There really is no better state than Maryland for National Parks enthusiasts. From wildlife reserves to National Historic Sites, the parks here are untouched, pure, and breathtaking each in its own way. We wish everyone had the time to visit all of those 28 parks at least once, but we know that leisure time is sparse and responsibilities back at home are plenty (although you can take some time away from chores!), so we bring you the 5 parks in Maryland for family reunions and solo adventures.
1. South Mountains State Park
Let’s begin our list with one of the most impressive parks in all of Maryland. The South Mountains State Park is a majestic stretch of land that houses 3,000-foot elevations, an 80-foot waterfall connecting to many mountain streams, and over 40 miles of equestrian, hiking, and biking trails that will take you from one lush, breathtaking view to the next. This is also one of the parks on this list that offers a true backcountry experience, with 24 backpacking campsites at seven different locations. For a more traditional camping trip, there is also trailer parking and many drive-to campsites.
2. Seneca Creek State Park
This beautiful national park in Montgomery County is a fantastic destination for many different reasons, one of which is the stunning view from the 14 miles of scenic road along Seneca Creek, which you can follow all the way into the Potomac River. You can also catch many great views at the Clopper Day-Use Areas, including the 90-acre Clopper Lake and the surrounding forests. Activities for the whole family include picnics, boat rentals, hiking trails, playgrounds, and even a self-guided path so you can learn about the area’s history. Are you into horseback riding and riding your bike? There are over 50 miles of trails just for that!
3. Assateague State Park
Located in Worcester County, this park is unique in that it’s entirely located on the northern end of Assateague Island, which has Sinepuxent Bay and the Atlantic ocean to the left and right, respectively. The park campground has an astounding 350 sites for you and your family to enjoy, and the views of the bay really are something to behold at least once in your lifetime. Rackliffe House, a restored 18th-century coastal plantation building, overlooks the bay and houses the Coastal Maryland Heritage Center. Some of the wildlife you can find in the park are deer, several species of waterfowl, and even feral horses, the latter of which is an amazing sight.
4. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
This region was established as a sanctuary for migratory birds in 1933 as a place for them to stop along the Atlantic Flyway, which is one of the most important routes that they follow in the northern hemisphere. You can think of it as a roadside inn for traveling birds that are between their home and their vacation rentals. In any case, the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is home to an amazing list of animals, from mammals as little as the Gray Squirrel and as large as the white-tailed deer, along with all sorts of amphibians, reptiles, and birds of all sizes. Much of the refuge is wetlands but it offers many opportunities for visitors of all ages to enjoy the scenery, such as the visitor center, hiking and biking trails, and the Wildlife Drive.
5. Catoctin Mountain
This is one of the best national parks in Maryland for adventure lovers and thrillseekers because of all the activities it offers With over 25 miles of hiking trails, along with fishing opportunities, equestrian trails, rock climbing, and a long list of wonderful views all around the park. On top of that, you can take the Orienteering class offered by a Park Ranger where you can learn how to navigate in the wilderness using a map and a compass. Of course, you can also find camping sites and lodging if you wish to stay for a while, which is really the only way to take it all in for nature lovers. The photo-ops are excellent all around the park, so you better travel there with a friend with a good eye for photography!
Each of these parks is special in its own way, and while most of them offer similar things, such as hiking trails and wildlife, the experiences and sights are all unique. Make some time to check them out with the whole family soon!