6 Awesome Outdoor Adventures In Maryland To Do With Your Kids
Inside: Check out these awesome outdoor adventures in Maryland to get you and your kids out of the house and into the wild!
With spring beckoning, we’ll soon see new leaves budding on trees, flowers blooming and grass turning a vibrant green. I don’tl know about you, but after a long and cold winter, my family and I are more than ready to get outside and have fun. Maryland is such a gorgeous state with so many fun outdoor activities to choose from. Here are six of our top ideas!
Related: Check out the Kid Friendly Maryland comprehensive resource for parents: Things To Do In Maryland With Kids!
Bike the railroad trails
With dozens of bike trails located around the state, Maryland offers great views regardless of the trail you decide to take. However, the trails that run along former railroad routes offer interesting views and easy routes to bike. The Western Maryland Rail Trail, starting in Hancock, invites you to enjoy the 22-mile route that offers scenic views of the Potomac River. As you approach the end of the trail, it’s recommended to continue on to the unpaved towpath of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to Fort Frederick for a tour of the historic attraction. Hancock is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal, drinks or shopping before you head home. It also has accommodations in case you decide to make your visit an overnight excursion.
A shorter trail offers a view of the US Naval Academy and takes you through urban areas. The Baltimore & Annapolis Trail begins near Jonas Green Park in Annapolis, overlooking the academy. The 13-mile trail takes you near historical areas and retail shops as it follows the old Baltimore-Annapolis Short line route.
Explore Assateague Island
With more than 35 miles of beach to walk, a visit to Assateague Island offers an exciting and challenging opportunity for an outdoor adventure. Walking on a beach tests the best athletes, as there is little give to the sand. As you hike the area, take in the views of the water, terrain and beautiful landscape. You may luck out and catch a view of the wild horses that roam Assateague Island. Remember that approaching or feeding wild animals is illegal and highly discouraged.
Visitors to the island can spend a full day taking in the undeveloped beach’s offerings. You can even camp on the island. Since the island is positioned between Maryland and Virginia, rules of each state can vary. Ensure you verify information before heading out for your outdoor adventure.
Tube Gunpowder River
Nothing says warm weather like taking an inner tube ride down the Gunpowder River. Grab your tube and head to the water. People enjoy spending 90 minutes to three hours on the river, relaxing as they causally float downstream. Don’t worry about bringing your own tube, as there are businesses where you can rent them. Bring along non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy on your trip. Please remember not to litter. As you cruise down the slow, quiet river, remember you’re sharing the water with fly fishermen and other recreation users.
While tubing the Gunpowder River is a popular outdoor adventure, Gunpowder Falls State Park also offers more outdoor activities. In addition to fly fishing, the park has about 120 miles of trails for hiking, bicycling and even horseback riding.
Take a nature walk and spot birds
With its natural scenery including barrier islands and swamps, Maryland fulfills a bird watcher’s dream. From warblers to loons and vultures, the state is home to all kinds of birds. As you venture off with a birding book, binoculars and camera, ensure you appreciate the beauty you come across on this outdoor adventure. Dan’s Mountain State Park near Lonaconing offers an impressive view of the Potomac River valley as you search for birds such as the worm-eating warbler, Kentucky warbler and wood thrush, each of which is considered at risk.
Known as the site of a major Civil War battle, Antietam National Battlefield near Hagerstown is home to birds such as the eastern bluebird, black-capped chickadee and red-tailed hawk. In addition to bird watching, you can tour the battlefield, where about 23,000 soldiers were wounded or died during 12 hours of fighting, commonly referred to as the “Bloodiest Day.”
With six trails, including a boardwalk, over 850 acres, Cranesville Swamp allows visitors to hike along a swampy marsh, where they can enjoy nature while they search for birds, including the Canada warbler, hermit thrush, northern saw-whet owl and the American bittern.
Bird watching is a fun activity for couples or families as part of their outdoor adventure. In addition to learning about the birds and other wildlife that call Maryland home, you can also take in amazing views that make Maryland a beautiful state.
Hike the Appalachian Trail
Stretching more than 2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is America’s longest hiking trail. Maryland is home to 40 miles of the trail and provides a perfect day for an outdoor adventure or weekend camping trip. To walk the entire the trek through the state takes about a week for a seasoned hiker. Most people enjoy spending a day on the trail.
Maryland’s section of the trail provides a scenic view of the Potomac River, as well as Historic Rock, the highest point of the state’s trail at about 1,900 feet. During your day hike, the best places to visit are Annapolis Rock near Greenbrier, Washington Monument and Weverton Cliffs at Gathland State Park.
Bring plenty of water and snacks as you enjoy the hike along Maryland’s Appalachian Trail.
Search For Shark’s Teeth
Because of Maryland’s unique location, with access to the Potomac River, Chesapeake waterways, and Atlantic Ocean, there are tons of parks and natural areas full of buried treasures. Some of the more popular spots to look for shark’s teeth include Purses Park, Calvert Cliffs State Park, and Flag Ponds Nature Park.
While we have a few more weeks before the weather turns warmer, it’s never too early to plan a fun spring outdoor adventure. Maryland is home to lots of opportunities. Have fun and stay safe.
Here are some more ideas for outdoor fun!
- Best Playgrounds in Maryland
- Brookside Gardens (a must see public garden in Montgomery County!)
- Best Amusement Parks for Young Kids