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Cool getaways

Escape from Baltimore and beat the heat at one of these 5 spots

The Baltimore Sun

4:53 PM EDT, July 11, 2012

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Hot enough for you?

Though it's cooled off some, it's safe to assume there will be nasty days ahead. And even if though temperatures may be about the same in the city and the 'burbs, it always feels hotter in the city. The only real way to cool off is to flee. But where?

These five spots are all less than a tank of gas from the city, and offer a respite from the sweltering Baltimore summer.

Tubing

Gunpowder Falls State Park, a 45-minute drive from Baltimore, has hiking and biking trails and various campgrounds. But honestly, it's been a little too hot for that this summer. Tubing at Gunpowder is an excellent way to cool off from the summer heat since the river temperature rarely goes above 60 degrees. Tubing down the river can take anywhere between one and three hours, depending on where you begin.

Gunpowder Falls State Park is at 2813 Jerusalem Road in Kingsville. Call 410-592-2897.

Whitewater rafting

For thrill-seekers and water-lovers, whitewater rafting on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers is one of the best ways to escape from city life and feel the breeze. Outdoor Adventures: River & Trail Outfitters plans various activities, including guided tours through the rapids and a picnic lunch along the river. Trips can range between two and 41/2 hours, and each raft has a guide to lead the group. Prices range from $55 to $69.

Shenandoah River State Park is at 350 Daughter of Stars Drive in Bentonville, Virginia. Call 540-622-6840.

Outdoor Adventures is at 604 Valley Road in Knoxville, Frederick County. Trips depart at 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Call 301-695-517 or go to rivertrail.com/rafting-shenandoah-potomac.php

Deep Creek

Everybody loves options, and Deep Creek has plenty. If you want to get wet or just be outdoors, you can rent a boat, water ski, canoe or kayak. If you'd rather stay inside, there is laser tag, an indoor pool, and various restaurants and shops in the area. The costs range, depending on the activity. A single kayak rental for one day is $35 and a double is $49 if you rent through Wisp Resort. Swimming in the indoor pool is $15 per adult and renting a boat for a half-day goes from $254 to $442, depending on the size and features.

Deep Creek is at 5 Vacation Way in McHenry. Call 877-851-416 or go to deepcreek.com.

Ain't the beer cold?

Being outside all day can be brutal. But about an hour away, in Frederick, you can enjoy an ice-cold beer at Flying Dog Brewery — and see how it's made. Brewery tours and tasting sessions are two hours long. The tours cost $5 and include sampling five Flying Dog beers and a commemorative tasting glass. Reservations are required for tours, so book in advance.

Flying Dog Brewery is at 4607 Wedgewood Blvd in Frederick. Tours are at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays. Call 301-694-7899 or go to flyingdogales.com.

Water park

Waiting in lines during hot weather is the last thing we want to do during the summer — but imagine that the line you are standing in leads down a water slide into a big pool. Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags America offers 14 water rides, a great way to cool down. When purchased online, day passes range from $36.99 to $39.99, and parking is $15.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is at 13710 Central Ave. in Bowiee. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Aug. 19, then weekends through Sept. 3. Call 301-249-1500 or go to sixflags.com.