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Swing beside your loved ones at Terrapin Adventures in Savage, Maryland./Flickr

Now that a hybrid school year of online and in-person classes is coming to a close for many, families will no doubt be looking for opportunities to spend time together out of the house and away from the computer. Less than an hour away from D.C., Howard County has an outdoor getaway in store for families looking to start summer off right with some quality time.

Parks and Trails

Howard County has over 30 parks within its borders, and each one is the perfect spot to spend the day or stop for lunch. For families that enjoy biking, Centennial Park and Meadowbrook Park in Ellicott City are the ideal stops to begin your excursion. At Centennial Park, a 2.5-mile pathway encircles a man-made lake full of fish, waterfowl and other wildlife that connects to pathways and sidewalks in surrounding neighborhoods. The lake also offers paddleboats, kayaks and canoes for those interested in a pedal-and-paddle day of activities. Like Centennial Park, Meadowbrook has plenty of paved paths for cycling, pavilions for lunch breaks and plenty of open play area for a game of catch.

Patapsco Valley State Park, perhaps Maryland’s favorite wooded destination, encompasses 32 miles of Patapsco River, over 16,000 acres of parkland, eight recreational areas and over 200 miles of trails. Along the trails, you’re likely to find streams, waterfalls, picnic areas and access to canoeing, kayaking and fishing.

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Patapsco State Park is a popular destination for families that enjoy spending time within the trees./Flickr

Savage Park in Savage, Maryland is the perfect location for families that look for some friendly competition in their time together. The park has basketball, tennis, volleyball and Bocce courts, as well as horseshoe pits and 2.8 miles of natural and paved trails with access to Bollman Truss Bridge and Historic Savage Mill.

Terrapin Adventures

Just a short walk from Savage Park and Historic Savage Mill is Terrapin Adventures — an adrenaline-inducing getaway for families of all experience and comfort levels. The adventure center has plenty of exciting attractions, like the 330-foot zipline, 43-foot climbing tower, climbing wall, giant swing, high ropes course and archery field. Terrapin Adventures even offers After Dark activities on Friday nights in which visitors can enjoy the high ropes course and giant swing under the stars.

Besides its usual sky-high packages, Terrapin Adventurers also offers Tours Beyond the Park. Trips like kayaking in Scott’s Cove, Maryland, caving in Whiting’s Neck in West Virginia, and backpacking on the Appalachian Trail take visitors beyond the center’s grounds to explore the excitement of the surrounding area’s natural resources. It’s the perfect way to turn a day trip into a weekend with the family.

The Chrysalis

Opened in 2017, the Chrysalis amphitheater, located at Symphony Woods in Columbia, Maryland, hosts plenty of family-friendly events over the summer. Families can grab a seat on the lawn and enjoy concerts, musicals, dance celebrations, orchestras and more. Stretch out a picnic blanket and watch performances like the recent Into the Woods, a musical executed by the Young Artists of America, which features beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tale characters.

No matter where your family’s outdoor activities take you, Howard County is sure to meet your needs for excitement, entertainment and quality bonding time. Be sure to book your tickets online and reserve your family’s spot.

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