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Find Outdoor Fun, History, and Art in Maryland's Parks

Visitors to Maryland find plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation at the many parks in the state.

Catoctin Mountain Park

Found near the northern border of Baltimore – and just a short drive east of Hagerstown – Catcoctin Mountain Park serves as any traveling outdoors person’s paradise. To become briefly familiarized with the park’s scenery and receive maps and travel tips; guests are encouraged to stop by the Catcoctin Mountain Park visitor center prior to exploring the park.

Due to the parks ample size within the Appalachian Mountains, outdoor recreational opportunities can be found in every valley and on every mountaintop. Visitors choose from hiking the numerous Catoctin Mountain Trails, picnicking at Chestnut or Owens Creek picnic areas, fishing at Big Hunting Creek, and other activities spread across over 6,000 acres of forest.

Federal Hill Park

History buffs looking to spend quality time in downtown Baltimore, have a must-see destination to add to their list. Historic Federal Hill Park is the place. This beautiful park has roots dating back to the War of 1812, when it was a lookout point.

The park, located south of Inner Harbor, provides incredible views of downtown Baltimore. Baltimore area residents and visitors have enjoyed outdoor recreation at the park's location, since 1879.

The buildings in the Federal Hill Historic District surrounding the park are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After relaxing in the park, enjoy a pleasant stroll to nearby Cross Street Market, built in the 19th century, to find shops, restaurants, taverns and the Maryland Science Center.

Fort Foote Park

Located south of D.C. in south-central Maryland, Fort Foote Park is a former Civil War-era military base. The base was constructed in 1863 to help defend the southern entry to the capital via Potomac River.

Guests can thoroughly explore every historical nook and cranny of the fort – including two actual Civil War Guns still standing – via unguided walking tours of the grounds. The fort was built atop Rozier’s Bluff, giving post-war visitors an unbeatable view overlooking the Potomac River.

Fort Washington Park

Located just south of D.C. in south-central Maryland, Fort Washington Park is a former military base primarily used during the early 19th century and the War of 1812. The base was originally constructed as a defensive strong hold for in coming traffic via the Potomac River.

Today, there are plenty of enticing things to do at Fort Washington Park – including outdoor recreational opportunities along the three-mile wildlife trail, picnicking, and the Civil War artillery demonstrations taking place one Sunday per month from April to October. Visitors can also enjoy perusing the museum, catching picturesque views of the river, and look up at the 28-foot tall Fort Washington Light.

Glen Echo Park

Neighboring the Clara Barton House in western Maryland, Glen Echo Park is a cultural, musical, and artistic hub found in the town of Glen Echo. The park, situated alongside the Potomac River, is a proud member of the National Register of Historic Places due to its historical significance to the region.

The park, built in 1891, is still the host of several public festivals like the Washington Folk Festival and Family Day. On-site attractions include the Spanish Ballroom, the Dentzel menagerie carousel, and the variety of workshops, tours, and programs frequently hosted by the park.

Greenbelt Park

Found just outside of D.C. – near the suburbs of College Park and Lanham – Greenbelt Park is a 1,000-acre wilderness area conveniently located in the heart of central Maryland. Given the park’s centralized location, visitors won’t have to travel far from the city to enjoy some of the state’s best outdoor recreation hosted by the Universe States National Park Service.

Hikers and bikers will find plenty of excellent trails among the Greenbelt Park trail system – including the Perimeter Trail, Dogwood Trail, and more. Visiting families often pack a lunch for the day and stop the Sweetgum Picnic Area, complete with playground equipment, a baseball field, and large play field.

Hagerstown City Park

Purchased in 1739 by Jonathan Hager, Hagerstown City Park is located in Hagerstown. In 1916, the city purchased the land and developed the city park. This historic park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. This wonderful Hagerstown attraction is known as "America's Second Most Beautiful City Park."

While traveling in Maryland, be sure to schedule time for a visit. During a visit to the park, enjoy strolling through the Washington County Museum & Fine Arts, the Mansion House Art Gallery, the Western Maryland 202 Locomotive Display & Museum and the Hager House & Museum.

Piscataway Park

Just about 20 miles southwest of D.C., Piscataway Park preserves 4,00 acres of meadows, wetlands, and woodlands – as well as several historic structures. The park is home to the Marshall Hall National Colonial Farm and the Accokeek Creek Site – both have been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Due to the park’s large size and unique, picturesque landscape, outdoor recreation at Piscataway Park is abundant. Water recreation on the Potomac River and boating off of Farmington Landing and Marshall Hall boat launches are popular, while bird watching on the shore is equally as rewarding.

Rock Creek Regional Park

A beautiful park located near Rockville in the Washington DC area, Rock Creek Regional Park encompasses nearly 1,800 acres, including Lake Needwood and Lake Frank. Recreational enthusiasts enjoy the wonderful variety of park activities.

The thirteen miles of shoreline trails are perfect for hiking and biking. The park's sheltered targets at the archery range, are great for mastering archery skills. Bring along your fishing pole for a fun time fishing and boating on the lakes. For a unique team-building experience, climb and repel through the Go Ape! high-ropes course, for an incredible, fun time.

Sandy Point State Park

While exploring the beautiful state of Maryland, travel to the Capital City of Annapolis, to reach Sandy Point State Park. This beautiful 786-acre park is located along the Chesapeake Bay, off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Bring your camera to capture the incredible views of the bay, as well as the historic Sandy Point Lighthouse – built in 1883.

Lace up comfortable shoes for strolling along the Symbi Trail or choose a spot along the shore to drop a fishing line into the water. Crabbing for blue crab from the park's crabbing pier is a favorite activity for park visitors. The small-craft launch area is ideal for those with a canoe, catamaran, kayak or board for windsurfing.

South Mountain Battlefield State Park

To commemorate the first Civil War battle to take place in the state of Maryland, the Battle of South Mountain, South Mountain Battlefield State Park was created. The Sate Park is located in the town of Middletown, outside of Frederick, Maryland.

South Mountain Battlefield is incorporated with Washington Monument State Park where visitors can begin their journey to view the battlefield. Unlike many other Civil War battlefields, South Mountain is still largely unprotected and visitors should take care when touring the battlefield.

South Mountain Battlefield State Park provides a unique opportunity to see the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which intersects the battlefield. Trails are the preferred method of viewing the battlefield with maps available upon request.

South Mountain holds yearly events and re-enactments for visitors to experience what the battle might have been like in 1862.