Plan the Perfect Trip: Top Things To Do in Maryland for Families

Plan the Perfect Trip: Top Things To Do in Maryland for Families


Maryland is an ideal destination for families, with a plethora of experiences to choose from. 

Imagine taking a leisurely stroll around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, breathing in the refreshing sea air and then visiting the world-renowned National Aquarium to explore the wonders of the deep.

For history enthusiasts, there are Civil War battlefields to explore and the opportunity to stand on a mighty warship. 

Nature lovers can enjoy paddling kayaks through serene marshes, building impressive sandcastles on sprawling beaches or searching for wild horses that roam a barrier island.

Regardless of whether you’re traveling with young children, adventurous teenagers or a multigenerational group, Maryland has something for everyone to enjoy and smile about.

Book your flight with Skyscanner to Maryland and explore the interactive exhibits at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore.

Why Consider Maryland for Your Family Trip

Chapel of learning

Maryland might be small, but it packs a huge punch when it comes to family-friendly fun. Here’s why it should be on your travel radar:

  • From lively cities to serene beaches, Maryland offers something for everyone. History enthusiasts, nature lovers, foodies, and adventure seekers will all discover their perfect experience.
  • Lots of the major attractions are located close together, allowing for less time in the car and more time for adventures.
  • Maryland offers a variety of activities throughout the year, including summer beach trips, cozy fall foliage adventures, and potential wintertime skiing.
  • Kids, and even adults, enjoy visiting places where major historical events occurred. Maryland offers numerous opportunities for this.

๐Ÿ‘‰Stay in a family-friendly hotel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, close to attractions like the Maryland Science Center and National Aquarium.

Baltimore: National Aquarium, Inner Harbor, Maryland Science Center

Free Baltimore Harbor photo and picture

Baltimore, Maryland’s largest city, offers a vibrant mix of history, culture, and family-friendly attractions.

Explore the lively Inner Harbor, delve into world-class museums, and savor the city’s signature crab cakes.

Here’s what makes Baltimore a great place to bring your kids:

  • Iconic Attractions with Kid-Appeal: The National Aquarium and Maryland Science Center are not just “good for their size” – they rival the best in the country. They offer hours of exploration and engagement for all ages. The Inner Harbor’s mix of attractions, shops, and dining provides backup options to keep everyone entertained.
  • Neighborhoods with Charm: Exploring neighborhoods like Fells Point or Little Italy adds an element of discovery for both children and adults. The unique shops, cobblestone streets, and delicious dining options create an experience that is beyond the typical “city” experience.
  • A Foodie’s Paradise (Even for Picky Eaters): Yes, Baltimore is famous for crab cakes, but its diverse restaurant scene caters to a wide range of tastes. Pizza, pasta, kid-friendly chains, and unique local spots keep everyone happy and well-fed.
  • Gateway to Day Trips: Families can easily base themselves in Baltimore and branch out for even more adventure. The beaches of the Eastern Shore, the history of Washington D.C., and the quaint towns of Maryland’s countryside are all within reach.
  • Learning Made Fun: Beyond the big attractions, museums like the American Visionary Art Museum offer quirky and unforgettable experiences. Historic ships, Fort McHenry, and sites like the B&O Railroad Museum bring history to life for kids of all ages.

๐Ÿ‘‰Find the best flights to Maryland on Skyscanner and discover the magic of the National Aquarium, home to over 20,000 aquatic animals.

Things to do in Baltimore with Kids:

  • National Aquarium in Baltimore: Dive into a world of underwater wonder! Get face-to-face with sharks, touch a stingray, and wander through a lush rainforest โ€“ all within this spectacular aquarium.
  • Inner Harbor: More than just the aquarium, this lively waterfront has street performers, paddle boats, historic ships to explore, plus tons of restaurants and shops.
  • Maryland Science Center: Ignite a love of science! Hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, and an awesome dinosaur hall make learning a blast.
  • Take a water taxi: Fun way to travel AND get great harbor views.
  • Ride the carousel: A whimsical classic at the Inner Harbor.
  • Grab a crab cake: Introduce kids to this Maryland delicacy!
  • Explore nearby neighborhoods: Fells Point and Little Italy offer delicious food and unique charm.

๐Ÿ‘‰Book a cozy cabin or campground near Six Flags America for easy access to the park and a full weekend of fun.

Ocean City Boardwalk

Ocean City, MD Boardwalk 12-2011

This bustling, three-mile boardwalk combines old-school charm with modern amusements, making it the heart of Ocean City and a beloved family destination.

What Makes it Family-Friendly:

  • The Beach, of Course: Miles of wide, sandy beach are perfect for sandcastle building, wave jumping, and soaking up the sun.
  • Thrilling Amusements: From iconic rides at Jolly Roger Amusement Park to the vintage Trimper’s Rides, there’s something for every thrill-seeker.
  • Classic Boardwalk Treats: Funnel cakes, saltwater taffy, Thrasher’s french fries โ€“ it wouldn’t be a boardwalk without the mouthwatering eats!
  • Arcades and Games: Rainy day? No problem! Arcades filled with flashing lights and fun games provide hours of indoor entertainment.
  • People-Watching Galore: Take a seat on a bench and be entertained by the colorful cast of characters strolling the boardwalk.

Things to Do on the Ocean City Boardwalk:

  • Bike ride: Rent bikes for a breezy morning cruise along the boards.
  • Mini-golf challenge: Ocean City boasts tons of creatively themed mini-golf courses.
  • Catch a movie on the beach: Free family movie nights are offered during the summer.
  • Souvenir hunting: Stock up on beachy mementos and Ocean City-themed apparel.

๐Ÿ‘‰Use Skyscanner to plan your trip to Maryland for a fun-filled day at Six Flags America, offering thrilling rides and entertainment for all ages.

Assateague Island National Seashore

This windswept barrier island is a place of untamed beauty and unique experiences.

Renowned for its wild horses wandering the sandy dunes and marshes, Assateague provides a glimpse of coastal living that seems far removed from everyday life.

Why Families Love Assateague:

  • The Wonder of Wild Horses: Spotting a band of horses grazing by the beach is an unforgettable thrill for kids and adults alike. Remember, observe from a distance and never feed or approach the horses!
  • Gorgeous Beaches: Less crowded than some of Maryland’s other beaches, Assateague’s wide shoreline is perfect for swimming, sandcastles, or just relaxing with a good book.
  • Outdoor Exploration: Hiking trails, bike paths, and kayak rentals let families explore the island’s diverse ecosystems at their own pace.
  • Camping Adventures: Both oceanside and bayside campgrounds offer a chance to fall asleep to the sound of the waves.
  • Simple Pleasures: Crabbing, fishing, birdwatching, and stargazing are all amazing experiences on this pristine island.

Things to Do on Assateague:

  • Visit the Assateague Lighthouse: Climb to the top for stunning views.
  • Take a nature walk: Ranger-led programs teach about the unique island ecosystem.
  • Junior Ranger Program: Kids can earn a badge while learning about the park.
  • Watch for wildlife: Deer, shorebirds, and maybe even dolphins are possible sightings!

๐Ÿ‘‰Find a vacation rental near Sandy Spring for convenient visits to the Adventure Park and surrounding natural attractions.

Charming Towns & Adventures

Maryland may be small, but it offers a wealth of extraordinary experiences beyond its bustling cities.

Explore the maritime heritage of the Chesapeake Bay at fascinating museums, discover pristine beaches and wildlife refuges teeming with life, or savor the simple pleasures of picking your own fruit on a sunny farm.

Prepare for unforgettable adventures in Maryland’s charming small towns and captivating landscapes!

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (St. Michaels, MD)

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, Maryland

This museum, nestled in the quaint town of St. Michaels, brings the maritime history and culture of the Chesapeake Bay to life.

Why Families Love It:

Interactive exhibits, historic boat exploration, a functional lighthouse, and scenic waterfront views make history enjoyable for all ages.

Children can experience Chesapeake life hands-on, from oystering to boat construction.

Things to Do

  • Build your own toy boat.
  • Learn about the Chesapeake Bay’s unique ecosystem.
  • Try your hand at traditional boatbuilding skills.
  • Explore historic vessels, big and small.

๐Ÿ‘‰Secure your flight with Skyscanner and spend a day at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring, climbing and ziplining through the trees.

Calvert Marine Museum (Solomons Island, MD)

Protecting the museum

Discover the paleontology, natural history, and maritime heritage of Southern Maryland at this engaging museum.

Why Families Love It:

The playful river otters are always a hit, as are the aquariums showcasing Chesapeake Bay marine life. Kids get to touch fossils, see cool exhibits on prehistoric Maryland, and learn about the area’s maritime legacy.

Things to Do:

  • Hunt for shark teeth on the museum’s fossil beach.
  • See the resident river otters frolic and play.
  • Take a scenic boat cruise on Drum Point Lighthouse (seasonal).
  • Learn about local lighthouses and the role they played in navigation.

๐Ÿ‘‰Choose a waterfront property on the Chesapeake Bay for easy access to boating, fishing, and water sports activities.

Outdoor Escapades for the Whole Family in Maryland

Tubing with the Speed Boat on Deep Creek Lake (Garrett County, Maryland) - August 8, 2017

Maryland offers a wide range of outdoor activities for families, from mountain trails to sandy beaches.

Whether it’s hiking to a scenic overlook, paddling a kayak through tranquil marshes, or letting the kids explore tide pools, the state’s diverse landscapes provide countless opportunities for fresh air, exercise, and creating lasting family memories.

Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park in Howard County, Maryland

Stretching along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, this sprawling park offers a taste of rugged Maryland wilderness just outside of Baltimore.

Why Families Love It:

Varied hiking trails are available for all ages and abilities, from easy riverside strolls to more challenging climbs with rewarding views.

The park’s history, including old mill ruins and a swinging bridge, adds an extra element of adventure.

Things To Do:

  • Hike to Cascade Falls for a refreshing splash on a warm day.
  • Rent bikes and explore the paved trails.
  • Go fishing or tubing (depending on the area and water levels).
  • Pack a picnic and enjoy the riverfront scenery.

๐Ÿ‘‰Fly into Maryland with Skyscanner and take a scenic boat tour of the Chesapeake Bay, exploring its wildlife and historic lighthouses.

Brookside Gardens

Brookside Garden

Located in Wheaton, MD, this 50-acre public garden offers a vibrant escape within a more suburban setting.

Why Families Love It:

Themed gardens such as the Children’s Garden and the Japanese-style area provide enchanting spaces for exploration.

Visitors can enjoy seasonal displays, from spring blooms to winter light shows, making it a year-round destination.

Things To Do:
  • Wander the butterfly garden and watch for colorful pollinators.
  • Hunt for frogs and turtles around the ponds.
  • Play on the nature-themed playground.
  • Attend family-friendly events like concerts or holiday celebrations (check their calendar).
A Note on “Kid-Friendly” Hikes:

ย It’s best to research trails specifically before heading out. Websites like AllTrails allow you to filter hikes by difficulty, length, and kid-friendly ratings.

๐Ÿ‘‰Secure a beachfront home on Assateague Island to enjoy direct access to the beach and wild horse sightings.

Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake (Annapolis, MD)

Ahoy, me hearties! Prepare for a lively and enjoyable family pirate cruise departing from Annapolis.

Young pirates and their families will become true sailors for an exciting adventure on the Chesapeake Bay, unlike anything they’ve experienced on land.

Why Families Love It:

  • Pure Imagination: Kids get to live out their pirate fantasies with costumes, face painting, and hilarious pirate antics from the crew.
  • Interactive Adventure: It’s not just a boat ride! Kids participate in treasure hunts, water cannon battles, and learn pirate lingo for an immersive experience.
  • Laughs Ahoy! The playful crew keeps the energy high and the giggles flowing, making it a blast for parents too.

Things to Do on a Pirate Cruise:

  • Dress up like a pirate and get your face painted.
  • Search for “buried” treasure and share the loot.
  • Fire water cannons at a rival “pirate” ship.
  • Learn to talk like a pirate (“Avast ye!” and all that good stuff).
  • Dance and sing along to pirate tunes.

๐Ÿ‘‰Book through Skyscanner for a trip to Maryland and enjoy a family outing to the Assateague Island National Seashore, famous for its wild horses.

Maryland Fun Across the Seasons

Maryland delivers family adventures year-round! From sandy toes in summer to cozy winter getaways, there’s always something exciting to discover.

Summertime Adventures

  • Beach Days: Splash in the Atlantic Ocean at Ocean City, explore Assateague Island’s wild shores, or find hidden gems along the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Crabbing Adventures: Learn the art of crabbing off a dock, rent a boat, or join a guided crabbing expedition.
  • Baseball Fever: Catch the excitement of a minor league baseball game โ€“ the Bowie Baysox or Aberdeen IronBirds are fan favorites.
  • Outdoor Festivals & Events: Summer means tons of family-friendly festivals celebrating everything from seafood to local music.

Fall Fun

  • Leaf Peeping: Admire the vibrant fall colors along scenic drives like the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway or in Western Maryland’s mountains.
  • Pumpkin Patches & Corn Mazes: Lots of Maryland farms transform into autumn wonderlands.
  • Slightly Spooky: Take a kid-friendly ghost tour in historic towns like Annapolis or Frederick.
  • Beach Time, Round Two: Enjoy the quieter shoulder season at the beach with pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

๐Ÿ‘‰Opt for a historic inn or B&B in Sharpsburg, providing a quiet base to explore Antietam National Battlefield and other local sites.

Winter Wonderlandย 

Leftovers: Wisp Ski Resort

  • Wisp Resort: If Maryland gets snow, this mountain resort in Deep Creek Lake offers skiing, snowboarding, and other winter fun.
  • Indoor Adventures: Aquariums, museums, science centers, and trampoline parks keep kids entertained regardless of the weather.
  • Holiday Cheer: Maryland towns go all out with festive lights, markets, and special events throughout December.

Springtime Celebrations

Harry Richardson enjoys gardening.

  • Blooming Beauties: Gardens like Brookside Gardens or Ladew Topiary Gardens explode with color.
  • Outdoor Fun Returns: Theme parks, mini-golf courses, and waterfront attractions swing back into full operation.
  • Festival Season Begins: From kite festivals to flower shows, spring brings a fresh batch of outdoor events.

๐Ÿ‘‰With Skyscanner, reach Maryland and visit the Port Discovery Childrenโ€™s Museum in Baltimore for a day of hands-on learning and play.

Maryland Travel Tips for Families

Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, Ocean City Maryland

There are several popular attractions in Maryland, ranging from Baltimore to historical sites such as Antietam, that can be easily accessed as day trips from locations within the state or the D.C. metro area.

Coastal areas like Ocean City and Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland make ideal vacation destinations for long weekends or week-long trips.

Finding the Right Spot: Resources for Kid-Friendly Lodging

  • Beyond Just Hotels: Maryland offers cabins, beach rentals, and campgrounds to suit different family styles and budgets.
  • Search Smart: Many hotel booking websites allow filtering for family-focused amenities like pools, kitchenettes, or even on-site activities.
  • Tourism Resources: The official Visit Maryland website ( often highlights family-friendly lodging options.

Packing List: Seasonal Reminders

  • Summer: Sunscreen, hats, bug spray, plenty of water bottles, swim gear.
  • Fall: Layers for changing temps, rain jackets (especially near the mountains).
  • Winter: Warm clothes, waterproof boots if snow is on the radar.
  • Spring: Can be unpredictable โ€“ think layers, rain gear, and check pollen forecasts for allergy sufferers.
  • All Year: Comfy walking shoes, snacks for the car, a small first-aid kit.

๐Ÿ‘‰Discover a hotel near Port Discovery in downtown Baltimore, ensuring your children have just a short walk to the museum and other city attractions.

Your Maryland Adventure Starts Now!

Maryland is waiting for you!

Whether you’re seeking the excitement of bustling cities, the refreshing coastal air, or thrilling outdoor adventures, this state has everything you need for an amazing family getaway. 

Picture yourself building sandcastles on expansive beaches, visiting world-class museums, or hiking to stunning viewpoints.

Start planning your family escape to Maryland todayโ€”unforgettable memories are just a short drive away!

๐Ÿ‘‰Find your flight to Maryland on Skyscanner and walk through history at Antietam National Battlefield, offering educational programs and stunning landscapes.

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