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HomeFunTravel5 Great Maryland State Parks

5 Great Maryland State Parks

North

Catoctin Mountain Park
6602 Foxville Rd
Thurmont, MD 21788
301- 663-9388
nps.gov/cato/

When the president needs a break he jumps in his helicopter and heads North to his cabin in the woods. While you can’t stay at Camp David, you can stay next door at Catoctin Mountain Park. Tall pine trees and rushing water line the drive to park headquarters and are reminiscent of the woods in Maine with a cool, shady feel unlike hot sticky Maryland days. There are miles and miles of hiking to suit all abilities. Wolf Rock juts suddenly out of the ground and rock formations offer the chance to do a little climbing over, under and around.
Catoctin is home of The Brotherhood of the Jungle Cocks, one of the oldest fly fishing clubs in the country. They promote the skill and love of fishing to kids. Big Hunting Creek is their classroom and Brook Trout are what they are trying to catch. You might see some of them casting into the creek. You can join in too, bring your fly fishing gear and try to catch a big one. It’s all catch and release and you’ll need a fishing license and trout stamp. See the sidebar for more information.
Reservations for cabins at Camp Misty Mountain: 301-271-3140. Campground and primitive Adirondack shelters are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

What’s unique: Nature Center, 25 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing on Wolf Rock (permit required)
What’s close by: Gettysburg, Cunningham Falls State Park
What’s best: Hiking along the Big Hunting Creek and climbing on Wolf Rock
Pets: OK on a leash at the Owens Creek Campground but no other campgrounds*

Camp Fire Program
Every Saturday evening in July from 9-9:45pm, in Saturdays in August at 8:30pm.
Join a Park Ranger at the Owens Creek Campground amphitheater for a 30-45 minute evening program.  Topics focus on natural history, resouce management issues, and history of the park and the National Park Service. Appropriate for family audiences.

Cunningham Falls State Park
14039 Catoctin Hollow Road
Thurmont, MD 21788
301-271-7574

Reservations: 1-888-432-CAMP (2267) dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/cunninghamfalls.html
Maryland Route 77 is the only thing that separates Catoctin Mountain Park to the north and Cunningham Falls State Park, on the southern side. Each park boasts approximately 5,000 acres. Cunningham Falls State Park compliments Catoctin, offering some of the amenities not available at Catoctin. Boat rentals and a 44-acre lake; swimming, hiking to a waterfall and lots of campground space make Cunningham Falls a popular summer destination.
What’s unique: Canoeing on lake, fishing
What’s close by: Gettysburg, Catoctin, Monocacy Battlefield
What’s best: Hiking to waterfall and/or Catoctin Furnace
Pets: OK on a leash in the Manor Area Campground only.*

South

Smallwood State Park
2750 Sweden Point Road
Marbury MD 20658
301-743-7613
dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/smallwood.html

Nestled along the Potomac River, Smallwood State Park encompasses 648 acres of what used to be a gentleman’s farm. Lucky for General Smallwood, he managed to snag some prime land right on the Potomac River where the boating and fishing are good. This park is quiet and not overused. Two of the camping cabins overlook the river and several are reserved for families with dogs.
There is a nice playground, an excellent fishing pier with a designated area for cleaning your catch and even docking for boats at the Sweden Point Marina if you want to spend the night on your boat instead of in a cabin or tent.
What’s unique: Historic restored home of Maryland’s fourth governor, General William Smallwood. Tours are available every Sunday afternoon through the summer.
What’s close by: Purse State Park at low tide is good for fossil hunting, National Colonial Farm
What’s best: Fishing pier and boating access

East

Tuckahoe State Park
13070 Crouse Mill Road
Queen Anne, MD 21657
410-820-1668
Reservations: 1-888-432-CAMP (2267)
dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/eastern/tuckahoe.html

If you are looking for laid-back relaxation in a secluded country environment, then Tuckahoe is the place for you. You have to drive by a lot of fields before you get to the park. That’s not to say there isn’t much to do, because Tuckahoe is an active family’s dream come true. Situated on a 60 acre lake and flooded wetlands, it’s not unusual to spot eagles, blue heron, osprey, turtles and beavers. There are hiking, biking, equestrian and canoeing trails. Adjoining Adkins Arboretum has 600 acres of native trees and plants, most are identified with plaques and native gardens around the welcome center display the abundance of colorful local plants.
What’s unique: a climbing wall, canoe trail, fitness challenge course and Adkins Arboretum
What’s close by: Nothing. Although you do pass the Queenstown Outlets to get there.
What’s best: canoeing or kayaking up Tuckahoe Creek to spot beavers and turtles while you wind through narrow passages.
Pets: Dogs are allowed on a leash.*

Open Rock Wall at Tuckahoe’s Challenge Course
Tuckahoe State Park
July 5, 2008 and August 31
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: 13070 Crouse Mill Road
City: Queen Anne
County: Caroline
Description: Take part in Tuckahoe’s Open Rock Climbing sessions, designed for both experienced climbers looking to practice as well as those who have never climbed before. Children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. (Additional sessions scheduled for May 24 and August 31).
Cost: $5 per climb
Guided Canoe Trip
July 5, 2008 and August 30
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Location: 13070 Crouse Mill Road
City: Queen Anne
County: Caroline
Description: Join park staff for a relaxing and educational guided canoe outing along Tuckahoe Creek. Trip will depart from the Lake Boathouse at 6 p.m. Reservations required; minimum of 6 participants per trip. $6 – adults, $4 – children 14 & under (paid upon arrival).
Cost: $6 adults; $4 children (14 & under)

West

Deep Creek Lake State Park and NRMA
What’s unique: Deep Creek Discovery Center, Meadow Mountain hiking trails and historic coal mine
What’s close by: Wisp Mountain, Youghageny river rafting , hiking to Swallow Falls
What’s best: Swimming at the beach, fishing, black bear sightings
Pets: Permitted on a leash on hiking trails and in the campground only. Pets are not permitted at the waterfront area or in the day use area of the park. Pets cannot be left unattended. *

Art in the Park
July 12 and 13, 2008
10 a.m. – 5p.m.
Location: 898 State Park Rd
City: Swanton
County: Garrett
Description: Come by boat or car to this FREE art event. Over 40 artists exhibit and sell their original artwork. Includes: pottery; jewelry; photography; woodworking; watercolor & oil paintings & more. Dixieland music, food, roving naturalist programs, etc.  Art demonstrations in a beautiful, natural setting.

Reservations at all Maryland State Parks
Reservations: 1-888-432-CAMP(2267)
http://reservations.dnr.state.md.us/

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Tips for Camping With Kids

Camping Across Maryland

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