows:
#873 at 3:30pm
#875 at 4:25pm
#877 at 4:55pm
#879 at 5:40pm
#881 at 6:20pm
#883 at 7:25pm
#871 at 1:30pm (operates only on Friday)
The Brunswick Family Campground is one mile from the Brunswick Station. You can either walk the mile to the Campground along the C&O Canal or make arrangements in advance to be transported by River & Trail.
Six morning departures are available for those returning to DC or for those who have RVed to the Brunswick Family Campground and wish to continue their travel by train to DC. Many campers choose to leave their vehicle or RV at the Campground to avoid the traffic going into Washington and the parking costs once they get there. The schedule is as follows:
#870 at 4:50am
#872 at 5:40am
#874 at 6:05am
#876 at 6:40am
#878 at 7:05am
#880 at 7:45am
For more info and fares on MARC trains call 800-325-RAIL.
Amtrak’s Capitol Limited offers 7 day a week stops in Harper’s Ferry, WV six miles from Brunswick, MD. In the afternoon the train leaves DC at 4:05pm and arrives at Harper’s Ferry at 5:16pm. In the mornings the train stops in Harper’s Ferry at 11:31am on its way into DC, where it arrives at 1:05pm. Be sure to factor in that the Amtrak train does not always arrive on time due to the long distances it covers. River & Trail provides shuttles from the Campground to the Harper’s Ferry train station with advance notice.
The Amtrak trains began bike transport this year and is known as ROLL-ON. Bring your bike along and use Brunswick Family Campground as your base for great riding on the C&O Canal. Visit Shepherdstown, which some call a mini-Georgetown on the Upper Potomac or Williamsport, which almost became the nation’s capitol. When your local rides are done, you can return to DC by biking the 54 miles on the C and O Canal or taking the train back from Harpers Ferry. For more info and fares call 800-USA-RAIL or visit amtrak.com .
Author Lee Baihly is a dedicated outdoor enthusiast and the CEO & Founder of River & Trail Outfitters, an adventure sports company offering whitewater rafting, tubing, kayaking, canoeing, biking, team building, zip lining adventures out of Knoxville, Maryland. He was also a MARC train commuter from Brunswick to DC for 5 years and actually enjoyed the ride!