Plan a Weekend Getaway at nearby Rocky Gap Casino Resort
Take in scenic mountain views while hiking, fishing, swimming, golfing, dining, and more at this Western Maryland hotspot for recreation and relaxation.
When we arrived at Rocky Gap Casino Resort on a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon, my significant other and I already had a plan for how we wanted to spend our one-night getaway at the scenic mountain retreat: hike some of the trails in the surrounding Rocky Gap State Park, lounge by the resort’s indoor pool and hot tub, grab a bite to eat at one of the four restaurants on site, and try our luck in the casino.
After checking in at the reception desk in the hotel’s expansive lobby, we dropped our bags off in our fourth-floor room, pausing for a few minutes to take in the spectacular view of pristine Lake Habeeb, before we headed outside to explore the park’s trails. It was overwhelmingly hot and humid that afternoon, so we chose to tackle only the short and relatively easy Canyon Overlook Trail, a quarter-mile-long trek that offers an incredible view of a mile-long gorge and the mountains beyond.
Next on our agenda was cooling off in the hotel pool. After a refreshing swim followed by a soak in the hot tub, where we chatted with fellow guests who raved about the fantastic time they had at the Oak Ridge Boys concert held at the resort the previous night, we returned to our room to shower and dress for an evening in the casino.
Before we hit the slots, we stopped for a few beers and a hearty meal of burgers and fries at the resort’s Signatures Bar and Grill. The lakeside eatery boasts a full bar with 12 beers on tap plus an extensive menu featuring dishes like New York-style pizzas, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken wings, and Ultimate Nachos.
Bellies full, we then ventured into the resort’s 18,000-square-foot casino. Entranced by the bright lights and jingles of more than 550 slot machines, we wandered the room, taking in the sights and sounds of people trying to win big at slots and table games like roulette and blackjack. Not being much of a gambler, I headed to the penny slots and, to my surprise, quickly racked up $1.50 in winnings only to promptly lose it all. That was enough for me.
Later, we planted ourselves in a couple of comfortable deck chairs conveniently placed around the resort’s lakeside patio, which also boasts fire pits and cozy couches that fill up fast on balmy summer nights. From there, we watched some fishermen navigate their boat around the dark waters of the lake before we turned in for the night.
The next morning, I rose early and ordered a cup of tea and a breakfast burrito from A Little Munch, the resort’s 24-hour grab-and-go-style eatery, before I was treated to a tour by Wanda Holtschneider, director of marketing for Rocky Gap Casino Resort. Besides giving me an inside look at the resort’s newly renovated spa, where guests can enjoy full hair salon services, massages, manicures, pedicures, and more, Wanda showed me part of the 18-hole golf course, which is the only Jack Nicklaus designed course in Maryland. “We definitely have something here for everyone, especially in the summer,” she said. Swimming and hiking in Rocky Gap State Park are particularly popular among guests, she added. The resort also offers rentals of stand-up paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, row boats, pedal pontoon boats, and fishing gear.
After my tour, we checked out of the hotel and embarked on our final adventure: hiking the nearly five-and-a-half-mile Lakeside Loop Trail that encircles the 243-acre lake. While the hot and humid weather made this moderate hike more strenuous than we’d expected, the sheer beauty of the scenery around the lake made it a worthwhile experience. We crossed four footbridges and observed all kinds of wildlife on the well-maintained trail, which winds along the shoreline and through dense woodlands before returning to the resort.
Upon finishing our hike, we hopped in the car and drove home, tired yet exhilarated from our short weekend getaway.
Plan your trip to Rocky Gap Casino Resort at www.rockygapresort.com.
- Missy Sheehan is a freelance writer and editor living in Martinsburg, West Virginia. See her work at www.sheehanwriting.com.