Outdoor Adventures in Maryland

Last Updated on July 6, 2023 by asoulwindow

Maryland is an outdoor lover’s dream, as it offers a wide range of thrilling adventures for all types of fun. From kayaking the Chesapeake Bay to hiking the Appalachian Trail, there are endless opportunities for those looking to explore Maryland’s wild side. 

With so much natural beauty and diversity, plus convenient access from major cities like Baltimore and Washington D.C, it’s a popular location in the United States. 

Outdoor Adventures in Maryland

There are several outdoor adventure activities to do in Maryland. This is the most comprehensive guide to top outdoor adventures in Maryland. Some of the best outdoor adventures in Maryland are as below.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is a historic treasure that has been part of the cultural landscape in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. since its construction began in 1828. This man-made waterway stretches 184 miles along the Potomac River from Georgetown to Cumberland, providing recreational opportunities for visitors and locals alike. 

Chesapeake Bay Ohio Canal Maryland USA United States of America
Chesapeake Bay Ohio Canal in Maryland of United States of America. Pic by: Pixabay

From biking to camping alongside its banks, there are plenty of ways to experience this incredible feat of engineering firsthand. The canal was used for commercial transportation until 1924 when it was eventually abandoned due to competition with railroads; however, today it serves as an important reminder of America’s industrial past while still providing outdoor activities for those who want a break from city life.

Walk the boardwalk in Ocean City

Ocean City, MD is a tourist favorite while in Maryland. There is so much to do here even for kids. The boardwalk stretches over 2.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean and is lined with an array of restaurants, shops, and attractions. Take a stroll along the boardwalk and you’ll be treated to panoramic ocean views, the smell of fresh saltwater taffy, and the sound of carnival games and rides. 

With its vibrant energy and endless entertainment, the Ocean City Boardwalk is a destination that’s perfect for the whole family. 

There are also lots of nice hotels on the boardwalk and around for visitors to stay.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is a stunningly beautiful natural area located in the heart of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This vast expanse of marshland, tidal creeks and wooded wetlands spans over 28,000 acres, and provides essential habitat to some 300 species of birds, bald eagles, 50 species of mammals, and numerous reptiles and amphibians. 

Also read: Best places to see in California in winter

Outdoor Adventures in Maryland Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Maryland USA United States of America
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland, United States of America. Pic by: Pixabay

Visitors can explore this unique landscape via hiking trails or by taking guided boat tours that highlight the refuge’s diverse wildlife habitats.

Tube Gunpowder River

Tube Gunpowder River is an exhilarating water activity that allows you to experience the beauty of Maryland’s Gunpowder River. Located just outside of Baltimore, this stretch of river provides a unique opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. If yourself or your kids love tubing at waterparks, then they would love this as well. 

They can grab a tube or rent one when they get there and tube down this lazy river. It’s also super relaxing because as you float down the river, you will be surrounded by beautiful forests, towering cliffs, and waterfalls and the natural beauty of the region to soak up.
If you do not have a tube, Monkton Bike Rentals rents these out complete with instructions.

Go swimming in the lake

Maryland is home to some of the most beautiful and refreshing swimming lakes in the country, providing a much-needed escape from the sweltering summer heat. From the crystal-clear waters of Deep Creek Lake to the sandy beaches of Sandy Point State Park, Maryland has many options.

Some lakes that allow swimming include: Deep Creek Lake, Lake Habeeb (Rocky Gap State Park); Greenbrier state park, Cunningham falls state park, Kilgore falls and more.

Go rafting at the Youghiogheny River

Situated in the Appalachian Mountains, Maryland’s Youghiogheny River is a beautiful whitewater rafting paradise.

The river is known for its world-class whitewater rapids, which range from class III to V, making it the perfect destination for experienced rafters looking for a thrilling ride. But even if you’re a beginner, there are plenty of options for calmer stretches of the river that are perfect for a leisurely float. 

Weekends can get a bit crowded especially with all the people and vehicles at the dock, however it never seems to feel as crowded on the water. There is also a small beach area that is popular with parents and their young ones. 

Spend winter at the Wisp Resort

Nestled in the foothills of Maryland’s Appalachian Mountains, Wisp Resort is a premier destination for outdoor adventure and relaxation. 

It is a winter wonderland that offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and relaxation. With over 30 ski slopes and trails, as well as snow tubing, snowshoeing, and ice skating, the Wisp Resort is a must-visit destination for winter sports enthusiasts. For those that do not love skiing, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy, including a mountain coaster, zip lines, and an adventure park with ropes courses and climbing walls.

After a day of outdoor adventure, visitors can relax and unwind at the resort’s luxurious spa or enjoy a delicious meal at one of its many restaurants. From the resort, visitors can get stunning views of Deep Creek Lake and the surrounding mountains.

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Go crazy at the playgrounds

Playgrounds are one of our favorite things to do, especially with kids. Maryland has enough outdoor playgrounds to last your kids a lifetime. One such playground is the Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, which boasts a huge square-foot Wizard of Oz-themed playground, complete with a yellow brick road, a tornado slide, and characters from the beloved classic.

There are also several other playgrounds called the Imagination Playground in PG County, which offer endless opportunities for imaginative play. Oftentimes these playgrounds are divided into sections for older kids and little kids which makes it safer for everyone. 

Antietam National Battlefield

Visiting Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland is like stepping back in time to one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. The battlefield preserves the site of the Battle of Antietam, which took place in 1862 and resulted in over 23,000 casualties. As you explore the grounds, you’ll see the many monuments and markers that pay tribute to the soldiers who fought and died here. 

The visitor center offers a wealth of information about the battle and its significance, as well as exhibits that showcase the weapons, uniforms, and personal items of the soldiers who fought. 

Antietam National Battlefield in  Maryland USA United States of America
Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland USA United States of America. Pic by: Pixabay

You can also take a guided Auto tour of the battlefield, which provides insight into the strategies and tactics of the armies involved in the battle. With its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and poignant reminders of the sacrifices made by soldiers on both sides of the conflict, Antietam National Battlefield is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in American history and the Civil War.

Go Ziplining

Ziplining is one of the best outdoor activities if you are looking for something adventurous. There are lots of places in Maryland to go ziplining like the Terrapin adventures in Savage Maryland.

Many zip-line courses are designed with families in mind, with lower heights and slower speeds that are suitable for children as young as five years old. Some courses also offer tandem zip-lining, which allows parents and younger children to ride together for a shared adventure. 

Some courses are equally designed for thrill-seekers, with high speeds and dizzying heights, and high ropes course, while others are gentler and more suitable for children and families. 

See Bald Eagles

These magnificent birds can be found all throughout the state, from the forests of Western Maryland to the Chesapeake Bay. There’s something truly awe-inspiring about seeing a bald eagle up close, with its piercing eyes. You can see lots of bald eagles throughout Maryland and all year round. Some great places to see lots of bald eagles are Blackwater National Wildlife, Point lookout state park, Fisherman’s park at Cowingo Dam and lots of other nearby places.

Bald Eagle Maryland USA United States of America
Bald Eagles in Maryland, U.S.A. Pic by: Pixabay

Catch a game at the Oriole Park

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a beloved baseball stadium located in the heart of Baltimore, Maryland. Oriole Park is a must-visit destination for sports lovers and tourists alike. It has been home to the Orioles since 1992 and is one of the most beloved stadiums in Major League Baseball with its iconic warehouse look to its open concourse and cozy seating areas. 

Go paddle-boarding

One of the best ways to explore this beautiful state is by paddle-boarding. One of the most popular spots for paddle-boarding in Maryland is the Assateague Island National Seashore, where you can glide through calm, crystal-clear waters while taking in the stunning scenery of the island’s beaches and wild ponies.

Another great option is the Patapsco River, where you can paddle through scenic forests and over small rapids, or the Chesapeake Bay, where you can explore hidden coves. There are also lots of places to rent paddle-boards no matter where you are in Maryland.

Hunt shark teeth at Calvert Cliffs state park

Calvert cliff state park located along Maryland’s western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, is full of fossils from millions of years ago. If you’re looking for a unique and educational experience, this is the place! 

Visitors can search through layers of sedimentary rock to find fossilized shark teeth from species such as Carcharocles megalodon – one of the largest sharks ever known to exist! Not only does it provide a great learning opportunity about evolutionary history and geology, but it’s also fun for all ages. 

Go biking along the rail trails

For anyone who loves to bike, Maryland’s rail trails are a must-do activity. These converted railway lines have been transformed into scenic paths that wind through some of the state’s most beautiful landscapes, from rolling hills and dense forests to river valleys and quaint small towns

The Great Allegheny Passage is one of the most popular rail trails, stretching 150 miles from Cumberland to Pittsburgh and offering breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains. The C&O Canal Towpath is another favorite, winding 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland and offering a peaceful escape from the bustle of city life. There is also the Western Maryland rail trail.

What makes most of these trails even more special is the fact that they are all set away from roads and traffic; this means that cyclists can enjoy a peaceful ride without worrying about cars or other hazards on the road.

Enjoy the beach at Assateague Island National Seashore

The Assateague Island National Seashore is a beautiful barrier island located along the Eastern coast of Maryland and Virginia. It’s known for its stunning beaches, wildlife-filled marshes, and miles of undeveloped wilderness.

The area is home to a variety of animals such as deer, foxes, raccoons, and even wild horses which roam freely across the beach! 

Wild Raccoons Assateague Island National Seashore
Wild Raccoons. Pic by: Pixabay

Visitors can explore the island by hiking or biking along scenic trails, kayaking through peaceful bays and lagoons, or simply relaxing on the beautiful beaches.

The wild horses are truly a sight to behold and really an awesome experience seeing so many of them walk around. 

Appalachian Trail

Hiking the Appalachian Trail is an experience like no other. Starting in Georgia and stretching 2,200 miles to Maine, this trail takes hikers through 14 states as they make their way along the eastern coast. It has been a popular destination for hikers and adventurers alike since its completion in 1934.

The Maryland section of the trail offers hikers a chance to experience the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains as well as the Potomac River, with plenty of scenic overlooks and challenging terrain to explore. Along the way, hikers can take in the beauty of the state’s natural landscapes and encounter a variety of wildlife, including black bears, deer, and even bald eagles. 

Play some golf

There are lots of golf courses throughout the state that cater to players of all levels. From scenic courses nestled among the rolling hills of the Piedmont to seaside links courses overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland has a diverse range of golfing options that make it a premier destination for golf enthusiasts. 

One of the state’s most iconic courses is the Congressional Country Club, which has hosted several major championships and is consistently ranked as one of the top courses in the country. 

For a more relaxed round, the Links at Lighthouse Sound offers stunning views of the bay and challenging holes that will test even the most experienced players. 

Go sailing at Chesapeake Bay

The Bay, which spans over 4,000 square miles, is the largest estuary in the United States and is home to a variety of ecosystems and wildlife, including the famous blue crab. With over 11,000 miles of shoreline, Chesapeake Bay offers a diverse range of experiences while sailing.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Maryland USA United States of America
The iconic Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland of United States of America. Pic by: Pixabay

Along the way, sailors can take in the beauty of the Bay’s natural landscapes and historic landmarks, including the iconic Chesapeake Bay Bridge. There are lots of beaches for visitors to enjoy the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay.

Go nature and bird watching

Nature and bird watching in Maryland are among the most fun outdoor activities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Some of the most popular bird watching locations include the Chesapeake Bay, where visitors can spot ospreys, bald eagles, and a variety of waterfowls, and the Assateague Island National Seashore, where visitors can observe the famous wild horses as well as a variety of migratory birds

Check out waterfalls

When it comes to waterfalls, Maryland is home to some of the most spectacular ones in the United States. From cascading falls that plunge into deep gorges, to serene low-lying falls surrounded by forests, Maryland’s waterfalls offer something for everyone. 

One of the most popular waterfalls in Maryland is Cunningham Falls, located in Catoctin Mountain Park. This majestic waterfall plunges 78 feet into a scenic pool below and offers hikers a challenging but rewarding trek to the top. Other popular waterfalls include Kilgore Falls, located in Rocks State Park, and Swallow Falls, located in Deep Creek Lake State Park. These waterfalls offer visitors a chance to relax, unwind, and reconnect with nature. 

Go camping in the state parks

There are lots of state parks in Maryland especially those where visitors can camp at. They

offer plenty of activities and amenities to make your stay enjoyable. Enjoy fishing at Deep Creek Lake State Park, take a hike through Patapsco Valley State Park or explore the Chesapeake Bay with Assateague Island National Seashore – the possibilities are endless!

Many state parks offer a variety of recreational activities, including hiking and swimming, as well as organized programs and events for all ages. Some of the most popular state parks for camping include Assateague Island State Park, which offers stunning views of the ocean and the famous wild horses that roam the island, and Deep Creek Lake State Park, which offers access to the largest freshwater lake in the state. 

Frequently asked questions about Outdoor adventures in Maryland

What are some outdoor adventure activities?

Some great outdoors adventure activities to enjoy in Maryland include hiking, mountain biking, camping, bird watching, kayaking and canoeing. There are numerous trails for hikers of all experience levels throughout the state for discovering stunning landscapes such as the Annapolis Trail which has miles of bike trails and walking trails. 
For thrill seekers looking for a more exciting adventure, there are plenty of opportunities for mountain biking and whitewater rafting as well. 

What are the best outdoor recreational activities?

The best outdoor recreational activities vary depending on personal preference and geographic location, but some of the most popular options include camping, hiking, biking, kayaking/canoeing, bird watching, skiing/snowboarding, rock climbing and boating. 
Maryland in particular offers outdoor enthusiasts many opportunities for bird watching as well as camping among its diverse habitats ranging from mountain peaks to sea level coasts.
Other outdoor recreational activities are also available in Maryland such as golfing.

Conclusion: Final thoughts on Outdoor adventures in Maryland

Maryland is a truly unique destination for outdoor adventurers. From hiking the Appalachian Trail to kayaking on the Chesapeake Bay, from bird watching to camping in the state parks, Maryland’s natural beauty and rich biodiversity offer endless opportunities for exploration, discovery, and adventure. 

Whether you seek an adrenaline-pumping extreme sport or a peaceful escape into nature, Maryland has something for everyone. 

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