Get Outside

Outdoor enthusiast families, this is your year. Author Bryan MacKay has given us three new guides to inspire and lead us as we hike, bike and paddle our way around Maryland.

download 2MacKay has spent more than 40 years exploring Maryland’s outdoors, and is a senior lecturer emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. MacKay is also the author of “A Year Across Maryland: A Week-by-Week Guide to Discovering Nature in the Chesapeake Region” and “Baltimore Trails: A Guide for Hikers and Mountain Bikers.”

The books, “Hike Maryland,” “Cycle Maryland” and “Paddle Maryland” are available for $19.95 on Amazon or through Johns Hopkins Press (press.jhu.edu). They are small enough to easily fit into a backpack, and provide a wealth of information on the state’s best spots to explore.  

The books are well laid out, with a quick reference guide at the beginning of each entry that includes highlights, area references, local points of interest and wildlife to watch for. That’s followed by a trip description, map, directions and a description of other outdoor recreational activities nearby. There are a few black-and-white photos mixed into each entry, and a short section of color photos mid-guide for a break on the eyes.

In “Paddle Maryland,” MacKay takes readers to his favorite paddling spots around the state like the Pocomoke River, where you can paddle among Bald Cypress trees, and Janes Island State Park, where you can enjoy both beachcombing and paddling through marshy creeks behind the island. Potomac River favorites include Mattawoman Creek’s marshes and around Mallows Bay, where you’ll find the historic ghost fleet of 100-year-old wooden ships at rest in the shallows.

In “Cycle Maryland,” you’ll get the skinny on the best way to do the BWI airport loop, the Anacostia Riverwalk trail and the National Arboretum, plus the Gwynn’s Falls trail and Eastern Shore trips like the Assateague Island trail and western state treasures like the Great Allegheny passage and others.

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Similarly, “Hike Maryland” offers a wealth of information on trails around the state, offering a smattering from each region and in varying difficulties. You’ll have no trouble finding a hike, bike or paddle that’s just
right for you and your family, friends or workout buddies.