A Hidden Gem near Washington DC
As we travel the country, one of the biggest challenges is finding places to stay overnight or a few days in or near the larger cities. When we find RV parks within a large metropolitan area they are costly and have small sites. During the planning for our trip to Washington, D.C. I discovered Greenbelt National Park and was able to reserve a site for two nights. As is the case with most places, you really don't know what you're getting until you eventually arrive, so my expectations were mildly reserved and somewhat dubious that this was going to work out for us.
After driving the two plus hours to get just north of the US Capitol we exited Highway 495 and navigated to Greenbelt Road and the entrance to the park. My first observation was that the roads were narrow but acceptably wide enough to make our turns into site #136 in the D Loop, 2 miles inside the property. All the sites are dry camping, which of course means no hook ups (water, electricity or sewer) but we knew this and had planned to manage our resources to accommodate this fact. Once we arrived at our site we backed in and set up like we normally do. After leveling the rig and opening our three pop out slides, we ate lunch.
I surveyed the area around our site and found many of them empty. There were a few small pull-through sites but they were just a wide spot on the road; the majority were back-in sites like ours which accommodated a maximum RV length of 35 feet (which we are). We are conveniently located near one of the bath houses, which is dated but clean, and also close to the garbage dumpster.
However, potable water was not near our location and upon our arrival we needed to fill our fresh water tank for the duration of our stay. I pulled out one of our three 5 gallon collapsible water containers and drove to one of the water faucets to fill it up. When I returned I used a feature of our Nautilus water system to siphon the water from the container into our freshwater tank. This was a first. I had never used this feature before and it uses our onboard water pump to accomplish the task. It worked great! So I asked Karen to assist me on the next trip for water. We pulled out a portable 30 gallon water bladder we have had in the storage bay, never before used, and made a second trip to get what we needed. Again, another first for us. We backed up the truck to the water source, laid out the bladder on the truck's tailgate, connected the hose to the water spigot and started filling. Once we had what we thought was enough we drove back to our site, backed up the truck near the trailer and reversed the process. I added a water flow meter we have to the hose to measure how many gallons we were transferring into our fresh water tank. Within ten minutes we had 26.5 gallon onboard plus the 5 gallons I had transferred earlier. We now had plenty of water for the two day stay.
My only real critique of our site is the lack of open sky which we would need to recharge our batteries with the solar panels on the roof, but only necessary if were staying longer. We could move to a different site with more open sky, but worst case scenario, I can always pull out our portable generator, if necessary. Other than that, this place is awesome! It's a beautiful oasis within a couple of miles to the Greenbelt Metro station for an easy 30 minute trip into Washington DC. This is a quiet, nicely set up National Park (NP) that only costs $20 per night. If you have a NP Senior Pass like we do, it's half price. Where can you stay for $10 a night? Highly recommended!