Adventures Await At Nearby National Parks


From beaches to battlefields, national parks provide access to nature and history in locations across America.

Marylanders have many of these treasure troves of opportunity right here in our home state. Here are a few that might be worth the trip this summer.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Those seeking a more nature-focused and less commercial beach destination might find refuge at Assateague Island National Seashore.

This 37-mile-long barrier island, found roughly 120 miles from Severna Park, offers an oceanfront experience in the rugged outdoors. Hiking, biking, bird watching, fishing, crabbing, swimming and camping are just a few ways to spend a day, or several, at Assateague. Simply basking in the sun is an option, too.

Camping reservations are required and are available up to six months in advance.

Assateague boasts a population of wild horses – one of just a few in the United States. While the sight of these majestic creatures is something a visitor understandably wants to capture on camera, it is advised by the National Park Service to do so from a distance. Humans should ensure at least 40 feet, or one bus length, of space from the horses.

Dining options are limited at Assateague. Guests are encouraged to bring plenty of food and water.

There are two entrances to Assateague Island National Seashore: the north entrance at the end of Route 66, eight miles south of Ocean City, Maryland, and the south entrance at the end of Route 175, two miles east of Chincoteague, Virginia.

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Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Brush up on your “Star-Spangled Banner” trivia with a visit to the battle site that inspired Francis Scott Key’s infamous poem-turned-ballad in the early 19th century.

At Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, visitors are provided with an immersive look back at the infancy of our nation and some key battles that shaped it.

Park rangers and trained volunteers lead activities such as the morning and evening flag change, weapons demonstrations, fife and drum performances, and historical talks. The schedule of activities for each day can be found online to plan your visit.

Fort McHenry is located just north of the Locust Point neighborhood of Baltimore at 2400 East Fort Avenue.

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Take a drive 80 miles to Western Maryland and find more than 3,000 acres of natural splendor and national history at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

The park is mostly situated in West Virginia but also comprises pieces of Maryland and Virginia. One of the most notable views at Harpers Ferry is the confluence – where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

A pivotal landmark in the fight against slavery, Harpers Ferry allows visitors to delve into Civil War-era America through museums and exhibits.

For adventure-seekers, there are more than 20 miles of hiking trails of varying distances and difficulty. Having trouble deciding between exploring the site’s history and getting those steps in? No problem. The trails weave through a number of significant sites, such as Storer College, Jefferson Rock, Camp Hill and the “psychological midpoint” of the Appalachian Trail.

Harpers Ferry is a trash-free park. All waste that comes in must leave with its original owner.

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