Assateague State Park is Maryland's only ocean park. It is located on Assateague Island, a barrier island bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by Sinepuxent Bay. Two miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, beachcombing, sunbathing, surfing and fishing.
The island's bayside offers visitors the chance to explore secluded coves by canoe or kayak. The marsh areas have a variety of wildlife, including deer, waterfowl and feral horses.
Nearly 18,000 acres in Harford and Baltimore Counties, Gunpowder Falls State Park has a diverse topography that includes everything from tidal marshes and wetlands to steep, rugged slopes. A great place to hike, bike, bird watch, canoe, and enjoy many other recreational opportunities that are just a short drive from Baltimore.
Merkle Natural Resources Management Area is the wintering ground for several thousand Canada geese, the largest concentration on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
Merkle was named after Edgar Merkle (1900-1984), an active conservationist who devoted much of his life to protecting and providing for wildlife. Many knew him as the founder of Merkle Press in Washington, D.C. (1936), and others knew him as the originator of a goose breeding plan to introduce Canada geese to the western shores of Maryland (1932).
Starting with a handful of breeding pairs, a great deal of perseverance, and a habitat improvement plan in mind, Mr. Merkle eventually encouraged thousands of geese to visit the 400-acre Merkle farm to feed and rest. In 1970, the Merkles sold their land, including some donated parcels, to the state. With the acquisition of adjoining tracts, the Merkle NRMA now encompasses 1,670 acres.
Located just three miles south of the Baltimore Beltway, Patapsco Valley State Park extends nearly 35 miles along the Patapsco River. With over 170 miles of trail, Patapsco is a great place to explore natural habitats. As one of Maryland’s oldest parks, the area has a rich history and many unique park features.
Located along the Susquehanna River valley with its heavy forest cover and massive rock outcroppings, Susquehanna State Park offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities as well as historical significance. The park is home to some of the most popular mountain biking trails in Maryland and the river itself beckons fishermen and boaters alike. Susquehanna State Park also contains a very family friendly campground with traditional campsites and cabins. History buffs will be drawn to the restored Rock Run Historical Area with its working grist mill, the Archer Mansion, Jersey Toll House and the remains of the Susquehanna Tidewater Canal.