Located along the northern shore of Deep Creek Lake in Maryland, McHenry is home to year-round fun and attractions. Book a McHenry vacation rental late in the year for skiing and other snow activities with the family, or opt for a summer getaway full of golf, museums, and relaxation. When planning your trip, consider these top 15 activities to fill your itinerary.
1. Learn How to Cross Country Ski at the Wisp Resort
Take a scenic chairlift ride at the Wisp Resort for beautiful views of the city below. Get advice from the pros on how to hone your skills, and sign children up for ski lessons. Make s’mores around the fire pit at the end of the day and sip hot cocoa, or stop by the gift shop for souvenirs. In the summer, the Wisp Resort features a mountain coaster that’s fun for individuals of all ages. Zoom 3,500 feet down the mountainside at your own pace at speeds up to 28 miles per hour. Each coaster cart has a set of handbrakes for easy maneuvering, and a motorized pulley system carries the cart back uphill while you enjoy views of Deep Creek Lake. At the end of the ride, an automated camera takes your picture on the ride to commemorate your trip.
2. Get a Massage at the Lake Day Spa
Spend a day of relaxation at the Lake Day Spa. Couples can opt for a couples massage, or sign Mom or the girls up for a day of facials and salon services. The spa offers top-of-the-line beauty products, and you can also opt for the on-site pain management treatments to soothe sore muscles after a day on the river before returning to your vacation rental.
3. Navigate the Rapids of the Youghiogheny River
Hardcore river-runners and thrill seekers can ride the rapids of Upper Yough for a ten-mile trip of a lifetime. Navigate through Swallow Falls and the infamous Suckhole into some class IV and class V rapids. Near the end of the trip, you’ll experience the class V run from Wait Rock to Gap Falls pool to really get the adrenaline pumping.
4. Attend a Glassblowing Workshop
Marvel in awe at the craftsmanship of the Simon Pierce artisans as they create unique works of art in glass. Take a class and learn how to shape and make your own beautiful treasure. At the end of the lesson, you can take your artwork with you to show friends and family.
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5. Learn How to Fly Fish with a Streams and Dreams Retreat
The Youghiogheny River is a popular spot for fishing in McHenry. Whether you are a seasoned pro or new to the activity, you can sign up with a Streams and Dreams Retreat to learn how to fish or simply get some pointers. Each trip offers comprehensive lessons from the banks to help you snag that monster trout. Afterwards, you can take your catch back to your vacation rental for a fish fry.
6. Rent a Boat at Deep Creek Lake Boat Rentals
Stop by Deep Creek Lake Boat Rentals and rent a large pontoon, fishing boat, or cruiser to enjoy your vacation on the water. They have everything you need to make your trip a safe and fun one, including life jackets, towables, and fishing supplies. Grab a map of the waterways and explore on your own, or ask the staff for advice on the best places to go.
7. Enjoy a History Lesson at the Spruce Forest Artisan Village
Enjoy the sound of hammers and anvils as they ring across the village at Spruce Forest. This one-of-a-kind historical site features craftsmen displaying their trades, centuries-old log cabins to explore, and plenty of home cooking to satisfy the appetite. There’s also a craft shop where you can purchase local wares.
8. Go Rock Climbing with Adventure Sports
Try your skill at rock climbing and rappelling with seasoned professionals at the Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI). Located on the mountain above the Wisp Ski Resort, ASCI provides lessons on some of the natural on-site structures. A basic program lasts two hours. Afterwards, you can explore some of the other rocks in the region with a guide, including Cooper’s Rock and Seneca Rocks.
9. Sample the Cheese at Firefly Farms
Known for some of the best cheese in the area, Firefly Farms makes its own blends on site. Sample various flavors and find your favorite, and take a slab of cheese back to your vacation rental for snacking later. Call ahead for a sit-down sampling for small groups, or walk in for a quick tour.
10. Visit the Discovery Center in Swanton
Located along the southern end of Deep Creek Lake, the Discovery Center is a local wildlife center that offers a glimpse into the lives of species that inhabit the area. The center has a large collection of live and stuffed animals and offers excellent views of the water. Join in on the special presentations, and then let the children enjoy the outdoor playground.
11. Tour the Garrett County Museum of Transportation in Oakland
Take a day trip 12 miles south to Oakland and tour the Museum of Transportation. The museum displays a wide array of vehicles with history lessons on each one. Enjoy looking at tractors, carriages, and even an antique firetruck. Snack on sno-cones from the museum at the end of the trip and check out the gift shop.
12. Experience the Drane House in Accident
Get a glimpse of what life was like in Maryland in the 1800s with a tour of the Drane House. Located just six miles north of McHenry, the house features a large display of artifacts. The grounds are expansive with a small cemetery close by. This attraction is ideal if you enjoy history and are looking for a peaceful area to explore.
13. Enjoy the Oakland B&O Railroad Museum
Vacationers young and old will enjoy exploring one of the largest and most important railroad museums in the country. The collection contains locomotives that you can touch and explore, old buildings, and documents that provide a clear picture of the railroad’s development through the years. Stop by the guest desk and schedule a train ride. There are several themed-rides to choose from, including the Polar Express in the winter.
14. Cool Off at Splash Island in Oakland
Splash Island is an inflatable waterpark on Deep Creek Lake, approximately 10 miles south of McHenry. There are slides, obstacle courses, and trampolines located directly on the water. Life jackets must be worn at all times. A small shop offers drinks, snacks, and other necessities. Picnic tables and a floating dock are great for observing the fun.
15. Climb the Thayerville Lookout Tower
Travel eight miles south to the Deep Creek Lake State Park and climb the lookout tower for amazing views of the lake and surrounding woods. The tower was built to provide a lookout for forest fires and is still in operation. Children must be at least 46 inches tall to make the climb and must climb with an adult.
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