First Day Hikes Available throughout Maryland

First Day Hikes Available throughout Maryland

Are you planning your New Year’s resolutions?  The State of Maryland wants to get you off to a good start.  The Department of Natural Resources is joining states across the nation in putting together First Day Hikes for January 1, 2021 and continuing throughout the weekend.  They have a cool sticker for all participants while supplies last.  Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources also gives you a place to describe your outing  and report how many miles you logged: https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/firstdayhikes.aspx

We are outlining all the locations within a short drive of Ocean City.

As much as we wish it would go away, COVID is still affecting our activities and these First Day hikes are no exception.  To keep people safe, none of the hikes will be guided as many have been in previous years.  However, there will be staff on hand to answer questions and help you have a fabulous First Day hike.  Of course, the COVID safety protocols are in place:  

  • maintain at least 6 feet between you and anybody not in your family group.  
  • Please wear your mask when you cannot safely socially distance.  

With that in mind, please get outside, go for a hike, work on a healthy 2021 for yourself and your loved ones, and enjoy the First Day Hikes that are close to Ocean City.

 

First Day Hikes in Worcester County

First Day Hikes in Worcester County that are sponsored by the state and will award you a sticker if any are left when you get there include Assateague State Park and the Pocomoke River State Park.  Assateague is located just across the famous Ocean City Inlet from Ocean City and is accessed by Route 611.  The state park is entered first and the National Seashore is a few miles down the island.  First Day Hikes are fun anywhere on the island with miles of sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean.  Sunrise hikes are our favorite!

Shad Landing is a beautiful park off of Route 113 south of Snow Hill, Maryland.  It is located on the Pocomoke River and has a boat ramp, a pond, and acres of pine forests and paths through them.  Birds, amphibians, and even small deer can be easily seen.  In the summer months, the outdoor pool is one of the few public pools in the area and is a great place to cool off.   The Pocomoke River is wide and deep and bordered by intact cypress swamps.  This gem of a state park gives you access to land you won’t believe still exists in today’s developed world.

Of course you can make your own First Day Hike when you have exhausted what the State is offering.  Walk along the Ocean City Boardwalk, keep walking south from the State Park on Assateague and enter the national park, Check out the county parks sprinkled throughout Ocean City and the surrounding areas including West Ocean City.  Enjoy the bike paths if walking isn’t your thing.  For more information on Assateague, click here.  For information on kayaking around Janes’ Island, click here and for information on Crisfield, click here.

 

Here is the First Day Hike information from the State’s website:

Assateague Island is a great place for a First Day Hike - or surfing
This is a photo of the National Park which is just south of the state park. Make sure you start at the state park so you can get your First Hike sticker!

Assateague State Park
7307 Stephen Decatur Hwy Berlin MD 21811

Hikers Choice – Easy – Choose your distance
Choose your own hiking experience. Photographs, videos, or stories you’d like to share about your time immersed in the outdoors may be emailed to Billy Weiland at billy@actforbays.org, or tag your photos with #actforbays and #4Judy.

Additional Details: Leashed pets are welcome in the state park day-use. Non paved surfaces are not wheelchair or stroller accessible. Portable restroom by Concession Building. Park Maps available on site.

For additional information, contact the park directly:​ Office 410.641.2120 or Email: assateague.statepark@maryland.gov​

Moonrise over Assateague's marshes
The marsh area of Assateague as you approach the state park.

 

Pocomoke River State Park – Shad Landing
 ​3461 Worcester Highway, Snow Hill, MD 21863

Trail of Change Loop Trail – This self-guided hike loop on the Trail of Change – named for changes in elevation and diversity of vegetation that occur along its winding path from upland forest to cypress swamp.

Additional Details: Leashed pets are welcome. Natural surface not suitable for stroller/wheelchairs. Restroom available at the Camp Store. Park in the Marina Parking Lot.

For additional information, contact the park directly:​ Office 410-632-2566, Duty Ranger 443-614-2894, Email: christina.holden@maryland.gov

First Day Hikes in Somerset County

Less than an hour from Ocean City lies a world apart.  Crisfield is a waterman’s town where ferries to Smith Island and Tangier depart daily, crabcakes and soft-shell crabs are normal fare, and the accents are strong.  Janes Island State Park is located just outside of Crisfield and has fabulous cabins to rent, some with docks where you can crab with your family.  It’s water, water, everywhere on the Lower Shore and any First Day Hikes you choose to take will include water views.  Here is the information on the official First Day Hikes from the State DNR website.

Sunset over the Chesapeake taken from Crisfield
Water, water, everywhere – sunset from Crisfield

Janes Island State Park
26280 Alfred J. Lawson Drive, Crisfield, MD

Whitetail Trail/Daugherty Creek Canal – Easy-1.1 miles (Recommended by Ranger Mark Herring)
This self guided 1.1 mile loop route is across easy, flat land through the woods and along the Daugherty Creek Canal. Maps available at trailhead.

Additional Details: Stroller Accessible. Leashed pets are welcome. Restroom available.

For additional information, contact the park directly:​ (o) 410-968-1565, (DR) 443-614-2591, E-mail: janesisland.statepark@maryland.gov

 

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