June is designated as Great Outdoors Month! It’s a time to unplug, get away from the stress of the office, traffic, school schedules, etc., and enjoy time in nature. We live in a country that has diverse natural surroundings. You can find waterfalls, mountains, canyons, ocean shores, quiet lakes, hiking, biking, and paddling trails – all within a day’s drive of Charles County! You can teach a kid to fish, try paddleboarding for the first time, or head to a new outdoor destination. State and national parks are not to be missed and offer programs about the flora and fauna of their area, the night skies, and animal inhabitants. June is a great time to gather family or friends, put the busyness of daily life behind you, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors!

To help you do this, here are some library resources to check out:

Hiking Maryland and Delaware explores sixty-two easy-to-follow, and easy-to-get-to hikes. Weaving the natural history and rich cultural history of two of our nation’s oldest states, the author guides you through the rugged mountains, old-growth hardwood forests, salt-marsh wildlife preserves, and Piedmont stream valleys that attracted settlers to the region more than three centuries ago.”

“Maryland offers its residents and tourists a wealth of natural settings across the Chesapeake basin, through expansive farmland, and to the edge of the Allegheny mountains. Lifelong Marylander, naturalist, and avid hiker Bryan MacKay takes you on 25 hikes through the best and most serene settings across the Free State in Hike Maryland. Each guided trail includes a map, background on the natural history and ecology of the park, forest, or preserve, and a brief essay featuring a local plant, animal, or environmental issue of special interest. Take this book with you as you hike the Appalachian Trail, through Patapsco Valley State Park, along Assateague Island, and across many more settings representing Maryland’s natural heritage.”

“This book covers 50 hikes in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia with hike sections divided by state. Hikes will highlight birding and wildlife viewing hotspots, local history and heritage, and bucket-list outdoor gems.”

For those whose wanderings may take them farther afield:

“This authoritative travel guide takes you on a series of epic hiking and walking adventures on 100 trails around all 50 states and Canada.”

“They’ve been dubbed America’s best idea for a reason: get inspired, get outdoors, and discover the wild beauty of the United States with Moon USA National Parks. Inside you’ll find: Coverage of all 63 national parks, from the misty mountains of the east and the redwoods of the west to the glaciers of Alaska and volcanoes of Hawaii, organized by region. Strategic lists and itineraries: Choose from lists of the best parks for hiking, wildlife, families, and scenic drives or make your way down the list of the top ten national parks experiences across the country. The best outdoor adventures in every park, including backpacking, biking, climbing, kayaking, rafting, and more, plus detailed hike descriptions and trail maps marked with distance, duration, effort level, and trailheads. National parks road trips with driving times and advice for linking multiple parks, interesting stops between them, and nearby attractions and state parks. Comprehensive planning resources: With maps and transportation tips, you’ll have the tools to explore each park or region individually, or visit multiple for an epic national parks trip. Expert advice from former park guide Becky Lomax on how to avoid crowds, what time of year to visit, and where to stay inside and outside the parks, from campgrounds to hotels. Know before you go: Find essential background on climate, terrain, wildlife, history, and safety precautions, plus practical information on park fees, passes, and reservations, including how to obtain and use a National Parks Pass. Gorgeous, full-color photos throughout, plus a handy keepsake section for your national parks stamps and a detachable fold-out poster map.”

For an overview and history of the National Parks, you can’t go wrong with Ken Burns’ video, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

“The National Parks tells the human history of five of the nation’s most important and most heavily visited National Parks (Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Acadia, and Great Smoky Mountains) and the unforgettable Americans who made them possible.”

Also available on Hoopla.

And for the younger members of your expedition:

“Hiking is more than just a walk in the woods. Every outing is an adventure, and you never know what a hike will bring. By reading this book, you’ll learn where to go to hike, when to go, what to wear, and what to bring with you. You’ll also learn how to take care of nature and how to stay safe while on the trail. But best of all, this book shows you how you can have the most fun while hiking.

For some kids, hiking itself might be adventure enough. But you can also bring along a nature journal or create land art. Bring a special hiking buddy with you—one who knows lots of good jokes, riddles, and games to pass the time. You can hike with your pooch, and believe it or not, you can even hike with llamas!

The more you know about hiking, the more fun you can have on your adventures. So read the tips in this book at home before you go, and then head for the great outdoors and use the compass to help you find your way. Happy hiking!” (Taken from Amazon) 

If you’d rather enjoy nature on the water, try this:

“A guide for kayakers and canoers through the rivers, creeks, marshes, and waterways across the state of Maryland, Paddle Maryland is the book designed for recreational paddlers interested in scenery, wildlife, flora, and fauna. The nearly two dozen water trails Bryan MacKay details in this book cover both tidal and non-tidal paddling trips. All of them feature a particular aspect of Maryland wildlife and environmental conservation”

Perhaps neither boats or boots are your favorite ways to see the sites. Why not try cycling?

“Get ready to explore America’s most thrilling gravel, road and trail bike routes. This definitive companion for cycling enthusiasts showcases 200 of North, Central and South America’s best and most celebrated routes, from epic adventures off the beaten path to shorter urban rides. Go bikepacking in Baja, road riding in Colombia, mountain biking in Canada and gravel riding in Pennsylvania. Each ride is accompanied by stunning photos and a map and toolkit of practical details – where to start and finish, how to get there, where to stay and more – to help you plan the perfect trip. Suggestions for similar rides around the world are also included.”

“As cities across America improve bicycle lanes and infrastructure for two-wheel commuters, Bryan MacKay wants to take Marylanders and visitors to the Free State along recreational trails that provide a way to enjoy varied natural beauty while exercising. MacKay, an ecologist and avid cyclist, illuminates plants, animals, and environmental facts that fellow cyclists will encounter on paved and unpaved paths through the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and stretching further out into less populated regions. While you will likely rely on a GPS tracker to keep you on route, this slim volume will fit easily into a pannier. Pull Cycle Maryland out on a break and use the maps, trail descriptions, and short nature essays as a reference to these 23 trails suitable for road and mountain bikes alike.”

Whatever method you prefer, take time this month to unplug and destress by getting out into the Great Outdoors!