5 Great Hiking Trails in Maryland

By Bethany Quinn

5 Great Hiking Trails in Maryland

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Diverse terrain is what makes Maryland a perfect place for getting your hike on with the family. Not only can you explore densely-wooded greenery for miles, if you want to get a salty breeze blowing through your hair, there’s rugged beaches awaiting you. The fantastic hiking trails of Maryland offer up marvelous views that you won’t soon forget. Here are five great hiking trails in the state. 

1. Appalachian Trail

Don’t let the name “Appalachian Trail” intimidate you. Yes, it is one of the largest trails in the world and can be incredibly rugged. However, there are sections of it that are easy enough for a family to enjoy. The area near the Washington Monument is one of them. This monument was built by locals and the hike to it is only around 20 minutes from the parking lot. The views are stunning and there are always families, with kids, around. If your children are slightly older, you can easily venture out and walk on the Appalachian Trail for as long as you, and they, like. As a bonus, there are restrooms at the parking lot, a visitor’s center, and a huge field with a playground. In other words—the entire family will enjoy themselves and be able to relax after your hike. Just bring food with you because there are no restaurants close by. 

2. Calvert Cliffs

Warning: This walk can feel slightly long and slightly steep for young children. There is a good chance that you will be carrying your three-year-old for at least part of the way. However, if you don’t mind that, you will love the Calvert Cliffs and so will they. In the parking lot is a playground and picnic benches but once you start your hike, you are gently hiking down the cliffside. You will pass marshlands with incredible wildlife such as wild turtles and birds. The landscape here is stunning and certainly picture-worthy. The real treat, however, awaits you at the bottom. Here, you will find the beach. This is a rugged beach you can only access by hiking so there is zero commercialism. What you will find is fossils and plenty of them. This is the fossil destination in Maryland so bring a bucket and shovel and then plan to spend the day looking for shark and dinosaur teeth. 

Any one of us could be a meme in this pic.

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3. St. Mary’s River State Park, California, MD

This is an amazing place to hike because you can get the best of both worlds—a trail and a rustic adventure. The trail itself is seven miles-long and perfect for families. Additionally, there are over 2,000 acres of undeveloped land to explore. When wearing rugged shoes and jeans, you and your kids can get off the beaten path and look for wildlife, native plants, and maybe even a few trees to climb. Kids love the sense of freedom they get while exploring and listening to the sound of the birds fly from tree to tree will not disappoint.

4. Greenwell State Park, Hollywood, MD

There is so much to do here that you can enjoy a family hike and then go horseback riding or fishing. You can even spend time at the beach. It makes for a perfect day. Hiking can be the start of your adventure, while cooling off in the water can end it. When you find a family destination like this, all you can do is come here to hike more often.

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5. Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont, MD

You cannot miss Cunningham Falls in the spring. It is vibrant and beautiful. The power of the falls is something to behold, especially after it has been raining. The good news is that the hike is a relatively short and easy one, even for the kids. In the summer, you have to bring the kids back for another hike. While the falls won’t be as spectacular, the lake at the bottom of the trail will be. You can go for a hike when you get here and then spend the rest of the day swimming with the kids in a gorgeous natural lake that is surrounded by trees. They also have a concession stand here, making this one of the few places you can hike and then relax afterwards without needing to pack a ton of stuff—ideal for families that want to get out of the house and have a last-minute summer adventure. One last tip: you can’t get into the falls but with a lake here, there is no need to. 

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