Spring has sprung in the beautiful State of Maryland! What better way to enjoy the spring weather than exploring Maryland? Here are ten delightful day trips to enjoy in every region of the state.
May Day in Annapolis was created in 1956 by the Garden Club of Old Annapolis-Towne. Every May 1st, for over 60 years, residents and businesses have been adorning their front doors with floral baskets to brighten the community. What a beautiful day to explore Annapolis!
Following your stroll through the Annapolis Historic District, conclude your Annapolis visit with a historical tour of the US Naval Academy. Tours begin at the United States Naval Academy Visitor Center, Annapolis, Md, and residents with a Maryland Driver’s License tour for free.
Before you go, check out Honor Bound, an ebook on Overdrive. It is the story of Amy McGrath, a graduate of the US Naval Academy and the first female Marine to fly a combat mission in a F/A-18.
National Harbor Waterfront Resort is located in Maryland on the banks of the Potomac River and offers something for everyone: shopping, entertainment, restaurants, and the iconic Capital Wheel | National Harbor Ferris Wheel. There’s so much to see and do at National Harbor Waterfront Resort; you can spend the entire day and evening.
May is Military Appreciation Month, and members of the Armed Forces enjoy 20% off food and drinks at Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar. Enjoy The Show! (See Armed Forces Appreciation Days | Bobby Mckeys Piano Bar for more information.)
Ease over to the Eastern Shore to experience the beauty of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. A refuge for migratory birds, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, is located 12 miles south of Cambridge, Maryland. The exceptional beauty of the forest, marsh, and tidal wetlands support activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, birding, boating, and more. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Borrow CCPL’s copy of The Great Marsh by David W. Harp before your visit for a detailed introduction to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
Assateague Island spans a portion of Maryland and Virginia’s eastern shore. The island is known for its wild ponies, and May is a perfect time to visit before the crowds of summer arrive. There are both Assateague Island National Seashore (U.S. National Park Service) and Assateague State Park, and people tend to prefer one over the other. The preference for Assateague Island National Seashore vs. Assateague State Park may revolve around which type of experience you are looking for. Campers looking for less primitive amenities will find the State Park more attractive, with hot showers and flushing toilets. However, the National Park boasts those famous wild ponies. In either case, these parks offer an alternative to a resort-style vacation in Ocean City, MD, despite being just a stone’s throw away. Activities include hiking, canoeing, fishing, camping, off-road driving, and more!
Natural Wonders of Assateague Island by Mark Hendricks explores the incredible biodiversity of the barrier island and is available in CCPL’s collection.
Calvert Marine Museum is located in beautiful Solomons, Maryland, and showcases the unique natural history and maritime history of Southern Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. The Solomons Maritime Festival is held on the first Saturday in May. Admission to the museum is FREE that day and includes activities for all ages, including local music, traditional crafts demonstrations, and free 30-minute cruises on the historic Wm. B. Tennison.
To learn more about the museum’s offerings, check out Calvert Marine Museum from CCPL’s collection.
Head over to Charles County along the Potomac River to experience one of Maryland’s most beautiful natural resource areas, the Nanjemoy Natural Resource Management Area. The area includes 1.2 miles of pristine shoreline which provides protection for several rare and threatened species, such as bald eagles and great blue herons.
In addition to the natural environment, the historical significance of the area should not be overlooked. Prehistoric artifacts of Native American cultures dating back 12,000 years have been discovered at Nanjemoy. During World War I, 1000 wooden steamships were built there to transport troops and cargo to Europe. None of the ships ever made a single journey. Many of them were sunk and are now known as the Ghost Fleet of the Potomac, Mallows Bay. The ships have become artificial reefs and are an integral part of the natural ecosystem. For a preview of the reefs, see Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet along the Potomac River, Maryland – A kayak trip.
For more information, see the Maryland Department of Natural Resources book, Nanjemoy Natural Resource Management Area.
Historic St. Mary’s City | St. Mary’s County MD is Maryland’s first capital and dates back to the 1600s. Take a step back in time when visiting St. Mary’s City to experience what life was like on a tall ship, in the Town Center, and in a Woodland Indian Hamlet. This living history museum also features a tobacco plantation, the English colonies’ first Catholic Church, the early colonial African-American life of Mathias de Sousa, and working archeological excavations.
Want to learn more? Dive into Tales of St. Mary’s by J. Roy Guyther to read several short stories based on true happenings in St. Mary’s County.
Antietam National Battlefield (U.S. National Park Service) is the site of the bloodiest day in American history. The battle was a turning point for the Union, a tactical draw that allowed President Abraham Lincoln to issue his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation a few days later.
Start your day at the Visitor’s Center, followed up with a battlefield talk given by a Park Ranger. A self-guided auto tour is available or call ahead to book a private tour of the battlefield with Antietam Battlefield Guides.
Read more about the battle in a collection of primary sources from the civilians and soldiers who experienced the battle entitled Antietam.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (U.S. National Park Service) is historically significant for its defensive role in American history from the American Revolution to the twentieth century. Many Americans relate Fort McHenry to the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” which became America’s national anthem.
To prepare for your visit, check out Trip Ideas – Fort McHenry and take a deeper dive into the cultural significance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by reading “O Say Can You Hear?”, authored by Mark Clague.
Ladew Topiary Gardens’ website describes it as one of the “10 incredible topiary gardens from around the world”. This description seems to be well-earned. A quick tour of its website reveals that tickets for all Ladew special events are sold exclusively in advance of the event, and almost all of the events sell out. However, the link for Hours, Admission & Getting Here confirms that general admission to Ladew includes access to the Gardens, Nature Walk, and Butterfly House. Located in Monkton, Maryland, which is 30 minutes from Baltimore, Ladew Topiary Gardens sounds like it’s worth the trip!
Maryland has a lot to offer in the spring and year-round! If none of these trips sound compelling to you, plan your own adventure. Search CCPL’s COSMOS Catalog by entering “places to see in Maryland” for more trip ideas and information.
- May Day in Annapolis
- United States Naval Academy Visitor Center, Annapolis Md
- About National Harbor Waterfront Resort
- The Capital Wheel in National Harbor
- Celebrating Military Appreciation Month
- The Show | Bobby Mckeys Piano Bar
- Armed Forces Appreciation Days | Bobby Mckeys Piano Bar
- Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
- Assateague Island National Seashore (U.S. National Park Service)
- Assateague Island National Seashore vs. Assateague State Park
- Calvert Marine Museum
- Nanjemoy Natural Resource Management Area
- Ghost Fleet of the Potomac, Mallows Bay | National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet along the Potomac River, Maryland – A kayak trip
- Historic St. Mary’s City | St. Mary’s County MD Tourism
- Antietam National Battlefield (U.S. National Park Service)
- Antietam Battlefield Guides
- Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (U.S. National Park Service)
- Ladew Topiary Gardens