Distance from Baltimore: 70 miles, about an hour-and-a-half drive Why it's worth the gas: Take a spin through history on the restored 1921 Dentzel menagerie carousel, a centerpiece of the park for more than 90 years. (The cost is $1.25 per ride; open May to September.) Originally an amusement park, Glen Echo is now part of the National Park Service and features a cultural arts center. Visitors can enjoy dances, classes, concerts, playground, picnics and more. Don't miss: The Puppet Co., a nonprofit puppet theater that stages original works and traditional children's stories. Its the only year-round puppet theater between New York and Atlanta. (Go to thepuppetco.org.) Information: Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, 301-634-2222 or go to glenechopark.org. Park grounds open 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
Jed Kirschbaum, Baltimore Sun