Spring weather prompts outdoor exploration
April 29, 2016
In-Focus Editor Katie Sullivan and News Editor Kelly Foulk went exploring in Harford County’s state parks to see where the best outdoor adventures to go on in Harford County are.
Elk Neck State Park
If you’re looking to spend a day at the beach but don’t want to drive too far, pack a picnic lunch, jump in a car with some friends, and head to Elk Neck State Park. This beautiful park is located in North East, Md., which is only about a 45 minute drive from JC. It’s the perfect destination for a quick day trip with friends.
If you enjoy the outdoors, there is always something exciting to do at Elk Neck State Park when the weather is nice out. This is a unique park because it has several different landscapes, such as the white-clay cliffs, marshlands, woods, and beaches.
Elk Neck offers a variety of things to do and sights to see. One of the greatest parts of this park is the beauty of nature that you’re surrounded by. It’s the perfect place to go for a fun and relaxing day. You can stand on the edge of a cliff and look out across the calm water of the Chesapeake Bay as you hike to the Turkey Point Lighthouse.
After checking out the lighthouse, be sure to head to the beautiful beach just a couple miles down the road. You can soak up the sun, play in the bay, or even bring a boat to dock at one of the public boat launches. If you’re looking for something more hands-on than just exploring, there are fishing piers available, as well as the opportunity to hunt, depending on the season and if you have a permit.
There are convenient picnic areas where you can sit down and eat, or you could set up your own picnic along the cliffs, in the grass, on the beach, or on the pier.
While you can have a full day of hiking, swimming, exploring, and eating, if you are still looking for something, you can walk back towards Main Street in North East, just outside of the park. North East is a quaint town with plenty of restaurants, boutiques, and antique stores to explore, or if you want the adventure to continue for another day, you can pitch a tent and utilize the campsites that Elk Neck has to offer.
Susquehanna State Park
If you are looking to enjoy a day floating down a scenic little creek or taking a beautiful hike along a river, look no further than Susquehanna State Park. From historic buildings to playgrounds, this park has it all. The best part is that it’s only a quick, 20-minute drive from JC. Located north of Havre de Grace, Md., it’s the perfect place for an afternoon of adventure.
Susquehanna State Park features over 15 miles of well-marked and maintained trails. These trails range in difficulty level, providing something for everyone.
For those who aren’t the biggest fan of putting one foot in front of the other down a dirt path that may or may not lead to nowhere, Susquehanna State Park offers numerous other experiences. The park features the Rock Run Historic Area, which includes several restored buildings such as the Rock Run Grist Mill and the Carter-Archer Mansion. These buildings are now open to the public and occasionally a guide gives tours.
If historic sites are your thing, the park is also home to Steppingstone Museum. At this outdoor museum you’ll find people walking around in colonial outfits working on olden day crafts such as blacksmithing, sewing, and woodworking. If you’re looking for something different, the museum also hosts belly dancing classes at 6 p.m. on Thursdays for those colonial people who like to get down Arabian-style.
If history and hiking aren’t your thing, perhaps tubing down a river is. Deer Creek is the perfect location for kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and even just a casual swim. So that’s Susquehanna. It’s an amazing place with everything you could possibly want (excluding the wild bears I know you were hoping to discover). If an afternoon isn’t enough, the park also features a campground so you can spend a whole weekend at the park. According to a survey conducted by The Patriot, 20 percent of students already list it as a favorite hangout. Try it out for yourself and go explore.