I think there is some sort of conspiracy to hide this place. If you are like me, and just grab the closest thing to an address that you can find before you head out the door, you will be hopelessly lost. The only real address listed for Gunpowder Falls State Park is for the headquarters. Nice people. I met them. They looked at me with pity in their eyes while I explained that I was looking for a scrap tire park and then handed me a xeroxed map with a highlighter pointing me to the exact place I was supposed to be, or rather, the exact place where I was not.
See, it turns out that Gunpowder is actually 18,000 acres of park and is divided into five main areas. I debated giving up, but no, this has turned into a quest. So I strapped the kids back into the car and tried to find entertaining things to point out along the way to make the ride more fun. A huge mountain of flowers at a construction site. An inflatable dinosaur at a car dealership. Finally, we got there. The place was strangely deserted. Even the guard building was empty and there were directions there for me to place $3 mysteriously in an envelope and take a tag for my car. Honor system? Fine. I saw a sign pointing toward the various points of interest, but I wasn't completely paying attention, so I followed the road looking for something, anything.
And there it was. No, not the tire park. A beach. A real live beach.
1,500 feet of beach on the banks of Gunpowder River to be exact and for the time being, it was ours alone. In the summer, the area is lifeguarded and you can rent kayaks, surfboards and catamarans. The kids took off their shoes and played in the sand for a while before we headed to the picnic tables for lunch. We spent a fair amount of time shooing flies away from our picnic, but what is a picnic without a few pests, right?
Life was good, bellies were full and nap time was imminent. We got back in the car and continued along the road and then finally...