Lake Artemesia

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If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of DC, a quiet stroll around Lake Artemesia could be just the ticket.

Located 30 minutes from DC, this Maryland park is really only known to neighborhood residents, who visit the lake to get in some exercise, or just relax. The lake offers spots for fishing, biking and hiking, with paths leading to the nearby disc golf course at Calvert Road Park or to the College Park Airport and Aviation Museum. Aside from a small handful of local visitors, the other crowds that frequent the area are the wildlife that make the lake their home.

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The lake is named after Artemesia Drefs, whose family donated the land for the 38-acre lake to be used as an open space. When the metro line went up near the land in 1976, builders used resources from the plot in exchange for turning the space into a natural recreation area.

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The road to the lake can be misleading – the blocks surrounding the lake are full of machinery factories, truck yards and scrap piles. But once you enter the park, images of truck parts and gravel lots fade away to picturesque scenes of cattails, lapping water and open footpaths.

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You can spend hours exploring the side paths around the lake that lead to the University of Maryland campus, or follow the Luther Goldman Birding Trail to see some feathered friends. There is also a butterfly garden area where you can spot some monarchs during the spring and summer.

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Fishing enthusiasts make frequent visits to the lake, although a non-tidal fishing license is required if you want to give it a go yourself.

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Lake Artemesia is open year round, from sunrise to sunset. The lake can get busy with joggers who take their runs after work gets out at 5 p.m., so if you’re a curmudgeon like me who enjoys avoiding people, make your visit during the early afternoon.

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Whether you’re looking for hiking trails or want to take in the natural scenery of Maryland, Lake Artemesia can be the perfect day trip away from the big city.

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