wildflowers, mountains, and glacier
Last Month's Getaway:
Kenai Fjords National Park

flower image Previous Getaways

ranger talks with woman at an RV campsiteCampers can gain valuable park information and insights by talking with a ranger. (NPS photo)

youth group with ranger hiking through woodsRangers lead a variety of programs and hikes throughout the park. (NPS photo)

man and boy reading at tent campsiteAfter setting up the campsite, visitors take a moment to read the Junior Ranger Gazette. (NPS photo)

deer in wooded areaHomepage photo: White-tailed deer can be spotted along the trails, in the woods, and near campsites. (NPS photo)

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Greenbelt Park

Welcome to an urban oasis. Although most visitors find it hard to believe, Greenbelt Park is just 12 miles from Washington, D.C. The peace and quiet that you'll find here evoke images of a dense forest or mountain resort. That's what you’ll experience when you visit Greenbelt Park—un-trampled nature in a region where most wild spaces have disappeared.

Visitors come from around the world to enjoy camping, in tents or recreational vehicles, near the nation's capital. The Greenbelt Park campground offers over 170 camp sites, nine miles of trails, and several day-use picnic areas.

Despite its primitive setting, the campground is close to public transportation. That's right, even the train to Washington, D.C. is within walking distance from campsite loops. Leave your car or camper on site and take the train to such places as Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, the National Mall, the Smithsonian Institution's museums, and a host of other sites in and around the city.

After you've enjoyed the sights of the city, enjoy a campfire and a quiet night's rest at your campsite. The memories you create will be life-long.

Park neighbors who live and work in the Greenbelt area consider this their “backyard” national park. Locals often come to camp, walk the dog, picnic, go for a run, hike the trails, or bring their kids to explore nature.

Greenbelt Park is an ideal place to introduce children to outdoor activities and promote physical fitness to provide a lifetime of rewards. The trail system allows parents to tailor outings to a family's needs. Start with a simple one-mile loop or try the 16-station, exercise fit trail to build up to the park's five-mile perimeter trail.

Runners use park roads and trails for early morning outings. On Saturdays the local running club meets for a morning jog through the park, and guests are always welcome. During summer months, you can watch the longest bicycle race practices in the country, Tour-de-France style, on Wednesday evenings, or just settle in and listen to the sounds of the natural environment.

The park attracts visitors from across the country and around the world, drawn by the recreational opportunities, stunning natural beauty, and a campground that is open year round at an affordable rate of $16 per night. Make online reservations to guarantee your site up to three months in advance.

Wild yet wildly accessible, Greenbelt Park is one of those places that you may not have heard of, but once you visit, you'll be back and telling friends about the national park treasure you discovered. Find Your Park when you visit!

By Kevin P. Barry, park ranger, Greenbelt Park