The eastern half of Maryland is known for it’s maritime culture and delicious crab dinners. It’s full of beautiful places to visit in any season, but summertime on the water is especially lovely here.
Along the Atlantic – Visit Assateague and Ocean City
These are two of our favorite beaches to visit. In Ocean City, you can stay in a hotel along the boardwalk, or a condo a short drive away, such as one in Ocean Village, that comes with access to an outdoor pool, indoor pool and a hot tub. There are tons of things to do and places to eat, and the beach does get crowded, but it is wide and spacious so it’s fairly easy to find a place to spread out. There’s plenty of options for mini-golf and rides, should you need a break from the beach. There can be areas where the shore drops off quickly and steeply, which can make it difficult for young children to swim.
There are still plenty of waves at Assateague, but the flat beach makes it much easier for the kids to navigate them and I have rarely seen the Atlantic Ocean so clean and clear as it usually is in Assateague. The sand is clean, white and silky soft. And what, I ask you, could possibly be more charming than a beach with a bunch of wild ponies wandering around? Any trip to the area warrants at least stopping by the Assateague National Seashore to watch them.
Northeastern Maryland – visit Havre De Grace, Elk Neck State Park, and Gunpowder Falls State Park
Havre De Grace is a sweet little town along the Chesapeake Bay, and it’s fun to walk along the “Promenade,” which is a little winding boardwalk along the Bay that ends up in front of the lighthouse for which the town is known. On a hill above the parking lot for the Promenade and Marina, there is a playground which is well loved by local children and visitors alike for it’s array of playground equipment (including a miniature lighthouse) and by parents for it’s lovely hilltop view of the water. There are a number of charming little seafood restaurants nearby.
Elk Neck State Park is a gorgeous park along the Chesapeake with lots of birdwatching opportunities. You can also swim here if you are brave, though it’s not unheard of to come across a few dead fish, and the bottom is also quite rocky so you’ll need water shoes. There are restrooms with showers to rinse off afterwards.
Gunpowder Falls State Park is another beautiful one, but it is enormous so you’ll probably want to do some planning before you visit. There are miles upon miles of trails, and wading in one of the rivers and tossing some rocks in is always a favorite activity for little ones. If you want to swim in the bay, navigate to the Hammerman area. It is a large, clean area, with space to picnic on the grass, set up on the sand (water shoes not required), and take a swim in the bay. The water in the bay is often quite warm in the summertime, with little to no surf.
Cities – visit Baltimore and Annapolis
We stay at the Marriott Springhill Inn and Suites in Annapolis, which always works well for us. The pool, of course, is essential and much used, as well as the hot tub and complimentary breakfast. It’s great for families. Downtown Annapolis is just a fun, bustling place to be. Visit the Naval Academy and take a boat tour that will point out the various buildings in the Academy and surrounding area from the very pleasant vantage point of the water.
If you’re wanting to swim, you can visit Sandy Point Park, which is a sandy beach area on the bay, almost under the Chesapeake Bay bridge. There are restrooms, a playground, picnic tables and concessions, but it does get crowded.
There are a million things to do in Baltimore, but our favorite places to visit are the Baltimore Aquarium for a day out of the sun, the Inner Harbor for dining and strolling, and the Glen Martin Aviation Museum for our Air and Space Enthusiast. Even our less aeronautically-inclined children liked it because there was a cardboard rocket ship they could play in. (It’s the simple things, right?) The museum itself is tiny but includes an impressive tour outdoors of quite a few planes.