The naturally rugged beauty of Maryland is not lost on the people who live in it. Its residents make great efforts to regularly exercise within their parks and along their coastline through kayaking, hiking, fishing, boulder climbing and much more.
The people of Maryland are active, and the area’s national and state parks are ready to accommodate all kinds of pastimes. However, they are fiercely protective about disturbing the balance of nature. The people are proud of the beauty that surrounds them, a concept that goes back thousands of years to when the Native Americans worshipped this land. There are many parks to discover if you travel in any direction out of Baltimore; here are some local favorites.
The marked trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains will take you through forested land and past old farmhouses and lead you to outstanding views of the Monocacy Valley. This area is bear and snake territory, but that shouldn’t put you off. The park is very popular for strenuous activities in summer and winter, including cross-country skiing and rock climbing. Just bring good boots.
Overwhelmingly tranquil and romantic, Fort Washington Park should sit at odds with the military structures that litter its grounds and its past. Long gone are the times when this was a fort guarding the nation’s capital. Now you are more likely to hear buzzing bees than the sound of cannon fire (unless you are there on the weekend for a cannon display, of course). Either way, the views of the Potomac River from the fort are outstanding.
Patapsco Valley State Park has 200mi (322km) of trails – Baltimore City Paper even named it the “Best Place to Hike” in 2007. The number one route has to be the Cascade Falls Loop Trail. It’s a fun and not too difficult trail, complete with beautiful water views on the way up and back down. The Blair Witch Project (1999) filmed here in the park, too, so get back before it gets dark.
This park is a living farm museum where visitors can get the 1900s experience of watching cows being milked, chickens being fed and pigs giving birth. The park area was a plantation home during the War of 1812 and a hospital farm at another time. Crops now have been replanted and even some orchards restored. You will feel like you are on the set of a quaint movie.