While the east coast of the U.S. has seen its fair share of history take place, the state of Maryland has — thanks to its geography — been more involved in historical events than other places in the region. Maryland is one of the crossroads of America, seeing action back and forth in every major conflict from Colonial times through the Civil War.
Because of this, Maryland has a wealth of historical sites, many of them centered around old forts that have contributed to the story of this country. One such fort was Fort Frederick, located on the Maryland-West Virginia state line in Big Pool, Maryland — in Washington County, the first county in the U.S. named for George Washington!
A Short History of Fort Frederick
Designated a national historic landmark in 1973, Fort Frederick was a fortification built in 1756 that saw action in both the French and Indian War (when Maryland was still a British colony) and the Revolutionary War (holding British and German prisoners of war after the 1777 Battle of Saratoga and 1781 Siege of Yorktown).
Fort Frederick also saw use as a gun emplacement during the U.S. Civil War; in fact, a skirmish took place there when Confederate raiders staged an attack on Fort Frederick on Christmas Day, 1861.
Changing circumstances on the ground meant that Fort Frederick would no longer prove militarily useful by the end of 1862. However, it gained new life when Maryland acquired the area in 1922 and established the Old Line State’s first state park: Fort Frederick State Park.
What To Do at Fort Frederick State Park
Learning about early American history is one of the main things to do at Fort Frederick State Park, and you owe it to yourself to check out the park’s reason for being. But history isn’t the only thing to immerse yourself in at Fort Frederick State Park!
As it is located right on the Potomac River, there are opportunities for visitors to go boating, canoeing, and fishing. There’s also hiking for outdoorsy types, a playground for the kids, and you can stay overnight for some Fort Frederick State Park camping.
Boating and Fishing
It’s actually not just the Potomac River you can enjoy; another watery feature of Fort Frederick State Park is Big Pool Lake, a natural depression that was filled with water when the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal was being built in the early-to-mid 1800s. You can get on the water in canoes, kayaks, or other non-motorized boats via the boat ramp.
In addition to welcoming boaters, Big Pool Lake is also a warm-water fishery, and you can try to catch bluegill, carp, catfish, and largemouth bass, amongst others while there. For kids who want to try fishing, check out the Beaver Pond — perfect for younger anglers!
Fort Frederick State Park also offers wonderful hiking opportunities for both the amateur explorer and seasoned trekker.
For those with young children, pets, or seniors, the Beaver Pond Trail’s 0.3-mile length is perfect for a short jaunt while affording the chance to see turtles and white-tailed deer.
There’s also the Plantation Trail, which starts in the park’s picnic area and is 1.1 miles in length; in addition to deer, you might even see wild turkeys on this trail.
Interested in more of a challenge? The 26-mile Western Maryland Rail Trail starts at Fort Frederick State Park, leaving it and heading west to Little Orleans, Maryland.
How About Fort Frederick State Park RV Camping?
You can certainly go RV camping at Fort Frederick State Park, but you’d do well to be well-prepared beforehand. There are 50 amp electric hookups at the 29 RV campsites available, but no potable water; this is not the place to go if you’re in need of full hookups, so be sure your water and propane tanks are full before you arrive. Think of it as boondocking, and prepare your self-contained RV for the experience, and you’ll be set.
RV travelers have a big advantage over those who want to go tent camping at Fort Frederick State Park; you can RV camp there all year round, while those relying on tents can only go camping from the first Saturday in May to the first Sunday in November; not coincidentally, that time period is also the only time when there are portable toilets available at the campground.
Experience History at Fort Frederick With Cruise America
For lovers of history and RV camping, Fort Frederick State Park is a fantastic location to learn more about American history and connect with Maryland’s natural beauty. If you want to go on a Fort Frederick State Park camping trip in an RV, then you should definitely get in touch with Cruise America.
One of the best ways to see the USA by road is in a Cruise America RV rental; you’ll get wherever you go in comfort, style, and safety. Ready to hit the road and head on over to Fort Frederick State Park? Then contact or visit Cruise America today to reserve your next RV rental and get on the road!