Kids on Swings during a Blackwater Adventure

Things to Do off U.S. Route 50

Make a quick detour onto roads less traveled and discover everything that’s nifty, thrifty and spiffy off Rte. 50. 

Kids on Swings during a Blackwater Adventure

You may think the trip down 50 is nothing more than the best way to reach the beach, but why wait until you hit O.C. to start your vacation? There’s a whole world waiting just off the highway. Plan a stop in downtown Cambridge, hit the slots at Ocean Downs in Berlin, or sip a locally brewed beer while sailing in St. Michaels. You’ll wonder why you never stopped to see everything that’s nifty off 50 before!

Paul Reed Smith Guitars’ Factory
PRS Guitars
Paul Reed Smith Guitars

Tour the factory floor where some of the best guitars on the planet are born. See the state-of-the-art facility where cutting-edge technology meets Maryland-made craftsmanship, and keep an eye out for legendary PRS devotees like Carlos Santana, Dave Navaro and Joe Walsh whose guitars are handcrafted on site. You can even try playing a genuine PRS guitar— no guarantee you’ll sound like Santana, though.

The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry
The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry takes passengers, cyclists and cars across the Tred Avon River. From Bellevue, St. Michaels is a pleasant 7 mile bike ride or drive.
Talbot County (MD) Office of Tourism

Once powered by sail and oar, the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry has been carrying passengers across the Tred Avon River since 1683. Drive, bike or walk aboard the ferry, which transports passengers on a quick journey between the towns of Oxford and Royal Oak, Maryland. Just down the road, the Whitehaven & Upper ferries, which have been around since 1688, transport passengers across the Wicomico River.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Kayaking at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

With nearly 50 square miles of forests, fields, marshes and open water, “The Everglades of the North” offers breathtaking vistas and plenty of opportunities for hiking. Visitors can also bring or rent a kayak and paddle one of the park’s unforgettable water trails. Don’t forget to look up! You’ll quickly lose count of the bald eagles soaring overhead in this birder’s paradise.

Sailwinds Park
Visitor Center at Sailwinds Park in Cambridge
Jill Jasuta

Located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Sailwinds Park is a great place to pull off Route 50 and relax. Stroll along the boardwalk for views of the Choptank river, let the kiddos play around in the playground, and gather some information about the local area at the Visitors Center.

Frontier Town
Kayaking by Frontier Town
Frontier Town

If you’re looking for somewhere to camp near Ocean City, Frontier Town is an award-winning experience that the whole family will love! Opt for a tent site, a full hookup, or camp with all the comforts in a fully-equipped vacation rental. In Frontier town, you’ll find a water park. miniature golf, a high ropes adventure park and a western theme park—complete with Wild West shows! Frontier Town also features a fishing pier, nature trails, and a dog park for your furry travel companions.

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
St Michaels
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Courtesy of CBMM

The Eastern Shore is rich in maritime history, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing that heritage. The Museum features a floating fleet of historic boats, alongside interactive exhibits and hand-on educational programs. At Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, visitors can also hop on a boat ride or enjoy one of the many festivals and events held on site.

Dueling Creek Natural Area at Mt. Rainier Nature/Recreation Center
Colmar Manor
leaves and feather in stream

Family vacations can be tough when the kids get older. But they'll put down the cell phone when they see "The Dark and Bloody Grounds" of Dueling Creek, where more than 50 duels took place during the 19th century. Why here? Dueling Creek was located just outside the dueling-unfriendly nation's capital.

Casino at Ocean Downs
Casino at Ocean Downs - Berlin
Mike Roemer/ Downs

If you’re looking for some entertainment away from Ocean City, the Casino at Ocean Downs is the place for you. Ocean Downs is a little more of an adult destination than, say, mini-golf. Kids can watch the majestic horses race, but you have to be 18+  to wager on the sport of kings—or gamble on the slots and table games. The Casino provides a free shuttle to area hotels, making  this a convenient stop for those staying the night in the area.

Cambridge Main Street
Maiden Maryland Shop

Cambridge is one of the oldest cities in Maryland and has served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, a maritime center and key component of the Maryland oyster industry. Today, Groove City features a downtown that is a designated arts and entertainment district with plenty of shops and dining options to explore—including many restaurants on the Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail. 

Annapolis City Dock
Annapolis Harbor
R. Matthew McKinney

The brick-paved streets of the "Sailing Capital of America" all lead to the City Dock, a great place to relax away a sunny afternoon watching the powerboats navigate Ego Alley. Just blocks from the Naval Academy and the State House—shops, restaurants, and bars fill the Colonial row homes. Get a bagel at Chick & Ruth's Delly (or a six-pound milkshake if you're up for a challenge), pick up a treat at Annapolis Ice Cream Company (part of Maryland’s Ice Cream trail), or stroll down to the water and take a ride on the Schooner Woodwind.

Harriet Tubman Museum
Mural by Michael Rosato Photo Jill Jasuta, Cambridge
Harriet Tubman Mural
Jill Jasuta

Dedicated to one of the most remarkable American women, this museum near Harriet Tubman's birthplace pays tribute to her service as a Civil War spy, nurse, suffragette and, of course, conductor of the Underground Railroad. Looking for more? The museum is a stop on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railway Scenic Byway, which covers 30 stops across Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Wineries & Breweries
Triple Creek Winery
Triple Creek Winery

You’ll find tons of wineries and breweries off Route 50. Below, some places that are definitely worth a stop. If you partake in these pit stops, please use a designated driver!

Spocott Windmill
Spocott Windmill
Spocott Windmill

For the environmentalist in you, Spocott Windmill is open for self-guided tours 365 days a year. Take a look at the original green technology—the 1852 mill was rebuilt by master boat-builder Jim Richardson in 1972, but still relies on the same breezes to power the machinery. 

Salisbury Zoo
A Flamingo at Salisbury Zoo
Salisbury Zoo

Make a pit stop to meet your zoo best friends at Salisbury Zoo. It’s home to over 100 species native to North, Central and South America, including the two-toed sloth,  Amazon parrots, the endangered red wolf and so many more.