Psst… Can you hear it? Can you see it? Can you smell it?? Spring has sprung in Baltimore!
Before we know it spring will turn to summer, and if your family is anything like mine you’ll be spending a lot of time outside in the upcoming months.
I’ve always enjoyed being outside and that’s something that I wanted to pass down to my kids. Whether it be taking them to a local playground, exploring nearby hiking trails, or having a picnic at a park, we try to get outside as much as possible. Despite that, until recently I wouldn’t have described my family as “outdoorsy.” With our busy schedules our time to simply enjoy nature was limited. And then… Enter pandemic.
When it seemed like everything was shutting down, our world suddenly opened up. Everything slowed down, and we found ourselves seeking solace in the outdoors in ways we never had before. By the time summer came, we were exploring new places almost every day. My entire parenting style changed as I watched my kids explore and set their own boundaries, get dirty, play in rivers and streams, and become adventurous and daring. Without even realizing it, my family was developing a deep and meaningful relationship with the natural world around us, and what started as a way to get out of the house during a global shut down turned into our favorite way to spend time as a family.
In the past year we have explored dozens upon dozens of outdoor places throughout Maryland, which I have been spotlighting on my Instagram Page. Please enjoy using my page as a resource to plan your own adventures this spring! In the meantime, here are five of our favorite spots to get you started.
Located in Parkville, Double Rock Park is one of our favorite parks for water play. You can take a short hike from the parking lot to the water, which is shallow enough for even the youngest waders to get their feet wet. The park also has multiple playgrounds, picnic tables and pavilions, hiking trails, athletic fields, etc. It’s a winner any time of year, but can’t be beat during the warmer months!
Fort Howard Park is located near Edgemere and is hands down the coolest place we found last year. It’s an old military fort turned park, and is right on the water. It boasts a paved walking path perfect for strollers, three playgrounds, various areas to get down to the water, and picnic tables. All of that is reason enough to visit, but the real MVP’s are the old structures that are still standing and open to explore. My kids actually enjoy the ruins more than the playgrounds!
This place has it all! The Orange Grove Area of Patapsco is located in Halethorpe, and is the access point for the Cascade Falls trail, which leads you to a beautiful waterfall with plenty of space to play in or near the water. There is also a swinging bridge and a beach area right along the river, as well as a paved path and other hiking trails to explore. Additionally, it is a few minutes drive from the Avalon area which has a playground. Since it’s a state park there is an entrance fee, so check that information before you go!
If you need an escape to nature without leaving Baltimore City, Lake Roland is for you! With it’s large playground, paved walking path, various hiking trails, and newly updated nature center, Lake Roland is the perfect place to take the kids for a day of outdoor fun! They also have events and programs throughout the year, so make sure to check out their calendar.
This was our most visited park last year, and I know I’m not alone with that. There’s just something about it. They have hiking trails for all skill levels, a charming nature center, various spots for water play, a kids discovery area (think natural playground), and a ton of programming and events. If you want a day to fully immerse yourself in nature, Cromwell Valley Park is for you!
So there you have it. I hope this was a good start to planning your warm weather adventures. Get outside, and keep exploring!