As the season cools off and kids get back into the school groove, it’s the perfect time to take a family road trip along the outer cape of Maryland. Make the long trek to the beach much, more tolerable by stopping at some of these sites to truly spend quality time with your loved ones.
Assateague Island National Seashore
7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, Md. 21811
Click here for prices.
So often, the more natural aspects of going to the beach are overlooked. The stunning Assateague Island stretches from the southern tip of Ocean City to just over the Virginia border at Chincoteague Island. If fishing and camping right on the beach isn’t exciting enough, you may even see wild horses. Two herds are managed by the National Park Service on the Maryland side, and the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company on the Virginia side. Sign up for a ranger-guided program to learn more as you explore the island.
121 Blake Road
Annapolis, Md. 21402
Price: $9.50 adults/$8.50 seniors (62 and older)/$7.50 children 1st to 12th grades/free for preschoolers
Less than an hour on Route 97 would put you right into the state capital– a bustling harbor with both docks and shops. Visit the Naval Academy where future officers are educated and prepared to defend the country. After security check-in, walk the beautiful grounds, visit the museum in Preble Hall, or stop by the visitor center to participate in a guided tour.
Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs
100 Main St.
Annapolis, Md. 21401
Grumbling stomachs can make for extremely long car rides. Just about everyone can find something to eat at this casual, family-owned restaurant, which offers steamed crabs as well as a buffet and regular menu choices. Located within a block of the harbor with parking validation up to two hours, the attentive wait staff and a fun atmosphere will help rejuvenate everyone.
Related: Best Baltimore Beaches
Sandy Point State Park
1100 East College Pkwy.
Annapolis, Md. 21409
Price: $3 to $7 per vehicle/Click here for lodging
Fifteen minutes east on Route 50 will take you to Sandy Point just before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Instead of staying at another hotel, let your adventurous spirit loose by reserving a space to camp, whether in a tent, trailer or cabin. Then take advantage of the great weather and head to the quaint beach to take a stroll or go swimming. With supplies from the marina, you may fish (with a license for those 16 and older) or go crabbing along the piers and rock jetties.
755 S. Park Drive
Salisbury, Md. 21802
A 1.5-hour drive continuing along Route 50 leads you to a place everyone can enjoy. Though the zoo is free, donations are both appreciated and helpful. Alligators, koalas, flamingos, jaguars and monkeys are among the wide array of amazing animals who call the zoo their home. The Salisbury Zoo works to educate the public on the importance of wildlife and plant conservation.
Jolly Roger Amusement Park
2901 Coastal Highway
Ocean City, Md. 21842
Click here for pricing.
Now you’re in the home stretch as Route 50 leads you to the Ocean City Expressway. A turn onto Coastal Highway will make the family think they are seeing a mirage, but the Jolly Roger amusement parks are certainly real. Twisted water slides, a lazy river and free parking are a part of the oasis at Splash Mountain, while roller coasters, carnival favorites, and kiddie rides await at the boardwalk piers. You may also enjoy mini-golf and go-kart racing all in a day (or two) of fun.
2700 N. Baltimore Ave.
Ocean City, Md. 21842
Within a block of Jolly Roger sits the affordable Dunes motel. This perfect location at the end of the Boardwalk allows you to view the welcoming beach right in front. Indulge in an oceanfront room with a balcony and kitchenette. If the waves are too rough, take a dip in the large pool to truly relax at this awesome waterfront hideaway.
Shenanigan’s Irish Pub & Grille
4th and the Boardwalk
Ocean City, Md. 21842
When the family works up an appetite walking the Boardwalk, stop in at Shenanigan’s to feed those “little leprechauns” and enjoy a variety of Irish food. Enjoy the ocean breeze from the outdoor patio or listen to live entertainment from the festive atmosphere inside starting at 9:30 p.m. on weekends. Of course, you’ll want to save some room for Sweet Shenanigans after the meal.
Pam Smith graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in English and a passion for writing. Her adaptive nature led her to work in the scientific, energy supply, and business industries while writing on a multitude of topics for various online media. Pam currently resides in Baltimore County. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.