10 Things Not To Do On A Maryland Day Trip (and what to do instead)

10 Things Not To Do On A Maryland Day Trip (and what to do instead)

Check out our best advice for 10 Things Not To Do On A Maryland Day Trip. And then stick around for our suggestions for what to do instead!

One of the best way to make core memories with your kids is to plan fun family day trip adventures. Maryland is a fantastic place for families and kids because there are just so many ways to have fun!

However, with all of the fun day trip options, there are also quite a few pitfalls. I have come up with 10 of the most common pitfalls you should try and avoid… and gave alternatives that will help ensure your family has a blast and not a nightmare story to tell later!


things not to do on a maryland day trip

1. Don’t visit the zoo on a lovely spring day.

Do this instead:

We love the zoo.. especially the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. But on nice spring days… it seems like everyone in Maryland also loves the zoo. Save the zoo for when it’s a little yucky outside (cold or a chance of rain). Believe it or not, many times the animals are WAY more active when it’s colder and not as sunny. Instead, when it’s nice outside head to one of your favorite indoor spots. They will be MUCH less crowded.

Case in point, a few years ago we visited the Zoo the first nice day in March. We were there before opening and the attendants were already parking cars on the grassy hill. No thank you. We turned around and went to the Science Center. It was completely empty and we had a blast!

Our Top Picks For Indoor Places to Visit on a lovely Spring Day!

Maryland Science Center

2. Don’t visit a Chesapeake Bay Beach in July and August

Do this instead:

The Chesapeake Bay beaches will likely have jellyfish in July and August. Ouch! If you need a beach day and can’t drive all the way to Ocean City, visit a lake beach instead. Or, plan a day for a water park!

Greenbrier State Park is an awesome lake with a beach!

point lookout

3. Don’t visit your favorite Railroad Museum on Thomas the Train weekend. 

Do this instead:

Ok, I know those are fighting words… especially if you have a Thomas the Train lover… but trust me on this one. Thomas the Train events can be super over crowded and can easily overwhelm even the most ardent train lover. The funny thing is the train museum is amazing and so much fun the other 51 weeks of the year. If you choose to visit ANY of those weeks, you will likely have a better time.

Note: This goes for any special event weekends. The vibe during a special event weekend is always sooo different than when you visit without the super-sized crowds!

Check out our guide to the B&O Railroad Museum!

4. Don’t wait until November to look for Santa Train and Nutcracker tickets. 

Do this instead: 

I’m not saying you won’t find tickets… but it will likely be pretty hard to score a time that works for you. The best time to purchase tickets for Santa Trains and the Nutcracker (especially the Washington Ballet Nutcracker in DC) is early September (or the earliest they become available). Watch the websites and pounce when they go on sale!

Check out all the best Santa Trains here!

walkersville southern railroad santa train

5. Don’t go to Hershey Park, Six Flags, Kings Dominion or any other super popular amusement park on summer weekends.

Do this instead:

Think about the amount of money it will cost your family to spend the day at one of these amusement parks. For many families this is a once a year special treat. It won’t be very special though if you go on a Saturday in August and you spend over half your time waiting in line. This is one special event that is worth taking the day off of work for. Go on a Tuesday or Wednesday and everyone in your family will have a better time.

Here are our best tips for the area amusement parks!

hersheypark with kids

6. Don’t show up to your favorite Fall Festival at 11am on a Saturday in October.

Do this instead:

Yeah, same principle as the amusement park rule. Everyone will be trying to pick their favorite pumpkin the first few weekends in October. Instead, start your fall fun early by going in September! Or, if you really want to go when it’s a little cooler out… plan to arrive either right when they open up OR after 4pm. That way you miss the worst part of the crowds.

Check out this guide to area pumpkin festivals!

fall festivals in maryland

7. If you are only going to see Cherry Blossoms once this year, don’t go to the Tidal Basin.

Do this instead:

The Cherry Blossoms in DC are awesome. I am not going to lie about that. But there are other places to see them that are incredibly gorgeous.. but without most of the crowds. Our top picks are the U.S. Arboretum, Ft. McHenry, and Cylburn Arboretum.

Check out our guide to the U.S. Arboretum!

magnolia grove

8. If you live in Central Maryland, don’t always opt for Central Maryland day trips.

Do this instead:

Look, the sheer concentration of awesome things to do in Central Maryland is truly astonishing. There are hundreds of parks, playgrounds, indoor attractions, and more. But, if you don’t build in a few day trips in Western, Southern, and Eastern (and not just Ocean City) Maryland, you are missing out. There are so many treasures in the nooks and crannies of the entire state. 

Check out these day trip ideas and resources!

9. Don’t be afraid to day trip to a neighboring state!

Do this instead:

Maryland is super awesome. But we are so blessed to live in a state that’s so close to other awesome states! Depending on where in Maryland you live, your day trips options could easily include Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware (and of course DC).

Check out these ideas from neighboring states!

please touch museum

10. Don’t leave your house without a back up plan.

Do this instead:

You made the awesome plans. You packed the bag and uploaded your favorite Kidz Bop playlist to Pandora for the ride. Then you arrive and your favorite day trip place is at maximum capacity. Or it started raining 20 minutes ago and it’s too much for an outdoor adventure. What do you do then? Go home? No! Plan B! You know that there are probably loads of other fun places you can visit with your family. 

And if all else fails, you can always go for a scoop of ice cream! Always have a back up plan!

The Ultimate Guide to Ice Cream in Maryland!

ice cream

Do you know a great way to have a backup plan?

So, now that you know my best tips for things not to do on a Maryland day trip… what if you had a done-for-you guide with over 450 Maryland activities, all sorted by county and location? 

What if you could just click on the area you wanted to visit and find out all the fun things to do in that area, with all the planning details you need, map directions, and even kid friendly restaurant recommendations?

Did you like these things not to do on a Maryland day trip tips? Check out these ideas too!

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