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April 16, 2021

15 Family Vacation Spots in Maryland

From mountains to oceans, historical sites to modern marvels, indoor experiences to outdoor adventures – Maryland has something for everyone. With so many family-friendly attractions and activities, this east coast state is the perfect place for a fun-filled family trip.

Below are the 15 best family vacation destinations in Maryland.

 1. Annapolis

The state’s Capital City tops the list of family vacation ideas in Maryland. Annapolis is often referred to as a “museum without walls,” because this quaint, historic city has a little bit of everything.

With attractions like the U.S. Naval Academy, Quiet Waters Park, the Hammond-Harwood House, and plenty of outdoor activities – think boating, kayaking, or fishing – you’ll never be bored. Additionally, the city itself puts on many events throughout the year. Plan your visit around the Annapolis Film Festival, May Day in Annapolis, or Naval Academy Commissioning Week for some bonus fun!

Annapolis Skyline

2. Baltimore

Charm City, as Baltimore is also known, is jam packed with fun activities for every member of the family. This lively city is home to two professional sports teams, a number of prominent historical sites, an incredible culinary scene, and dozens of museums and attractions – including the famed Edgar Allen Poe House.

If traditional museums aren’t your thing, there’s the National Aquarium, the Maryland Zoo, and the Maryland Science Center just to name a few family-friendly options. And then of course, you have Baltimore’s Inner Harbor which, in and of itself, might be one of the best family vacation spots in Maryland. Whether you’re a family of two or ten, Baltimore has something for you.

Waterfront of Skyline from Federal Hill Baltimore, Maryland looking towards the Inner Harbor

3. Chesapeake City

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love Chesapeake City. The town was originally named Bohemia Manor by early settler Augustine Herman in the mid 1600’s. When the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was completed in 1829, the town was renamed Chesapeake City.

Don’t let the small size of this historic town fool you. It’s full of little-known gems that make it an ideal family vacation spot in Maryland. Enjoy a sunset cruise with Chesapeake City Water Tours, a wine tasting at Chateau Bu-De Winery and Vineyard, or stroll the waterfront streets downtown as you pop into the unique shops along the way.

View of Chesapeake City from the Chesapeake City Bridge, Maryland.

4. National Harbor

Situated just outside of Washington D.C., The National Harbor covers nearly 350 acres of waterfront space on the banks of the Potomac River. The Capital Wheel provides a view of D.C. from 180 feet off the ground. A carousel, playground, and toddler play area offer a chance for Mom and Dad to relax while the younger kids burn off some energy.

Top Golf puts an active twist on the typical restaurant scene and is perfect for older kids looking for a unique vacation experience. Completed in 2016, this relatively new family vacation spot in Maryland is full of fun for everyone.

5. Ocean City

Another spot that sits atop the list of family vacation ideas in Maryland is located on the state’s eastern shore. Swim or sunbathe anywhere along Ocean City’s 10 miles of beautifully maintained beach during the day, and head out for some family-friendly fun after the sun goes down.

Ocean City can claim many of Maryland’s best amusement parks as well as mini-golf, galore. A visit to the boardwalk for some classic beach fare is a must, as is having your mind blown at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.

Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Ocean City, Maryland.

6. Assateague State Park

Maryland’s only state-managed oceanfront park, Assateague State Park, is an ideal vacation spot in Maryland for families who love to spend time outdoors. Assateague is a barrier island, flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Sinepuxent Bay on the west.

Oceanside activities include surfing, sunbathing, and fishing, while the bayside is perfect for canoeing along the shoreline while enjoying the scenery and wildlife. And of course, Assateague’s most famous attraction – wild horses – can be spotted throughout the island.

Wild Ponies of the Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

7. Historic Downtown Frederick

Frederick, another quaint Maryland town, is where history mingles with modern and you’re greeted with a smile anywhere you go. The Civil War-era buildings of Frederick’s downtown are now home to contemporary shops, attractions, and restaurants of all varieties – like an Escape Room, Brewpub, and an Art Gallery.

On family-focused First Saturdays, local businesses offer events like in-store tastings, gallery openings, and concerts in the streets. Add to that many outdoor recreation areas and parks, and you’ve got one of the best family vacation spots in Maryland.

Historic Building in Downtown Frederick Maryland in the Corroll Creek Promenade

8. Kent Island

Located in Stevensville, at the base of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Kent Island is a wonderful spot for vacationers of all ages. Ferry Point Park features a 530-foot boardwalk perfect for sea-glass hunts, the six-mile Cross Island Trail is ideal for a family bike ride, and Harris Crab House is famous for gigantic homemade nutty buddy ice cream cones.

No visit to Kent Island would be complete without some time spent on the water. Kent Narrows, the waterway which separates Kent Island from the Delmarva Peninsula, is home to a host of maritime activities including fishing boat and sailboat charters.

9. Hagerstown

Hagerstown, situated in the western part of the state which tends to be more rural, is one of the larger cities in its vicinity. This makes it a great vacation spot in Maryland for families because you get to escape the bustle of larger cities like Baltimore without giving up the kid-friendly activities that make a family vacation successful.

From guided tours of some of Maryland’s most famous Civil War sites, to the Heavy Metal Playground which allows you to play (yes, play!) with full sized construction equipment, to the Premium Outlets where you can shop till you drop, Hagerstown is full of fun for everyone.

10. Thurmont

Thurmont is where you go when you want to get away from it all and enjoy Mother Nature in all her glory. In fact, the area is known for breaking into some of the most spectacular fall colors in the state. Catoctin Mountain State Park, Cunningham Falls State Park, Catoctin Mountain Orchard, and Lawyers Winterbrook Farm all provide hours of fun and adventure for the entire family.

Thurmont is also recognized for its covered bridges, of which there are quite a few. If you’re looking for family vacation ideas in Maryland that provide an abundance of outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery, Thurmont should be on your short list.

Maryland Covered bridge in Autumn

11. St. Michaels

St. Michaels is located on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay just east of the Bay Bridge, and it’s a dream location for families who love spending time on the water. With five marinas that offer everything from rentals to tours to historical cruises, you can’t go wrong with a trip to St. Michaels.

The town dates to the mid-1600’s, and its homes still reflect the colonial, federal, and Victorian styles in which they were built. Add to that the 18-acre Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which owns the largest collection of historical Chesapeake Bay watercraft, and you have an ideal spot for lovers of maritime history.

Aerial panorama of shipyard and lighthouse in St. Michaels harbor in Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay

12. Deep Creek Lake

Deep Creek Lake, or simply “Deep Creek,” as the area tends to be called, can be found in Maryland’s westernmost county nestled within the Appalachian Mountains. The lake is the largest inland body of water in Maryland, covering 3900 acres.

Between summertime water skiing, snowshoeing tours in the winter, hiking, fishing, camping, and a number of state parks, Deep Creek has everything needed for a nature-filled family vacation at any time of year.

13. Havre De Grace

Situated on the mouth of the Susquehanna River, north of Baltimore, Havre de Grace has been named as one of the 20 best small towns to visit by Smithsonian Magazine. Its unique location makes it a popular place to visit for both locals and tourists alike.

The town is home to several family-friendly museums and attractions like the Stepping Stone Museum, Concord Point Lighthouse, and the Lock House Museum. Additionally, Susquehanna State Park, is full of historical sites to tour and outdoor activities to enjoy like mountain biking, fishing, and boating.

Warm Cloudy day in Havre De Grace, Maryland on the Board Walk

14. Fell’s Point

Baltimore might already be on our list, but Fell’s Point, a historic, waterfront neighborhood within the city, deserves specific recognition as a lovely vacation spot in Maryland for families. Once a shipbuilding port, its façade has remained largely unchanged since the early 19th century. The cobblestone streets are lined with restaurants and shops of all types, and the neighborhood puts on several events throughout the year, which make for fantastic family outings.

The Fell’s Point Privateer Festival is held in July and includes historic ships, live music, merchant booths, and an area specially designed for children to run and play. Broadway Market, located in the heart of Fell’s Point, is full of stalls that house many Baltimore culinary staples like Taharka Brother’s Ice Cream, Berger Cookies, and Connie’s Chicken and Waffles.

15. Hanover

With so many opportunities for family fun, Hanover is an ideal spot for vacationers of all ages. Arundel Mills Mall is home to many attractions, all located under one roof. You could grab a bite while watching a reenactment of a medieval jousting tournament featuring six knights, horses, and a live flight of the royal falcon at Medieval Times.

And of course Dave and Busters is always a family favorite. For something a little different, Mission Escape Room offers rooms with varying levels of difficulty – the Last Showing Room is perfect for younger escapees, while the Cabin Fever room will challenge even the cleverest of adults.

Book Your Stay in Hanover, Maryland

The Hotel at Arundel Preserve is within driving distance of many of the best family vacation spots in Maryland, and thus provides the perfect place to rest after days full of fun and adventure. George Martin’s Grillfire, located just inside the hotel lobby, has a delicious menu with something for everyone.

Our guest rooms and suites are perfectly appointed and can accommodate families of nearly any size. We’d love to host you during your next family vacation, so contact us today to ask about our specials and book your stay.

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