Day Trips From Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland. And you can find plenty of charming attractions and activities here. But sometimes you need an escape, even from Charm City.
Luckily, there are lots of great options nearby, from beach escapes to historic sites.
Here are our picks for the 15 best day trips from Baltimore.
1. Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. is one of the best day trips from Baltimore. There’s much to see and do in the nation’s capital. Plan ahead if you want to tour the White House.
Spend some time at the National Mall and check out some of the iconic memorials and monuments nearby. Top sites include the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. There are more than 15 free Smithsonian museums and galleries. Try the Museum of Natural History and the Air & Space Museum. Head to the Kennedy Center for arts and culture. Walk around the pretty Tidal Basin or meander the streets of Georgetown. There are also plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options.
Located on the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is one of the easiest and best day trips from Baltimore. The capital of Maryland, Annapolis is also known as “America’s Sailing Capital.” Not surprisingly, water activities, such as sailing, boating kayaking and paddleboarding, are very popular here.
On land, you can wander around the historic cobblestone streets. Do some shopping, or visit museums, such as the Banneker-Douglass Museum or the Hammond-Harwood House. Walk among history at the Maryland State House, which dates to 1772.
Go on a tour of the US Naval Academy. Before leaving the city, be sure to try some fresh seafood. Steamed crab is especially popular here and recommended. Join a guided food tour to sample some of the best options available.
3. Ocean City
Enjoy some beach time on a day trip to Ocean City, Maryland. Located around 140 miles from Baltimore, Ocean City is a popular seaside town.
Enjoy more than 10 miles of beaches and 3 miles of boardwalk. Relax and sunbathe on the beach. Or get out on the water in a boat, kayak, canoe, paddleboard or jetski. The boardwalk is considered one of the best in the country and offers many attractions, amusements and arcades.
Don’t miss the historic carousel dating from 1902. A handy tram travels the length of the boardwalk. There are also more than 200 restaurants in the area, so you are sure to find something to your taste. In the summer, look for free concerts and events.
4. Sandy Point State Park
Located along the northwestern shore of Chesapeake Bay, Sandy Point State is a popular spot for outdoor recreation. Enjoy great views of the water and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Sandy Point Beach.
Relax in the sun. Or go swimming, fishing or boating. Hiking and wildlife spotting are also popular activities here. Learn about the local wildlife at the Sandy Point Nature Center.
Many events are also held at the park throughout the year. The Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival and the Maryland Seafood Festival are popular ones. Sandy Point Mansion and the Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse are also worth visiting.
5. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Step back in time to the Civil War, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Located around 60 miles away, Gettysburg is one of the best day trips from Baltimore for history buffs. Start at the Gettysburg National Military Park. See where the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg occurred.
Go on a guided tour or watch a live reenactment of the decisive battle. See where President Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg address. Then pay your respects at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
There are also several other interesting museums in the area, including the Lincoln Train Museum, the Jenny Wade House and the Shriver Museum. The Eisenhower National Historic Site is also nearby. Join a guided tour to easily see top highlights.
6. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
See wildlife at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located 90 miles from Baltimore. Nearly 1,000 species call the refuge home. In particular, the refuge is a sanctuary for migrating birds.
Spanning more than 25,000 acres, the refuge includes shallow water, marsh and forest habitats. Start at the visitor center, which offers exhibits, live cam monitors and an observation deck with spotting scopes.
There’s also a gift shop, bookstore and a butterfly garden. Visitors can walk or bike along several trails. Other activities include fishing, crabbing and deer hunting with a permit. Environmental and education programs are also available.
Located around 90 miles away, Hershey is the best day trip from Baltimore for chocolate lovers. Learn about Hershey history, see how chocolate is made and sample different varieties at Hershey’s Chocolate World.
Then spend the rest of the day at Hersheypark. Originally founded as a leisure park for Hershey employees, today the family-friendly theme park offers more than 70 fun and thrilling attractions, including more than a dozen roller coasters.
In the summer, the Boardwalk water park includes a water roller coaster and more. Animal lovers should also plan to spend some time at ZooAmerica, which is included on the same ticket.
8. Mount Vernon, Virginia
Pay a visit to George Washington’s home on a day trip to Mount Vernon. Located 50 miles southwest of Baltimore, the estate is one of the most visited historic sites in the country. Start with a tour of the mansion, which covers the main rooms on the first and second floors.
Other sites on the estate include the gardens, outbuildings and slave quarters. Children will enjoy meeting the heritage livestock animals. To learn more about Washington’s life story, including a 4D Revolutionary war film, visit the Reynolds Museum and Education Center.
Additional activities include a Potomac River cruise, and a tour of the Pioneer Farm and a reconstructed gristmill and whiskey distillery.
9. Frederick, Maryland
Located around 50 miles west, the town of Frederick offers lots of historic, cultural and natural attraction. The historic and lively downtown area is filled with art galleries, boutiques, shops and museums.
Those into history can visit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, the War Correspondents Memorial Arch and the Monocacy National Battlefield. Family-friendly options include a children’s museum, a wildlife preserve and several orchards.
Those looking for thrills can check out Adventure Park USA and Harpers Ferry Adventure Center. Wrap up your day sampling wine at a local winery. Then enjoy a meal at some excellent restaurants. Guided food and drink tours are available.
10. Six Flags Great Adventure
Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the best day trips from Baltimore for families and thrill seekers. At 510 acres, it’s one of the largest amusement parks in the world.
The park offers more than 50 fun and thrilling riders, including roller coasters, thrill rides and family-friendly rides. Don’t miss favorites such as the Kingda Ka, Nitro and El Toro coasters.
Enjoy plenty of water rides and water play at Hurricane Harbor. The on-site Wild Safari features more than 1,200 animals from around the world. There are also lots of live shows, games and other entertainment. To make the most of your day, flash passes that allow you to skip lines are available.
Enjoy a slower pace of life with a day trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Located around 75 miles from Baltimore, the area is home to a large Amish and Mennonite community.
Enjoy a horse-drawn buggy ride. Learn more about Amish life and culture at the Landis Valley Museum. Then visit the Amish Village or Amish Farm and House. Pick up some goods at the Lancaster Central Market. It’s one of the oldest farmers markets in the country.
There are also several interesting museums in the area. Try the Phillips Museum of Art and the North Museum of Nature and Science. For some fun and thrills, head to the Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park. Or take to the air on a balloon ride over the scenic countryside.
12. Great Falls Park
Explore waterfalls and enjoy the outdoors at Great Falls Park. Located just 50 miles southwest of Baltimore, the park is located along the Potomac River. Enjoy wonderful views of the river as well as several beautiful cascading waterfalls.
Three overlooks offer easy access to the pretty falls. And while swimming and wading are not permitted at the park, plenty of other activities are. Enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, rock climbing and picnicking.
The Potomac River also offers a great opportunity for whitewater kayaking and canoeing. More than 150 species of birds can be found at the park, so bring along some binoculars when you visit.
13. St. Michaels
Located around 70 miles away, the town of St. Michaels is a relaxing day trip from Baltimore. Wander around the charming town. Browse its art galleries and antique stores. Stop by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to learn more about maritime history.
Then, enjoy a delightful boat cruise that includes an onboard lunch. Or grab some fresh seafood by the water. Afterwards, depending on your tastes, you can sample wine at St. Michael’s Winery, beer at Eastern Shore Brewing or spirits at Lyon Distillery.
Alternatively, explore the many land and water trails along the shore by foot, on bike or canoe. If history is more your thing, stop by the St. Michael’s Museum and the Hooper Strait Lighthouse.
14. Solomons Island
Have a relaxing day on Solomons Island. It’s located around 80 miles south of Baltimore. Start your day with a sightseeing cruise along the Patuxent River and Solomons Harbor.
The Calvert Marine Museum is a popular attraction, particularly with kids for their “please touch” section. The museum also includes the Drum Pile Lighthouse, which was moved here. Tours of the Cove Point Lighthouse nearby are also available.
Go hunting for fossils at Calvert Cliffs. Other popular attractions include the Annmarie Gardens & Sculpture Park and the Chesapeake Bay Biological Lab. Enjoy some fresh seafood before ending your day trip.
On a day trip to Cumberland, you can enjoy history and scenic sightseeing. Located around 140 from Baltimore, Cumberland was once the “Gateway to the West.” See the one-room cabin in Riverside Park where George Washington had his headquarters.
Afterwards, learn more about the area’s history at the Allegany Museum. Then learn about the C&O Canal at the C&O Canal National Historical Park. A must while here is to take a ride on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. The round-trip journey takes visitors through the scenic Allegheny Mountains, to downtown Frostburg and back.
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