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Elk Neck State Park boasts 2,188 acres of sandy beaches, marshlands, and heavily wooded bluffs within the peninsula formed by the North East River, Elk River, and the Chesapeake Bay. A wide variety of plant and animal life thrive throughout the area, which offers many walking trails...including a trail that provides a scenic view of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay as it leads to the historic Turkey Point Lighthouse.
The park also supports camping and picnicking with picnic shelters and nearly 300 camping units, as well as cabins for rent.
9 a.m. to Sunse
Turkey Point Lighthouse is open from sunrise to sunset.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
On weekdays, Elk Neck charges a $3/vehicle admission fee. On weekends and holidays, it's $3/person. Out of state residents add $1. (no vehicle fee in winter months)
If using the boat launch there is a $10 fee for instate vehicles and a $12 fee for out of state vehicles.
On weekdays April-October buses pay $10. On weekends buses pay the standard per person charge. November-March buses are $10.
Prices for renting cabins or campsites can be found on the Elk Neck State Park website.
Lighthouse tours: Free
The park is open year-round for most outdoor activities such as hiking, but some activities such as camping at the park's cabins have their own limited seasons.
Elk Neck's campgrounds contain 278 camping units...for tents, trailers, or motor homes...with conveniently located washhouses. There also are nine 4-person cabins to rent during the warm months. Picnic sites are available near the beach area, and larger groups can rent picnic pavilions.
There are several locations where the river is accessible to swimmers, including the North East River area. The park also supports fishing and flatwater canoeing in appropriate areas. The Rogues' Harbor Boat Area offers launching ramps.
Fishing and hunting is permitted in season at designated areas with the proper permits.
In 1608, when Captain John Smith approached the area that is now Elk Neck State Park, he was looking for the Northwest Passage—a water shortcut across North America to the Pacific Ocean and Asia.
He was also looking for gold and silver that would help the British compete with their fellow colonial power Spain. The two countries were vying for control of land in the Americas.
In the end, Smith found no gold, silver, or Northwest Passage in the Upper Bay.
However, he met Massawomeck, Tockwogh and Susquehannock Indians and encountered an ecosystem teeming with oysters, crabs, fish, and other aquatic life.
He watched huge flocks of birds pass overhead on the Atlantic Flyway migration route, and he saw vast stands of aquatic vegetation waving beneath the water’s surface.