Mondays after a long weekend are rough. We all know it. What makes me feel a little better is planning some more summer fun. I love Baltimore, but sometimes it’s nice to get out of the city for a change of scene. Since vacation days are in short supply, I usually try to go on a couple weekend getaways rather than a full on summer trip. Luckily, Baltimore’s conveniently located with a number of fantastic destinations 1-3 hours away.
Day Trips – at around one hour from Baltimore, these locations are great for a day trip.
1. Sandy Point State Park – or as we affectionately call it, fake beach. This sandy, rocky outcrop at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is not a beach but it’s a decent beach substitute – especially since it’s less than 40 minutes from Baltimore. Bring your towel, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day soaking up the sun and taking a dip in the bay. Cost is $5 a person for Maryland residents. Make a full day of it by stopping for dinner and drinks in Annapolis or a Bowie Baysox game before heading home.
2. DC – This is an obvious one, yes, but it’s surprising how infrequently Baltimoreans make it down to DC. If you’re going to make the drive, you should try to pack in as much fun as you can. On Memorial Day weekend we did a DC day and started with a couple hours of kayaking on the Anacostia River outside Nationals Park followed by drinks at the Fair Grounds before heading to the baseball game. If baseball isn’t for you, you can also kayak in Georgetown and spend time shopping and dining in one of DC’s poshest neighborhoods. Or, check out the museums on the National Mall, hit up Spike Mendelson’s Good Stuff Eatery for lunch and have dinner at Jose Andres’ Jaleo. The possibilities are endless!
3. Wineries – You can find many great wineries within 1-2 hours from Baltimore. We like to make a day out of it and aim to get to the winery around 12pm, do a tasting and buy a couple of bottles to drink. Everyone brings some food to share – baguette, cheeses, sliced meats, hummus and crackers – and we picnic while sipping our wine and taking in the beautiful scenery. Most tastings are $10-15 and usually wineries let you bring your own food to eat outside on the property. Hit up Breaux Vineyards and the nearby Maggie Malick Wine Caves, Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, or Black Ankle Vineyards among many others.
Overnights – these places are a little further away but perfect for a weekend visit. If you’re traveling North of the city note that both Wawa (yay) and tolls (boo) are plentiful – depending on your route you can pay as much as $30 round trip in tolls.
1. St. Michael’s – St. Michael’s is across the Bay Bridge, abut an hour and a half from Baltimore. This quiet little town on the water is gorgeous and is absolutely perfect for a relaxing weekend away from the city. Start with steamed blue crabs and a piña colada at the admittedly touristy Crab Claw before walking down Talbot Street and visiting the local shops. If you feel like splurging, stay at the Inn at Perry Cabin where they filmed Wedding Crashers, but for more affordable options try Harbourtowne or St. Michael’s Harbor Inn – you can sometimes find discounted rooms on Groupon or LivingSocial. There are also a number of local rentals on VRBO that are a short drive from the town – we stayed in one that had kayaks and stand up paddle boards to keep us entertained. St. Michael’s also has a winery and brewery so stop in for a tasting.
2. Philadelphia – I lived in Philly in the summer of 2013 for an internship and spent quite a few weekends doing the easy two hour drive to Baltimore. Philly has a lot more to offer than cheese steaks (though definitely get one from Jim’s while you’re there). There’s a ton of history including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, great museums and some seriously good eats (and many places are BYOB). Check out Reading Terminal Market, an historic covered Farmers’ Market with countless vendors and tasty treats including the best hot, fresh doughnuts from the Pennsylvania Dutch. Take a walk through Old City and Rittenhouse Square and for brunch hit up Sabrina’s or Parc. If you’re looking for a more unusual dining experience, try Cibo Ristorante. Formerly Walnut Street Supper Club, Cibo has continued the “supper club” concept and the waitstaff at Cibo entertain the crowd with show tunes throughout the night.We were very impressed with the quality of the singers and had a great time!
3. Atlantic City – Ooooh AC. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more lively for your summer getaway, then look no further. I’ve done quite a few weekends in AC over the years and always had a blast. In our younger days we would pack 12 people into one hotel room, but now that we’re just young(ish) we definitely prioritize bed space and so we look for discounted rooms on Jetsetter and daily deal sites. Friday and Saturday nights are considerably more expensive so save money by going midweek if that’s an option for you. I recently stayed at Harrah’s and loved it – the casino has a lot of dining options and a great pool (pictured above). Three evenings a week, the pool becomes a night club with drinking and dancing, and if you’re feeling it – a late night swim. You can also take a walk along the boardwalk and play carnival games (there’s a free shuttle form Harrah’s or take a limo since they are as prevalent as cabs and not much more expensive). On another recent trip we stayed at the Taj and went to the nightclub Mixx at the Borgata. I’d recommend doing some research in advance and planning where you’ll eat and go out since some parts of AC are a little run down and if you’re with a large group many restaurants require a fixed price menu.
What trips do you have planned for the summer?
Are there any other good summer getaways that we missed?