The Visitor Center is the perfect place to begin your journey! Located in a beautifully renovated circa-1899 industrial warehouse, the visitor center holds 2,200-square-feet of interpretive exhibits including some hands-on displays that will intrigue all ages. A state-of-the-art theater features the award-winning film about Frederick, "A Turn of the Wheel." A wide variety of maps, guides, and information on regional attractions and events are available. Be sure to grab the Treasure Map scavenger hunt for the kids to enjoy as you explore Downtown Frederick.
Explore Carroll Creek Park
Take advantage of 3 hours of free parking (validation available in the visitor center) and explore Frederick's charming Downtown! Stroll along one of America's best urban parks, Carroll Creek Park. The park began as a flood control project, but quickly turned into a perfect venue for commercial, residential, cultural, and recreational development. The 1.3 mile stretch features brick walkways, beautiful bridges, and several unique public art projects. One such project, the Community Bridge Mural, took ideas from hundreds of people and combined them to turn a concrete bridge into what appears to be a beautifully decorated ivy-covered stone bridge, each stone showcasing a different image suggested by the public. Kids will enjoy playing the xylophone outside of the Delaplaine Arts Center.
Walking through Downtown Frederick is an experience like no other. Fifty blocks of shopping, dining, and unique attractions are showcased today. Peek into some of the boutique shops and find pick up something cute to remember your trip by! Stop by Dancing Bear, a battery-free toy store and Retro Metro, a quirky shop with current and nostalgic novelties. If you feel like a snack, stop by North Market Pop Shop to make your own ice cream float with your choice of over 400 vintage sodas!
This isn't just any old pizza joint. The massive pizza oven was handmade in Naples and dishes out artisanal pies with the perfect crust. Sitting at the pizza bar offers a first-hand look at the cooking process and kids will get complimentary pizza dough to play with while they wait for their meal. If there's a wait, pass the time at the playground next to the building.
When exhaustion starts to kick in, head to one of Frederick's numerous hotels. Many are located just minutes from Downtown Frederick and offer pools, outdoor patios, and other amenities perfect for a family trip.
This trendy vegan cafe has people lining up on the sidewalk to try its tasty specialties. In addition to traditional chocolate frosted doughnuts, you'll also find unique flavors like rosemary and a full series of Star Wars-themed pastries. You might want to wake up a tad early for this one, they typically sell out of dough by noon. If you don't make it in time you can also order from their all-day food menu.
Board an open air bus to journey through the habitats of zebras, bison, and wolves. Feed your favorite creatures right from your hands when you get up close and personal on your ride. While you're at the preserve, enjoy a camel ride and experience a hands-on aviary.
A working dairy farm, the cows that live here provide milk products to homes and businesses all over the state. Take a self-guided tour of the property to feed the calves and watch the process of milking the cows. On your way out, be sure to grab some farm fresh ice cream at Karen's County Store. For a truly local experience, try Frederick's official ice cream flavor, Monocacy Mud!
Take a look at early American life; transportation history and the agricultural history of Frederick County. Thomas Johnson, Maryland's first elected Governor, spent his retirement at Rose Hill Manor and house is still very much the same as he left it. Hands-on exhibits are designed to engage children, but the whole family will touring the historic buildings including a carriage museum.
Made famous in Baltimore, Chaps is now a well known Maryland specialty. Pit beef is the number one item here, but the turkey, pork, and BBQ chicken are also solid options. The place is casual, you can even grab takeout and head back to your hotel if your family is feeling tired.
Take a trip back in time with breakfast at this diner full of booths and working tabletop jukeboxes. All the food here is locally sourced and the kid's menu is somehow both appealing and healthy for your littlest travelers!
Maryland's largest cascading waterfall is just a short hike from the beach at William Houck Lake. Choose either the leisurely stroll or the more challenging hike, both will lead you to the same destination. When you're finished, stop by the Scales and Tales Aviary located in the park to visit a bald eagle, giant turtle, and other feathered friends.
Pick whatever is in season at this picturesque local orchard. Not only does the roadside farmers market offer some of the freshest fruits and vegetables you can find, it also sells the most delicious homemade pies.
Everything here is made out of delicious pretzel dough including the pizza crust. Kids will love loaded up a soft pretzel with fun and unique toppings and adults will enjoy a variety of delicious entrees. This is another local favorite.