From the sweep of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries to the greenery of waterfront parks and rugged hiking trails, Anne Arundel County offers a wide variety of options for outdoor recreation.
Sandy Point State Park is on 786 acres off U.S. 50 and Route 301 at 1100 E. College Parkway. Swim at the beach, picnic or hike through the pine forests, marshes and woods found along the Symbi and East Beach Trails.
Rent a rowboat or motorboat from late spring through early fall, or launch your boat from the marina's launching ramps.
Hike, jog, bike, skate or ride your horse on the paved bed of the old B&A Shortline Railroad on the county's long and narrow Baltimore and Annapolis Trail Park.
About 13 miles long and 10 feet wide, the park has its north end at Dorsey Road in Glen Burnie, and its south end at Jonas Green State Park in Annapolis, with a number of access points along the way.
At the Dorsey Road end of the trail, the 12.5-mile paved BWI Trail starts its circle around Baltimore-Washington International Airport. 410-222-6244.
Lake Waterford Park at Pasadena Road and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard in Pasadena has areas for recreation activities such as hiking, picnicking and bird-watching, as well as areas developed for softball, basketball, tennis and other sports within its 108 acres.
Two highlights of this county park are its 12-acre lake with fishing and a Boundless playground, accessible to all children, including those with disabilities. 410-222-6248.
Another county park, Kinder Farm Park, 1001 Kinder Farm Park Road, off Jumpers Hole Road in Millersville, primarily offers natural recreation.
Its 288 acres include trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, a playground and picnic facilities. Or fish, play horseshoes, or bird-watch, a popular park activity.
A variety of events and activities for children and adults are held throughout the year. 410- 222-6615, 410-222-6122 (24-hour events and activities hot line).
The county's 340-acre Quiet Waters Park, next to South River and Harness Creek, is home to the county's first dog park.
For people, there are hiking trails, a playground, picnic areas, rowboat and paddle boat rentals, ice skating in season, guided nature walks and more. 600 Quiet Waters Park Road, Annapolis, 410-222-1777.
Information about the many county parks, trails and recreational facilities: 410-222-7300 orAnne Arundel County Recreation and Parks Web site, www. aacpl.net/rp.
Annapolis' largest park, the 70-acre Truxtun Heights Park at Hilltop Lane, has tennis and basketball courts, ball fields, an outdoor pool, public boat launch, fishing, playground and picnic areas, a skateboard park, as well as trails for biking or hiking.
The city also owns a number of smaller recreation and park areas and trails.
Cyclists at all levels of experience and skill are welcome to join members of the Annapolis Bicycle Club on their scheduled rides in the Annapolis area and to scenic areas of Maryland and neighboring states. 410-647-7139,www.annapolisbicycleclub.org.
These American Volkssport Association-affiliated groups walk regularly in the Anne Arundel County area, as well as other parts of Maryland and surrounding states.
Among the public and semipublic places to play or practice golf:
Annapolis Golf Club, nine-hole semiprivate course, lessons for ages 7 and older; 2638 Carrolton Road, Annapolis, 410-263-6771.
Arundel Golf Park, Practice facility/driving range, lessons for ages 6 and older; 1501 Dorsey Road, Glen Burnie, 410-761-1295.
Bay Hills Golf Club, Semiprivate club, 18 holes; 545 Bay Hills Drive, Arnold, 410-974-0669.
Eisenhower Golf Course, 18-hole public course and practice facility, private and group lessons for all skill levels, junior leagues and clinics; 1576 Generals Highway, Crownsville, 410- 571-0973,www.eisenhowergolf.com.
Severna Park Golf Center, nine-hole public course, practice range, lessons; 1257 Ritchie Highway, Arnold, 410-647-8618,www.spgc.net.
South River Golf Links, Semiprivate 18-hole course, lessons for juniors and adults; 3451 Solomon's Island Road, Edgewater, 800-767-4837,www.mdgolf.com.
Whether you've never sailed before or are an experienced sailor, the county is home to several sailing schools that can provide instruction or programs to meet your goals, including:
The Annapolis Sailing School, 601 Sixth St., Annapolis, 800- 638-9192,www.annapolissailing.com , is the country's oldest and largest commercial sailing school, according to General Manager Rick Franke.
The school offers basic, cruising and advanced sailing courses for adults, and the KidShip Sailing School, a sailing instruction program for children ages 5 to 15.
In addition to its sailing programs, the school also offers the Annapolis Powerboat School (www.annapolispowerboat.com), which teaches powerboat operation, skills and safety.
J World Sailing School, Annapolis, 213 Eastern Ave., Annapolis, 800-966-2038, 410-280- 2040,www.sailjworld.com, provides learn-to-sail programs for novice through advanced sailors, including racing and cruising instruction. Its race-training program gives participants a chance to hone their racing skills, then test them against other racers.
Womanship, 137 Conduit St., Annapolis, 410-267-6661,www.womanship.com , whose motto is "Nobody yells," was founded by women to teach women to sail.
Womanship offers a wide range of courses for adults from basic to advanced, plus a "Young Womanship" program for girls ages 10 to 17, as well as mother-daughter courses.
Men and boys also may learn to sail through one of the school's customized courses for couples, families or groups who want to learn to sail together. New this year, says Suzanne Pogell, Womanship president, is a Tall Ship Sailing and Learning program for adult women.
Chesapeake Sailing School, 7074 Bembe Beach Road, Annapolis, 410-269-1594, 800- 966-0032,www.sailingclasses.com, offers basic, intermediate and cruising courses, sailing instruction for children ages 5 to 12, and family sailing programs.
Another instructional program for junior sailors is the Severn Sailing Association Junior Sailing Program (410-263- 0071).
That program's parent group, The Severn Sailing Association, 311 First St., Annapolis, 410-269- 6744,www.severnsailing.org, sponsors a series of sailing races, spring through fall, plus a winter frostbite series.
The volunteer sailors at Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, 410-626-0273,www.crab-sailing.org, provide sailing experiences for individuals with disabilities.
The Friends of Quiet Waters Park also sponsors Maryland Basic Boating Classes at the park's visitor's center, 410-222- 1777, as does The Friends of Kinder Farm Park at the Severna Park Jaycees Community Building, in the park, 410-222- 6115.
As an alternative to Anne Arundel's more traditional sailing, you can explore the county's waterways through Amphibious Horizons Sea Kayaking, 600 Quiet Waters Park Road, Annapolis, 410-267-8742,www.amphibioushorizons.com, which offers sea kayak instruction; rents kayaks, canoes and paddleboats from April through October; and conducts sunset paddle trips every Saturday from May through October, as well as guided trips in the county and beyond.