Civil War history, charming cities and great shopping await in nearby Maryland.
Crabs, sharks and history in Baltimore
Charm City hits a home run with fans of the water, boasting both crab-loaded restaurant menus, the historic shipbuilding (and pirate harboring) neighborhood of Fells Point and the National Aquarium, where 20,000 marine creatures dwell in a glassy, classy complex on the city's Inner Harbor.
The city is also heavy on art, with museums like the Walters Art Museum (Art Nouveau jewelry, 19th-century paintings and more), the American Visionary Art Museum (outsider art) and the Baltimore Museum of Art (Monets, Warhols and a visually stunning space).
In the fall, you can catch a Baltimore Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium, home to one of the NFL’s most successful franchises. During the summer, fans flock to Camden Yards, one of MLB’s most beloved ballparks, to watch the Baltimore Orioles play. Nearby, make sure to check the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, which features the legendary slugger’s bat and numerous other artifacts.
Maritime history and quaint streets in Annapolis
The capital of Maryland courses with colonial architecture and maritime atmosphere. A day trip here could start with a tour of the Maryland State House, built over a multi-year period starting in 1772, making it the oldest continually operating capitol building in the country. Surrounding cobblestone streets hold shops, restaurants and antique rowhouses, while the most happening zone is the City Dock, with its lively bars and crab houses. Dip into the town’s long past at museums like the Banneker-Douglass Museum or the Charles Carroll House, a colonial-era manse with manicured gardens once owned by an early landowner and planter.
Life in Annapolis also centers around the U.S. Naval Academy, where uniformed midshipmen lead guided walking tours of the school grounds, including the stunning chapel with a crypt containing the remains of early naval hero John Paul Jones. Sailing lessons and boat tours are also available down by the City Dock. If you decide to stay the night, the Old Line State's capital is home to quaint historic inns to rest your head.
Antiques, Civil War history and foodie culture in Frederick
Arts, culture and a thriving shopping and foodie scene lure daytrippers to Frederick, Maryland’s second-largest city, located just under 50 miles from DC. Known as the city of spires due to its skyline of multiple church steeples, Frederick holds a 33-block historic district packed with 18th- and19th-century buildings. Shopping and dining options abound in the old town, with antique boutiques being particularly prevalent.
The nearby Civil War battlefields of Antietam and Monocacy appeal to history buffs, as does the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in downtown Frederick, with its antique photos, surgeon’s tools and interactive displays. In the center of downtown, the canal-side Carroll Creek Park offers bridges, playgrounds and a scenic break from the city.