50 Perfect Maryland Day Trip Ideas!

Swallow Falls State Park Guide

These 50 Perfect Maryland Day Trip ideas are really a great way to explore The Old Line State. There are so many ways to have fun in Maryland. These are all excellent ideas!

The State of Maryland really is America in Miniature. Maryland is a rather small state but wow, it’s jam-packed with fun things to do! One day you can visit a world class museum and the next you could be hiking the Appalachian Trail. There are mountain regions, more beaches than you could ever hope to visit, and a state that is full of historical significance. 

So, where should you even start? Well, I have picked out 50 perfect Maryland day trip ideas for you. These are all places we have visited and loved. And I think you will love these places too! Happy exploring!

Note: There is a Google Map with all these locations at the end of the post!

Kid Friendly Maryland day trip planning app

1. Swallow Falls State Park

This is one of the best, if not the best state park in Maryland. If you take the very kid friendly Canyon Trail you can hit not one, but 4 gorgeous waterfalls in one hike!  |Website

Related: Kid Friendly Guide to Swallow Falls State Park

swallow falls state park guide

Related: The Best Maryland State Parks for Families!

2. Deep Creek Lake State Park

Spend the day playing in the water and sand at this beautiful mountain lake. You can rent kayaks, there are playgrounds, numerous kid friendly trails, and the newly renovated Discovery Center at the park. |Website

Related: Best Deep Creek Lake Area Hikes for Kids

deep creek lake state park

3. Track’s and Yaks

One of the coolest and most unique outdoor adventures that literally the entire family can enjoy. Have you ever been rail biking? It’s the perfect way to experience a gorgeous area of Maryland. |Website

Related: Kid Friendly Guide to Track’s And Yaks!

rail biking traks and yaks

4. C&O Canal Williamsport/Cushwa

Bring your bikes and scooters! You can easily get on the C&O Canal trail from the Williamsport location. Also, when it’s open, the Cushwa visitor center has great activities for kids! |Website


Related: Best Maryland Lakes for Swimming

5. Hagerstown City Park

This park has so much to offer families. There are two large playgrounds, with one of them being very updated with fun features your kids will love to slide, zip, and climb on. You can feed the ducks (there are loads of ducks), and pop into the FREE Fine Arts Museum! |Website

hagerstown city park

Related: Kid Friendly Guide to Jellystone Park in Williamsport, MD

6. Weverton Cliffs

If you are up for a challenge you will definitely be rewarded. This 1.5 mile each way hike brings you to one of the best overlooks in Maryland! |Website

7. Greenbrier State Park

Our best pick for lake swimming in Maryland. The beach is fairly large with a shallow sandy bottom. This is perfect for toddlers and younger kids. There are also some nice kid friendly hiking trails around the lake! |Review of Greenbrier

greenbrier state park beach

8. Gathland and Gambrill State Parks

Two Maryland State Parks that are super close to each other. Gambrill State Park has great overlooks and super kid friendly hikes. Gathland State Park is home to the very instagrammable War Correspondents Arch. There are some great Civil War displays and this park plugs into the Appalachian Trail! |Gathland Website |Gambrill Website

gathland state park

9. Antietam National Battlefield

The site of the bloodiest day in US History. Take the driving tour to get a sense of the battle, and get out and stretch your legs.  |Website

Related: Best Playgrounds and Parks in Frederick County, MD

Kid Friendly Maryland day trip planning app

10. Cunningham Falls State Park

This park is great for families because there is a super easy hike to Cunningham Falls. Then, after the hike you can cool off at the beach/lake swimming! |Website

cunningham falls

Related: 8 Gorgeous Maryland Waterfalls

11. Walkersville Southern Railroad

Check the Walkersville Southern Railroad website for special events that range from Bunny trains, Santa trains, Superheroes, Princesses, Teddy Bears and more! This train is very kid friendly and the countryside is just so lovely! |Walkersville Review

12. Tree Trekkers

Do you have a climber? If so, you definitely want to make a reservation to check out this aerial adventure park. There are various levels for younger kids all the way up to teens and adults! |Website

13. Baker Park and Carroll Creek Linear Park

There are so many fun shops and restaurants in Downtown Frederick. If you visit, don’t miss the chance to walk along the canal at Carroll Linear Park and then play at Baker Park! |Website

photo courtesy of Visit Frederick

14. Glen Echo Park

Glen Echo Park was once an amusement park and is now preserved as part of history. You can still ride the carousel (in season), visit the aquarium, play on the playground, and attend a kid friendly show at either Puppet Co. or the Adventure Theatre MTC. |Website

15. Great Falls

The Maryland side of this national park has numerous outstanding waterfall overlooks, access to the C&O Canal towpath, and some super fun hikes. Test your rock scrambling skills on the Billy Goat Trail! |Website

great falls

16. Wheaton Regional Park

What’s not to love at this park in Silver Spring? Your kids can spend a few hours playing on the massive Adventure Playground. Pack a picnic lunch, and then ride the miniature train and historic carousel. If you still have energy, pop over to the adjacent Brookside Gardens for a truly lovely nature experience. |Wheaton Review

wheaton regional park

17. Adventure Park USA

Did you know there is a super fun amusement park in Frederick County? It has rides in the summer, tons of outdoor adventures, and even more fun indoors with ropes courses, bumper boats, laser tag, and more! |Website

18. Seneca Creek State Park

This is a great park for families because Lake Needwood is just totally gorgeous. Hike around the lake or rent a kayak or canoe and get out on the water. Then, let your kids burn energy at the super fun recycled tire playground! |Website

seneca creek

19. Watkins Regional Park

We’re off to see the wizard! Yep, Watkins Regional Park is home to the famous Wizard of Oz playground! But it’s also home to a second super fun horse racing playground, a fantastic nature center, miniature train, carousel, mini golf, and farm animals too! |Watkins Regional Park Review

Related: Ultimate Guide to the Wizard of Oz Playground

wizard of oz playground kansas

20. Jug Bay Nature Area

You will totally dig walking over the marshland on boardwalks and then meandering down the former railbeds. Along the way you can spot loads of wildlife including birds of all kinds, turtles, and more! |Website

jug bay trail

Related: 40+ Easy Hikes for Kids In Maryland!

21. Patuxent Research Refuge

Another fantastic nature preserve, Patuxent Research Refuge has an excellent visitor/nature center, and a gorgeous (and super kid friendly) hike around the lake. |Website

Kid Friendly Maryland day trip planning app

22. Piscataway Park

A great historic park to see amazing views of the Potomac. Take a hike on one of the kid friendly trails, and then pay a visit to the National Colonial Farm and say hi to all the animals! Check their website for when history reenactors will be on hand for demonstrations of life in the 17th and 18th century. |Website

23. Jefferson Patterson Park

This fantastic park in Calvert County has fantastic walking trails, a nature playground, visitor center, water access, and historical reenactment sites. A great place to spend a few hours or all day! |Website

jefferson patterson

Related: Kid Friendly Guide to Calvert Marine Museum

24. Blandair Regional Park

This super fun regional park in Howard County boasts not one, but three amazing playgrounds. The North Playground is likely the largest (and most impressive) playground in Maryland. And there is a Ninja Course that will challenge kids and adults of all ages! |Website

Related: Ultimate Guide to Blandair Regional Park

Spaceship themed play area Blandair north playground

Related: The Best Playgrounds in Maryland (sorted by County!)

25. Centennial Park

Bring your scooter! Walk/scoot around Centennial Lake and along the way play at one or more of their four impressive playgrounds! |Website

26. Baugher’s Orchard

Baugher’s Orchard is a pick your own heaven. Check the latest PYO crops and ride the tractor out to the picking fields. Afterwards, your kids will love exploring the petting farm and playground. And of course, make sure to pick up a treat from their bakery and snack shack! |Baugher’s Review

Related: Best Apple Orchards in Maryland!

27. Old Ellicott City

A great shopping and dining destination that has been devastated by flooding over the years. Still, you can visit a B&O Railroad Museum, grab some ice cream, hit up the fun kid friendly stores, and take a stroll on the Trolley #9 Trail. |Website

28. Patapsco Valley State Park

This sprawling state park has numerous areas to explore. Our favorite is the Avalon/Orange Grove area. Park near the swinging bridge to take a stroll (or bike ride) along the river on the Grist Mill Trail. Or, head up to Cascade Falls, which is a surprisingly short hike (you can make it longer by hiking beyond the waterfall). |Patapsco Avalon Area Guide

patapsco valley state park orange grove area

29. Kilgore Falls

This waterfall is so lovely it was featured in Tuck Everlasting. Bring your water shoes because one you hike the short distance to the falls, you will want to walk across the river to the other side, where you can get super close to the bottom and top of the falls! |Website

kilgore falls creek stomping
Kid Friendly Maryland day trip planning app

30. Ladew Topiary Gardens

You kind of have to see these gardens to believe them. The topiaries are really so cool.. Crazy what the gardeners do to form the bushes into creatures! The best part though (in my opinion) are the flowers and gardens themselves. There are so many fanciful gardens… you feel like the characters in A Secret Garden. In the springtime you can delight in azaleas, tulips, and more! |Website

Related: Kid Friendly Guide to Ladew Topiary Gardens

ladew topiary gardens

31. Havre de Grace Promenade

Park at either end of the promenade and walk along the water. Check out the Concord Pt. Lighthouse and your kids will definitely want to burn energy at the Millard-Tydings Park playground. It’s a super fun playground with loads of great play features! |Website

Related: Perfect Havre de Grace Day Trip

havre de grace day trip

32. Jerusalem Mill Village

Officially the headquarters of Gunpowder Falls State Park, Jerusalem Mill routinely has tours and activities on their grounds. It’s a living history museum. Bring your hiking shoes and swimsuits though. You can plug into trails for Lower Gunpowder Falls from here. And in the summer, the river is a very kid friendly place to go splashing and swimming! |Website

jerusalem mill village

33. Sandy Point State Park

Speaking of swimming, there is hardly anything more Maryland iconic than a beach day at Sandy Point State Park. Splash and play on the beach under the watchful eye of the Bay Bridge. |Website

sandy point state park

Related: Best Chesapeake Bay Beaches to Cool off this Summer!

34. Kinder Farm Park

In 2020, Kinder Farm Park renovated their playground to turn it from good to simple awesome. When you kids tire from playing, walk over to visit all the farm animals or hit the trails for a family friendly hike. |Website

Related: Kid Friendly Guide to Kinder Farm Park

kinder farm park anne arundel county

35. Port Discovery Children’s Museum

If you haven’t taken your kids to Port Discovery yet, you must take them asap! Port Discovery is one of the best children’s museums in the nation and for good reason. Our favorite exhibits include the SkyClimber, the Port, Tiny’s Diner, Adventure Expedition, and Wonder of Water! |Port Discovery Guide!

port discovery

36. Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

I have a love affair with the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. This zoo is so accessible and fun for kids, especially younger kids. You can get really close to the animals and even feed the giraffes. There are numerous play features, and a lovely petting farm. |Maryland Zoo Guide!

penguins at maryland zoo

37. Maryland Science Center

Anchoring the Inner Harbor, the Maryland Science Center is basically a bonus Children’s Museum.. But one that appeals to kids from age 0-99. Every time we visit all the kids have a blast, regardless of age. There are exhibits that cater to all ages. And you have to check out both the Planetarium and the IMAX! |Maryland Science Center Review

A great Maryland day trip idea would be to combine the Maryland Science Center with a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum and Rash Field.

Related: 50+ Things to Do With Kids in Baltimore

maryland science center

38. Double Rock Park

This unassuming local park in Middle River is the best hidden treasure we have found. Go down to the river and climb all over the rocks and boulders. You and your kids will have a blast exploring! |Website

Related: Kid Friendly Guide to Double Rock Park

double rock park kid friendly trail guide

39. Oregon Ridge Nature Center

A super fun nature center with an excellent nature playground, historical exhibits, and kid friendly trails. Don’t miss the painted trees forest! |Website

oregon ridge nature center

Related: Fantastic Nature Centers in Maryland

40. Gunpowder Falls State Park Hammerman Area

Like Patapsco Valley State Park, Gunpowder Falls State Park has loads of areas to explore. If you want to play on a beach though, the Hammerman Area is where you want to go! |Website

Kid Friendly Maryland day trip planning app

41. Ft. Howard Park

This historical park is really fun and interesting. It’s on the water so that’s fantastic. There is a nice walking/biking path and two playgrounds. The super fun draw though are the battle emplacement ruins you can still explore. Very cool.. If not a little spooky. |Website

A fantastic Maryland day trip idea would be to combine a visit here with North Point State Park and Cromwell Valley Park.

42. Calvert Cliffs State Park

When you think of shark teeth hunting in Maryland, Calvert Cliffs State Park is probably at the top of your must-visit places. The walk is a little long for younger kids (3 miles round trip), but very flat and easy, with tons of interesting places to explore along the way. The small beach is the piece de resistance though. Bring buckets, shovels, and strainers and try to see if you can find a megalodon tooth! |Website

calvert cliffs

43. Annmarie Sculpture Garden

The Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center is totally awesome! Yes, I am gushing… it is that great. I wish we lived closer to Lusby, MD so we could visit more often. And don’t let the fact that it is a ‘sculpture garden’ dissuade you. This lovely garden is full of fun, whimsical, and downright enchanting activities for kids. The delightful Fairy Lolly is fantastic for imaginative play. There are public art projects and some really fantastic annual special events. |Annmarie Sculpture Garden Review

annmarie sculpture garden

Related: Best Shark Teeth Hunting Beaches in Maryland

44. Historic St. Mary’s City

️Historic St Mary’s City is a living history museum.. think Williamsburg but on a smaller scale. St Mary’s City used to be the capital of Maryland and the museum offers hands on glimpses into the 17th century life of area residents. Throughout the city there were demonstrators and docents to explain what life would have been like and offer hands on activities. This is a really unique and totally fun place to visit! |Website

A great Maryland day trip would be to combine a trip here with some fun in the sun at Point Lookout State Park.

45. Point Lookout State Park

Located and the tippy tip of Southern Maryland, Point Lookout stood vigil during the Civil War. Now you can spend a lovely day playing in the sand and cooling off in the water. |Website

point lookout state park

46. Elk Neck State Park

Elk Neck State Park in North East, MD is a treasure. The most iconic part of the park is the Turkey Point Lighthouse. The Turkey Point Lighthouse trail is a 1.9 mile loop trail (or you could do out and back directly from the lighthouse). If you do the loop trail, you will find numerous waterfront picnic and small beach areas. It is really such a lovely place to spend the day! |Website

If you want a great idea for a Maryland day trip, combine this with a trip to Plumpton Park Zoo and have dinner at Havre de Grace!

Elk Neck State Park

47. Tuckahoe State Park

This great state park is so much fun for both day trips and weekend trips! There are multiple areas to explore. The VisitorCenter has a great aviary, supplies for the disc golf course, and trailheads for over 20 miles of fun trails! 

At Tuckahoe Lake you can rent kayaks and canoes, fish, and kids will absolutely love the recycled tire playground! In the Campfire Loop area there are nature trails and another great playground with a fantastic slide! To make the perfect Maryland day trip, check out Adkins Arboretum next door and make a pit stop at the Idlewild Park in Easton, MD. |Website

Related: Best Things to Do With Kids on the Eastern Shore

tuckahoe state park

48. Ocean City Day Trip

Most people spend a few days or a week at this Atlantic Ocean resort town. However, a day trip is totally doable too! Many people get up early, hit the beach and boardwalk, and then head home after dinner. There are so many fun things to do in Ocean City! |Ocean City fun ideas!

ocean city vacation tips

Related: 100 Days of Summer Fun in Maryland!

49. Betterton Beach

Betterton, MD is a fantastic place to spend a Maryland day trip– especially if you have kids! The beach is amazing and doesn’t have jellyfish! There is a great community park with a fun playground. And just a short drive away you can pick fruit and get a scoop of homemade ice cream at Lockbriar Farms!

Related: Best Kid Friendly Betterton Beach Maryland Day Trip Itinerary

betterton beach day trip

50. Harriett Tubman Visitor Center and Byway

This important museum and visitor center is an excellent tribute to a national hero and civil rights legend. Bring your kids and start a conversation about racism, slavery, and equality. The exhibits are really well done and educational for kids and adults.

The mural pictured below is actually not a part of the visitor center. It’s located on the side of the Harriet Tubman Museum & Educational Center and stop #5 on the Tubman Byway road trip! A great Maryland day trip idea would be to combine these spots with a trip to the Chesapeake Maritime Museum and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. |Website

harriet tubman

Perfect Maryland Day Trip Map!


Related: The 100 Best Things to Do With Kids in Maryland!

FAQ about Maryland Day Trips

How do you spend a day in Baltimore?

That depends on what you would like to do and if you are with kids or adults only. On a family trip our top picks are the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Maryland Science Center and Rash Field, or the National Aquarium. With or without kids ideas include the USS Constellation, the American Visionary Art Museum, and Ft. McHenry. For an adults only trip, check out Fells Point or Hampden.

How far is Deep Creek from Baltimore?

The Deep Creek area in Garrett County, MD is between 3-4 hours from Baltimore, MD.

How far is Ocean City from central Maryland?

That depends on the traffic on the Bay Bridge. With no traffic you can reach Ocean City in 2-3 hours. However, with summer, weekend, or holiday traffic– plan to add at least 1 hour to your trip.

What are good day trips within 3 hours of Baltimore?

Our top picks for day trips within 3 hours of Baltimore include Washington D.C., Philadelphia, PA, Lancaster County, PA, the Eastern Shore and Chesapeake Bay (not necessarily just Ocean City!), and Frederick County, MD.

What are the main regions for a Maryland day trip?

The Maryland Department of Tourism splits the state into 5 regions: Capital, Central, Western, Southern, and Eastern.

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maryland day trip ideas

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