This summer we’re having a staycation in Maryland!
Last summer with Vince and I (along with Annalise) heading to Peru and the other children visiting with friends and family members across a few states, the summer passed swiftly without a chance for us to really get away as a family to recharge. This summer we don’t have big plans to travel, instead we’re looking forward to having fun close to home to reconnect as a family. A staycation summer!
We haven’t made an official Summer Bucket List, but I have already started compiling our possibilities. Hopefully some of these ideas will be helpful for your family, as well, since many of these events are hosted around the country. My goal is to further explore the multitude of fun things to do in and around Carroll County, Maryland.
Hang with me, this will be a longer-than-usual post, but it is FULL of links that I know you’ll enjoy.
Doing my homework.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links for books or products that I’m using in my own planning. If a purchase is made through the noted links I will receive a small commission at not additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
I started by browsing my copy of Kids Love Maryland.
This is a great resource, available for all 50 states as well as other travel destinations. The Maryland book is broken into regions, making it easy to find lots of events and places nearby. It was through this book that we learned about the Camden Yards tour we LOVED!
I flipped through to get some ideas of places that were near enough for me to take on days when Vince can’t get away from work as well as a few ideas for some day-long or overnight activities we could all enjoy.
Focus on making memories during a summer vacation at home.
Some of my favorite summer memories are the days that my mom and her girlfriends would pack coolers and take all of the children to the beach for the entire day. They even brought coffee to relax in the evening and we left long after the life-guards! We currently live a little to far for a day-trip to the beach, but I’m hoping to build these types of lasting memories for my children with our friends.
We live close enough to pack a cooler and drive up to Gettysburg for the day and hike around the sites and picnic. We can also duck into the Hands-on Museum to help entertain the little ones (and cool off if it’s too hot), or visit the Land of Little Horses.
Make the most of FREE (and really cheap) fun.
Our library has awesome programs and events throughout the year, but the summer reading program is one that shouldn’t be missed. After signing up, each child receives a packet of information when they check in at the library, that includes coupons for freebies at local businesses that can be used throughout the summer. Keep these coupons in your purse or in the glove box so that you have them handy for off-the-cuff outings! Be sure to mark your calendar early with event dates that are particularly interesting for your family and also mark the dates that registration opens because some programs fill fast!
Some of our movie theaters run a DEEP discount through the summer. Movie tickets for $1 on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at participating Regal Cinemas. The schedule can be found here. Some theaters like our closest R/C Theater are even FREE! Pair a movie morning with a discounted lunch for a special treat. The Westminster Buffalo Wild Wings has discounted children’s meals on Wednesdays. Inquire at some of your local chain restaurants, such as IHOP and Denny’s and see if you can match those up with a movie day!
Plan a pick-your-own day and relive summer memories through the winter.
My two favorite Pick-Your-Own locations are Glade Link and Baugher’s farms. Glade Link’s prices are great for strawberries and blueberries, just bring your own baskets or buckets and have fun picking fresh berries where even the little ones can be successful. Baugher’s not only has fruit to pick, TONS of different fruits, they also have a well-stocked farm market, a petting zoo, and small a playground. In the past the summer reading program incentives have included a Baugher’s coupon that had specials for each month!
Plan to go picking in the morning, before it gets too hot and then plan an afternoon to process the fruit and enjoy some fresh desserts. Make a batch homemade jam and later in the year when you’re opening a jar, you can help the children remember the fun they had at the farm.
Be sure to call the farm or check their u-pick lines to make sure there is picking that day!
Enjoy 4th of July fireworks displays!
Our tradition is to attend the Star-Spangled Evening at River Valley Ranch, which happens every year the weekend BEFORE the 4th (June 27, 2015). You can pre-purchase your car pass now for the best price ($15 per car). We pack a picnic and enjoy the fun around the grounds all afternoon into the evening with a fabulous fireworks display.
Visit the Old Fashioned 4th of July at the Farm Museum in Westminster. If you don’t want to attend the Farm Museum event, you can pack a cooler and view the fireworks for free at Landon C Burns Park. Bring chairs, a blanket, and snacks! Plan to arrive early.
Finding water parks in Maryland.
My children love the swimming hole at Union Mills. You can also check out their Ice Cream Social on July 12 and their Corn Roast on August 1.
This year I’m going to surprise the children with an afternoon visit to Cascade Lake. We’ve lived here for 12 years and have never been to their splash pad!
Another big favorite for our children is Cunningham Falls. This will make for a good family trip since we can camp, hike, and swim. The last time we went was the hottest weekend of the year, this year we’ll have to plan a little better.
Amusements without big theme park crowds.
While we’re hoping to make a trip up to Hershey Park (it is under 2 hours away), we know that the summer time is almost always very crowded.
Adventure Park USA in Monrovia is even closer and far less expensive. It’s a great low-key amusement park option.
Plan for rainy days.
It’s inevitable that you might have something fun planned for outdoors and you’ll get rained out, or someone might be under the weather. You can use in-home days to get ready for the MD State Fair. The open classes are listed on the website. We print them out and the children decide on projects they’ll work on throughout the summer. If you miss the online registration, just plan on registering on-site on drop-off day.
We participate in the open class exhibits and then choose a day to visit the fair. It’s a fun way to end the summer. We have a scavenger hunt looking for our projects and ooh and aah over the ribbons. The fair runs August 28 – September 7, 2015.
Wind down and prepare for the new school year.
Barnes and Noble is hosting a Summer Reading Program, too. Be sure to print and fill out the record sheet and they’ll earn a free book from Barnes and Noble after they’ve read 8 different books. Stop and enjoy a mini Frappuccino while they’re available and check your nearest B&N for story hours.
Check out my downloadable book log printables to help record summer reading!
Do you have the opportunity to travel a little further? Check out these other staycation posts from around the country!
A – D
Phoenix, Arizona — Saving For Someday
Fresno, California — Living A Frugal Life
Orange County, California — More With Less Today
San Diego, California — Southern Cali Saver
Denver, Colorado — Bargain Blessings
Washington, District of Columbia — Kidventurous
F – I
Disney World, Florida — The Happy Housewife
Jacksonville, Florida — Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida — Coupon Mamacita
St Augustine, Florida — Simply St. Augustine
Tallahasse, Florida — SwagGrabber
Tampa Bay, Florida — LaToyaEdwards.net
Atlanta, Georgia — Pretty Frugal Diva
Dahlonega, Georgia — Kathys Cluttered Mind
Savannah, Georgia — This Mommy Saves Money
Aurora/Chicago, Illinois — A Savings WOW!
Chicago, Illinois — Entertaining Chicago
Indianapolis, Indiana — Chaos Is Bliss
K – P
Lexington, Kentucky — Homeschool Village
Louisville, Kentucky — The Kennedy Adventures
Northern Kentucky, Kentucky — Simply Sherryl
Carroll County, Maryland — Looking at life CreativLEI
Boston, Massachusetts — Maven of Savin
Battle Creek, Michigan — Pichea Place
Grand Rapids, Michigan — Give Me Neither
Metro Detroit, Michigan — Saving Dollars and Sense
Kansas City Area, Missouri/Kansas — Redefined Mom
Omaha, Nebraska — Family Fun in Omaha
Central, New Jersey — Our Good Life
Cincinnati, Ohio — Adventure Mom
Cleveland, Ohio — Kosher on a Budget
Columbus, Ohio — Cleverly Simple
Dayton, Ohio — Savings Lifestyle
Mansfield & Richland County, Ohio — The Traveling Praters
Miami County, Ohio — Something 2 Offer
Northeast, Ohio — Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring
Portland, Oregon — Frugal Living NW
Harrisburg/Central, PA — Family Balance Sheet
Erie, Pennsylvania — Growing Kids Ministry
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Moms Need To Know
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — The Coupon High
R – W
Arlington, Texas — Grocery Shop For FREE
Fort Worth, Texas — Coupons and Freebies Mom
Houston, Texas — Melissa’s Bargains
Katy, Texas — Moms Confession
San Antonio, Texas — How to Homeschool My Child
Tyler, Texas — iLoveMy5Kids
Charlottesville, Virgina — How to Have it All
Norfolk, Virgina — The Talking Suitcase
Richmond, Virgina — Vacation Maybe
Seattle, Washington — Thrifty NW Mom
Tacoma/South Puget Sound, Washington — Queen Bee Coupons
Oshkosh, Wisconsin — A Little Bit of This and That