Peaceful paths for strolling with your baby

Stroller pathLooking for a path to explore with your baby? Here are a few paved trails perfect for strollers, from the wetlands of the Eastern Shore to the varied state parks of central Maryland. Keep in mind that these potentially peaceful paths can get crowded on the weekends. And some of the more secluded sites might be best explored with a friend.

Cross Island Trail, Kent Island
Start from Terrapin Nature Park or Old Love Point Park and wander through farmlands, meadows and woods. Cross over creeks via wooden bridges and catch views of waterfowl and wetlands. The trail is 6.5 miles long. Terrapin Nature Park has amazing water views and Old Love Point offers a playground for tots and older kids. Free parking at both locations. 410-758-0835, parksnrec.org/hiker-biker-trails/parks-and-maps

Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail
The 1.4-mile boardwalk trail follows Fishing Creek in northern Calvert County and runs from Chesapeake Beach Water Park to Richfield Station. With two bridges, the trail offers views of native marsh and creek wildlife like red-winged blackbirds, ospreys, great blue herons and river otters. Parking is available at the water park. 410-257-2230, Chesapeake-beach.md.us/attrations_railwaytrail.htm

Lake Elkhorn, Columbia
This 2-mile path circles the lake in the Owen Brown neighborhood of Columbia. The trail is mostly flat, with a few inclines, and has both shaded and open sections. Ducks congregate at a dock along the path and older kids can explore the playground near the dock. There is a parking lot off Broken Land Parkway, and the lake and playground can be accessed from Cradlerock Way. visithowardcounty.com/outdoors/lakes

Grist Mill Trail, Patapsco Valley State Park
The trail starts at Lost Lake in the Glen Artney area of Patapsco Valley State Park and runs to Ilchester Road in Ellicott City — about 3 miles total. The completely shaded and mostly flat path runs along the Patapsco River and passes the swinging bridge. It is perfect for strolling, but can get crowded on weekends. Parking is available at Lost Lake and on River Road, just over the bridge from the Ilchester Road entrance to the trail. There is a fee to enter the park. Part of the trail from the swinging bridge to Ilchester may close at some point this summer for the Bloede Dam removal project. 410-461-5005,
dnr2.maryland.gov, then click park, find a state park and Patapsco Valley

Quiet Waters Park, Annapolis
A 4-mile paved trail winds through the woods and open fields of the park, which is situated between the South River and Harness Creek. The trail starts just inside the park entrance on the right. Markers along the path show distance. Expect twists and turns with a few short hills and some uneven spots. The park also has a playground and plenty of spots for a picnic. There is a fee to enter the park. 410-222-1777, aacounty.org/departments/recreation-parks/parks/quiet-waters or fqwp.org

Kinder Farm Park, Millersville
The park has a 2.8-mile paved perimeter trail perfect for strolling. Pass ponds, community gardens, sports fields and meadows. A working farm, tot lot, picnic pavilions and restroom facilities are all on the park premises. There is a fee to enter the park. aacounty.org/departments/recreation-parks/parks/kinder-farm or kinderfarmpark.org

By Betsy Stein