Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Tips for planning day trips for the whole family

The end of another school year is quickly approaching and soon parents will be hearing those two dreaded words: "I'm Bored." Day trips are an excellent way to beat the "boredom blues?" Here is a list of the five best day trips from the Baltimore/Carroll County area.

1. Clark Elioak's Farm in Ellicott City, Md.: This is a working farm, petting zoo and park/party venue all rolled into one. Clark's Farm is a great place to make family memories. Why visit? Adults will love that the famous old Enchanted Forest theme park has been partially re-created on the farm and kids will love pretty much everything else. Activities such as a large petting zoo, hay rides, playgrounds, Enchanted Forest trail, gem mining and a farm store will keep kids entertained for hours. Price is $5 for general admission - not including rides - and infants under 12 months are free.

2. Chesapeake Beach in Chesapeake Beach, Md.: If you don't have time to make it to Ocean City or don't want to deal with the crowds, Chesapeake Beach is a close alternative. The resort town has a boardwalk, antique stores, waterfront restaurants, a family water park and more. Why visit? Kids will absolutely love the small but well equipped water park, and adults will love strolling along the picturesque beach-side boardwalk. Price will depend upon the activities you choose. However, many activities are free or inexpensive, and with some planning you may end up only paying for gas.

3. The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. If there's any destination in this country that doesn't need a promotional campaign, it's the Smithsonian Institute. Why? The Smithsonian features several separate museums dedicated to such topics as American history, natural history, Native Americans, art and - my personal favorite - air & space. In addition, you've got historical landmarks such as the newly renovated Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the White House close by. And don't forget the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoological Park, which offers an exciting opportunity to visit about 2,000 animals representing 400 species in Rock Creek Park. And the best part ... mostly all the attractions are free. However, dining and transportation - with the exception of the metro - can be pretty pricey in the D.C. area, so be sure to do your homework before you go.

4. Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, Pa.: Dutch Wonderland is a small, family friendly theme park located in scenic Amish Country. Dutch Wonderland typically has almost no lines and tons of small, kid-friendly rides. You know this is awesome if you have ever had to explain to a toddler that they cannot get on a ride because they don't meet the height requirement. Adults will enjoy relaxing and soaking up the sun at Duke's Lagoon. One-day admission is $36.75 for adults and children ages 3 and older. Park admission can be expensive if you are traveling with a large family, so be sure to scout your local Wawa or Giant Food Store for discount coupons.

5. Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa.: Although botanical gardens may not necessarily be the first place you think of taking your family, it is actually the perfect day outing. Adults will love perusing all the perfectly manicured gardens. Kids will be fascinated by all the interesting and educational exhibitions such as the Indoor Children's Garden, Children's Corner, the Chimes Tower and Waterfall, and the Fountain Show, just to name a few. This place is perfect for family picnics and exploring all day long. Price is $18 and kids 4 and under are free.

So what are you waiting for? Pack up the family and get on the road!

Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at