From backyard water experiments and competitions, to adventures to waterfalls and tucked away beaches, here’s a refreshing bunch of ways to stay cool this summer while staying clear of the crowds.
Hike to one of Maryland’s awesome waterfalls this summer. Check websites or call before you go to make sure parks are not at capacity. Most parks are fully reopened, but have specific restrictions in place. Find more about each waterfall here.
Kilgore Falls, Rocks State Park
3318 Rocks Chrome Hill Road, Jarrettsville
This short, family-friendly hike on the Falling Branch Trail (1.2 miles) of Rocks State Park leads to Maryland’s second-highest vertical drop waterfall of 19 feet. Reservations are required for weekend visits.
Cascade Falls, Patapsco State Park
8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City
A short hike from the parking lot at the Orange Grove area takes you up the Cascade Trail to the first in a series of waterfalls where the kids could spend the whole day splashing. The trail continues for 2.1 miles along a trickling stream that will lead you to the following falls.
Cunningham Falls State Park
14039 Catoctin Hollow Road, Thurmont
Cunningham Falls State Park offers everything from breathtaking waterfalls to a natural lake and miles of trails. Little ones are sure to be awestruck at the 78-foot Cunningham Falls, the largest cascading waterfall in the state. Swimming is not permitted in Cunningham Falls, but you can cool off after a satisfying hike with a dip in Hunting Creek Lake, just a short walk from the falls, where lifeguards are on duty daily during summer hours.
Great Falls, C&O Canal National Historic Park
11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac
This spectacular natural landmark is located along the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia. Watch the Potomac cascade over rocks to form 20-foot waterfalls, creating the steepest fall line rapids on the Eastern Seaboard.
Beaches off the Beaten Path
Nothing like a day at the beach. These Bay beaches are less crowded and closer to home than the ocean resort beaches. Plus there’s usually a hike to get there, or other fun ways to explore while you’re there. Call ahead to make sure parks aren’t at capacity, and keep your group to under 10 people. Find more about each spot here.
Point Lookout State Park
St. Mary’s County
Located on a peninsula formed by the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, the beach area has grills, picnic tables, and a playground. No lifeguards currently on duty.
Rocky Point Beach
Located at the mouth of Back and Middle Rivers, Rocky Point boasts an expansive view of the Chesapeake Bay, Hart-Miller Island and Craighill Light.
Elk Neck State Park
A sandy beach at the North East Beach Area offers swimming access on the Chesapeake Bay with shallow waters perfect for young children. There’s also a canoe and kayak hand-launch area nearby. No lifeguard. Swim at your own risk.
At Home Water Fun
It’s hot, your neighborhood pool may or may not be open this summer. Here are some ideas on getting creative and staying cool in the backyard.
Build a Sprayground
Pool Noodle Sprinklers
Water Balloon Pinatas
Mini Water Blobs
More at ChesapeakeFamily.com/backyardwaterfun.
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