When it comes to outdoor adventures, Maryland might not seem like it has a lot but trust me, it is the perfect place for you! It offers a lot of adventures from hiking the trails to kayaking trips in various state parks and more.
Not limited to state parks, outdoor lovers can explore top experiences such as the famous Assateague Island National Seashore, known for its wild horses and stunning beaches. Visitors can also go hiking on trails in the Appalachian Mountains, with the challenging terrain of the Maryland Heights Trail and the Annapolis Rock Trail.
For water lovers, kayaking or paddleboarding in the Chesapeake Bay is a must, plus visitors can take a boat tour to see the historic lighthouses dotting the coastline.
17 Things to Do in Maryland for Outdoor Lovers
1. State parks
If you are looking for a fun outdoor experience with nice scenery, Maryland’s state parks offer the perfect getaway.
With over 50 parks to choose from, there’s something for everyone, from the stunning views of Patapsco Valley State Park to the historic ruins of Fort Frederick State Park. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, or horseback riding on the trails, or cool off with a swim in the crystal-clear waters of the state’s many lakes and rivers.
History enthusiasts will love exploring the Civil War-era forts and battlefields at Antietam National Battlefield and South Mountain State Park, while wildlife enthusiasts can observe the many species of birds and animals at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
And with camping and cabin options available, you can truly immerse yourself in the beauty of Maryland’s state parks and make lasting memories with family and friends.
2. Hiking trails
Maryland is a hiker’s paradise, offering a diverse range of trails that cater to all skill levels and interests.
The popular Billy Goat Trail in Great Falls is a challenging hike that rewards visitors with breathtaking views of the Potomac River. Meanwhile, Catoctin Mountain Park boasts a network of trails that pass by stunning waterfalls, tranquil streams, and forests.
For history lovers, the Antietam National Battlefield offers a chance to walk in the footsteps of soldiers from the Civil War. Whether you’re looking for a challenging ascent or a leisurely stroll, Maryland’s hiking trails offer something for everyone (also for complete hiking beginners!), making it the perfect destination for a memorable outdoor adventure. You may even spot some native wildlife or discover hidden gems like waterfalls and rock formations as you make your way around.
3. Nature centers
For nature lovers looking for a unique way to explore the great outdoors, visiting Maryland’s nature centers is a must!
From interactive exhibits and educational programs to guided tours and special events – there are plenty of activities that will keep you busy all year round. Whether you’re interested in learning about local wildlife or discovering native plants and trees, these nature centers have something for everyone.
You can also participate in hands-on experiences like learning about butterflies or building birdhouses, which will help deepen your appreciation of this beautiful state.
4. Go horseback riding
Many horseback riding tours and stables offer guided rides, allowing you to explore the stunning scenery and wildlife of the state in a safe and enjoyable way.
Most of these stables or farms allow everyone whether seasoned equestrian or a beginner.
From Assateague Island State Park to Catoctin Mountain Park, you can find a variety of trails that range from easy strolls for beginners to challenging climbs for experienced riders. As you traverse through these trails, take in breathtaking views and observe native wildlife up close as you make your way around this beautiful state.
For an unforgettable experience, you can’t miss the Assateague Island National Seashore.
This 37-mile stretch of barrier islands off the coast of Maryland is home to over 400 wild horses and abundant wildlife. Here, you can explore miles of untouched beaches and unique wetlands on horseback, taking in the incredible scenery and spotting wild horses along the way.
5. Go Golfing
Golfing in Maryland is an experience like no other. With some of the best courses in the country, golfers can enjoy a round of 18 holes surrounded by lush forests, rolling hills, and lakes. From challenging championship courses to family-friendly executive layouts, there’s something for everyone here in Maryland.
Not only are the courses beautiful and well-maintained, but they also offer great amenities such as bars, restaurants, spas, pro shops, driving ranges, and practice greens so that you can perfect your game before teeing off. Here are some of the best places to play golf in OC Maryland.
6. Go swimming in the Lakes
Not all the lakes in Maryland allow swimming but nothing beats taking a dip in the shimmering lakes of Maryland on a hot summer day! From Deep Creek Lake, to Rocky Gap Lake, Maryland’s waterways provide an idyllic setting for swimming and other water activities.
Some lakes have really crystal-clear waters and lush green surroundings, some have huge swimming holes that visitors can throw themselves into and feel relaxed when spending time around these serene bodies of water.
7. Check out some waterfalls
Maryland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of waterfalls, but the state is actually home to some truly breathtaking waterfalls.
From the cascading beauty of Cunningham Falls in Catoctin Mountain Park to the peaceful serenity of Kilgore Falls in Rocks State Park, there’s a waterfall in Maryland for every type of adventurer. Some waterfalls require a bit of a hike to reach, but the reward of stunning views and the soothing sound of rushing water makes it well worth the effort.
Some Popular Maryland Waterfalls:
- Cunningham Falls – This 78-foot cascading waterfall is located in the beautiful Catoctin Mountains and is easily accessible by car. The path to the falls is lined with lush greenery, making it a perfect spot for a peaceful picnic or stroll.
- Muddy Creek Falls – This is a crashing 53-foot waterfall located in Swallow Falls State Park near Oakland, Maryland.
8. Enjoy the outdoors in St Michaels
St. Michaels, Maryland is a nice little town that offers visitors the perfect opportunity to escape the craziness of city life and connect with the great outdoors.
A day spent exploring St. Michaels and its surrounding is so worth it with scenic views of the Chesapeake Bay, fresh sea air, and the charming sights and sounds of the town itself. Visitors can rent a bike or kayak and explore the many trails and waterways surrounding St. Michaels, or simply stroll through the town’s historic streets and admire the beautifully preserved architecture.
Local seafood is a must-try for any visitor, and there are plenty of great restaurants in St. Michaels serving up fresh crab cakes and other delicious seafood dishes. You could even make a day trip out of St Michaels and stay in some of their nice bed and breakfasts.
9. Go kayaking
Outdoor lovers looking for an unforgettable experience should consider going kayaking in Maryland as the state provides plenty of opportunities to explore nature from a unique perspective.
Maryland offers some of the best kayaking opportunities in the country due to its miles of coastline and abundance of bays, creeks, and rivers. From calm waters to rapids that will test your skills, visitors can find something for all levels of paddlers here.
10. Explore Assateague National Seashore
Exploring the Assateague National Seashore in Maryland is a must-do for any nature lover. The park spans over 37 miles of pristine coastline, dunes, and marshland, making it one of the most unique and diverse ecosystems in the country. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, or horseback riding on the miles of trails that wind through the park, or spend a day lounging on the beach.
The park also offers fantastic opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and birdwatching. One amazing thing about this place is the wild horses. They roam around the seashore freely all day and are a sight to behold!
11. Smell some lavender
Visiting lavender farms is such a sensory and calming experience even for outdoor lovers. It might not be adventurous like rock climbing or kayaking, but it provides a lot of calm and allows visitors to take in the beauty of the landscape while exploring the vast array of products made from these aromatic flowers.
From essential oils, bath salts, candles, and soaps to sachets and teas—there are countless ways to enjoy the calming scent of lavender.
Visitors can even create their own unique blend using oils from different varieties. There are also plenty of activities designed specifically for kids – like scavenger hunts, educational talks about how lavender is harvested and processed into essential oils, and crafting sessions where they can make their own perfumes out of natural ingredients.
12. Enjoy the beauty of Sunflowers
If you’re looking for a stunning and unique outdoor adventure in Maryland, visiting sunflower fields should be at the top of your list! The bright and cheerful flowers towering over you create a breathtaking and unforgettable experience.
One of the best things about visiting sunflower fields is the opportunity for stunning photos – the vibrant yellow petals make the perfect backdrop for a family photo shoot or a romantic couple’s outing. Plus, many of the fields offer additional activities like hayrides and pumpkin patches, making it an ideal day trip for the whole family.
13. Ocean City boardwalk
The Ocean City Boardwalk is one of the most iconic and beloved attractions on the East Coast. Spanning about 3 miles along the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland, this historic boardwalk has been a popular destination for generations of families looking for fun and relaxation.
There is so much to do here like the amusement park rides to the carnival games. Visitors can hop on a roller coaster, take a stroll on the sandy beaches, go shopping, or grab some ice cream while soaking in the sun. There are great family hotels on the boardwalk to spend the weekend.
If you’re looking for an exciting and adrenaline-filled adventure, ziplining in Maryland is the perfect activity for you! With breathtaking views of the Chesapeake Bay and numerous forests to explore, Maryland offers some of the best zip-lining experiences in the country. The zipline routes are great for both beginners and seasoned zipliners
15. Grab some sunshine on the beach
Heading to the beach in Maryland is a great way to enjoy some of the best that nature has to offer. Visitors can spend an exciting day out with family and friends, or simply relax and take in some stunning scenery. There are miles of sandy shorelines waiting to be explored in various parts of Maryland such as Ocean City and Assateague National Seashore plus several in the Chesapeake Bay area.
16. Go Crabbing
With some of the best crabbing spots in the country, Maryland is famous for its blue crabs. You can catch crabs off the shore, from a pier, or even on a boat. One of the best spots to crab is the Chesapeake Bay where visitors can get a great view of the clear blue waters and abundant wildlife.
There is also a wide variety of crabs for anglers to target. From blue crabs to rockfish and even soft shells during certain times of the year, there is no limit.
17. Go camping
If pitching a tent outside and sleeping under the stars sounds amazing to you, then Maryland is a great state for that.
Its campsites offer a variety of amenities, from basic tent camping to RV hookups and cabin rentals, so you can choose the level of comfort that best suits your needs. During the day, you can explore the countless hiking trails, mountain biking routes, and fishing spots that Maryland has to offer. At night, you can gather around the campfire with others and enjoy the night.
Frequently asked questions about things to do in Maryland for outdoor lovers
What leisure and recreational activities do you enjoy in southern Maryland?
When it comes to outdoor recreational activities, Southern Maryland is where to be. Visitors can find a lot to do here such as kayaking and fishing on the Potomac River, biking and hiking along the trails of Patuxent River State Park, and more.
For those who prefer a slower pace, there are many golf courses to explore, or maybe even visit one of the state parks for historic sites such as St. Mary’s City or Point Lookout Lighthouse. There are also plenty of opportunities for bird watching, stargazing, and camping throughout Southern Maryland.
What are three popular recreational activities?
Three popular recreational activities include hiking, biking, and swimming. Other recreational activities that are becoming more popular include kayaking, rock climbing, yoga, and golf.
In addition to physical activities such as these, other forms of recreation can also be enjoyed such as board games or trivia competitions.
Final thoughts on things to do in Maryland for outdoor lovers
As you can see, Maryland is a great destination for outdoor lovers. No matter your interests, looking to hike, bike, kayak or simply take in the scenery, there are loads of activities available that will fill your days with adventure and fun.
From the Appalachian Trail to Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland has something for everyone who loves being outdoors. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors, pack your bags and head to Maryland – you won’t be disappointed!
Lola is the founder of Deyewa, where she provides families with great vacation ideas and tips for planning activities and things to do in Maryland. She is a wife and mom of 3 young kids and loves to help others experience and explore the world around them.