Best of Frederick: Activities

There’s lots to do in and around Frederick.

By: Gwendolyn Purdom

Go Back in Time

For Civil War buffs, Frederick’s rich history includes battle sites, museums, and trails. At Antietam National Battlefield (5831 Dunker Church Rd., Sharpsburg; 301-432-5124), visitors can learn about the bloodiest one-day conflict in American history through films, ranger-led talks, and self-guided tours.

A new visitor center opened at Monocacy National Battlefield (5201 Urbana Pike, Frederick; 301-662-3515) in 2007, with interactive maps, artifacts, and exhibits on the 1864 battle that’s said to have saved Washington from Confederate general Jubal Early’s advancing troops.

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine (48 E. Patrick St., Frederick; 301-695-1864) is home to an impressive collection of equipment and exhibitions on wartime medicine.

Take a Hike

Cunningham Falls State Park (14039 Catoctin Hollow Rd., Thurmont; 301-271-7574), 15 minutes north of Frederick, boasts a lake where swimming is allowed, and canoes and rowboats are available to rent between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The park’s 78-foot cascading waterfall is an easy hike from the parking lot, but outdoorsy types can try the more difficult Old Misery and Cat Rock trails.

Two stone overlooks from the 1,600-foot High Knob summit in Gambrill State Park (8602 Gambrill Park Rd., Frederick; 301-271-7574)—accessible through Cunningham Falls State Park—offer views of the Civil War battle site Crampton’s Gap as well as South Mountain, which contains part of the Appalachian Trail. Hikers can spot woodpeckers, owls, white-tailed deer, black bears, and more. In late May, the mountain laurels are in full bloom.

Bring the Kids

Take your family to a ball game at Harry Grove Stadium (21 Stadium Dr., Frederick; 301-662-0013), home of the Frederick Keys. The Baltimore Orioles farm team attracts crowds with promotions including all-you-can-eat picnic days, Thirsty Thursday food and drink specials, and Kids Eat Free Mondays.

Or you can walk on the wild side at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo (13019 Catoctin Furnace Rd., Thurmont; 301-271-3180), across from Catoctin Mountain Park, home of Camp David. The facility features hundreds of animals, from lemurs to lions, and it recently added an open-air safari ride.

Kids and the young at heart will stay entertained at Adventure Park USA in New Market (11113 W. Baldwin Rd.; 301-865-6800), which has go-carts, a climbing wall, bumper boats, a roller coaster, laser tag, and miniature golf. The 17-acre Western-themed amusement park stays open year round. A water park is set to open next year.

Get a Drink

Take a day, or two, to drink in the ambience at the six wineries on the Frederick Wine Trail. Frederick Cellars (221 N. East St., Frederick; 301-668-0311) offers tours, tastings, and wines by the bottle or glass. Other stops on the itinerary are at frederickwinetrail.com. Need a designated driver? A Touch of Class Limousines (301-698-2650) offers wine tours and packages.

Warm weather means live music and local food and drink at the outdoor happy hour Alive @ Five (Carroll Creek Park Amphitheatre between Market and Carroll sts.). The bimonthly Thursday-night event runs from May to September along the banks of Carroll Creek. For a $5 cover, over-21 guests can enjoy the festivities and $4 local beers and wines from 5 to 8.