Need a weekend getaway? Our new 48 hour edventure series will profile family-friendly escapes that you can really do in a weekend! Leave after work on Friday or early Saturday morning and get home before bedtime on Sunday, ready to start the week. We’ve scoped out how to do it with style AND kids in tow (naptimes included).

Solomons Island. I grew up in Maryland and never made it there until I had kids of my own. A quaint town nestled where the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay meet in Calvert County, it’s the perfect place to go kick-back for the weekend with your kids and recharge the batteries.  Lots of opportunities to get outside and three of the (cool)est (if not off-the-beaten-track) family-friendly attractions in Maryland. 

where to play

Calvert Cliffs State Park
10540 H G Trueman Rd, Lusby, MDOpen Daily, Sunrise to SunsetDay Use service charge is $5/vehicle, Cash OnlyWebsite

Perfect for pint-sized paleontologists and beach lovers alike! It’s an easy 1.8 miles to the beach from the main parking lot — and is THE place in Maryland to search for fossils and sharks’ teeth. We didn’t use a stroller or wagon, but many other families we met on the trail did with little to no issues. Our 2 year old the trail so much he walked the whole way there. {Now, if we’re honest, he slept in the backpack carrier on the walk back}. Be sure to wear water shoes or rainboots so you can walk through marshy areas and be prepared to get muddy if it’s after a rainstorm — which is exactly when we hit the park. All of us were muddy messes and the kids were deliriously happy. (There’s a reason we went directly to the hotel after this adventure… baths/showers for EVERYONE!) We had two fails on this excursion: 1) We left the towels in the car instead of bringing them to the water. 2) We forgot a bag to bring all of our trash home in. Calvert Cliffs is a carry-your-trash out zone. Highly recommend hitting the beach early before the crowds, bringing lunch, packing an easily-accessible change of dry clothes, and making time for the super fun recycled tire playground before you leave! Clean restrooms at the main park entrance and a port-a-potty on the trail near the beach for emergencies. 

From the 6 year old: You have to go swimming! So much fun! And I found a shark’s tooth!  

48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny 48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny 48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny 48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny 48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny

Calvert Marine Museum
4200 Solomons Island Road, Solomons, MD | Open Daily, 10 AM -5  PM Admission is $5 -$9 (Children under 5 are FREE) Website

The Calvert Marine Museum is a true gem and extremely family-friendly! Kids will love the Discovery Room that brings them up close and personal with several aquatic creatures, lets them dig for fossils, captain a skipjack, and more. The maritime history gallery is fascinating for all ages. Little kids will love looking at the “big boats,” older kids will have a million questions about different maritime trades, and the “big kids” {like my husband} will become entranced with the military history that comes to life through the artifacts. Don’t miss the Skate and Ray Touch Pool, river otter exhibit, or the the megalodon skeleton replica (well, skip THAT one if you can’t watch Jaws). If you’re there during the week, you may just catch a paleontologist in action in the prep lab! Our kids thought climbing the Drum Point Lighthouse was “way cool,” although it’s tight quarters. For an extra cost, add a boat ride to your adventure. Be sure to check their event calendar before you go. Concerts, special events, and more happen all summer long at this community hub. Easy parking and stroller-friendly.

From the 6 year old: The best part of the museum is the otter! I could watch them for hours!48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny
48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny
48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny

Annemarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center
13480 Dowell Road, Dowell, MD| Open Daily, 9 AM -5  PM Admission is $3 -$5 (Children under 5 are FREE) Website

Honestly, we’ve never been anywhere like the Annemarie Garden, a whimsical and eclectic space where faeries and gnomes come to life! Explore 30 acres of butterfly gardens, search for tree pops, and spend hours in Fairy Lolly. Yes, Fairy Lolly. Imagine towering, glittery tents, painted stepping stones, colorful pint-sized cottage village, and all sorts of play things to cultivate imagination. One of our favorite signs was “Magic happens everywhere if you know were to look.” Currently, there are fairy and gnome houses created by the community ‘hidden’ all over the gardens so we got to go on a bit of a fairy scavenger hunt. Our favorite was the gnome camper. Inside the art space, there is a maker lab where kids can create out of recycled materials, gallery exhibition (currently, it’s all about comics), and a dress-up space. So don’t worry if you forgot your fairy wings — they have some to borrow! {Yes, you can purchase them from the gift shop, too}

From the 6 year old: This was the BEST thing we did!

48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny 48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny 48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny 48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny

The Riverwalk
Downtown Solomons View of Facebook

The Riverwalk in Solomons is a great place to stretch your legs, wander through the restaurants, and watch the boats. There is a small playground on the river walk, conveniently located between the towns two locally-owned ice cream stands.

From the 6 year old: GET the ice cream.

48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny

our itinerary

Saturday
1.5 hour Travel to Lusby, MD
Hiking, Swimming and Picnicking at Calvert Cliffs Park
Check Into Hotel/Naptime
Riverwalk
Dinner at The Lighthouse Restaurant & DockBar
Solomons Island Playground
Ice Cream from Bunky’s Bait Shop

Sunday
Swimming at the Hotel
Pack-Up/Check Out
Brunch at The Striped Rock
Calvert Marine Museum
Picnic Snack
Annemarie Sculpture Garden
1.5 Hour Drive Home 

where to stay

Hilton Garden Inn
13100 Dowell Road, Dowell, MDWebsite

We opted to stay the night at the Hilton Garden Inn Solomons. It’s not right in town, but it’s a modern contemporary hotel with reasonably priced king suites (with a full fridge and microwave!), two pools (a must for our kids), and an onsite bar so it’s easy to have a night cap after the kiddos are long asleep on the pull-out couch. {No, we don’t recommend leaving young kids alone in the room — but one of the two adults can go down and bring two glasses of vino up while you channel surf.} The staff was extremely accommodating and welcoming. A Food Lion and CVS are close by for any thing you might need or have forgotten at home. 

Holiday Inn
155 Holiday Drive, Solomons,  MD Website 

The Holiday Inn is Solomons conference center and from what we understand has great water views. The hotel is close to the riverwalk/main town, has tennis courts and pools, and an onsite restaurant.

Cove Point Lighthouse Keepers Cottage
3500 Lighthouse Blvd, Lusby, MD Website

Had we not literally decided to go to Solomons the day before we left and staying for more than a night, we probably would have tried to reserve one side of the Cove Point Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage (I mean, how cool is that experience?). 3 bedrooms and sits on a seven-acre point of land in one of the narrowest points of the Chesapeake Bay. The only potential downside is the lighthouse is open to the public during the day, which may not be as relaxing as you’d like. Recently featured on Fodors and MSN.

where to eat

The Lighthouse Restaurant & Dock Bar
14636 Solomons Island Rd, Solomons, MD | Open Daily, 11 AM – 10 PM Website

One of the busiest spots in town, but the upbeat atmosphere is great for families with small kids (hello, ambient noise). Traditional kids menu with lots of seafood options for adults. Definitely try the crab dip (and, if you’re under 12, the Shirley Temple). Yes, your kids will ask to pose with the fish on your way out. 

48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny

The Striped Rock 
14470 Solomons Island Rd S, Solomons, MD | Open Daily, 8 AM – 11 PM | Website

Across from the boardwalk, this gem has the BEST omelettes! They also have  great kids’ breakfast menu that includes french toast dippers and silver dollar pancakes. But really, get the omelette. 

Cone Island
14441 Solomons Island Rd S, Solomons, MD | Open Daily, 12 PM – 9 PM | Website

Soft serve ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes, ice cream floats and more at this small ice cream stand. Right next to the playground. Sweet. Don’t worry about the Yelp! reviews- they DO take credit cards now.

Bunky’s Bait and Tackle 
14448 Solomons Island Rd S, Solomons, MD | Summer Hours: Daily, 6 AM – 7 PM | Website

Yeah, I know. Say what?!? A bait shop? But they have hand-dipped Hershey’s Ice Cream and the line might be shorter than Cone Island (it’s right across the street). The Bug was a huge fan of her ice cream sundae. Rainbow sprinkles included.

48 Hour Edventure in Solomons Island, MD - (cool) progeny

the playground low-down

Yes, really there can’t be a trip with kids that doesn’t include one or more playground excursions. While they’ll have ample opportunity to burn off some energy at the Marine Museum or Annemarie Gardens, you may want to plan a stop at the Recycled Tire Playground at Calvert Cliffs, the Solomons Island Playground (on the Riverwalk), or Cove Point Park Playground. Cove Point Park is HUGE with stroller-friendly walking paths and fantastic playground gear. We didn’t get there this time around, but it’s definitely one of our favorite parks. There is also a public pool/water park with waterslides, sprinklers, shower rooms, and a full concession stand. Admission to the playground is free and pool/waterpark admission is $2-$6.