The state of Maryland has an unusual topography, as it extends from the Atlantic Ocean shore to the Allegheny and Appalachian mountains, and thus offers a wide variety of recreational facilities. Baltimore’s mild weather makes outdoor recreation accessible for much of the year. Eastern Maryland’s Atlantic Coast offers many miles of beautiful beaches, while further inland, wildlife sanctuaries serve as stopping points for migrating birds during the spring and autumn. Western Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania offer excellent hiking and picnicking among the rolling hills and farming country. There are many biking and hiking trails in the Baltimore area including the C&O Canal Trailhttp://www.bikewashington.org/canal/index.php along the Potomac river that provides access to Western Maryland where mountain biking and cross country ski trails also abound.
The Chesapeake Bay is famous for sailing and the sailing culture. Two sailing schools offer reasonably-priced courses: Getaway Sailing School and Downtown Sailing Center. For $45 per season you can sail twice a month with the Getaway Sailing School’s “Sailing Companions Club.” You can also rent canoes, rowboats or kayaks. Harper’s Ferry has a nice section for river boating. The Gunpowder Falls, Patapsco Valley, and Susquehanna State Parkshttp://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/01glance/html/parks.html all have lovely flatwater river boating as well. For wild birds and sea life, Assateague Island http://www.nps.gov/asis/ is unsurpassed. If you have your own boat, Lake Roland is only five miles from campus and provides a nice evening paddle. Sandy Point Park rents boats and you can enjoy sheltered ocean boating on the Chesapeake. There is even a boat launch in the Baltimore Harbor for those who don’t mind paddling around with the water taxis (not for the faint of heart!). And we shouldn’t neglect the rental paddle-boats available near the Aquarium at the Inner Harbor.
For those interested in white-water boating and rafting, three of the nation’s premier white-water runs are located within a day’s drive of Baltimore: the Savage Riverhttp://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/savageriver.asp in western Maryland, the Youghiogheny River in southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Gauley in central West Virginia. All three are home to outfitters who can fix you up with equipment, tours, and lessons. Occasionally, an informal classes in kayak techniques are taught in the Hopkins pool.