Day Tripping: Indulge in a Late-January Escape Elk Neck State Park offers the perfect one-day getaway.

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What can half a tank of gas, a cup of coffee and a taste for adventure get you?  In STYLE’s new Day Tripping series, we’re bringing you some of the best local day trips to keep your body moving, your heart fill and your wallet happy. So buckle up and throw on some good tunes—let’s hit the road!

Let’s be honest: It can be hard to stay active during the winter months. The days are shorter, the winds are fierce and sometimes all you want to do is curl up with a good book or a movie that you’ve seen a dozen times. But sometimes a change of scenery can be just what you need to break up the winter blahs. Where to, you ask? Elk Neck State Park, where the views alone will make you forget that it’s only 35 degrees out and you’re bundled up from head to toe.

Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, this Mid-Atlantic beauty is an all-season oasis. During the cool seasons, it boasts unbeatable sunrises and sunsets and lacks the summertime crowds, perfect for a contemplative hike and a little low-key me-time.

With 12 miles of trails to choose from, I opted for the 1.5-mile Turkey Point Lighthouse Trail overlooking the bay. I’m an avid photographer, and the gorgeous views had me snap-happy; though the trails vary in level of difficulty, this one was easy-peasy and allowed for plenty of photo ops.  (If you’re looking to get your heart pumping a little faster, try one of the more challenging loops.)

In short, this spot is a sun-chaser’s dream, with the added bonus of some sought-after sea air. A little off the beaten path, it’s well-worth the hour-and-a-half drive from Charm City. And the best part? It’s dog-friendly, family-friendly and free! My Australian Shepherd mix sidekick was anything but disappointed, running through the tall grasses on her own little hike.

On your way out, you can’t miss North East’s Main Street (literally—you’ll probably pass it on your way back to Baltimore).  This small town’s main thoroughfare is seriously charming, hearkening back to a simpler time. There’s even a Town Hall and a General Store, with scatterings of colorful boutiques and heavenly eats in between. (For you Gilmore Girls fans, the Stars Hollow vibes were coming on strong. I expected to run into Kirk or Miss Patty at any minute. Alas, next time!)

Sound good? Mark your calendars and make a day of it. Stay warm, and keep those souls wandering!

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