Outdoor Adventure Programs in Maryland

Outdoor Adventure Programs to Keep your Family Busy This Summer

By Moms with Tots Correspondent: Piper

With the end of the school year on the horizon, it is time to begin planning summer family adventures. We are fortunate to live in an area with so many beautiful state and regional parks—each one rich with history and wildlife. As your schedule allows, pack the kids in the car and head out on one of these sponsored adventures. Your children can even collect points throughout the summer and earn prizes—just for taking a hike, attending a family campfire, or going fishing! Check out these sponsored programs and get your children excited about exploring the great outdoors this summer. Maybe even add “visit a new park” to your summer bucket list!

Park Quest, sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Even though official registration has closed, families may still access the Park Quest activity list and complete the quests on their own. “The goal of Park Quest is to engage families in outdoor activities throughout the summer, and allow them to experience state parks throughout Maryland. Park Quest allows families to relax, unplug from today’s various methods of technology, and experience the beautiful natural and cultural resources that our public lands offer.” The only costs involved are daily park entrance fees. To view the list of quests, which include family scavenger hunts, nature bingo, art activities and more, visit http://dnr2.maryland.gov/parkquest/Pages/Home.aspx

Junior Park Ranger Program, sponsored by Prince George’s County Parks and Rec. To become a Junior Ranger, your child must collect 15 fox points—which can be easily completed by visiting a park in PG County, participating in a ranger-led program, or completing activities in the Junior Ranger guide book. The Junior Ranger is ongoing, and there is no minimum or maximum age. Those who collect all 15 points will receive a t-shirt, patch and certificate. You may pick up a Junior Ranger guide at a PG County Nature Center, or print your own online. There is absolutely no cost to participate in the program. Information about the Junior Ranger program can be found at http://outdoors.pgparks.com/Stewardship/Junior_Park_Ranger_Program.htm

Cache Across Maryland (CAM) 2016, sponsored by the Maryland Geocaching Society. For those new to geocaching, it is a family-friendly treasure hunt! You use GPS coordinates, as well as hints or waypoints left by other participants, to find hidden containers. The containers often contain a finder-log to sign as well as small trinkets—the idea is to bring a trinket with you to trade for one in the container, thereby leaving a trinket for the next finder. For those parents of older children, geocaching is a fantastic way to get them off the couch and off social media. Older children can use their electronic devices to find and register their own hidden caches. Though CAM has been completed for the 2016 season, challenge your family to find all 10 hidden caches throughout the state of Maryland, or find a local geocaching event in your area to get you started. For more information and a calendar of events, visit http://www.mdgps.org/

Let us know what outdoor adventures are on your family bucket list for the summer!