Miles to go

by | Jul 29, 2017 | Features

This summer, take a trip off the beaten path

Betterton Beach includes a boardwalk, public restrooms, and a quiet swimming
(Photo by Bernadette Bowman)

Summer is a time for fun. The kids are out of school, it’s warm and sunny outside and the possibilities are endless. That is, the possibilities should be endless.

Beaches become so crowded that it’s hard to enjoy them; popular museums and amusement parks are typical and touristy.

However, though it may seem like the possibilities are exhausted, Maryland is full of surprises. If you want to go beyond visiting Camden Yards, Ocean City and the Smithsonian, here are some lesser-known day trip spots to explore that could inspire new adventures, keep you cool and can be visited in a single day trip from the Mid-Shore.

One-hour-or-less trips

Betterton Beach in Betterton, Kent County – Betterton beach is the biggest of Kent County’s beaches on the Chesapeake Bay. It comes equipped with a boardwalk, public restrooms, a picnic pavilion and plenty of beachfront to relax on. Only an hour’s drive from Easton, this beach promises fun without huge crowds.

Ferry Park in Rock Hall, Kent County – This is a second beach on the Chesapeake Bay. With plenty of swimming space and a gazebo for picnicking or relaxing, you can enjoy a quiet day at Ferry Park.

One-and-a-half-hour trips

Patapsco Valley State Park in Ellicott City, Howard County – Patapsco Valley State Park is the perfect getaway. Enjoy the Patapsco River, whether you get wet or stay dry, as you hike and swim. You can also bring kayaks, paddle boards or fishing rods and enjoy the view.

The Snowball Stand in Woodstock, Howard County – Hidden away in Woodstock lies the original Snowball Stand, which serves up ice cream and snowballs with plenty of avors and toppings to choose from. It’s not far from Patapsco Valley State Park, so it’s a good way to wind down after a day of adventuring.

Two-hour trips

Rocks State Park in Jarrettsville, Harford County – This is another opportunity for swimming and hiking along various

Ladew Topiary Gardens includes a large variety of topiaries, owers and gardens to explore.

walking trails. Hike to Kilgore Falls, the second largest vertical waterfall in Maryland, or to the King and Queen Seats rock formations to take in the view from the top.

Ladew Topiary Gardens in Jarrettsville, Harford County – A vast expanse of owers, topiaries and much more, Ladew Topiary Gardens provides a relaxing and shady way to spend the day. Featuring more than 20 gardens to explore, you’ll truly be taken on a whimsical journey.

Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center in Dowell, Calvert County – Like Ladew Topiary Gardens, Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center can provide a shady and relaxing day looking at beautiful creations. With plenty of activities and adventures for children, it also features many sculptures and works on loan from the Smithsonian.

Cascade lake offers the fun of a water park and the view of a lakeside getaway. Gazebos are available, along with fishing area, paddle boats for rent and water slides.

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo in Thurmont, Frederick County – Have a completely new zoo experience at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo. With many animals and exhibits from around the world, Catoctin also offers safari tours for kids to learn even more about different animals.

Cascade Lake in Hampstead, Carroll County – Cascade Lake is a water park of sorts. Not only does it offer waterslides and water playgrounds, it also offers lake swimming, shing, boating and picnicking. This mix of a typical waterpark and a natural lake provides the perfect day trip for both staying cool and relaxing.

Cumulative trips

All across Maryland are different on-farm ice cream shops, all with something unique to offer. The Maryland Ice Cream Trail combines nine of the very best – visit them all in one trip or throughout the summer. Ice Cream Trail “passports” are available at cream-trail/.

One stop on the Maryland Ice Cream Trail is Kilby Cream in Cecil County,left, about a two-hour trip from the Mid-Shore. Keyes Creamery in Harford County, right, is also about two hours away.