Outdoorsy Things to Do During Fall in Maryland, USA

A comprehensive list of outdoor activities during fall in Maryland, USA.

September 27, 2023


Outdoor Things to do, Maryland, USA

Photo by Carl Schlabach on Unsplash

Maryland, with its diverse landscapes, ranging from Appalachian foothills to the Chesapeake Bay shores, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, especially in the fall. As the leaves change colors and the air gets cooler, here are some of the top outdoorsy activities to do in Maryland during this enchanting season:

  1. Hiking Amidst Fall Foliage: Maryland’s state parks and trails come alive with red, orange, and yellow hues.
    • Cunningham Falls State Park: Besides the spectacular falls, there are various hiking trails that offer panoramic views of the vibrant foliage.
    • Gathland State Park: Located on the Appalachian Trail, it’s an excellent spot for leaf peeping and historic sightseeing.
  2. Camping Under the Stars: With cooler temperatures and fewer bugs, fall is an ideal time for camping.
    • Green Ridge State Forest: Known for its rugged beauty, it offers numerous campsites and miles of trails.
    • Assateague State Park: Camp by the beach and witness wild ponies roaming the sands.
  3. Kayaking and Canoeing: Experience the serenity of paddling on Maryland’s waterways surrounded by autumn colors.
    • Deep Creek Lake: Enjoy the crisp air and the sound of leaves rustling as you paddle.
    • Antietam Creek: Known for its Civil War history and scenic beauty, it’s a perfect place for a fall paddle.
  4. Mountain Biking: The trails in Maryland offer a unique biking experience with the backdrop of fall colors.
    • Schaeffer Farms Mountain Bike Trail: With various loops and terrains, it’s a treat for beginners and experts.
    • Patapsco Valley State Park: It’s a favorite among mountain bikers, offering miles of trails through wooded areas.
  5. Rock Climbing: For adrenaline junkies, Maryland’s cliffs provide a thrilling climbing experience.
    • Carderock Recreation Area: Located by the Potomac River, it offers a range of climbing difficulties.
    • Rocks State Park: Known for King and Queen Seat, a 190-foot rock outcrop, it’s a hotspot for climbers.
  6. Horseback Riding: Traverse through the scenic trails of Maryland on horseback.
    • Gunpowder Falls State Park: They offer guided horseback tours, allowing you to experience the park uniquely.
    • River Valley Ranch: Located in Manchester, they provide trail rides through the picturesque countryside.
  7. Fishing: The fall season brings a variety of fish species, making it a great time for anglers.
    • Liberty Reservoir: A hotspot for large mouth bass, catfish, and crappie.
    • Chesapeake Bay: Fall is the prime time for rockfish and bluefish.
  8. Bird Watching: With the migration season in full swing, it’s a haven for bird enthusiasts.
    • Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge: Home to bald eagles, ospreys, and a variety of waterfowl.
    • Cape Henlopen State Park: Witness the fall hawk migration.
  9. Zip Lining: Experience the thrill of zip lining amidst the beauty of fall.
    • Sandy Spring Adventure Park: Glide through the trees, taking in the spectacular view below.
    • Go Ape Treetop Adventure: Located in Rock Creek Regional Park, it offers an exhilarating treetop experience.
  10. Orchard Walks: Stroll through apple orchards, picking fresh apples and enjoying the crisp autumn air.
    • Baugher’s Orchard: Besides apple picking, enjoy a tractor-drawn wagon ride through the farm.
    • Homestead Farm: Wander amidst rows of apple trees and pick fresh pumpkins.
  11. Lighthouse Tours: Maryland’s coastline boasts some historic and picturesque lighthouses.
    • Concord Point Lighthouse: Located in Havre de Grace, it offers panoramic views of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.
    • Drum Point Lighthouse: This cottage-style lighthouse offers guided tours in Solomons.
  12. Scenic Train Rides: Experience the fall scenery from the comfort of a train car.
    • Western Maryland Scenic Railroad: This steam-powered train ride, departing from Cumberland, offers a spectacular view of the Allegheny Mountains.
    • Walkersville Southern Railroad: Travel through the Maryland countryside and along the Monocacy River, with dinner train options available.
  13. Wildlife Photography: The changing seasons bring unique wildlife-viewing opportunities.
    • Catoctin Mountain Park: Capture candid shots of deer, foxes, and birds against a backdrop of autumn leaves.
    • Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge: A haven for migratory birds and native wildlife.
  14. Hot Air Balloon Rides: See Maryland’s fall colors from a new perspective.
    • Tailwinds Over Frederick: Experience the beauty of Frederick County’s landscapes from above.
    • Friendship Hot Air Balloon Co: Based in West Friendship, they offer serene flights over the Howard County countryside.
  15. Outdoor Farmers’ Markets: Fall brings a bounty of seasonal produce and artisan goods.
    • Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar: Maryland’s largest producers-only market with a range of fall produce, baked goods, and crafts.
    • Bethesda Central Farm Market: Discover fresh apples, pumpkins, and autumnal treats.
  16. Picnicking: Grab a basket, some local treats, and head to one of the state’s scenic parks.
    • Sandy Point State Park: Offering stunning views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, it’s a great spot for a fall picnic.
    • Centennial Park: Located in Ellicott City, the lake and surrounding foliage create a perfect picnic setting.
  17. Orienteering: This combination of map reading and running is a thrilling way to explore the outdoors.
    • Patuxent River Park: Known for its orienteering events, where participants navigate to specific points using a map and compass.
    • Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area: Hosts orienteering events suitable for both beginners and experts.
  18. Off-road Driving: Explore the rugged terrains of Maryland.
    • Assateague Island National Seashore: Get an off-road vehicle permit and explore the beaches, spotting wild horses along the way.
    • Green Ridge State Forest: Offers off-road driving for those looking for a challenging and scenic drive.
  19. Night Sky Gazing: The fall season offers clear skies, perfect for stargazing.
    • Garrett County: Being one of the darkest spots in Maryland, it’s perfect for observing constellations.
    • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park: Occasionally hosts night sky programs with telescopes available for public use.
  20. Caving: Explore the underground wonders of Maryland.
    • Crystal Grottoes Caverns: Maryland’s only public show cave, located in Boonsboro, offers guided tours of its stunning formations.

In conclusion, Maryland’s fall landscape offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from the thrill of mountain biking to the serenity of bird-watching. The cooler temperatures and mesmerizing hues make it an ideal time to explore the state’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or just looking for a relaxing day outdoors, Maryland in the fall has something to offer everyone.

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