There’s nothing like following a hike with some good aprés hike fun. It can be a reward for a completing a challenging route or simply a way to make the most of a day in a destination. Hit the trail then refuel with a hearty meal, relax with wine or brews, and maybe even get your outdoor game on as you extend a great day at a beautiful, fun place. Here are six combos around the DC area to do just that.
Sky Meadows State Park & Barrel Oak Winery
Hike: Sky Meadows State Park encompasses over 1800 acres in a rural area of Fauquier County, about 50 miles west of DC. Rolling hills, knots of woods, and wide open pastures offer a nice mix of recreational opportunities, beautiful scenery, and a bit of history. Trails wind through clusters of trees and along ridges overlooking swaths of farmland. There are 22 miles of trails to hike, including the Appalachian Trail — a three-mile stretch of it runs through the park. Some trails are open to biking and horseback riding (BYO horse) as well.
Aprés Hike: Barrel Oak Winery and Brewery is just a few minutes’ drive from Sky Meadows and a perfect place to hang out after a visit there. Picnic tables with colorful umbrellas dot the landscape with scenic surroundings of grapevines and rolling hills. The house specialties include award-winning wines, various beers, and even hard seltzer, and purchases are required to use their tables. Pizza by Knead Wine is currently on site, but that could change. You can also BYO food and drinks, but note that alcoholic beverages and coolers are not permitted.
Read more about Sky Meadows State Park on KidFriendly DC.
Sky Meadows State Park
Where: 11012 Edmonds Lane | Delaplane, VA
When: Daily, 8am – dusk
Admission: $10 (self pay)
Barrel Oak Winery and Brewery
Where: 3623 Grove Lane | Delaplane, VA
When: Sunday – Thursday, 12-5pm | Friday-Saturday, 12-7pm
Admission: Free, but wine/beer purchase required
Sugarloaf Mountain & The Comus Inn or Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
Hike: Located in Dickerson, MD, just south Frederick, Sugarloaf Mountain is a pretty well known place to hike in the area. You can start at the base and opt for a 7-mile loop or drive farther up the mountain for a shorter hike — there are several trails to hop on close to the parking area. A couple of good ones are the white trail, which winds around and ascends gradually to the summit, and the orange trail that is a steeper, more direct climb up. However you go, you’re guaranteed great views on the way and at the top.
Aprés Hike: Both The Comus Inn and Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard are right down the road from the hiking spots. The latter is a family-friendly restaurant with an amazing outdoor dining area that also offers shuffleboard, corn hole, and ping pong — all of it surrounded by gorgeous scenery. The winery is a nice place to relax and enjoy sips after a walk in the woods.
Great Falls Park & Old Angler’s Inn
Hike: Great Falls encompasses over 800 acres along the Potomac River in Virginia and Maryland and boasts some of the most majestic nature and stunning vistas in the DC area along with excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Virginia side is officially Great Falls Park, while the Maryland side is actually part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, but with the main attraction — the gorgeous cascades of the Mather Gorge — the same for each, it’s all considered Great Falls. And it absolutely lives up to the name. The Billy Goat Trail on the Maryland side is the most well known hiking route in the park, and maybe even in the DC area. It’s just under five miles and winds through trees, over clusters of large rocks, and along rooty paths in the area between the C&O Canal and Potomac River. It’s rugged and fun and offers breathtaking vistas, There are also designated overlooks, one just a short walk from the parking lot and the other further down the tow path, where you can take in breathtaking views of the Mather Gorge.
Aprés Hike: The lovely setting of Old Angler’s Inn amid tall trees just across the road from the C&O Canal make it a popular stop after a hike on the Maryland side of Great Falls. The patio is lovely and laid back, especially during the day, and there is often live music on weekends. The beer garden menu has lots of sandwich and pizza options. Prices are a little high, but the pretty surroundings and relaxing vibe are worth it.
Read more about Great Falls on KidFriendly DC.
Patuxent River State Park and Waredaca Brewery
Hike: Patuxent River State Park spans nearly 7,000 acres in Montgomery and Howard counties. There are generally three areas of the park — the North End, the Wildlands, and the South End. The south section, closest to Waredaca Brewery, has a couple marked trails, while other areas tend to have more social (unmarked) trails that are popular with hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hunters during the season. One south section trail is about a mile and a half and the other two miles, and they conveniently connected for a nice walk in the woods. The trails are well maintained with some twists and turns and a few slight uphills, but nothing too strenuous. Perfect if you just want to get out and enjoy a nice day in nature, then follow it up with fun and brews.
Aprés Hike: Located in a serene pastoral setting along with equestrian facilities, Waredaca is a great place to hang out after a hike. Picnic tables with umbrellas are spread out around the grassy orchard, and there is more seating inside the Tap Room and right outside it on a patio, where live music is often performed. A wide selection of beer is on the menu along with bar snacks like pretzels and charcuterie boxes. A food truck is also on site, but it varies by day. You can also BYO food and just enjoy the brews.
Read more about hiking and hanging at Patuxent River State Park and Waredaca Brewery on KidFriendly DC.
Patuxent River State Park – South End
Where: 11950 Clopper Road | Gaithersburg, MD
When: Daily, sunrise to sunset
Waredaca Brewing Company
Where: 4017 Damascus Road | Laytonsville, Maryland
When: Thurs-Friday 4-8pm | Sat-Sun, 12-6pm
Admission: Free (but plan to spend on brews and food)
Patapsco Valley State Park and Guinness Open Gate Brewery
Hike: With over 16,000 acres sprawling through Howard and Baltimore counties, there are hiking options galore at Patapsco. The trails vary, which keeps it interesting — there are easy, flat routes along the river and rooty paths that wind through the woods, some leading to waterfalls or crossing over footbridges. We usually head in at the Avalon or Hilton entrances and hit the trails from there. Both offer the best access to trails that lead to the lovely Cascade Falls, plus other nice routes. I recommend checking the Patapsco website or Trails.com to find detailed info and the right hike for your crew.
Aprés Hike: The first American location of the famous Dublin brewery, Guinness Open Gate Brewery is just a three-minute drive from the Avalon entrance of Patapsco, a convenient and fun spot to relax after some time on the trail. There is a large outdoor beer garden with games like corn hole as well as an indoor tap room, where you can get a bite to eat — both have their own menus — and enjoy the house specialty (ie, many beers options on tap). Make a reservation if you can as the wait for a table can be long, especially on a nice day.
Read more about Patapsco Valley State Park on KidFriendly DC.
Patapsco Valley State Park
Where: Howard & Baltimore Counties, Maryland
When: Open daily year-round, 9am – sunset
Admission: April- October: Weekdays: $2/vehicle MD residents, $4/vehicle non-residents
Weekends/holidays: $3/person residents, $5/person non-residents
November – March: $2/vehicle residents, $4/vehicle non-residents
Guiness Open Gate Brewery
Where: 5001 Washington Blvd | Halethorpe, MD 21227
When: Wednesday – Sunday, hours vary by day
Admission: Free, but plan to spend of food and drinks
Harpers Ferry & Harpers Ferry Brewery.
Hike: Just over an hour’s drive from DC, where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet, the Harpers Ferry makes for a great escape from the bustle of the city and an excellent hiking destination. It’s located right on the Appalachian Trail, and there are several good hiking options, including trails leading to overlooks with gorgeous views. The Maryland Heights Overlook Cliffs Trail is probably the most popular. It’s about a two and a half-mile ascent to the cliffs overlooking the river and the town of Harpers Ferry — the beautiful scene below is a great reward after the ramble there. Check out even more Harpers Ferry hikes here.
Aprés Hike: Harpers Ferry Brewery is just across the river from the town and National Park, but the drive between the two areas takes about 30 minutes — though it’s worth it for a bite and brew at a beautiful, relaxing place. Seating is indoors and out, but outside with the amazing scenery is best. Food options are limited — there’s pizza and pretzels and sometimes food trucks offering more — but the on-tap menu is extensive. There’s live music on weekends from March – November, and a cozy fire pit to sit by if you can snag seats.
Read more about Harpers Ferry on KidFriendly DC.
Harpers Ferry National Park
Where: 171 Shoreline Drive | Harpers Ferry, WV
Harpers Ferry Brewery
Where: 37412 Adventure Center Lane | Purcellville, VA
When: Daily, hours vary by day
Admission: Just the cost of your food & drinks
Where are your favorite places to hike and aprés hike? Feel free to share in the comments!