5 Places to Appreciate Nature in Maryland

In this photo from Assateague Island, a horse with cattle egret perched on its back stands on top of a sand dune. (National Park Service) In this photo from Assateague Island, a horse with cattle egret perched on its back stands on top of a sand dune. (National Park Service)

Earth Day is an annual holiday that celebrates the Earth and raises awareness about the need to protect the environment.

The first Earth Day was introduced by Gaylord Nelson, the former governor of Wisconsin, on April 22, 1970. It was initially aimed at college students.

Nowadays, Earth Day is celebrated by people all over the world. In addition to volunteering to help clean the environment or advocating for environmental issues, some choose to celebrate the day by spending time outdoors.

Here are five places in and around Maryland where you can appreciate nature this Earth Day and year-round:

1. Assateague Island

Explore Assateague Island. It's a 37-miles-long island located on the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia. Assateague Island is known for the wild horses roaming the island's beaches and forests. Assateague Island offers the opportunity to experience a variety of wildlife in its natural habitat, go horseback riding, camp and do many other outdoor activities.

The standard entrance pass for private vehicles costs $25 and grants access to the island for one week. An annual entrance pass costs $45.


2. Brookside Gardens

Go for a stroll at Brookside Gardens. The 50-acre gardens within Wheaton Regional Park in Wheaton, Md., offer space to get active or relax. There are pavilions located in different areas of the park where you can watch wildlife in the water. You can also observe over 20,000 species of plants.

Entrance is free except when there are seasonal events taking place. Entrance fees for seasonal events vary.


3. Cylburn Arboretum

Bask in the serenity of 200 acres of trees, gardens, and trails at Cylburn Arboretum. This arboretum offers a refreshing escape from the busy city of Baltimore. Visitors can exercise on the trails or simply observe wildlife and relax. There is also a nature education center on site for those interested in learning about wildlife.

Standard entrance to Cylburn Arboretum is free, but fees apply during special events.


4. Great Falls

Take a Hike at Great Falls. Those who want to get active can head to Great Falls, which offers beginner, intermediate, and challenging level trails that lead to scenic views of water falling into the Potomac River.

A standard entrance pass costs $20 per private vehicle and lasts for one week. An annual pass is $35. There are also fee-free dates listed on nps.org.


5. Ladew Topiary Gardens

Explore at Ladew Topiary Gardens. The gardens offer 22 acres of various plant species and topiaries. Visitors can walk multiple trails, visit the pollinator garden, take a guided tour of the butterfly house and enjoy food at the Ladew Cafe.

A one-day entrance pass is $20 for adults. Prices vary depending on ages, activities, and events.


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