Best Of The Bay In A Day

Day Trips


The Bay region is home to some of the best day trips around. Hit the beach, explore museums, go kayaking, ride horses — whatever strikes your fancy. When the day is over, you’ll come home refreshed and inspired — and with a new appreciation for preserving the Chesapeake lifestyle.

Day trips in Maryland | Day trips in Virginia | Day trips in West Virginia

Day Trips in Maryland

Calvert Cliffs State Park: Dig fossils? This Maryland park is known for its abundant fossils as much as its spectacular cliffs. If paleontology isn’t your thing, try the hiking trails, go fishing or just chill on the beach.

Chesapeake Beach: A teeming resort in the 1900s, this town’s dreams of the big time went bust with the demise of the Chesapeake Beach Railway during the Depression. Now Chesapeake Beach is ideal for day trippers seeking small-town charm and uncrowded beaches.

C&O Canal: Make a day of hiking or biking part of this historic and scenic canal along the Potomac. Hardier souls could do the whole C&O, but with the canal running 184.5 miles, better plan on making a weekend of it.

Gunpowder Falls State Park: There’s a lot to do at this Maryland park and a lot of room to do it. Covering nearly 18,000 acres—including more than 100 miles of trails—the park offers hiking, biking, horse trails, cross-country skiing, flatwater and whitewater canoeing, swimming, boardsailing, fishing and more.

Historic London Town and Gardens: Take in a little archaeology and a little greenery at this 23-acre park on Maryland’s South River. The park includes part of the late 17th/early 18th century town of London, which is being excavated by archaeologists. London Town features an eight-acre woodland garden, the Richard Hill Garden of native and imported medicinal plants and the William Brown House, a National Historic Landmark house museum.

Inner Harbor: Sure, you’ve been there before. But have you done all of the Harbor yet? This time check out the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, Fort McHenry and the other places you missed.

Point Lookout State Park: Once the home of a Civil War prison camp, this western shore peninsula formed by the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River offers swimming, fishing, boating, camping and more.

St. Michaels: This Maryland town is popular but still unspoiled. Spend the day sailing on a skipjack, browsing the boutiques and even horseback riding. Then, savor a fresh seafood dinner before you head home.

Sandy Point State Park: Longing to lounge in the sand but dreading the drive to Ocean City? This mile-long beach on the Bay is only an hour away from Washington, and you don’t have to cross the Bay Bridge.

Day Trips in Virginia

America’s Historic Triangle: Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown make up the Historic Triangle, the birthplace of American Democracy. Begin your visit at Colonial Williamburg’s Visitor’s Center, which is the official Regional Visitor’s Center for America’s Historic Triangle and the Jamestown 2007 commemoration. Purchase tickets for Historic Triangle venues here and enjoy free parking and shuttle service from Colonial Williamsburg to Jamestown and Yorktown.

Captain John Smith Trail: Have your own adventures on the James River along this 40-site water trail and auto tour. The John Smith Trail includes parks, foot trails, boating access points and dozens more sites to intrigue the modern-day explorer.

Great Falls Park: After you’re mesmerized by the falls at this park on the Virginia side of the Potomac, check out the park’s other offerings: climbing, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking and whitewater rafting.

Occoquan Water Trail: Pack up the kayak and head for this Virginia water trail. It runs along almost 6,000 acres of shoreline and features watersports ranging from whitewater rafting at Bull Run and flatwater paddling on the reservoir to motor boating and sailing on the Belmont, the Occoquan, Pohick Bay and the Potomac.

Pamunkey Indian Reservation: The Reservation, in Virginia’s King William County, reflects the Pamunkey Tribe’s rich history and culture. Tour the Pamunkey Indian Museum, Powhatan’s Gravesite and the Pottery School, where Pamunkey artisans create the tribe’s sought-after pottery.

Virginia Beach: All roads lead to Virginia Beach! When approaching from the west, the easiest routes are Interstate 64, U.S. 460 or U.S. 58. From the north and south, convenient routes are Interstates 85 or 95, U.S. 17 and U.S. 13 (crossing the world-famous Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel, a 17-mile span connecting Virginia’s Eastern Shore with Virginia Beach). These routes intersect with Interstate 64, which connects with the Virginia Beach-Norfolk Expressway, Interstate 264, and leads directly to the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

Virginia State Parks: There are seven state parks just a short drive from the Tidewater and Richmond areas: Kiptopeke, Chippokes Plantation, First Landing, False Cape, Pocahontas, York River and Belle Isle. Check the state parks website for directions and information about each one.

Westmoreland State Park: This Virginia park features a spectacular view of the Potomac from Horsehead Cliffs, along with hiking, camping, cabins, fishing, boating and swimming.

Yorktown Visitor Center: Relive the revolution. Start at the Visitor Center to explore the historic Chesapeake Bay port of Yorktown and Yorktown Battlefield, site of the final major battle of the Revolutionary War.

Day Trips in West Virginia

C&O Canal: Make a day of hiking or biking part of this historic and scenic canal along the Potomac. Hardier souls could do the whole C&O, but with the canal running 184.5 miles, better plan on making a weekend of it.

Spruce Knob/Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area: Venture into West Virginia to this scenic site at the headwaters of the Potomac, where water first starts to flow from West Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay. Spruce Knob/Seneca Rocks features the highest peak in West Virginia, excellent rock climbing and breathtaking views.