Best Places For Off-Roading Near Washington DC

May 11, 2013 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

The DC area may be overcrowded to the max but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for a little off-roading adventure. If your idea of a fun time consists of jumping hills and getting soaked in mud, then consider checking out one of these places for off-roading near Washington DC.

George Washington And Jefferson National Forests
5162 Valleypointe Parkway
Roanoke, VA 24019
(540) 265-5100

Strap your ATV to the back of your car and head on down to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests where you will find 19 miles of twisting trails, shady canopies and beautiful vistas. The park features a variety of recreational activities including bicycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hang gliding, hunting and other activities. The park also permits camping on-site and features cabin rentals throughout the park. Special recreation permits are required for certain activities including off-roading. Take your ATV for a spin down the South Pedlar trail or hop in your off-highway vehicle and take it for a spin down Peters Mill Run/Taskers Gap.

Assateague Island Beach
7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, MD 21811
(410) 641-1441

Unlike other popular local beach destinations, where off-roading is completely prohibited, Assateague Island Beach permits off-roading in certain areas of the shore. Assateague Island is well known for its wild roaming ponies as well as its pristine beaches and inland natural forest. The beach permits a wide variety of recreational activities including bird watching, fishing and kayaking and makes the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle and large crowds of Ocean City and Virginia Beach. Assateague Island also features a lighthouse and sightseeing tour as well as wildlife excursions. Permits are required for certain activities, including off-roading, and certain conditions and requirements exist. Stop by the visitor’s center to ensure your vehicle meets off-roading conditions.

Related: Getaway Guide: One-Take Trip to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry, WV

Potomac-Garrett State Forest
1431 Potomac Camp Road
Oakland, MD 21538
(301) 334-2038

There are plenty of trails to try a little off-roading adventure at the Potomac-Garrett State Forest. The park permits use of snowmobiles in the winter months plus two- and four-wheeled vehicles for the remainder of the year. Go for a spin on the 1.7-mile Piney Mountain ORV trail or the 3.2 Snaggy Mountain ORV Trail. There’s also the Wallman/Laurel Run, Backbone Mountain/Burkholder Road, Meadow Mountain, Margraff Plantation and the Negro Mountain ORV trails. Certain restrictions and other rules may apply. Visitors are encouraged to contact the Maryland State Forest Office to learn of any closures, restrictions and hazards prior to heading towards the trails. The Potomac-Garrett State Forest also features plenty of recreational activities including fishing, hiking, cycling, water trails, ranger programs and camping.

Budds Creek
27963 Budds Creek Road
Mechanicsville, MD 20659
(301) 475-2000

If your preferred off-roading vehicle is a dirtbike, then head on over to Budds Creek where you will find one of the largest all-natural dirtbike racing terrains in the area. The track features plenty of obstacles to test your dirtbike meddle, including the deer stand and the Henry Hill, among many others. Budds Creek has played host to many AMA Motocross events, including the 125 and 500 AMA Nationals and three world championship races. The track also hosts amateur races and practices as well. Want to take a spin around the track without worrying about the crowd? Budds Creek also offers track rentals. Certain rules and conditions apply.

Related: Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Baltimore

Wisp Resorts
296 Marsh Hill Road
McHenry, MD 21541
(301) 387-4000

For those of you who prefer leaving the off-roading craziness to a professional, then book a stay at Wisp Resorts where you will find a wide variety of fun activities including off-road mountain buggy tours. This popular, four-season resort features 132 acres of outdoor fun. Take a spin around the skate park, fly high on the canopy tour or relax on the water via a pontoon tour. The resort also features Segway tours, laser games, scenic chairlift rides, mountain biking, golf and fly fishing. After a fun-filled day outside, retreat to your room where you will find deluxe accommodations, a fitness center, heated indoor pool and a Jacuzzi. The resort also features on-site dining and shopping.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at

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