While the Appalachian Trail and C&O Canal Towpath offer scenic views for miles, there is a whole world to explore beyond the winding trails of Hagerstown and Washington County. Get the most out of your visit with this insider’s guide to summer in the Maryland mountains.
Attend a Festival: Summer is filled with a variety of events featuring live music, refreshing beverages, and good eats. At the end of June, taste unlimited samplings and jam out to the best local bands at the Interstate Wine & Music Festival. Foodies will love the Interstate Food Truck Festival coming mid-August. But the crown jewel of the summer is Augustoberfest featuring authentic Bavarian cuisine, drinks, and entertainment. This year’s event is scheduled for August 20-21, 2022.
Head Underground: There’s no better way to escape the heat than a journey into the Crystal Grottoes Caverns. With a constant temperature of 54 degrees year-round, it’s no wonder this is a popular summer destination. Over the 40-minute tour, take in thousands of formations that were created over thousands of years.
Life by the Lake: The 42-acre freshwater lake at Greenbrier State Park offers something for everyone, from swimming and relaxing on the beach to paddleboat rentals and fishing for trout, all while surrounded by the mountains. If you’re looking to stay a while, consider reserving one of the 164 campsites for easy access to the park’s great amenities.
Order a Sweet Treat: You’ve heard of farm-to-table. What about cow to cone? At Misty Meadow Farm Creamery, a family-owned enterprise, you can taste the difference fresh ingredients make. They churn a variety of flavors onsite with dazzling combinations like chocolate cake batter, orange pineapple, lemon cookie, and all the classics. You can even take some ice cream to go from the Country Store.
Paddle All Day: See the area by water as you paddle Antietam Creek with River & Trail Outfitters. Surrounded by a canopy of trees, you’ll float beneath Burnside Bridge and through Antietam National Battlefield. Previous paddling experience is recommended as you will have to navigate a few class II+ rapids along the way. Local tour guides are available for an additional fee.
Go Back in Time: Dive deep into the history of the area along the Civil War Trails Antietam Campaign, including a stop at Antietam National Battlefield and South Mountain State Battlefield. A variety of museums, like the Pry House Field Hospital Museum and the Doleman Black Heritage Museum, tell the story of days past. Celebrate Frontier life at the Conococheague Institute’s events throughout the summer – where they bring Colonial History to life.
Hands-On Learning: The interactive exhibits at the Discovery Station provide fun for kids of all ages as they travel into outer space and beyond, touch on the basics of robotics and coding, explore the Titanic display, and learn about sustainable practices of the future. Discover even more fun in the STEAM Machine where kids can make their crafts from recycled materials.
Taste Test Local Spirits: Those over 21 will love traveling around the county to try one of the award-winning wineries, breweries, and distilleries in the area. Each stop features a unique style with a smattering of tastings and delicious bites. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find one that fits your vibes. Check out our Grapes & Grains Guide for more information.
Make Your Own: Just tasting the local spirits not enough for you? Blue Mountain Wine Crafters provides the space to make your own wine, beer, or hard cider so that you can share your creation with family and friends. They’ll guide you every step of the way as you decide on your flavors, go through the fermentation process, and bottle your finished product. That’s a souvenir you can enjoy long after you return home.
Take a Drive: For those looking to cover the most ground, the Scenic Byways of western Maryland will take you through charming towns to hidden gems and spectacular overlooks. Follow the Maryland Historic National Road, a route that is more than 200 years old, for a full day of museums, parks, antique shops, and more.
Summer is just getting started. It’s time to pack your bags and head out to Washington County, Md. for an adventure you’ll be talking about for years to come.