Outdoor spots ripe for the picnicking

June 05, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

Whether it's just you and your honey, or you, the honey and the kids, there are some great spots in the Tri-State area for picnicking.

We asked co-workers at The Herald-Mail for their favorite picnic spots and added a few more. Several have picnic tables or you can just spread a blanket on the grass.

We'd like to hear where your favorite picnic spot is. Just go to and post a comment below this story.

Washington Monument State Park

Less than a 1/2-mile walk on a wide path under a forest canopy leads to a view of the valley below, including Boonsboro and - on a clear day - Sideling Hill, according to Dan Spedden, park manager. There are picnic tables near the parking lot, or you can walk up the hill and spread a blanket at the base of the monument.


Also near the parking lot are barbecue grills, a jungle gym with multiple elements and a bathroom. But there are no trash cans, so picnickers need to take home what they bring. Alcohol is permitted in the picnic table area.

There's also a display dedicated to the history of the monument and its role in the Battle of South Mountain. The museum, near the parking lot, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The park is four miles east of Boonsboro, off Alt. U.S. 40.

For more information, call 301-432-8065.

Dam No. 4 near Downsville or Four Locks near Big Pool

If your idea of a picnic involves a blanket spread in a shady grassy area rather than sitting at a picnic table, try the grassy area near the parking lot at Dam No. 4 in the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Drive a little farther down Dam No. 4 Road and you'll find another parking lot near picnic tables, barbecue grills and a boat ramp.

Or check out the Four Locks area south of Clear Spring, which has picnic tables, barbecue grills and a boat ramp, as well as some historic structures to peruse.

Dam No. 4 and Four Locks have views of the Potomac River and lots of shade. They also have portable toilets, which the Park Service is upgrading.

Visitors can bring their own grills, too, but Bill Justice, the park's chief of interpretation, asked picnickers not to place hibachis atop picnic tables because doing so could start a fire. No alcohol is permitted in the park.

Pets are permitted but must stay on a leash at all times.

For more information, call 301-739-4200.

Pangborn Park

Picnic tables and barbecue grills are scattered throughout Pangborn Park in Hagerstown's North End, including by the lake and by the volleyball court. There also are picnic tables under the pavilions that are available by reservation.

Other amenities include a softball field, playground equipment, two tennis courts, horseshoe pits, restrooms, a garden and a fountain.

The small lake is stocked with trout for ages 16 and younger, and ages 62 and older to fish, said Junior Mason, Hagerstown Parks superintendent. Alcohol is not permitted in the park.

For more information, call 301-739-8577, ext. 190.

Devil's Backbone Park

Picnic tables and some barbecue grills are scattered around this park in southern Washington County. The park has ample shade and the sounds of Antietam Creek as water goes over a dam. A footbridge allows access to both sides of the creek and to a footpath that climbs the ridge overlooking the park.

The creek is stocked with trout for fishing. Booth's Mill Bridge, a three-arch stone bridge built in 1833, stands on the edge of the property. The park also offers playground equipment, a pavilion, a bathroom and trash cans. Alcohol is not permitted in Washington County parks. Visitors can bring their own grills.

The park is off Md. 68, also known as Lappans Road. For more information, call 240-313-2700.

Doub's Woods

This shady park at 1307 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown's South End has picnic tables, barbecue grills and playground equipment.

It also features trash cans, a performance stage, pavilions and a bathroom.

Alcohol is not permitted in Washington County parks. Visitors can bring their own grills.

There are two entrances. The southern parking lot is accessible by a long drive off South Potomac Street between Emma K. Doub Elementary and E. Russell Hicks Middle schools. The northern parking lot is on Maryland Avenue across from Towne Plaza shopping center.

For more information, call 240-313-2700.

Red Run Park or Pine Hill Regional Recreation Area

Red Run Park east of Waynesboro, Pa., has live music - usually country - and a miniature train for children and adults to ride from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays, said Jerry Zeigler, code enforcement officer for Washington Township, Pa. The train is working when volunteers are available.

The park also has a playground, picnic tables, barbecue grills, a small lake stocked with trout and catfish, and a stream stocked with trout.

No dogs are allowed at Red Run Park, but they are allowed at Pine Hill Regional Recreation Area.

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