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Family Vacations With Kids in Maryland

by Erica Loop

Although Maryland is far from the largest U.S. state, its attraction-packed landscape in comparison to its small scale has landed it the nickname of "American in Miniature," according to the Maryland Office of Tourism. Whether you are heading off for a sunny summer Chesapeake Bay trip or are looking for in-land adventure, there is an abundant array of family vacation ideas and activities in Maryland.

Chesapeake

Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, and the surrounding cities, have activities galore for families with kids. As the largest estuary in the U.S., the Chesapeake Bay itself features fun family activity options such as boating and fishing. Chesapeake City (chesapeakecity.com) is a scenic area on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Kids can enjoy the historical districts or try a family geocaching trek. Geocaching is a real-life treasure hunt in which the participants use a GPS to find hidden containers. The containers are filled with items that other geocachers have left.

National Parks

Outdoorsy kids may enjoy a fun-filled family vacation at one of Maryland's 17 national parks. Families with an equestrian enthusiast may enjoy Assateague Island (nps.gov/asis/index.htm), with its freely roaming wild horses. When the kids tire from watching the horses at play, they can take a dip in the ocean or a walk along the beach. Stay overnight and camp out right on the sand. Another national park camping option is Catoctin Mountain (nps.gov/cato). This national park features 25 miles of nature-filled hiking trails, wildlife watching and fishing. Your family can try a tent camping getaway at the park's Owens Creek site (nps.gov/cato/planyourvisit/occg.htm) or cabin camping at Misty Mount (nps.gov/cato/planyourvisit/mistymount.htm).

Ocean City

According to the Maryland Office of Tourism, Ocean City has roughly 8 million visitors each year. Located on the state's Eastern Shore, Ocean City is much more than just a beach town. Take a stroll down the 3-mile long boardwalk during the day and come back at night to check out the amusement park rides. If you are looking for a few free family events to try out on your OC vacation, there are free movies at 8:30 p.m. on the beach at 27th Street on Mondays and Fridays. Family Beach Olympics occur at the same spot on select Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Another Ocean City area option is visiting Baja Amusements (bajaoc.com). Your child can enjoy the bumper boats, climbing walls, mini golf, arcade and kiddie-sized rides for little ones 2-years-old and up. The Jolly Roger Park (jollyrogerpark.com) features six amusement areas that include water-slides, mini-golf, rides, video games and more.

Baltimore

As Maryland's largest city, Baltimore has abundant activities for families with children. Highlight a family vacation to Baltimore with a trip to the Maryland Science Center (mdsci.org) and take in exhibits that feature wildlife, dinosaurs and body science. Artsy kids may enjoy the Walters Art Museum (thewalters.org). Try out a drop-in art making activity or a free family festival day, which features art making activities, performances, films and other kid-friendly projects. Animal lovers can take a trip to The Maryland Zoo (marylandzoo.org/). Check out the animal exhibits, listen to an educational zookeeper chat or ride on the zoo's carousel.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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