Maryland State Parks Details
Maryland is home to some of the best campgrounds in the United States! Assateague State Park, in particular, is a bucket list item for camping enthusiasts due to its beautiful beachfront options that offer incredible views of pastel sunrises. Keep an eye out for the wild horses that roam the dunes!
Houck Area at Cunningham Falls State Park is also an unforgettable camping experience. This specific area lies close to the park’s cascading waterfalls and the lake, making it the perfect destination for those wishing for a scenic camping trip.
Tucked away in the mountains of Western Maryland, Rocky Gap State Park has a number of well-kept and well-equipped campsites. The park offers several summer interpretative programs, as well as an aviary where rescued birds and reptiles may be observed, so this is ideal for family campers with very young kids.
If you’re after a unique camping trip, then head on over to Point Lookout State Park. The site was a Union hospital and prisoner of war camp for approximately 50,000 Confederate States Army soldiers during the Civil War. Town locals say that the ghosts of these soldiers still roam the park’s campgrounds so watch out!
Remember, when planning your camping trip, follow a camping checklist to make sure you don’t forget something.
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At Calvert Cliffs State Park, a 2-mile trail takes hikers to breathtaking views of the Chesapeake Bay, as well as a beach full of fascinating fossils. Local hikers love to take on this route due to its diverse natural landscapes and wildlife.
Another great hiking spot is Swallow Falls State Park, where a mile-long trail leads to two cascading waterfalls. The hike may be short but the views are undoubtedly worth it!
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A 2,000-mile trail system in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is perfect for backpackers looking for an adventure! Be sure to take a moment on the trail’s overlook cliffs, from which you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of Harpers Ferry and the expanse of the Potomac and Shenandoah river valleys. Be advised, though, that the hike up to the cliffs is steep, rocky, and challenging, but the views that await you at the top are unmatched.
At Patapsco State Park, anglers can choose to fish either in the Lost Lake or at Avalon Pond, both of which are full of trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, and more. These fishing holes are kid-friendly, making it the ideal spot for families who love to fish or anglers looking to bond with their children.
A unique fishing experience awaits anglers at Sandy Point State Park! Pedal-powered fishing kayaks turn the quiet sport into the adventure of a lifetime, letting anglers keep both hands on their rods as they try to discover the best fishing spot. A word of advice – right under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge lies a large school of giant black drum!
Many consider St. Mary’s River State Park to be the prime deer hunting destination in Maryland. With a 3,000-year hunting tradition, this park is one of the best game sites in the region where tons of white-tail deer may be pursued. Its dense woodlands, open fields, and lush marshes make it the perfect destination for avid hunters from all over the country!
Near Seneca Creek State Park lies the 2,000-acre McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, which features a mix of streams, woodlands, and more. Those looking for a challenging pursuit with plenty of natural obstacles should try their hand at hunting here.
Hunting may also be done at Patuxent River State Park, where certain tracks of its sprawling 6,700 acres are open to hunters.
Day Use Areas
Boasting of picturesque landscapes and stunning scenery, Maryland is the state to go to for a picnic you’ll never forget! At Elk Neck State Park, lay your blanket right beside the Turkey Point Lighthouse and dig into your meal as you take in scenic views of the water. Those looking for a peaceful and tranquil picnic excursion will surely fall in love with this spot.
Point Lookout State Park, situated in the southern region of Maryland, is another picnic gem with plenty of tables shaded by towering trees.
There are many spectacular cycling adventures found throughout Maryland. At Gunpowder Falls State Park, riders love taking on the 21-mile Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail, which follows the old Northern Central Railway all the way to the Pennsylvania border. The park is one of the largest and most diverse recreational areas in the state, making it the perfect spot for riders who wish to explore Maryland’s amazing landscapes.
Assateague State Park also boasts of a number of beautiful trails with breathtaking views of the water. Keep an eye out for the huge variety of birds that have made their homes within this park!
Over 50 miles of multi-use trails are found in Seneca Creek State Park that wind around the picturesque Clopper Lake. Highlights on this trail include a partially-restored 19th century mill, as well as a schoolhouse built towards the end of the Civil War.
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The 36-hectare Clopper Lake at Seneca Creek State Park makes for the perfect boating excursion with its abundance of beautiful trees and aquatic vegetation. Be advised, though, that the lake has several shallow enclaves, which those manning watercraft vehicles should be well aware of.
Meanwhile, boat camping sites can be found at Smallwood State Park. Visitors can dock their boats at the park’s Sweden Point Marina if they prefer to spend the night aboard instead of pitching a tent.
Maryland may be a densely-populated state but it has many amazing birdwatching spots where over 400 different species may be observed.
Point Lookout State Park boasts of hundreds of different species and is favored by many Birders during the autumn season due to the abundance of southbound migrant birds traveling down this peninsula. The Purple Sandpiper, the Northern Gannet, and the Great Cormorants are usually observed within the confines of this park. Ospreys and Bald Eagles are commonly seen here too through binoculars.
The 786-acre Sandy Point State Park has one of the highest bird species counts of any Maryland site, home to many unusual seabirds and other rarities. Keep an eye out for the rare gulls, such as the Black-legged Kittiwake and the Iceland Gull. Other rarities known to frequent this park include the Northern Saw-whet Owl, the Harlequin Duck, and the Fork-tailed Flycatcher.
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Maryland is the perfect destination for a summer trip due to the many beaches found here. The state boasts of miles and miles of coastline that stretches from Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic Ocean so you’re sure to find a ton of incredible swimming holes here.
Calvert Cliffs State Park is perhaps the most popular beach in Maryland, situated right on Chesapeake Bay. The beach is full of unique and fascinating fossils and features a marshland area that makes for a great fishing spot. If you’re tired of swimming, unwind on the beach’s soft sands. This park is the perfect spot to go to if you’re in the mood for a great and relaxing vacation!
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Rock Climbing and Mountaineering
Rocks State Park in Deer Creek Valley, as its name suggests, has a ton of rock climbing opportunities. Popular routes include the 25-foot Epitaph Wall, the beginner-friendly Biceps Wall, and the main climbing area called the King and Queen Seat. Climbing enthusiasts will undoubtedly love the many challenges offered by this park!
The 2,000-acre Wolf Den Run State Park in Maryland’s Garrett County is wholly dedicated to off-road vehicles. The park is composed of three distinct parcels of land, all of which feature rugged and mountainous terrain with plenty of streams, meadows, tributaries, and wetlands. This park is an OHV rider’s paradise!
Recreational Equipment Rentals
Visitors looking to rent some equipment can do so at Deep Creek Lake State Park, which is open at all hours of the day and has several marinas offering equipment rentals. This is a favorite summer destination among the area’s locals who love to take their jet skis, motorboats, and other watercraft vehicles out on the largest man-made lake in Maryland.
Many claim that every American should visit the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park at least once in their lives. Explore the story of Harriet Tubman and how she helped over 70 slaves escape prior to the Civil War in this 17-acre state park.
If you’re in the mood for a winter hike, then the 3-mile Cascade Falls Trail at Patapsco Valley State Park is your best bet! The trail was even recommended by the Mountain Club of Maryland, the state’s oldest hiking club. In the wintertime, parts of the waterfalls freeze, creating dramatic ice formations that are too beautiful to pass up.
On the other hand, Gunpowder Falls State Park offers visitors a three-hour dog sledding tour along the picturesque Torrey C. Brown Trail. The tour includes a dog meet and greet that allows participants to help harness the dogs to the sled.
Those looking for a more adventurous winter destination should stop by New Germany State Park, located in Western Maryland, which features snowshoeing, sledding, and cross-country skiing activities. This mountainous park is filled with dense forests and has over 10 miles of multi-use trails that turn into ski routes when the snow is thick. There are also flat skiing areas perfect for those new to this winter sport.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Calvert Cliffs State Park is one of the best snorkeling spots in Maryland, featuring cliffs formed more than 15 million years ago and an abundance of fossilized prehistoric species, which can be spotted when snorkeling in the area. Keep in mind, though, that the waters here offer low visibility so prepare your gear beforehand if you’re looking to explore the fossils found underwater.
Two permanent orienteering courses are found at the Hilton Area of Patapsco Valley State Park with interested participants being offered compasses and printed course maps. Those looking to take on the challenge may opt to print the maps themselves but be advised that those available online lack the Park Quest information present in the pre-printed copies.
Surfing enthusiasts should try out the unpredictable waves at Assateague State Park. This spot is a favorite among local surfers due to its incredible surf, natural challenges, and scenic landscape.