Planning a Visit
One-Day Getaways & Overnights
Whether for one night or two, a whole week or just a day, we can be an option for many. My friends from Morgantown hop over for an easy one-day trip with the kids. Couples come from Pittsburgh and Baltimore to escape the city. I’ve even met families who forego the beach vacation and come to Deep Creek instead!
Just For A Day
If you’re just looking for a day trip, Deep Creek has plenty of options for eating and playing to fill up an easy activity list. And because I’m always looking for new ways for my husband and I to get away, even for just a day, and because so many of my clients are couples, it only seemed fitting to put together a quick recommended route for a winter getaway in Garrett County...
Start at The Cornucopia Cafe in Grantsville for a cup of coffee and their salted caramel coffee creamer
Then take a stroll through neighboring Spruce Forest Artisan Village - it's especially picturesque in snow!
Consider stopping at New Germany State Park if you've got snowshoe or cross-country skiing gear
Lunch at MoonShadow at the lake? Or maybe Brenda's Pizzeria or Casselman Cafe & Bakery? All fine options.
Downtown Oakland could be your final stop with shops and new food + drink options, including a taproom!
Coming with friends or bringing the kids for the day this winter? Consider these: hiking at Swallow Falls State Park to see all three waterfalls (beautiful in every season, especially when covered in snow), skiing, boarding and snow tubing (kids must be 5 to tube) at Wisp and indoor fun at Deep Creek Fun Zone (formerly Smiley's...new laser tag!), Funland and Fun Unlimited!
More Than Just A Day
Deep Creek has everything from a tiny cabin village to yurts in a forest, and of course plenty of hotel-like options, too. Here are some overnight accommodation ideas for visitors of any size and any adventure level…
Lake Pointe Inn B&B – lakefront, breakfast and treats…I also hear they do sunset boat rides (in summer)
Lakestar Lodge – another lakefront option right in the heart of McHenry
Blue Moon Rising – tiny cabin village in the woods!
Inn at Deep Creek – within walking distance of Honi-Honi, Uno’s and Garrett 8 Cinemas
Savage River Lodge – 40 minutes from the lake with cabin and yurt options in the forest
For Families & Groups
Ella’s Enchanted Treehouses – new in our area!
Herrington Manor and New Germany State Parks – crazy affordable cabins!
Wisp Resort and Suites at Silver Tree – for hotel and hotel-like options; both have a bar and restaurant on-site; outdoor activities available at Wisp
The Lodges at Sunset and Lakeside Village – reserve multiple cabins and keep everyone close by; Sunset Village has some cabins that hold up to 10 people
Taylor-Made Vacations and Railey Vacations – plenty of rental homes to choose from!
Red Barn Inn - In Swanton, very cozy, also a wedding venue!
Blue Moon Rising – group gathering spaces within the tiny cabin village
Eat, Drink & Play!
My husband and his uncle always want to know, “What did you eat while on vacation?” Deep Creek and Garrett County may be considered a “small town” kind of area, but we’ve got plenty of notable places for food, drink and activity. Here’s my personal list of restaurants and other eateries for your next visit…
Enjoy lunch and dinner with a lake view! Pasta and stir-fry days weekly, room for groups, and an outdoor deck for dining if it's nice outside. I especially love their cozy bar atmosphere with a fireplace and various seating options!
I've heard they've got the best wings at the lake! I also enjoy their giant deck when it's nice outside. Great spot for lunch, dinner or a late-night gathering with friends. They often have live music, too! The owners are also pretty awesome.
A fine place to dine, but also pizza take-out! They have the Abbodanzza...the biggest pizza I've ever seen! Great for feeding groups.
A little farther from the lake, but worth the 20-25 minute drive north. It's located in Grantsville and has such a cool atmosphere. The food is AWESOME and the menu is very unique, using locally made ingredients. They also have a bar, so it's a nice evening/adult space, too.
Watch your donuts being made and then eat them while looking out at the lake! These donuts are custom made with M&Ms, sprinkles, crushed Oreos, maple coating, chocolate chips, and more.
Across the street from Uno's and next to the movie theater. The owners are super nice and the blackened catfish sandwich is SO GOOD! They're also from Pittsburgh…Go Steelers. 🙂
A donut "truck" or "trailer", if you will, located at Funland in McHenry! Toppings include everything from bacon to Fruity Pebbles AND they feature custom creations throughout the season! Open seasonally during the warmer months.
A Deep Creek staple, especially in summer. Enjoy a drink at the bar, on the patio or in the backyard. During summer, the Uno's servers will be on-hand on weekends so you can eat on the patio, too! Also, it may be a bar, but it's family-friendly with all kinds of climbing and playing options in the backyard for the kids...at least until the nighttime hours. Open Thursdays and Fridays at 3, Saturdays and Sundays at noon, during the off-season.
A Deep Creek staple and go-to place for ice cream at the lake! They have a ton of flavors and serve giant sundaes. But be warned, you could find a long line the line. (Not because they’re inefficient, but because everyone loves this place!) We like to go at lunchtime or afternoon on a weekday to avoid the crowds in summer. For fall, be sure to visit before or during Autumn Glory weekend. It'll then be closed for the off-season until April.
"Eat Real Food" is their motto. Vegan, gluten free, locally-sourced, and pescatarian menu items available, along with weekly features, a spacious bar area, occasional live music, and Sunday brunch. Great for lunch, great for dinner and great for drinks! Located right next to Garrett College.
This is our personal family favorite! Wood-fire pizzas, home-brewed beer and a casual atmosphere that welcomes groups and families. ALSO, outdoor seating with a great view of the sunset!
For an extra special getaway meal, head to the forest! SRL is located in the top northeastern part of Garrett County and offers some of the most unique, decadent dishes around. Dinner reservations are required, and sometimes 4WD and AWD cars only in winter. Call ahead to check road conditions, but it's definitely worth the drive.
It's not a restaurant, but if you love donuts, you HAVE TO TRY THESE! The bakery is located in the town of Accident just north of the lake. They make their donuts on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and they're just $10 a dozen. They're the yummiest donuts I've ever had and you might get diabetes from eating just one. 🙂 But I recommend going well before lunch because they sometimes sell out. They also make pretty giant sandwiches at lunchtime.
Right below Brenda's...great for coffee drinks, breakfast and lunch...and even a little group work or laptop work. Plenty of gluten-free options, too! One of my favorite places at the lake!
It's a Deep Creek staple and always a fan favorite! The deep dish pizzas are delicious and there's a giant backyard with an outdoor play area for the kiddos (pirate ship, giant elephant and whale included). It's also neighbor to another DC staple, the Honi-Honi Bar...and yes, as crazy as it sounds, it's family-friendly during the day! On a warm afternoon, you can find people of all ages enjoying the outdoor-in bar atmosphere and the giant backyard.
Complete Eat, Drink & Play Guide Coming Soon!
And because we’ve got lots of stuff to do and places to see here…
Whitewater rafting in a manmade, outdoor facility! Limited hours of operation and fun to watch.
High Mountain Sports! During snow season, check out their ski and snowboard rental shop in McHenry, just a one-minute drive from Wisp Resort. They also offer boat tours daily after Memorial Day at 1 and 3pm in summer (call for reservations).
Adult-only activity (even though they have kids movies ready to pop in the the VCR ssoooo)...used books to buy and wine to try! A cozy and quaint atmosphere. Open Thursdays-Sundays.
The older kiddos will find these places entertaining. Overall, their food and activity features include arcade games, laser tag, bumper boats, go-carts, mini golf, pizza, and ice cream.
Located in Accident, this quaint and cozy farm is quite a gem. Fresh lavender plants to fluff and smell, lavender products handmade right on the farm, and an inviting setting for an afternoon picnic, walk with the kids or maybe even a bridal or baby shower! Open seasonally Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. Make sure you ask for Anne when you visit. She's the owner and she's the best!
I haven’t been yet, but have heard good things! A nice indoor activity, especially for the younger ones who love crafting!
About 20 minutes south of McHenry (the northern end of the lake where much of what I've mentioned above is located); the downtown area is especially inviting with antique shops, a bookstore, floral shop, 50s diner, coffee shop, and the new Sipside Lounge. (This place is swanky and I'm not sure I'm cool enough to hang out in it yet, ha! Definitely recommend it for an adult date night!) On your way into downtown, you'll pass the famous Candyland! Everyone loves this place! Half the store is snacks, veggies, fruits, and cooking ingredients while the other half is CANDY! Loose candy for less than $5 a pound, giant gummi bears, Big League Chew, and so many other unique candies! I recommend going there for your weekly stock of food and to get bags and bags of candy. 🙂
Also in Accident just a short walk from The Rolling Pin (listed above for food), this place is great if you're looking for some wine and cheese for the week, or just an adult outing. You can make reservations for the wine and cheese pairings or just shop through their market. All the cheese is made in-house and ingredients are supplied by our local farms.
Circle R Ranch and Western Trails, both near the lake.
Stage Wisp Concert Series (starts July 3rd…and it’s free!), Black Bear Tavern, MoonShadow, Honi-Honi, The Cornucopia Café, Sipside Lounge, and Mountain State Brewing frequent bands and performers.
A brand new attraction with an incredible lakeside view! Ropes course adventures for kiddos and adults! (I was able to try all three zip lines last year!) They have three levels of participation and a special kiddo-friendly level for the wee ones.
Open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm, June through October, in Downtown Oakland in the Mt. Fresh Pavilion. Winter and spring markets are also now part of the calendar (be sure to check their website for times and location). Farmers, bakers, artisans bring fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, art, and other handmade goods.
Playgrounds at Deep Creek Lake State Park, Town of Accident, Broadford Park in Oakland, Downtown Oakland, Friendsville, Honi-Honi + Uno’s
We've got a lot and they're such gems! Deep Creek Lake State Park has a lovely beach area with roped-off swimming and playgrounds for the kiddos. They also have a Discovery Center with animals and occasional hands-on events/presentations - great for rainy days! Swallow Falls State Park is one of my favorites, especially for pictures. It has three waterfalls, looks beautiful in any weather and can be some easy hiking for all ages.
Something I just completely made up on my own, but we’ve got some wine tasting options worth noting for those interested connoisseurs. Start with Deep Creek Cellars, then head to McHenry Beverage (free tastings on Saturdays...they also have the biggest wine room I've ever seen), Black Bear Wine & Words, Fireside Deli & Wine Shop, and finally Sipside Lounge. Bonus ideas: Call County Caravan or A Touch of Class Limousines to drive you around, AND pick up your favorites in Deep Creek Beverage's drive-thru before concluding your wine day.
They also have a ropes course for kiddos and adults, as well as a Mountain Coaster.
Insider Quick Tips
Isn’t always nice to know the “secrets” from the locals!? Here’s a list of some quick tips I’ve learned since becoming a Garrett County resident in 2013. Locals and visitors, I hope you will find these helpful...
- Bring a sweatshirt! Even in the warmer months we get some chilly evenings! If you're coming in October and beyond, bring a sweatshirt and a jacket...and maybe some snow boots.
- Lakeside Creamery is a BIG favorite, but it closes for the off-season after Autumn Glory. Bonus tip: ice cream pints are usually half price during Autumn Glory weekend!
- Cash is needed at the state parks! At least if there’s no attendant at the entrance, which is only a few days a week in the warmer months. $3 per person for in-state, $5 per person for out-of-state and kids in car seats are free. If an attendant is present, credit cards are accepted.
- We have a Walmart! Located in Oakland, about 20 minutes south of McHenry. So if you forget to bring a sweatshirt…
- You could also check out High Mountain Sports for a sweatshirt, along with many other outdoor clothing and gear needs.
- Coming through the town of Accident? The speed limit is 25. Go 25.
- Visit the Casselman Café at the lake in the late afternoon for a chance at half-price donuts!
- The Honi-Honi Bar is "connected" to UNO's and both are family-friendly…mostly during the day (if you're visiting Honi). There’s yard space to hang out on your chairs and blankets in summer, and a pirate ship, giant whale and elephant or the kids to climb.
- Don’t miss Tolliver! Make sure you do the full loop at Swallow Falls State Park so you see all three waterfalls, including Tolliver Falls, a very picturesque part of the forest.
- We don’t have a Starbucks, but we have Traders Coffee House! You could also grab a cup of coffee at Canoe on the Run.
- Black Bear Wine & Words has free wifi! Work on your laptop in their cozy space and enjoy some wine, too.
- Speaking of wine, McHenry Beverage has the biggest wine room I’ve ever seen and Deep Creek Beverage has a super convenient drive-thru. Be sure to tell owners Jim and Peg that I sent you!