Spring break is upon us, and with it a great opportunity to explore the outdoors and enjoy nature. Here in the DMV we are fortunate to be surrounded by places to explore. Hiking and bike trails, rivers, lakes and mountains are all around us. This past year has forced us to enjoy nature. A definite pandemic silver lining!
AllTrails and Instagram have become my planning tools for our adventure days. In between friends’ postings, local momfluencer accounts (DCMOMS, FamilyTripGuides and Luz Wanderer) and the many options within the trails app, we have gotten to discover so many beautiful places within a decent driving distance from our house.
Now, heading out with young kids is not always easy and you might not have a completely fun experience. There can be tantrums, whining, and a lot of other hiccups along the way. But the more you do it, the easier it gets.
So now that the days are getting longer and spring break is around the corner, what better time than to head out and have a nice day in nature.
One of the destinations on our list was Brunswick, Maryland because of the beautiful views of the Weverton Cliffs. Brunswick is a couple of minutes from Harpers Ferry and surrounded by beautiful historic sites, farms, and nature trails. It’s a great place for a mini get away, or in our case, a day trip.
One thing I have learned about making plans with kids is to always keep it simple. Plan one activity and then add things as you go depending on their energy level. So for our adventure we had one main objective: complete the trail to the Weverton Cliffs. The trail is only one mile to the top and one mile down, but it’s a moderate hike given the difficulty going up. Since we had done a lot of other hikes before we figured the kids would be ok. One thing I have learned about my kids is that they tend to enjoy the challenging hikes a lot more and complain less when it’s rocky and muddy.
There are a couple of things to consider before your day trip. Research your route and consider traffic. Then decide what is the best time for you and your family. If you are taking the trip on a weekend, it might be better to go as early as possible. If it’s a weekday, you might have more flexibility in time to avoid crowds. Regardless of the time, its always better to have things ready the night before. It makes things easier and less stressful as you try to get out of the house. I always keep an extra change of clothing for everyone in the car. For hikes, I add extra shoes or rain boots depending on the weather. My boys love puddles and getting into any body of water they find, so I keep their water shoes in my backpack.
Full Bellies, Happy Hikers
Regardless of the time of the day you choose for your hike, you should plan on a pre-hike meal. We brought our lunchboxes with pasta salad and fruit to eat in the car as we were getting closer. For the hike, water, energy bars and clementines (or any other fruit) are the key to success! Bring enough in your backpack and keep extras in the car.
For your hike, you want to be light but also have space to carry supplies and all the sticks and rocks that come along the way. I usually give each kid a small backpack with their own water and snacks, and a pen and pencil in case they want to stop and color or write. For my backpack I keep an extra t-shirt per kid. Since this particular trail doesn’t cross a water feature, I didn’t bring any water shoes, but they are always in the car just in case.
After The Hike
Once we finished the hike, we headed to the town of Brunswick to get a post-hike meal. There are a couple of options available in the nearby towns, but we decided to have burgers. We stopped at Boxcar Burgers which offered grass fed burgers and ice cream. Since indoor seating was not open because of current restrictions, we took it to go. We drove down the street to the Brunswick Boat ramp at the C&O canal which had a picnic area and public restroom next to the parking lot. As always, Google maps is a great travel companion. If there is more energy before the end of the day, you can visit the Brunswick Museum and walk around town to check out the train station.
Once our day was over, we programmed our drive back along the scenic route (aka, no highway option on the GPS). The route back was beautiful, passing though a couple of small towns. We even stopped at Rocky Point Creamery for a last treat on the way home. Taking the scenic route home made the drive back much more enjoyable as we were able to avoid most of the evening traffic.
After this great adventure, the kids are wanting more! We can’t wait to head back and explore more trails and nature parks.