Greenbelt Park

Greenbelt Park is a quiet and fairly deserted park, just 12 miles outside of Washington, DC.  This park has the major advantage of being accessible from public transportation; however, my friend ended up driving for our visit to the park.  There is no entrance fee to the park so I didn’t actually need to use my annual pass.  The park has camping, hiking, and picnic options.  The parking area is with the picnic area.

We decided to walk the Perimeter trail, which is a 5.3 mile trail around the park.  The trail is a loop and begins and ends at the front of the park, a bit away from a parking lot.  There are many points where you can enter the trail, though.  This trail is surprisingly green and beautiful and very shaded.  It was perfect on a hot Memorial Day, and so much more peaceful than expected.  We only walked past 8 people on our walk, although the picnic areas had a few people.

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Greenbelt Park isn’t completely flat, but the elevation change throughout the park is essentially negligent.  We did see people with hiking poles, but this is no more than an easy walk through a wooded area while dodging some puddles and mud.  A few areas had wooded walkways even to avoid the mud.

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The biggest issue we found was that the trail is labeled fairly poorly.  There are lots of signs, but they are often in odd locations and well past forks in the trail.  We ended up walking an extra mile along other misleading trails, but we weren’t in a rush to get off of the trail.  However, if you have any kind of hiking app, we did find it helpful at the non-labeled forks.  We did see some ticks, but we mostly stuck to the paths and didn’t have any issues.

Since Greenbelt is essentially a suburb of D.C., this isn’t a totally peaceful walk, as you are directly next to a parkway at multiple points. In a quick online search, you can find various conversations about the safety of the area.  We saw two men acting pretty suspicious on our visit, but I felt perfectly safe with a friend.

If you are looking for a two to three hour wander through the woods, a picnic spot, or somewhere to camp near DC, then Greenbelt Park is a great place to stop.  If you want to hit another National Park area, you can make your drive back to D.C. on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Thanks for reading my post, and thank you to my new followers as well!  In an hour, I am heading to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to spend some time hiking with my parents’ favorite child, Hudson (AKA Sir Woofs A Lot).  Hopefully we will have lots of fun and have plenty to report.

Assateague Island

As I do more research for this blog, I am finding out just how many people love the National Parks.  There have been 42,519,388 visitors to the National Parks in Washington, D.C.  While I have visited most of the sites in D.C., it’s great to see how many more I have to go.  But first… Let me tell you about my trip to Assateague Island.

It’s been many years since I have gone on a vacation with my family, but I had the opportunity to in May.  We went to Dewey Beach, DE, which is not far at all from Assateague Island in National Shore, MD.  When the rain crashed our beach plans, we headed down to see the wild horses for the day.

Around 10 years ago now, we actually went to see the horses while in Ocean City, MD.  It was July and overwhelmingly hot.  The only places we saw wild horses were in the parking lot trying to take food from people.  A May visit was less crowded, and the cooler weather meant seeing more horses as well.

The idea of the island housing wild horses seems a little silly, as the horses clearly know that humans have food.  I wouldn’t feed a horse, but a lot of people must do so.  The horses aren’t afraid to be close to humans at all.  While it can be a challenge to find them, we didn’t have any troubles.

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Horses standing together about 10 feet away from us

While the picture looks cute, the horses got into a skirmish about 1 minute after this photo was taken.  This was the best view of the horses we had, aside from one at the main entrance.  Often times, we could see horses in the distance, but this isn’t an island packed with wild horses by any stretch.  You really do have to drive around and just be patient.

If you are looking to spend longer than an hour or two on the island with the horses, you can also camp here!  There is a beach to hang out on, as well as campgrounds and lots of parking.  Dogs are allowed to, and my parents’ 10 pound Poma-Poo enjoyed the horses too (Not as much as the ice cream at Dumsers Dairyland on the drive back, but you cannot please everyone).  I’m terrified of the idea of camping, but I am determined to try it at some point during my National Parks year!

It is $20 to visit Assateague, which is 25% of the cost of the Annual Parks pass!  It’s a great place to buy a pass if you plan to visit other National Parks, and I am glad I got my pass here.

Thanks for reading this post!  I love sharing information about my trips with other people looking for fun.  If you like learning about the National Parks, please sign up to follow my blog.  The next post will be for Greenbelt Park in Greenbelt, MD.