To say that Deep Creek Lake is one of western Maryland’s top attractions is a huge understatement.

For tourists, it offers a plethora of vacation rentals in idyllic locations for guests to enjoy the lake entertainment and activities that are on offer all year round.

For residents, it’s a place that’s been in Garrett County for nearly a century and has created lasting memories for generations.

“This place is deeply rooted in our family history,” said resident Jonathan Price. “We’ve had this course in our family since 1946, and our kids love it. Lately they’ve been obsessed with wakeboarding and kneeboarding.

“There is always something for you to do if you live here. We often take the boat out as most of our neighbors do. Even though it’s almost become a routine for us, it’s still a good time.

Deep Creek celebrates its 97th anniversary this year. The following will present the history of Deep Creek as well as many of its attractions.

Deep Creek History and Local Impact

Deep Creek Lake is Maryland’s largest freshwater lake, covering 3,900 acres and 65 miles of shoreline. The man-made lake came into being in 1925 as an effort by the Youghiogheny Hydro Electric Corp. to harness the power of Deep Creek, a tributary of the Youghiogheny River. Large tracts of land were purchased; a 1,300-foot-long check dam was built to stem the flow of water into Deep Creek; and thousands of trees were removed from the area to be flooded. In addition, 15 miles of primary and secondary roads have been moved.

With Deep Creek sealed off, it was expected that it would take at least six months for the lake to fill. But, spurred by heavy rains and snowfall, the process only took a few months. On May 26, 1925, the hydroelectric plant was commissioned, with water from the lake being transported to the power plant through a 7,000 foot tunnel.

Over the years, the area’s fishing and boating prowess has become well known to visitors to Pennsylvania. Residents of Baltimore/Washington population centers have also found the area to be a convenient getaway spot, especially after the construction of the Interstate Highways. Among the last of these was Interstate 68 – the National Highway – a major transportation route that arrived in 1991 and further opened up western Maryland to tourism, commerce and more.

Today, 1.4 million visitors each year take advantage of the limitless recreational options offered in and around the Deep Creek Lake area, creating their own Deep Creek experience.

The physical transformation of Garrett County did not end with the creation of the lake; it continued with real estate and commercial development around the lake and throughout the county.

Deep Creek Lake continues to shape the future development of Garrett County.

This historical information was provided by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.

Notable Upcoming Outdoor Summer Events

Stage Wisp Concert Series: One of the most popular summer attractions is the Stage Wisp concert series, also associated with the farm and art market. Starting at 5 p.m. every Wednesday in July and August, you can stroll through the market to browse the stalls of local farmers and artisans selling artisanal goods, fresh produce, and one-of-a-kind produce.

The free concert will then take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the front lawn under the saddle tent. Food and drinks are also available for purchase on the outdoor terrace. In case of bad weather, the market and the show will be moved inside the McHenry Lodge.

Deep Creek Farmers Market: New to the area this summer is the Deep Creek Farmers Market every Friday from 3-7 p.m. in Lot A at Garrett College. Free musical events are also offered from 5 to 7 p.m. each week at the market.

“There are lots of great local businesses to showcase,” said Maureen Sheaffer, one of the market’s founders. “The Deep Creek Farmers Market is not only a great place to buy local produce and produce, but it’s also a place to enjoy the day with family and friends. There’s no better way to strengthen your local community than to shop and eat locally.

Garrett County Fair: The 65th Annual Garrett County Farm Fair will be held July 30-August 6. The event is one of the county’s biggest annual attractions and draws an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 people each year. Entrance to the gate is free on Saturday and Sunday. The cost of admission to the fair is $15. Non-ride tickets, which must be purchased in advance ($7), include entertainment and track events, but not carnival rides.

Boating and additional activities on the lake

Sailing races: From Memorial Day weekend through early September, Deep Creek Lake hosts a series of sailboat races each weekend, provided conditions are viable.

The Steiding Cup kicks off the race on Memorial Day weekend, a one-race regatta named for Fred Steiding, who was an avid sailor on Deep Creek Lake when the Deep Creek Yacht Club was established nearly 50 years ago. Notable races include the June Series, Firecracker Regatta, Laser Weekend, Sandy Douglass Regatta, Commodore’s Cup, and Fair Winds Regatta.

Jet skis: One of Deep Creek’s must-sees is its exciting jet ski scene. Jet ski rentals are available at several locations around the lake and can usually accommodate up to two people. Each company will have its own policy when it comes to renting jet skis, so customers are encouraged to call ahead.

Tubes: Tubing is a popular activity for all ages on the lake and is suitable for all skill levels. The boat driver can control how smooth, slow or fast the tubers are. Tubes can be rented at marinas and other local stores, and customers can rent or purchase a wide variety of tubes, including banana tubes.

Nautical sports: There are several water sports that can be enjoyed on the lake, especially if you go early in the morning to take advantage of the lighter traffic and gentler waters. Wakeboarding is a popular water sport and there are often demonstrations throughout the summer. Another booming water sport making its mark at the lake is wake-surfing, and guests have also started trying stand-up paddleboarding.

Boating: There are many places where you can rent a boat whether it is for a relaxing day on a pontoon or something more sporty. Several businesses and restaurants in Deep Creek also offer docks for their customers. If you have your own boat, there is a public boat launch located adjacent to Deep Creek Lake State Park. If you are bringing your own boat, the Deep Creek Lake website has a list of regulations and restrictions.

Kayaking and rafting: The lake and its nearby surroundings provide a perfect opportunity to paddle the glassy waters on a lazy kayak. Kayaking is popular from spring through fall, and several companies offer kayaks and paddles. Some companies even offer deliveries for kayaks and paddle boats directly to your vacation rentals.

Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI) is a lazy river located atop Marsh Mountain and is the only mountaintop lazy river in the world. This route allows guided rafting descents and various kayak trips.

Other Deep Creek Activities

Golf: Guests who are also into golf will have plenty of opportunities to break out their clubs and enjoy some of the area’s most scenic golf courses.

Lodestone Golf Course is located on Marsh Mountain and Wisp Resort. The course is known for its picturesque lake views and was designed by three-time US Open champion Hale Irwin.

Fantasy Valley is at the base of Wisp Resort Mountain and opened in 1980 as Wisp Resort Golf Course.

Down the road about 15 minutes from the lake is the Oakland Golf Course which meanders in and around the valley which offers memorable views and has ponds and streams.

Travel adventure : There are two adventure courses at the Wisp Resort, the Chipmunk Challenge Course for children and the Spider Monkey Challenge for all ages. The first is close to the ground and offers smaller versions of the courses for adults while the second dominates the adventure park and includes nets, bridges, swings and a zip line to the finish.

In 2017, Deep Creek Lake added the Monkey Business Adventure Park which features three different difficulty levels and four distinct zips.

Arches: Sometimes the weather in Garrett County just doesn’t cooperate. If so during your visit, Smiley’s Funzone is a perfect option for some family time. Its arcade spans multiple levels and features classic games as well as laser tag. Almost directly across the road is Funland, which also houses its own arcade.

Mini golf: Smiley’s and Funland each have their own 18-hole mini-golf course. The Funland course has a scenic waterfall as its centerpiece while the Smiley course takes you across bridges, rocks and other obstacles. Both mini-golf courses are open seasonally.

Go-karts and bumper cars/boats: If you decide to visit Smiley, you can show off your driving skills on one of its three go-kart tracks. The Slick Track and Road Track are for older kids and adults, while younger kids (ages 4-10) can ride the Kiddie Track.

Smiley’s also has an indoor bumper car attraction, and when the weather is nice, customers can take part in the popular bumper boat attraction.

In Funland you can also try one of its two go-kart tracks, compete with your family or friends with their own bumper cars and also discover its climbing wall.

For more details on Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County, visit or contact the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce at 888-387-5237.