May 04, 2018 12:00AM ● Published by Brian Saucedo
Maryland, My Maryland! Whether you're a lifer or a newcomer, we offer a bevy of adventures that will have you singing the praises of the Old Line State, from the Appalachians in the west to the beaches of the Atlantic blue. Outdoor enthusiasts, families, history buffs, food lovers, micro-brewsters, wine connoisseurs, and thrill seekers...take note. The sky's the limit. whatever your archetype may be, we have new adventures in the wings. Take flight and rediscover your home state!
NatureAdkins Arboretum, Ridgely
Nature lovers, horticulturists, hikers, and everything in between can unite at this beautiful nature center located on the Eastern Shore. This botanical collection uniquely concentrates on plants that are native to the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain. The 400-acre arboretum is family-friendly, and offers an array of activities, such as children’s programs, lectures, hiking and biking, and much more.
Green Ridge State Forest, Flintstone
With close to 48,000 acres, Green Ridge State Forest, located in western Maryland, is the state’s largest contiguous block of public land. There’s definitely no shortage of activities here either. Plenty of hunting and fishing opportunities are located around the area, camping is always a popular pastime, mountain biking, and hiking, hiking, and more hiking. Green Ridge has over 50 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult. And when you’re ready to wind down, the Potomac River borders the southern part of the forest, offering beautiful scenery and overlooks of the surrounding region.
Patapsco Valley State Park, Ellicott City
There’s a massive playground in our backyard, where Mother Nature provides all the amusements and obstacles. Patapsco Valley State Park, located just a smidgeon north of Ellicott City, is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream-turned-reality with a smorgasbord of activities throughout its 16,000-plus acres. Hikers love to hike and bikers love to bike the more than 200 miles of trails that traverse terrain that varies from pasture to rolling hills to steep and challenging inclines. Extremely popular among mountain bikers, the trails lead through forested canopies, over creeks, small waterfalls, and the river, along railroad tracks, and…you get the picture…a Maryland paradise.
Gunpowder Falls State Park, Middle River
Home to the Gunpowder River, as well as the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls, Gunpowder Falls State Park is divided between six different locations around Harford and Baltimore counties, totaling over 18,000 acres. It is the honey hole for fly fishing anglers. And with more than 120 miles of multi-use trails, areas for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, historical sites, and more, spending a day at Gunpowder Falls is on our must-do list.
Susquehanna State Park, Havre De Grace
Located on the scenic Susquehanna River, Susquehanna State Park offers an abundance of activities suited for outdoor lovers. Explore the many trails by going for a hike, mountain bike riding, or even horseback riding. Boating, fishing, and hunting are also available. If you feel like extending your stay, camp out on one of their 69 sites designated for camping.
Ladew Topiary Gardens, Monkton
Known for its larger-than-life topiary creations, Ladew features a garden experience unlike most others and includes the fascinating Butterfly House. Take a self-guided nature walk tour and when you’re finished, make your way to the Manor House for some attention-grabbing history.
Terrapin Nature Park, Stevensville
Featuring a 3.25-mile oyster chaff walking trail with wildflower meadows, tidal ponds, sandy beaches, and woodlands, the Terrapin Nature Park, located on the Eastern Shore, is an ideal place for nature lovers. With fishing and crabbing to biking and hiking, the family-friendly 276-acre park offers something for everyone.
HistoryAntietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg
This National Park in Sharpsburg is the sight of the 1862 Battle of Antietam, better known as the deadliest one-day battle in American military history. The Battle of Antietam led Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Enjoy an 8.5-mile self-guided auto tour through the battlefield. The tour includes 11 stops at historically significant sights. If you prefer to explore on foot, walk one of Antietam’s hiking trails and experience the history of the landscape first-hand. Be sure to check out the Pry House Field Hospital Museum. The home served as Union Commander General George B. McClellan’s headquarters during battle, but now contains numerous exhibits relating to the battle and the effect it had on soldiers and area civilians.
Point Lookout State Park, Scotland
With beautiful scenery that’s rich in history, it’s no wonder Point Lookout is one of Maryland’s most popular parks. Located at the tip of St. Mary’s County in Scotland, the Point served as a prison for roughly 50,000 Confederate soldiers between 1863 and 1865. Visit the park’s Civil War Museum and learn the story of Point Lookout during its time as a prisoner of war camp. Check out the park’s lighthouse, said to be one of the most haunted lighthouses in America. The park also boasts a swimming beach, picnic and camping areas, and boat rentals.
Historic St. Mary’s City
Step back in time and experience 17th-century Maryland. Historic St. Mary’s City sits atop 800 acres of breathtaking scenery and has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark since 1969. Costumed interpreters make guests feel as if they’ve truly been transported back in time. Enjoy live history encounters, hands-on activities, and plenty of nature walks and trails. Feel like taking a weekend getaway? Stay a night or two at The Inn at Brome Howard. Nestled within the forests and fields on the banks of the St. Mary’s River, this mid-19th century bed and breakfast is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Fort McHenry, Mount Vernon place, USS Constellation, Baltimore USS Constellation,
Fort McHenry in Baltimore is a must-visit location for any American, and especially Maryland, history buff. Walk the grounds of the sight that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner.” While witnessing the attack on Fort McHenry from a British truce ship in the Patapsco river during the Battle of Baltimore, a young Frances Scott Key saw that “our flag was still there” the next morning. The event inspired Key to write the famous lines that would eventually become the United States’ National Anthem. Tour the fort and barracks and watch the Fort McHenry Guard perform drill, musket, and artillery demonstrations.
Make a day of it and explore other historical sites in Baltimore. The Inner Harbor is home to the USS Constellation, the last sail-only warship designed and built by the United States Navy. Guests can climb aboard and tour the decks of this beautiful, historic ship. Climb the 227 steps of the Washington Monument (booking required) in Mount Vernon Place and get a birds-eye-view of the city. Be sure to explore the squares that flank the monument. Pack a lunch and enjoy the beautiful shrubbery, fountains, cobble-stone streets, and the 19th century architecture throughout the Mount Vernon neighborhood.
Historic Chestertown, Historic Downtown Cambridge, Easton Historic District
Take a stroll around the many historic towns on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Aside from delicious food, great shops, and beautiful architecture, these towns hold a ton of history. Visit the Geddes-Piper House in Chestertown. Home of the Kent County Historical Foundation, this 18th century home contains various exhibits and an extensive library filled with historical documents.
Head to Cambridge and explore the history of Harriet Tubman, the Dorchester County native who led dozens of slaves into freedom. Stop by the Dorchester County Visitor Center and pick up a free driving tour map and guide called “Finding a Way to Freedom,” which lists all the historic Harriet Tubman landmarks in Cambridge.
Celebrate the rural heritage of the Eastern shore at the Tuckahoe Steam & Gas Association in Easton. This 70-acre facility collects, restores, displays, and operates an array of vintage industrial machinery and agricultural equipment. Aside from their Machine Shop Museum which is open most Saturday by appointment, the Tuckahoe Steam & Gas Association also hosts a variety of shows and events throughout the year. Check out their online calendar for more information.
FoodiePaper Moon Diner, Baltimore
Visitors to this whimsical diner are greeted by life sized mannequins wrapped in the floral vines, a giant pink elephant on the roof, and a disarray of items surrounding the building. Inside are thousands of PEZ dispensers lining up the walls, dolls, figurines, and everything in between at every turn, including the ceiling. This diner one of the most unique and visual dining experiences in Baltimore. Oh, and not to mention, the food’s pretty good too.
Baldwin’s Station, Sykesville
Located on The Old Main Line, the oldest railway in the country, Baldwin’s station is a repurposed railroad station turned restaurant. With a cozy atmosphere and a vintage touch, this restaurant is known as the “Hottest spot in the coolest small town.” Guests have the opportunity to eat in the “Freight Room,” which has been converted into the main dining room, and is lined with vintage train station benches, stained glass windows, and surrounded by exposed brick walls. Diners also have the chance to enjoy their meal on the outdoor patio overlooking the Patapsco River, and if they’re lucky, they might just see freight train pass
The Red Roost Crabhouse & Restaurant, Whitehaven
An old chicken house turned into a general store then turned into a restaurant. That’s how The Red Roost Crabhouse & Restaurant came to be. This friendly atmosphere is the definition of Maryland on the Eastern Shore, offering guests all you can eat blue crabs, steamed shrimp, snow crabs, and all the seafood in between. With bushel basket lighting and long tables, it’s the perfect spot to gather with friends and family for a crab feast. Outside of the Red Roost dock sits the Bull Lips Shanty & Dock Bar. Enjoy a drink from the bar, dig your feet in the sand, and views of the Wicomico River.
South Mountain Creamery, Middletown
Open 365 days a year and located in the heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, South Mountain Creamery is more than just your average dairy farm. Not only can you enjoy freshly made ice cream, but visitors can take a self-guided or guided tour of the farm, pet the calves, see the milking parlor, and take a stop in the maternity ward. You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!
BeerEvolution Craft Brewing Co., Salisbury
If you’re looking to pair a great beer with some great food, then Evolution Craft Brewing Co. is the place for you. With a passion for craft beer and a passion for food, two brothers decided to take those passions and combine a one stop shop for beer enthusiasts and foodies. The brewery not only offers weekend brewery tours, but includes The Public House adjacent to the building, where you can find a unique atmosphere with some of the best beer and locally sourced food pairings. Known for their saying, “Ever better beer, forever better food,”this is a not-to-be-missed spot in Salisbury.
1812 Brewery, Cumberland
Nestled in the mountains of Western Maryland is where you’ll find 1812 Brewery, the only farm craft brewery in Allegany County. Located in an 1812 repurposed barn, this 190-acre farm offers six different beers in their taproom. With plenty of outdoor space, visitors are invited to bring their families, including their four-legged friends, for a
fun-filled day on their patio/lawn. Make sure to check their calendar for events
held at the brewery, including game nights, live music, and much more
Falling Branch Brewery, Street
Open year-round, Falling Branch Brewery strives to create a Belgian-inspired brew, offering a selection of authentic farmhouse ales with ingredients grown by the brewers. As Harford County’s first farm brewery, visitors can not only enjoy the farm’s scenic country views, but also its Beer Garden (Apr.–Nov.) featuring corn hole, a petting zoo, fire pit, and kid’s game area. Don’t forget to take a trip inside their refurbished 1800s barn where you can find their taproom filled with food vendors and your favorite sports events on the TV.
WineSpringfield Manor Winery Distillery Brewery, Thurmont
At Springfield Manor, visitors are offered a variety of handcrafted wines for all taste buds and assorted IPA’s, Golden, Amber, and Brown Ales in the form of craft beer. Sitting on a 130-acre farm, guests can wander in the lavender field or the vineyard, explore the mountains and trails, or star gaze by a romantic fire pit. If you decide to turn your day-trip into a weekend, The Inn at Springfield Manor offers guests eight suites in a beautiful country estate setting. Voted as Frederick’s best distillery and best venue.
Great Frogs Winery, Annapolis
If you’re looking for the perfect getaway right in your own backyard, then head over to Great Frogs Winery, located in a rustic, tobacco barn. With spacious farmland filled with picnic tables, explore the award-winning wines with a Tobacco Barn Reserve Experience, Epicure Pairing Experience, or even a Group Experience. Grab your furry friend and compliment your tasting experience with live music every Saturday. Tastings are by reservation only.
Crow Vineyard, Kennedyville
Only 10 minutes north of historic Chestertown is where you’ll find Crow Vineyard, an authentic farm winery with over 365-acres. Open year-round, the vineyard offers winery tours, hosts farm-to-table events, award-winning wines. After you’ve explored the several trails, haybarn, miniature horse pasture, stay the night at their Farmstay B&B. With three bedrooms to choose from, visitors have the opportunity to view different parts of the farm, enjoy a hearty breakfast, relax under the old maple trees, or enjoy a picnic lunch.
Thrill-seekerSkydive various locations
Nothing is more thrilling than leaping out of a plane and free-falling at 120 MPH. Skydive OC in Berlin offers tandem skydiving with amazing views of Assateague Island, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Ocean City Coastline. If city views are more your style, Skydive Baltimore in Churchville offers a scenic view of the I-95 corridor stretching from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. For a more laid-back skydiving experience, head over to the iFLY indoor skydiving Tower in White Marsh. iFLY offers the same thrill of skydiving but without the plane, parachute, and staggering heights. Plus, the facility is completely family-friendly. Children as young as three-years-old can experience the excitement of flying at iFLY.
(various locations) Take to the treetops! Terrapin Adventures in Savage offers exhilarating aerial adventures including a ropes course, zip-line, and a giant swing. The courses are available to most children over the age of eight, but the younger explorers (ages five–10) can check out the Kid’s Course! For a more challenging adventure course, check out Go Ape! Treetop Adventures in Rockville. Fly through the forest on ziplines and conquer suspended obstacles on this two- to three-hour aerial escapade. Unlike Terrapin Adventures, this course is completely self-guided. Go Ape! also offers a Treetop Junior course. This course is catered towards children ages six–12, but anyone over the height of 3’3’’ can participate.
Precision Rafting Expeditions, Friendsville
Escape the summer heat with an unforgettable rafting experience. Precision Rafting Expeditions in Friendsville offers whitewater rafting trips on the upper Youghiogheny River. For those seeking a real challenge, try out an Action Whitewater Trip. These trips begin with Class 3 rapids and go all the way up to a Class 5 action rapid. If you want to start with something equally thrilling but less intense, try the Easy Whitewater Trip. This trip is perfect for beginners and never exceeds Class 3 rapids. Or, grab the whole family and take a float trip! Relax and cool off in a quiet section of the river, all while enjoying beautiful mountain scenery.
Water LoverAssateague Island
Located on the Eastern Shore and along the Delmarva Peninsula, Assateague Island offers many great activities for water lovers of all kinds. There are canoe and kayak launches in select areas around the island, crabbing and clamming, and, of course, swimming and surfing. Surf fishing is also a popular activity among visitors. Ocean City is also just a short drive away, where you can enjoy more water fun, including power boating and jet skiing bay-side.
Rocks State Park, Jarrettsville
With different areas to enjoy the water, a day trip to this state park is a must. Spend a lazy day and go tubing down Deer Creek or wade in and cast a reel for some trout. Take a short drive up to Rocks State Park’s satellite area, Falling Branch, located in Pylesville, and experience Kilgore Falls, a 17-foot high waterfall—the state’s second highest vertical drop waterfall.
Beaver Dam Swim Club, Cockeysville
Home to their infamous rope swing, Beaver Dam Swim Club has a 40-foot deep fresh water quarry, as well as two regular swimming pools, both up to five feet deep. When you need a break from swimming, play a game of volleyball on the sand volleyball court or enjoy a picnic on one of the many picnic tables available.
Hammerman Area Beach, Middle River
One of Gunpowder Falls State Park’s six locations, Hammerman Area Beach is located right on the Gunpowder River. Beachgoers are able to swim and play on the beach, as well as kayak, wind surfboards, and stand-up paddleboards, which are available for rental. Because the water is very shallow, boaters wanting to use their powerboat can launch from Dundee Creek Marina, located less than a mile away from the Hammerman area.