Old Fox Books and Coffeehouse!

Location: 35 Maryland Ave, Annapolis

Do you LOVE coffee? Tea? Or just a cool place to hang out, look at books, and sip on something delicious? This place is so awesome. Not only is the coffee delicious, the ambience funky, the kids area well stocked….but they have such a beautiful outdoor space for you and the kiddos! Grab your spouse, a friend, your kids, or just go it alone for a relaxing Sunday morning.

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Great Falls

Great Falls is a scenic place to go if you are in the mood for a little hike and some great views. I heard the park gets quite busy during the weekend so we decided to take a trip to the falls on a Tuesday morning. I was pleased to find that there were many different hikes and all with amazing views. They were easy enough for my six and eight-year-old and totally doable for kids much younger. There are two ways to enter the park, either through the Maryland side or the Virginia side. We decided to go to the Virginia side because the views were said to be a bit more scenic. The travel time to Great Falls is approximately one hour. There are some refreshments offered at the kiosk on site as well as restrooms. There is also a nice gift shop and some displays showing information that related to the history of falls. The day we went was very hot, so really enjoyed the short informational video in the nice air-conditioned theater located inside the visitor center.

The day we went we were super lucky because there were a group of kayakers heading down the falls! The whitewater kayakers were so awesome and we really enjoyed watching them maneuver the falls.

This park also has a military rate of free! 9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean Virginia.

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Greenbury Point Nature Trail

Location: Greenbury Point Nature Center, Annapolis. The trail head is on Naval Academy grounds but does not require military ID to access.

After an early dinner, we decided to take our bikes down to the Academy and check out this trail that we’d seen the week before. I heard the views were incredible and the trail was easy to navigate for kids. Well, I was blown away by the breathtaking views of the bay!!! This trail has such stunning views of our city and it’s a bit of a hidden gem. You may have seen the three standing towers out on the peninsula of Greenbury Point. These are the last three of 19 radio towers that were taken down via dynamite in 1999. These trails are open to the public from dawn until dusk, unless the Navy is using the grounds for training. You can google Greenbury Point Twitter to double check that the trails are open.

The main trail is about 2.5 miles and consists of pebbles, dirt and sand. It’s nice and flat and great for all levels. You can bring a bike and do the loop and dogs are welcome on leash. You can observe many beautiful eagles, hawks, osprey, or even the occasional deer or fox as you navigate the trails. The main trail is very easy to follow and follows the shoreline. There are several places that you can take offshoots of the trail that will lead you to the shore or inland. There are sporadic benches around the point to rest and enjoy the amazing views.

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Carr Creek Marina

Location: 338 Halligan Rd, Annapolis

For this activity, you need to be able to get access onto the marina. This is for military ID holders only. This place is such a gem and has some really great prices on recreational activities. The marina is located on the mouth of the Severn River and has canoes, kayaks, sail and power boats, and standup paddle boards for rent. The prices are super reasonable and they take care of nearly everything for you. My family of four rents two double kayaks, which comes with the kayaks, life jackets, dry bags, paddles, and helps getting the boat into the water. You go to the marina and sign the paperwork and pay the fee, then meet one of the staff at the put in. They give you your boats and equipment then. You can rent the equipment for half or full days. We usually do a four hour block for the kayaks and it’s only $40 for everything. So much fun!!!! Usually you can call the day before or even sometimes same day for reservations. The kids will LOVE it!

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Super produce Arnold

Location: 301 Bay Dale Drive, Arnold 21012

My family frequents the shopping center off Bay Dale Drive quite often to visit the coffee shop, pick up fro-yo, grab a pizza or get some supplies from Green Valley. I’ve never explored the other size of Bay Dale, but was so glad I did as we ran into an awesome local fruit and veggie stand - Super Produce! I love taking my kids to these local farmers markets so they can see what it in season in our area and view where and how these products are grown.

The kids picked out some super delicious tomatoes and green beans, neither of which, made it to dinner time. They were SOOOO good! There were also some picnic tables set out to enjoy another of their offerings: polish ice. This stuff is amazing. We tried the cherry, cherry-lime, and lemon. Polish ice differs from Italian ice as it’s more creamy and smooth. It’s amazing and your kids will love it.

Hours: The stand is open daily from 11-7 and serves polish ice Friday 3-7pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12-7pm.

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North Arundel Aquatic Center

Location: 7888 Crain Hwy, Glen Burnie, 21061. Drive time from Annapolis: 24 minutes

We are expected to have a lot of heat in the next few days, and sometimes, you need to escape indoors! I went to the North Arundel Aquatic Center a week or so back, and the kids really enjoyed themselves. This pool is all indoor, making it the perfect escape for uncomfortable weather. It offers an 8-lane 25 yard competition pool and a leisure pool. The water park is where it’s at for the kids! It has two sections, one for the bigger kids and one for the smaller guests. It’s based upon size, so your kids will have to be measured to ensure the larger water slide is safe for them. No worries if they aren’t, as there is a water slide in the pool for the younger guests. The park is the 134 foot water slide, splash down area, water buckets, preschool water slide and a vortex. There is a great hot tub, but it’s only for adults! I sat in there and enjoyed myself while my kids zipped down the water slide.

The pool is open year round and has special summer hours for the water park. It’s open daily and weekends from 11:00-1:00, 1:15-3:15, 3:30-5:30, and 5:45-7:45. You need to get to the park at one of the start times, then you buy a ticket for that two hour block. You’ll need to exit the pool and locker rooms by the end of the period.

Fees: youth (3-12): $4.00, Adult $6.00. Military is $4.00. Kids have to be age 3 and up and potty trained. There are no swim diapers allowed.

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Sky Zone!

Location: 1300 Crain Hwy, Bowie, MD 20716

When the kids need to burn some serious energy, take them to Sky Zone. This is a great option if it’s super hot outside, and your kids are bouncing off the walls. It’s only about 15 minutes from Annapolis. If your kids love to jump, run obstacles, and test their strength, this place will hit the spot! My kids are big fans of the show Ninja Warrior, so they loved getting a chance to attempt the high wall! There are two sizes for smaller or older kids. There are three trampoline basketball courts, with three different hoop heights. Your kids can scale the climbing wall and fling themselves backwards into the pit of foam. There are also jumping platforms into a huge foam pit, rows and rows of trampolines, and a super fun game called, “Wipe Out” which has a moving arm that will try to trip the kids us! There is also dodgeball, obstacle courses, and a challenge game where the kids try to knock each other off a balance beam with a foam paddle.

The prices vary from $23.00 per person for a 60-minute jump or up to $33.00 per person for a 120-minute jump. They are currently have a deal for a late summer pass for $49.99 per person, which includes one 90-minute jump per day until September. 90 minutes was PLENTY long for my kids at age 6 & 8. There are also refreshments, bathrooms, party rooms, and benches for the parents to relax. You will need to get the jump socks, which sell for 3 or 4 dollars a pair.

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BLUEBERRIES!

Location: 10051 Worton Rd, Chestertown, MD 21620

Hop in the car for a morning of blueberry picking and fun on the farm. Lockbriar Farms is a family owned and operated U-Pick fruit and veggie farm. Not only can you pick ripe, delicious, fresh fruit, veggies and herbs, but you can also pick up fresh produce and specialties in the farm store. Your kids will love hunting for their perfect blueberries, as they are bursting from the plants and ready to be harvested, as well as sampling straight from the plants.

After you’ve eaten and collected your fill of berries, head to the most adorable ice cream parlor that offers the yummiest varieties of ice cream made from the fresh farm berries. Order a few scoops and take a seat in the shade at one of the picnic tables. We had the Blue Chip (blueberry and dark chocolate), Black Raspberry Chip (raspberry and dark chocolate), and Cherry and Chocolate. They were all SOOOOO good!

The store provides the containers, so no need to bring your own. They will weigh it prior to picking, and then once again for the sale. There are also fresh eggs from the happy Lockbriar farm hens.

Travel time here is about 60 minutes from Annapolis. It’s a nice drive through small towns and some corn fields. There are portable restrooms on site, located near the picking fields.

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Severna Park Bowling Lanes

Location: 840 Ritchie Hwy, Severna Park, MD 21146

If you need to escape the blazing heat or take cover from the rain, head to Severna Park Bowling Lanes! Actually, it’s guaranteed fun no matter what the weather, so just go here with the kids! My kids are 6 and 8 and we go here on occasion to laugh and have a good time. The lanes have BUMPERS! This means your kids can actually compete with you! They also have cute dinosaur helpers for those children who are still a bit young to lift a bowling ball.

The unique thing about this particular bowling alley are the “duck pins”! So, you can play a game or two with the regular bowling balls, or you can try something super fun and bowl with the small balls and tiny pins. My kids LOVE this! Again, it gives them a chance to actually beat mom or dad! During your game of bowling, get some traditional bowling alley fare of crinkle or curvy French fries and throw on some Old Bay! A treat for everyone.

After a game of bowling, or perhaps while you wait for a lane to open, you can try your luck at some of the arcade games. They have ski-ball, a race car game, table hockey, and some other chance opportunities.

The bowling alley is open Sunday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m to 12:00 a.m., Friday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Pricing varies but runs from $3.65 to $4.95 per person per game and shoe rental is going to cost $4.50 per adult and $3.95 per child (under 12).

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Lake Waterford Park

Location: 830 Pasadena Rd, Pasadena, MD 21122

Lake Waterford Park is located in Pasadena, about 20 minutes from Annapolis. The park is open every day from dawn to dusk. Entrance to the park is free, as is the ample parking. This beautiful park is built upon 108 acres and has a 12-acre lake, three pavilions, tennis and basketball courts, and a large playground the kids will love! There are also plenty of benches, picnic tables and grills for cooking. There are trails throughout the park, many stroller friendly, that will lead you from the parking lot to the playground to the lake. Enjoy a day of hiking, playing, and observing the waterfowl.

The playground, referred to as “Boundless” recently underwent construction has beautiful new equipment. Kids of all ages will love the climbing structures, long row of swings, musical equipment, balance beams, bars, slides, and tubes to navigate. There is something for all ages.

There is a bathroom located on grounds and is open year round. There are no food concessions, so make sure to bring your own drinks, snacks, and food. There are trash cans located throughout and signage detailing the park at the entrance. A wonderful way to spend an hour or an afternoon!

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Kinder Farm Park

Location: 1001 Kinder Farm Park Rd Millersville, MD 21108

Travel Time from Annapolis: 20 Minutes

Take the kids to Kinder Farm Park to enjoy 288 acres of natural and recreational activities! This is a great place if your kids need to run and work out some energy! They have lots of open, green space for the kids to explore and playgrounds for all ages. You can bike, take a walk, fish, picnic, bird watch, play on the playground, and get to know the animals of this special place. The farm has a wonderful agricultural program and you can view equipment and learn about historical practices of Anne Arundel County. The farm is a working farm and has chickens, geese, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, bunnies and more! You’ll enjoy walking the stroller friendly paths around the park and meeting all the friendly animals. If your kids like frogs, they are currently in large numbers at the fishing pond.

Hours: 7 days a week, dawn to dusk

Prices: Daily Vehicle Parking: $6.00 or annual fee: $30.00. Fees must be paid in cash or check! No cards. Discounts for seniors. Military is free!

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Doughnuts!!!!

Doughnut Shack

Location: 497 Ritchie Hwy, Severna Park, MD 21146-2935. Travel time from Annapolis: less than 10 minutes

Take the kids, and yourself, for a treat at this gem in Severna Park. It’s a small, local shop, with BIG flavor and fun ambience. Order a doughnut or two, a cup of coffee and head to the bar. My kids loved swiveling back and forth on the bar stools as they destroyed a delicious half dozen of Fudgies, Strawberry frosted, Double Chocolates, and French Crullers. These doughnuts are AMAZING and it’s no wonder this place can stay alive with the major chains just down the street.

Hours: This place is open 24/7 so you can enjoy fresh delicious doughnuts ANY time of day!

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Wooded Wonderland Playground

Location: 8001 Walker Mill Road, Capitol Heights 20743

Right when you pull up to the park you will find a large hollowed out tree sculpture with whimsical characters and greeting sounds as you pass through. You’ll travel along a nice paved pathway up the hill to the park. Along the way, you will find a joke telling gnome and a very cute caterpillar. When you reach the top of the small hill, you are greeted with a cute entry sign, a couple of acorn chairs, and a wonderful view of all the fun waiting for you. There are slides, swings, seating, tables, ropes, and all sorts of climbing structures for kids 5-12 and an area for the younger visitors. When the weather is hot, cool off in the misting playground! The kids will love pushing the buttons arranged around the playground to release water mists to help them cool down. There are mushroom covered tables, so pack a lunch or some snacks. The playground also has a large bathroom and water fountain.

This park sits on 470 acres and has tennis courts, basketball courts, a football/soccer field, outdoor sculptures, and the fabulous Wooded Wonderland playground. Expect to spend 1-2 hours at this park and about 30 minutes drive time from Annapolis. The playground is free, has easy parking, and is open from dawn to dusk.

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Sandy Point State Park

Location: 1100 E College Parkway, Annapolis MD 21409

This is a great beach to spend the afternoon with the kids at. The sand is soft and the views of the Bay Bridge are outstanding! The beach offers a restroom, concession and rental stand for water toys, picnic benches with grills and a place to shower off. The grilling stations tend to fill up quickly on weekends, but you can typically find a nice spot during the week. The beach does not have shaded areas, so bringing an umbrella is a good idea. The concessions are pretty limited, so bring some snacks and drinks. The beach has life guards and there are markers restricting swimming areas. Occasionally there are some small waves, making this beach even more fun.

The state park sits on 786 acres along the northwestern shore of the Chesapeake bay and opened in 1952. Along with the beautiful beach, the park also has a playground, marina, boat rentals, and pavilions. This is a trash free park, which means you are expected to pack out all garbage. Pets are only allowed in the park from October through April. To get to the beach, head through the guard shack and go straight until you hit the beach parking lot. You can’t miss it.

Park hours: 7 a.m. to sunset from Jan 1 through Oct 31st. Fees: The park is free for military and will cost $6.00 during the week and $7.00 on the weekend.

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Terrapin Nature Park

Terrapin Nature Park

This park is 276 acres of nature trails, meadows, wetlands, woodlands, tidal ponds and beach. When you arrive, there is a small parking lot, located inside of an office park. From there, you will see a map of the park and a sign indicating the starting point. If you’d like to visit the beach, follow the sign for Terrapin Nature Park. There will be about a 10 minute walk to beach access. The trail is paved in gravel and stroller friendly.

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There are a couple of different routes and options for the day, depending on the age of the children and time available for your visit. If you have an hour, I would suggest the “A” trail with a stop at the beach. There is a nice gazebo and several trails that will lead you to the water. You can enjoy a beautiful view of the Bay Bridge from all of the beach areas. If you have a bit more time, you can explore the “B” trail, which connects from the “A” trail. There are some sandy passages on this trail, which can be difficult for stroller navigation. This is a longer walk, and best for kids 5 and older. There may be a LOT of bugs along this route, so bring your bug spray! Route “C” also connects to these trails and will provide a longer added loop if you have more time.

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We really enjoyed the walk through the nature park and observing the wildlife and local flora and fauna. We didn’t bring our swim suits, but instead skipped rocks in the Bay, wadded in to our knees and enjoyed the spectacular view of the Bay Bridge. The beach wasn’t crowded, with only a few families and individuals scattered throughout.

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Details: The beach has several portable toilets located throughout the “A” trail and also at the trailhead. Bring sanitizer, as there are no sinks for hand washing. There are no refreshment services, so be sure to bring your own snacks and drinks. There are plenty of garbage cans, so no need to worry about packing garbage out. Parking and entrance are free to the park. The park is open from dusk to dawn and pets are allowed on leash. Age recommendation: All. The trip was about 20 minutes from Annapolis and there are no fees to enter the park.

Address: 191 Log Canoe Circle, Stevensville, MD 21666

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