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Whether you’re in it for the crab cakes or the Capitol Building, this drive through the Chesapeake Bay region has a little bit of something for everyone. Naval history is on full display in Lexington, while the big cities of Baltimtore and Washington show off world-class attractions and monuments. You’ll enjoy Maryland’s quiet side too with stops in one-of-a-kind rural communities that set a high bar for easy-going fun and natural beauty.

 

1. Lexington Park

Starting Point

Nestled on the banks of Chesapeake Bay, this small town is home to the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum, one of the top attractions on the state’s western shore. Celebrating the region’s contribution to Naval aviation, the museum features immersive exhibits, 25 historic aircraft, and jaw-dropping Mach speed flight simulators. For more on the Lexington area’s incredible legacy, try the Calvert Marine Museum just across the mouth of Patuxent River on Rt. 4. This family-focused museum features toy boat building classes, estuary walks, and a fossil finding experience that sheds light on the prehistoric history of the surrounding waters.

 

2. Washington, D.C.

Drive 64 miles • 1 hour, 29 minutes

From the Smithsonian to the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, the best of the bunch are located along the two-mile National Mall, a sprawling park affectionately known as “America’s front yard.” If you’re looking to escape the crowds, head to the Key Bridge Boathouse, where you can rent a kayak for an afternoon paddle around serene Theodore Roosevelt Island. The island is also home to pleasant hiking trails and excellent bird watching.

 

3. Woodbine

Drive 39 miles • 1 hour, 18 minutes

This rural community shines as the perfect layover between two urban outposts. Touring the spare country roads and stopping at farm stands is a must. But for a truly unique look into what makes this area special, head to Days End Farm Horse Rescue, a non-profit rehab center that heals injured and suffering horses readying them for adoption. Take a tour and meet the horses that are available daily. Round out your stay with a visit to Black Ankle Vineyards for some top-notch wines and stunning views. Founded in 2002, the winery boasts some of the region’s best varietals.

Recommended Stopovers

A. Ramblin’ Pines Family Campground & RV ParkWoodbine, MD – (410)795-5161

 

Baltimore Inner Harbor

Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

4. Baltimore

Drive 33 miles • 37 minutes

Nicknamed “Charm City” for a reason, Baltimore is home to one of the most photogenic and fun-filled waterfronts in the country. The Inner Harbor neighborhood is full of world-famous attractions from the National Aquarium to the Maryland Science Center to the U.S.S. Constellation, an 1855 tall ship whose masts tower alongside the city skyline. For a different perspective, take to the water on a guided kayak tour that leaves from the Science Center. You can even extend the trip out to Locust Point, where Fort McHenry proudly overlooks the Patapsco River. It was there in 1814 that Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would eventually become “Star Spangled Banner,” the U.S. national anthem.