Photo by Callie Metzman
Stuck inside? During these tough times, it’s important for us to get out of the house once in a while, whether that means going on a walk or taking a road trip with your family. Fortunately for the WJ community, Maryland and surrounding states are filled with COVID-safe travel destinations for you and your family to enjoy.
Let’s start with the hidden gems in Maryland. Before it gets cold, gather a group of friends and head down to Assateague State Park and National Seashore to explore the salty marshes and coastal bays. Or, you can relax on the beach and enjoy time by the ocean.
In central Maryland, Sandy Point State Park offers lots of fun activities. Create your own outdoor adventure with hiking, fishing, canoeing or camping. If camping is not for you, don’t stress! There are several hotels surrounding the state park to make your short road trip feel more like a vacation.
Senior Courtney Schneider has had a lot of experience visiting national parks. “The location [Shenandoah] was nice and the drive wasn’t far, but it wasn’t the same as the beach. It was super crowded but other than that the water was nice and it was super fun,” Schneider said.
In Virginia, the Shenandoah Mountains provide numerous options for hiking. The trails vary from beginner to advanced, so everyone – whether an amateur or a hiking vetern – is welcome.
Sophomore Heather Neisser spent a couple nights at the Shenandoah Mountains with her family. “We stayed in a house in the middle of the woods and it was really pretty. We went on multiple hikes that were a little long, but the weather was very nice and cool. We saw a pretty view on Skyline Drive and went to a lake a couple times to swim,” Neisser said.
The hikes lead to beautiful waterfalls and spectacular views, so the long distance feels worth it in the end.
Old Rag Mountain is a part of Shenandoah National Park. Old Rag is the most popular hike and has attracted many people, like Senior Abby Matson. “I remember seeing really pretty views,” Matson said.
Shenandoah is also implementing COVID-19 precautions such as enforcing masks on crowded parts of the trails and limiting how many people can visit the dining and lodging centers. The park also includes multiple campgrounds that are open seasonally, so your family can enjoy a night under the stars.
Quarantine is a hard time, so take advantage of the extra time to go explore the outdoors.