Looking for a new adventure? Set your sights a bit closer to home and discover what you can explore with just a day’s worth of travel. If you’re planning a staycation, opt for a unique accommodation like a boat rental or a yurt. However, if you want to head out of the city, there are countless gems to be found that are within driving distance of Baltimore to satisfy your wanderlust. This list of attractions are ones you can get to in less than a day and still have the time and energy to immerse yourself in the wonder of the unexplored. Be sure to pack a few snacks, grab your travel buddies, and head out on the road - you never know what excitement you could stumble upon. If you’re coming from out of state, rent a luxury RV in Maryland before heading out to explore nearby areas. Check out these best day trips from Baltimore, Maryland.
Philly, really? Why not, when there is a lot to love about this largest city in Pennsylvania? From Baltimore, you can reach it the fastest via train within an hour, while driving or a bus ride will take about 2 hours in the 170 kilometers (106 miles) long road. Philadelphia is a big city of neighborhoods, each boasting distinct identities and attractions.
The city is one of the oldest municipalities in America that museums, parks, and markets are the popular landmarks to visit. Top attractions include Carpenters’ Hall, Liberty Bell, Christ Church, and Independence Hall.
Philadelphia also makes for a great food trip. Try its iconic local favorites and make some room for dessert at Reading Terminal Market. While touring the great Philly is challenging, it certainly offers a wealth of original and first-rate experiences.
2. Michaux State Forest
Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania is considered the state’s cradle of forestry. It is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for clean water, recreation, plant and animal habitat, sustainable timber, and natural gas production. All these efforts are for the benefit of the citizens of Pennsylvania and ultimately, the world. Local communities depend on Michaux State Forrest for potable water in their municipal water supplies.
Today, the state forest covers more than 34,400 hectares (85,000 acres) of tracts and is open to the public for recreational hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing, hunting, and boating. Getting here from Baltimore will take just about an hour and a half via car.
Michaux State Forest
Address: 10099 Lincoln Way E, Fayetteville, PA 17222,
Website: Michaux State Forest
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 24 hours (closed on Sat & Sun)
3. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Another destination for nature lovers is Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, also colloquially known as C&O Canal. You can reach the canal from Baltimore in less than an hour. It is a waterway that extends along the Potomac River and crosses from Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland. For nearly 100 years, the canal was an aid for the communities it traverses in moving coal and agricultural products through the waterway to markets.
The National Park Services manages the canal’s natural and historical value and enhances its recreational potential and treasures. The park is open for free except the Great Falls Tavern where entrance fees and park passes apply for access. These fees fund the various C&O Canal National Historical Park projects.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Address: 142 W. Potomac Street, Williamsport, MD 21795
Price: 10 USD
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Hersheypark, formerly named Hershey Park, is a notable family theme park in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and is just one and a half hours from Baltimore. Opened in 1906 as a leisure park for the employees of the chocolate company with the same name, Hersheypark has withstood the test of time and continues to be a centerpiece attraction for everyone. It boasts 15 thrilling roller coasters, a full water park, a zoo, and family-friendly and kiddie rides.
The entire park is open during Easter weekend, from May to September, Halloween, and Christmas—that’s four seasons of fun, thrills, and live entertainment. Recently, it announced the addition of two new rides starting the summer season—two new reasons to get the authentic Hersheypark experience.
Address: 100 Hersheypark Dr, Hershey, PA 17033
5. Antietam National Battlefield
A visit to Antietam National Battlefield is one of the most educational tours that you can experience once you head from Baltimore. Just 112.6 kilometers (70 miles) from Baltimore, Antietam National Battlefield makes for an enriching day trip.
It is a protected area that sits along the fields of Appalachian mountain range near the Potomac River. It is maintained by the National Park Service to commemorate the savage combats during the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.
The park is used today as a place to learn, hike, and explore. Some key places to visit are Dunker Church, National Cemetery, and a visitor center where exhibits and park stores are available.
Antietam National Battlefield
Address: 302 E Main St, Sharpsburg, MD 21782
Website: Antietam National Battlefield
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Bored at home and looking at quick getaways from Baltimore? Just a few hours from the city and in the center of the Chesapeake Bay lies the scenic and restful Smith Island. Boasting some of the world’s best crab cakes, it offers extensive history of authentic island culture, from traditional fishing methods and unique dialect tracing back to its roots as one of the first chartered islands in the newly formed US. Today, there are only about 250 remaining residents, yet this loyal community continues to help teach new generations about a way of life from long ago. Smith Island is perfect for outdoor adventure from kayaking to fishing and bird watching, you can experience life at a slower pace, and reap the rewards of fresh air and open waters.
Website: Visit Smith Island
One advantage of Baltimore living is its close proximity to the capital’s monuments. The National Mall in Washington, DC is free and open to the public displaying some of our country’s most famous landmarks, museums, and monuments free of charge. There is so much to explore that one trip will barely scratch the surface, yet on your inaugural trip, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Lincoln Memorial. The massive, towering statue dedicated to Abraham Lincoln features his quintessential Gettysburg address. In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was chiseled onto the steps. There are over 50 unique features of the Greek Statue style landmark, and guided tours are well worth the extra effort to sign up and wait. The monument exudes a sense of awe, inspired by the spirit of our country’s striving towards unity.
The Lincoln Memorial
Address: 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037, United States
Website: The Lincoln Memorial
If you’re up for some outdoor adventure, Blackwater Falls State Park is the perfect Baltimore day trip idea to indulge in. The rushing, black waters are famous for their strange color caused by hemlock and red spruce needles and are located in West Virginia, just a 3.5-hour drive from Baltimore. Once at the site you can hike along the mountainous trails increasing in difficulty and methods of travel including skiing, mountain biking and walking. There are areas for swimming, fishing and in the winter, sledding. You can also find lodging at the site if it gets a bit too late to travel back after your full day of activity.
Blackwater Falls State Park
Address: 1584 Blackwater Lodge Rd, Davis, WV 26260, United States
Website: Blackwater Falls State Park
Appalachian Trail Museum is a monument inside of a monument. The museum tells the tale of the creation and evolution of the trail and the many people who braved the trials to complete this momentous task. The museum is located at the halfway point of the trail, and a short 1.5-hour drive from Baltimore. Today the museum is a tribute to hiking culture and the lives of those who helped to make this seminal route a must on the bucket list of daring explorers all over the world.
Appalachian Trail Museum
Address: 1120 Pine Grove Rd, Gardners, PA 17324, United States
Website: Appalachian Trail Museum
Along the Patuxent River, Solomons Island is a wonderful day trip for the whole family featuring several museums, Cove Point Lighthouse and an ecological preservation station and winery. A unique feature for younger visitors is the Calvert Marine Museum’s ‘please touch’ section that can introduce the magic of the natural world to children with local animals and plant life available to be experienced with the all the senses. Take to the water on Skipjack Dee of St. Mary, which hosts frequent tours of the Patuxent River with trained experts to point out the particular features of the Island and its ecosystem and end your day with oysters and live music at the PNC Waterside Pavilion during their summer concert series.
Address: Solomons, Maryland, United States
Website: Solomons Island
Cumberland is a quiet town with much more to offer than can be noticed at first glance. The rustic charm and natural beauty can be found if you take the time to wonder. One of the most well-known attractions is the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, a magnificent journey through Marylands mountain landscape with several tours to choose from, including a fun mystery-themed ride perfect for young and old. The railway is part of the Great Allegany Passage best traveled by bike so that you can stop and explore the many historic sites such as the C&O Canal Museum and the C&O’s first winery. This is a great destination if you want options for weekend trips from Baltimore.
Address: Cumberland, Maryland, United States
There are only two places in the US where money is printed. If you’re in the Baltimore area you are in luck as the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing is just an hour away. The process of printing has been greatly improved from its start in the 19th-century, adding new mechanisms and machinery to help automate the once human-centered process. See how our currency is crafted when you peak over the massive printing floor and tour the evolution of US money. The tours are available Monday through Friday 9 am to 7 pm free of charge, and to get the best experience try to plan your visit to avoid peak hours by going before 10:30 am and between noon and 2:30pm.
US Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Address: 301 14th St SW, Washington, DC 20228, United States
Website: US Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Planning a day trip from Baltimore in the summer? This resort town is a perfect getaway for couples looking to relax and unwind in New Jersey Shore style, with scenic beaches and the chance for an alpaca sighting. Cape May is an exciting escape 3 hours from Baltimore and well worth the trip with a diverse array of activities and dining options. Opportunities for whale and dolphin watching, boat tours and leisurely carriage rides await. There are so many places to watch the sunset, it’s hard to pick one, but be sure to choose a spot that’s close to one of the local wineries hosting daily tours and samplings to toast your latest adventure.
Address: Cape May, New Jersey, United States
Website: Cape May
Annapolis is a town with a great history, and you’ll even find some cobbled streets. Set beside the water, you will experience charming scenes of boats bobbing around near the dock. Restaurants and quaint bars and restaurants abound. Attractive homes and businesses make for a bright and colorful scene. The historic town used to be the United States Capitol, so history buffs will have an entertaining time.
The Quiet Waters Park is a patch of green space, where you can go paddleboarding, or enjoy nature by strolling through the hiking trails. The main buildings host art displays, and in summer, you may find concerts in the park for your entertainment. In the park, there’s a fountain pool, picnic spots, and a butterfly garden.
Quiet Waters Park
Address: 600 Quiet Waters Park Rd, Annapolis, MD 21403-2700
Website: Quiet Waters Park
St Michaels is about an hour’s drive from Baltimore. The quiet destination is packed with galleries, quaint stores, and cafes. if you like to indulge a bit, there are a number of wineries to choose from. Open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum provides an interesting three hours of entertainment.
People of all ages will enjoy a visit, and the kids especially love the lighthouse. The museum is very interactive. Take a step back in history and visit the working boatyard. Learn from the interesting displays that cover the history of pleasure boating, the environment, and the oyster industry. Other activities in the area include a short cruise on the Winnie Estelle. If you get hungry, the Crab Claw restaurant should fill those tummies.
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Address: 213 N Talbot St, Navy Point, St. Michaels
Website: Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
16. Sandy Point State Park
If you want to explore more of Maryland, take the I-97 South and head to Sandy Point State Park. This destination is about a 45-minute drive from Baltimore, about 38.4 miles (61.7 kilometers) away. This is a great place to go to when the weather’s good, since this county park has a swimming beach, picnic spots, hiking trails, and facilities for fishing and boating, among others. Invite your friends, pack a picnic basket, and fill up your cooler with ice and canned drinks for a fun day out.
Sandy Point State Park
Address: 1100 E College Pkwy, Annapolis, MD 21409, United States
17. Washington DC
There’s more to Washington DC than the Lincoln Memorial and the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, so if you’ve got a little bit more time, why not check out other noteworthy places in the country’s capital? From Baltimore, it’s about an hour’s drive to get to Washington DC. Alternatively, you can also take a Greyhound bus. Once you get here, join a tour group that will show you around all the must-see sights, from the Smithsonian to Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Art lovers will love the downtown area, as it’s full of galleries and museums. Fans of spy movies and the James Bond films should buy a ticket to International Spy Museum. There are plenty of diverting attractions here, so be sure to make a list of your must-visits since you’ve only got a day!
18. Ocean City
This oceanside resort town is the perfect day trip destination for long summer days as you’ll have miles of beach to explore. Ocean City, Maryland, is 146.9 miles (236.4 kilometers) from Baltimore, about a 2.5-hour drive. There’s plenty to see here besides the beach, so you can divide your day between the water and the sights. Explore the museums and galleries, go shopping, or stay till late to experience the town’s lively nightlife. Even if you’re just here for a day, you’ll feel like you’re on holiday when you’re walking around in your best beachwear with a shopping bag on your arm.
Frederick City, Maryland, is about an hour away from Baltimore via I-70 West. You can drive, take a taxi, or ride a direct bus from downtown Baltimore. Perfect for fans of arts, culture, and history, Frederick has plenty to offer inquisitive minds. There are so many museums that not only display visual arts but other interesting subjects as well. For diverse options, check out National Museum of Civil War Medicine, which showcases how soldiers were treated back in the Civil War, or Schifferstadt Architectural Museum, where you get to explore a German Colonial home. There are also parks for hiking as well as wineries and breweries where you can sample specialty drinks. Carroll Creek Park is one of the most popular spots here, and you’ll know it by the colorful pedestrian bridge and tall blue lampposts.
20. Gunpowder Falls State Park
Gunpowder Falls State Park in Maryland is just a 30-minute drive from Baltimore, about 21.1 miles (33.9 kilometers) away. Though it’s open year-round except on Christmas Day, this state park is best visited during the warmer months so you can make the best of its amenities. There’s a 457-meter-long beach (1,500 feet) with a swimming area, as well as a place where you can rent kayaks if you want to head out further into the water. Other facilities include picnic tables, a children’s playground, a concession stand, and some hiking trails as well. You can also check out the museum of Jerusalem Mill. Overall, this is a great family-friendly day trip destination.
Travel by day
As there are plenty of things to do and cafes to try in Baltimore, it may be tempting to focus on the exotic locations and far away destinations. However, there is something special about taking the time to appreciate the unique aspects of a city or attraction near you. Travel is available to everyone creative enough to see the beauty in the seemingly ordinary. Pick out your favorite day trips from Baltimore, Maryland, and start planning!
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