7 Maryland bike trails fit for the family

Article Index

Updated October 2018

Family friendly bike trails in MarylandBike Trail

1. BWI Trail (Easy to Moderate)

This 12.5-mile paved bike trail circles BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, taking cyclists through parts of Glen Burnie, Ferndale and Linthicum. The trail begins at the Linthicum light trail station, but many families either start or end their journey at the Thomas A. Dixon Jr. Observation Area, located near the intersection of Dorsey Road and Arundel Avenue in Severn. Here, families can watch (and hear) airplanes land on the nearby runways.

Parking is available next to the observation area as well as at Sawmill Creek Park, located at 301 Dorsey Road in Glen Burnie. Or, families can bike to the trail from the B&A Trail by using the Stewart Avenue bridge and John Overstreet Connector Trail.

Info: https://www.aacounty.org/locations-and-directions/bwi-trail

2. Cross Island Trail (Easy)

A 6-mile trail that runs east to west along an abandoned rail corridor in Queen Anne's County, the Cross Island Trail is a "hidden gem" in the world of Maryland bike paths, says Ernest Freeland, owner of Bike Doctor of Crofton. "It's more like you're riding at the beach," he says. "It feels like you're not even in Maryland."

The paved trail begins near Terrapin Nature Park, a waterfront, 276-acre park in Stevensville that is home to a variety of waterfowl, wildlife and plants. From there, the trail takes cyclists along Kent Narrows, through canopied forests and on bridges that offer scenic views of the area's waterways. It also connects cyclists to Old Love Point Park, the Kent Island boat launch and the Chesapeake Exploration Center, a visitor's center with exhibits on the Eastern Shore's heritage.

"There are lots of stopping points," Freeland says. And, the trail can be a welcome diversion for families in need of out-of-car breaks during trips to the Maryland and Delaware beaches.

Info: parksnrec.org/hiker-biker-trails/hiker-biker-trails/

3. Centennial Park (Moderate)

With 2.6 miles of paved pathways that wrap around a lake, 337-acre Centennial Park is a favorite spot for families from across Maryland. Jon Posner, store manager at Race Pace Bicycles in Ellicott City, says he frequently rides there with his children, Jonah, 4, and Avery, 2, for both exercise and education.

"One of the things I like a lot about Centennial is the arboretum that exists throughout the park in the form of informational signs placed along the paths that point out the trees, their leaves and seeds," he says. "It is also nice to have the circuit go all the way around the lake because it allows for a 'round trip' type of bike ride rather than an 'out and back' trip."

But don't let the fairly flat paths around the main entrance deceive you. This park packs plenty of hills. Centennial Park has several playgrounds, as well as boats for rent, picnic areas and basketball courts if younger family members need a break. Parking is available at each of the park's four entrances. The main entrance off Route 108 offers quick access to the lake path.

Info: https://www.howardcountymd.gov/CentennialPark

4. Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail (Easy)

Opened in 2011, the Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail runs along Fishing Creek in northern Calvert County. It sits on the former home of the Chesapeake Beach Railway, which operated from 1900 to 1935. The 1.4-mile boardwalk trail starts at Chesapeake Beach Water Park and ends at Richfield Station or vice versa.

With two bridges, the trail gives bikers up-close views of native marsh and creek wildlife like red-winged blackbirds, ospreys, great blue herons and river otters. Some bikers have even spotted bald eagles on their journeys. The trail is wheelchair accessible, and parking is available at the water park.

Info: chesapeake-beach.md.us

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