The small lakeside community of McHenry is located on the western corner of Maryland, close to its borders with Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Surrounded by mountainous wooded areas and sitting on the northern shore of Deep Creek Lake, this town is a great year-round base for families who love outdoor life. Book a stay at a McHenry vacation rental, and enjoy convenient access to boating adventures, whitewater rafting fun, as well as biking and hiking opportunities in the warmer months. When the snow turns the area into a winter wonderland, partake in skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and ice skating. Here are some of the main attractions in the area.

1. Book a Boat Tour With High Mountain Sports

Learn all about Deep Creek Lake’s history and wildlife on an hour-long pontoon boat tour with High Mountain Sports. Setting out from the dock, this gentle trip lets you relax and enjoy the passing scenery while the captain shares his knowledge of the lake. Take a camera and windbreaker or jacket as it can get a little cool and breezy out on the water, even in summer. Kids under the age of 13 and anyone who can’t swim needs to wear a life jacket once the boat sets off.

2. Have Inflatable Fun at Splash Island, Will O’ the Wisp

If your kids love playing around in the water, they can have endless fun at Splash Island, the inflatable water park at Will O’ the Wisp. Kids aged five or more and adults can join in the fun clambering and slipping across the inflatable obstacle course with plenty of slides that deliver you into the cool waters of Deep Creek Lake. They also have aqua cycles for hire, and in the colder months, their Monkey Business Adventure Park and game arcade offer alternative ways to while away the hours.

3. Go Whitewater Rafting With Adventure Sports Center International

The area’s mountain rivers offer some seriously daring class V rapids, but for a slightly more gentle adventure, visit Adventure Sports Center International. Book a two-hour guided white-water experience on their man-made mountaintop course, and enjoy paddling around the loop in a self-bailing six-person raft. Anyone weighing 50 pounds or more is welcome to join in. More experienced rafters can progress to the three-person high-adventure rafts and even tackle the notoriously challenging stretches of the Youghiogheny River.

4. Have an Aerial Adventure at Wisp Resort

Adults and kids aged 10 or more can enjoy an exhilarating treetop adventure with the Flying Squirrel Canopy Tour at Wisp Resort. Challenges include a cargo net, a rope bridge, and five breathtaking zips, with the longest lasting for more than 400 feet. Younger kids aged from six upward can enjoy the Spider Monkey Adventure, which includes traversing a swinging bridge, riding a snowboard on ropes, and ziplining 200 feet. For the smaller kids, the Chipmunk Challenge Course designed for children aged four or more and weighing at least 40 pounds takes them across a spiderweb net, a 30-foot-long rickety bridge, and a 60-foot zipline.

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5. Go Searching for Treasure at the Marsh Mountain Mining Company

Imagine the kids’ excitement when they discover their own gems at the Marsh Mountain Mining Company, located in the Mountain Park at Wisp Resort. Suitable for youngsters aged two and over, each little miner gets a bag of “Gem Mix” to sift through in the sluice. When they have discovered their treasures, they take their collections to the station to get their finds evaluated and to learn more about their gems.

6. Spend the Day at Funland Family Fun Center

The Funland Family Fun Center in McHenry has plenty of indoor and outdoor attractions to keep the family entertained, whatever the weather. Practice your swing on the 18-hole miniature golf course, take a spin around the track on a go-kart, and express some friendly aggression in the bumper cars or with water balloons. Younger kids love riding the old-fashioned carousel. There’s even a climbing wall. Round off the day with a Deep Creek Pizza and Hershey’s hand-dipped ice cream at the on-site DC Pizza.

7. Learn Rock Climbing at Adventure Sports Center International

Adventure Sports Center International operates a climbing program that is suitable for beginners and intermediates. Learn how to climb on the natural boulders and ledges of the Fork Run Recreation Area during a two-hour session. The center provides rock climbing shoes in sizes 4 to 14. Make an advance reservation, and take along water bottles, snacks, and comfortable clothing. Be sure to wear long pants to protect bare legs against the rocks.

8. Go Snow Tubing at Wisp Resort

In the winter months when snow carpets the surrounding hills and mountains, head out to Wisp Resort, and join in one of the fastest-growing winter sports—snow tubing. Simply jump inside one of the provided tubes, climb aboard the Conveyor Carpet, and travel up to the top of the slope before hurtling down one of the 12 tube shoots for 750 feet of slippery fun. The entire family can take part so long as each participant is at least 42 inches tall.

9. Go Ice Skating at the Wisp Mountain Park Ice Rink

Enjoy a magical experience skating in the winter wonderland of the outdoor ice rink in Wisp’s Mountain Park. If you or family members are complete novices, buy an Intro-to-Skating package, which includes a 90-minute session, skate rental, and lessons for novices. You can also buy a family package with skate rentals for two adults and two children. There are benches when you need a rest from pirouetting, and bonfires to set faces aglow.

10. Create Your Own Masterpiece at Deep Creek Pottery

Based in Laurel Ridge Road, McHenry, the family-friendly Deep Creek Pottery is a great place to learn new skills and create a lasting memento of your vacation. Join a class, and learn how to make and paint beautiful pots, plates, and plaques, as well as create stunning mosaics.

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