If You Want a Family Wildlife Adventure, Head to Maryland

If you’re trying to come up with a family vacation destination that offers loads of natural beauty, plenty of state parks, and numerous wildlife preserves, do consider Maryland. Chock full of wilderness areas teeming with wildlife, Maryland provides an ideal place to enjoy an outdoorsy family getaway.

Maryland mammals and other wildlife

“The Old Line State” is home to an abundance of wildlife both inland and offshore. Here you may encounter everything from bears to big cats, from bats to bison. Numerous hooved mammals, including feral horses, American elk, and whitetail and Sika deer also make Maryland their home. Look closely whilst exploring wild Maryland to spot an assortment of dragonflies, butterflies, bumblebees, spiders, and wiggling worms. Take a sea cruise or spend a day on the shoreline in Ocean City to catch a glimpse of playful dolphins and whales as they pass by.

See Maryland by foot

If you wake up at the Towson Marriott in the mood for a  morning hike, you are in luck. Towson boasts dozens of nearby trails, most of which are ranked easy to moderate by AllTrails magazine. Tuck into a hearty breakfast before you put on your comfiest walking shoes and head out to explore trails such as Druid Hill Park, Sherwood, Gwynns Falls, and the Rancocas State Park Loop.

Highly recommended by TripAdvisor, Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia offers a manicured nature area comprised of paved walking trails with sunny expanses, shady spots to relax, and tasty lakeside dining opportunities. If you visit in the summertime, you can thrill to a fireworks show or music festival at the lake. Once your teens have taken enough selfies strolling around the 40-minute perimeter, they’ll be happy to know that a shopping mall sits near Lake Kittamaqundi.

Birdwatchers take note

Maryland is home to a remarkable number of birds, many of which you might not expect to see in New England. As you wander walking paths near water, watch for gregarious flamingoes along with other waterfowl. They’re not common, but flamingoes are sometimes spotted munching shellfish and algae. You are more likely to see black ducks, mallards, snow geese, brants, trumpeter swans, and green-winged teal in Maryland estuaries and along shorelines. Take care not to step on eggs during nesting seasons, and please never allow your dog to chase the wildfowl of Maryland.

Grab your binoculars and stroll meandering trails around freshwater ponds to view a remarkable variety of grebes, including pied-billed, red-necked, and Western grebe. Plump pheasant, wild turkey, prairie chickens, and ruffed grouse make their homes in Maryland forests. While exploring forested areas, keep your ears open to hear raucous yellow-billed and black-billed cuckoo birds. After dark, expect to hear whippoorwills and nighthawks.

Travel is a great gift, especially when shared by a wilderness-loving family. You may not have the wherewithal to pull together an African safari this season, but you can probably spend a few days enjoying a nature-oriented mini vacation to Maryland.

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Allen Brown

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