Day Trippin’: Catoctin Mountain Park & Downtown Frederick This duo is the stuff of daycation dreams.


Some things are just meant to go together: wine and chocolate, summer and sunshine, and this month, the perfect hiking spot and one of the coolest cities in the state. Located in North Central Maryland, Catoctin Mountain Park is just over an hour’s drive from the city—and a 15-minute drive from trendy downtown Frederick.

After being cooped up inside during last week’s snowfall, I was ready to hit the trails again. And let me tell you, Catoctin Mountain Park is a nature-lover’s dream. It’s free, dog-friendly, and offers 25 trails for all levels of experience and interest. I opted for the Cunningham Falls trail, about 3 miles round-trip. It weaves through a beautiful woodland setting, bordered by rock formations and interspersed with small streams. I have a feeling it will only become more enchanting as the temperatures rise and the wildflowers begin to bloom, but even on a wintry day, it was magical. (Tip: Try to go on a day when the ground is dry or wear weatherproof shoes if it’s just rained. It can get a bit slick.)

On your way back to Baltimore, spend some time in Downtown Frederick. As I mentioned before, it’s about a 15-minute drive from the park, and has plenty of restaurants where you can unwind and refuel with some well-deserved eats. Not to mention nearly a dozen parks, and an abundance of locally-owned shops carrying everything from antiques and art to fine wines and home goods.

Though a bit reminiscent of Annapolis or Ellicott City, this spot really boasts its own vibe. It’s friendly, clean, and has a rich history (Google Barbara Fritchie!). It caters to humans and canines alike, and definitely gives a daycation feel without too far of a drive.

You could easily spend a day in each of these spots alone, but if you’re feeling adventurous, or can’t afford to stay a whole weekend, I recommend doing them in combination. After I got my nature fix, it felt good to step out of the woods and into the heart of a vibrant, down-to-earth community. So pick a sunny day, grab your friends and family and hit the road for this irresistible springtime duo!

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