I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Cool Summer Fun in Maryland

From arts festivals to ice cream, Maryland spotlights the limitless opportunities for family fun this summer


Connie Yingling,
Leslie Troy,


BALTIMORE (May 29, 2015) – As summer begins to heat up, the Maryland Office of Tourism is putting the spotlight on ways to cool down and spend time with the family this season. From ice cream to festivals, from museums to special events, Maryland offers many opportunities for family-friendly adventures.

“Summer may not officially begin until June 21, but Maryland starts celebrating the season early with festivals, concerts and events that are fun for all ages,” said Bill Pencek, Acting Assistant Secretary, Maryland Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. “As summer vacations begin, families can spend time together discovering the best of Maryland—its flavors, its music, its history and more.”

In 2012, the Maryland Department of Agriculture launched the nation’s first farm-based ice cream trail including eight dairy farms that offer fresh, delicious on-farm ice cream. With stops in Baltimore, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Washington and Worcester counties, the Maryland Ice Cream Trail stretches across the state. Locations include Prigel Family Creamery (Glen Arm), Kilby Cream (Rising Sun), Broom’s Bloom Dairy (Bel Air) and Chesapeake Bay Farms (Berlin). Trailblazers can taste flavors like Cowconut, Cowfebean and Farmer Dan’s Caramel Fudge.

Just this spring, the Maryland Office of Tourism published a list on visitmaryland.org of the top twenty family-friendly activities in the state, including visiting the National Aquarium in Baltimore, riding the legendary mountain coaster at Wisp in McHenry, and enjoying a view of Washington, D.C. from the gigantic Capital Wheel at the National Harbor, among others.

For families interested in educational opportunities, the Maryland Office of Tourism has also put out a list of the top five family-friendly museums with hands-on learning activities, including the College Park Aviation Museum (College Park), which teaches kids how to make paper airplanes, and Rose Hill Manor Park and Children’s Museum (Frederick), where kids can immerse themselves in colonial America at the home of Maryland’s first governor, Thomas Johnson.

Below you’ll find just a few events and opportunities for family-friendly activities this month in Maryland:

Western Maryland

Cumberland Comes Alive! is a premier outdoor concert series in the historic city center of downtown on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer. From Bluegrass to Rock and Roll and everything in between, this not-to-be-missed summer tradition features a mix of local bands and national touring artists. Numerous restaurants with outdoor seating and unique local shops enhance the experience.

From June 2-6, keep an eye out as you drive through Allegany and Garrett counties as 30 juried artists paint the region's scenery as part of the 7th Annual Mountain Maryland Plein Air. This event brings talented artists from across the country to create new works from direct observation, without the use of photographs. A variety of activities will be offered across the area before the culminating exhibition of paintings created.

Garrett County celebrates the 90th anniversary of Deep Creek Lake with events June 11-14. Download the brochure to find all of the events, from pontoon and canoe boat tours to outdoor movies and merchant specials, as well as an Official Birthday Party on June 13 at the Garrett County Visitors Center in McHenry.

Mark the beginning of summer at the 47th Annual Heritage Days Festival on June 13 in Cumberland. The free festival offers something for everyone including great music, historical tours, children's activities, festival food, artisan's crafts and more.

Celebrate the Hagerstown Suns 35th Anniversary on June 20 at the Municipal Stadium. The 7:05 PM game will feature Washington County baseball history and culture, and a poster of baseball cards of favorite Suns players from the past 35 years.

Let the kids participate in Junior Ranger Week from June 22-26 at Fort Frederick State Park for a fun-filled, hands-on, nature learning experience. Wear old clothes, because participants will get dirty. The ‘Park Pals’ program for kids ages 4-7 will focus on the habitats in the park and for children 8-12  it will focus on backyard habitats.

If your pet is like a member of the family, be sure to stop by Frostburg’s 1st Annual Pet Appreciation Day on June 27. The streets will be lined with food vendors, pet vendors, and lots of activities to please the entire family. The Animal Shelter will be there with animals looking for a good home.

Capital Region

Visit Bowiefest on June 6, to celebrate with food, entertainment, rides and crafters. There will be performances, contests and a host of food and drink options throughout the park. In the ice arena, there will also be exhibits and an arts and crafts fair.

On June 7, enjoy the Taste of Wheaton, an annual food festival offering samples from the most popular and award-winning local restaurants. In addition to food, the event features cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, live music, and children’s rides and activities, including caricature drawings, balloon artists, and arts and crafts.

Enjoy the juried 22nd Annual Frederick Festival of the Arts featuring more than 110 artists and craftsmen from across the country June 4-7. The festival also includes a live music pavilion, artist demos, theatrical performances, children’s activities, boats, food and much more.

Celebrate children, art and all things fun at the 21st Annual Imagination Bethesda on June 6. This free children’s street festival includes musical performances, dance troupes, roving entertainment, face painters, costume characters, balloonists, jugglers and hands-on arts and crafts activities to entertain and energize the 12-and-under crowd.

The 33rd Annual Celebrate! Gaithersburg Festival on June 14 includes live music, food, arts and crafts, amusements and more. Children will enjoy interactive games, demonstrations and amusements. This festival’s special focus is on tradition, highlighted by bluegrass bands and a BBQ showdown. 

Heritage Montgomery hosts the 18th Annual Heritage Days Celebration on the weekend of June 27, a unique, countywide festival offering visitors the opportunity to discover venues from Silver Spring to Poolesville, Bethesda to Clarksburg – and everywhere in between. Learn about the history of dairy farming, railroads and trolleys, African-American communities, astronomy, local arts and culture, and outdoor recreation, including hikes and walking tours.

Can you handle the cuteness? There will be plenty of “awww”-inducing excitement on display as nearly two dozen alpaca babies chase and romp across the pasture at the 3rd Alpaca Babypalooza on June 27. Watch them nurse, learn about their husbandry and shop in the alpaca shop and fiber studio at the Sugarloaf Alpaca Farm in Adamstown.

Central Maryland

Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy Westminster’s Art in the Park on June 6. This juried event features fine arts and crafts by accomplished regional artists, art demos, kid’s activities, strolling musicians and other live entertainment throughout the day.

Get ready for KidsDay on June 6—a fun-filled event designed just for kids. Held in Columbia, KidsDay is free and open to the public. Enjoy activities like mini-golf, batting, moonbounces, Zumba for kids, tie dye projects, arts and crafts, a photo booth, face painting and more.

Check out the Annapolis Arts, Crafts and Wine Festival, featuring the juried works of more than 200 fine artists and craftsmen, wine tastings from more than 25 Maryland wineries, smooth jazz all day long, delectable cuisine and activities for the whole family from June 6-7. On June 7, be sure to head over to the Annapolis First Sundays Arts Festival and shop from another 100 local and regional artists and crafters, listen to live music, enjoy street performances and plenty of outdoor cafe dining.

Starting on June 12, the Columbia Festival of the Arts presents a 16-day festival featuring local, regional, national and international performance and visual artists in multiple venues.

On June 13, learn about drum making, boat building, Polish egg decorating, screen painting, letterpress, pigeon racing and so much more at the 5th annual Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival in Baltimore. This one-day, free festival celebrates the traditional arts, music, craft and food that illustrate what makes Maryland a distinct and dynamic cultural place.

Hampden’s annual HonFest June 13-14 is a celebration of the historic working women of Baltimore. Hon, short for Honey, embodies the warmth and affection bestowed by these women. Enjoy Baltimore’s Best Hon contest, listen to talented local musicians and check out the work of local artists, all while you stroll The Avenue, filled with quirky shops and restaurants.

The majestic ship Hermione, sailing in from France, will be in Annapolis June 16-17 and then Baltimore June 19-21. The ship, built by hand over the last 20 years in France, is an exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th-century frigate that carried him to America. It is the largest and most authentic Tall Ship built in the last 150 years and will be accompanied by a range of pier-side activities for the family to enjoy.

Take a magical excursion into miniature worlds which show life as it was, as it is, or as it could be on June 20-21 at the Great Scale Model Train Show, the mid-Atlantic's largest scale train show, which is held at the Timonium Fairgrounds. Youngsters will enjoy the supervised Thomas-themed play area.

Southern Maryland

Celebrate Southern Maryland’s rich agricultural heritage on June 7 with demonstrations, hands-on activities, an antique tractor parade, demonstrations, hands-on activities, pony rides, games, live entertainment and food at the Annual Children’s Day on the Farm. Located at the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, there is more to explore on the property’s 560 scenic acres along the Patuxent River. 

Plan to feast at the St. Mary’s County Crab Festival in Leonardtown on June 13. The annual festival is a celebration of St. Mary's County crab culture and cooking, offering plenty of steamed hard crabs, soft crabs, crab cakes, crab soups and other seafood dishes. Also enjoy a car and bike show, regional crafters, live music and children's activities.

On June 13, join the 23rd Annual Charles County ArtsFest in La Plata to celebrate all arts in the county: music, visual, drama, dance and literature. Visual artists of all media will display and sell artworks on the lawn. There will be historical, heritage, multicultural and environmental exhibitors and plenty of food and refreshments. 

Visit Point Lookout State Park June 13-14 for Blue and Gray Days: The Final Prisoners of War Release. Marking the 150th Anniversary of the release of the last prisoners of war from Point Lookout POW Camp during the American Civil War, the event features rifle and cannon demonstrations, living history programs and a live prisoner release ceremony.

Throughout June, enjoy the magical exhibit 6th Annual Fairies in the Garden in scenic Solomons, where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay. It features more than 50 handmade fairy and gnome homes scattered along the walking path that meanders the Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center.

Every Saturday and Sunday, Tour Historic Port Tobacco Village and experience its fascinating story that includes Native Americans, missionaries, colonists, revolutionaries, assassins, spies, slaves, merchants, farmers, an arsonist and everyone in between.  Explore on your own, or take one of the guided tours to learn more about the facts and legends of the Village, including one of Maryland’s oldest ghost stories, The Legend of the Blue Dog.

Eastern Shore

The 14th Annual All-American Soap Box Derby in Federalsburg on June 6 showcases gravity-powered racing vehicles. Race downhill in one of three divisions: Stock, Super Stock and Super Kids.

June 6 is the Youth Fishing Derby in Kennedyville, where kids learn how to fish—not just for the sport of it, but also for the family values it can instill. This special event includes a rod-and-reel giveaway and prizes for casting, biggest fish of the day, biggest fish in a species and biggest fish in each age division.

Enjoy the eclectic art scene at the 2nd Saturday and Art Walk in Downtown Cambridge on June 13, where classic Eastern Shore painted landscapes to vibrant folk art and contemporary work can be seen. There will be free art gallery receptions and workshops and plenty of specials in the independently owned shops and restaurants.

On June 13, Centreville’s Bay Music Festival offers a fun day of music featuring the region’s best American rock, country and bluegrass music, plus children’s show, family activities and great food.

The Ocean City Air Show celebrates its 8th year from June 13-14 with three headline acts: the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, international performer Breitling Jet Team, and the F-22 Raptor, the most advanced fighter in the world today. Visible along the entire length of the Boardwalk, the event will also feature some of the nation’s top civilian performers, warbirds and a parachute demonstration.

More than 100 wooden classic and vintage boats will be on land and in the water at the 28th Annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum from June 19-21. Workshops, building demonstrations, live music, boat rides and a nautical flea market will be available throughout the Father’s Day festival. Children’s activities include boatbuilding craft projects and classes about preserving and restoring classic boats.

Celebrate our nation's birthday a little early on June 27 at the 7th Annual Freedom Festival at Crisfield’s City Dock. This family-oriented event is a tribute to military heroes and includes a day of food, live music, free activities for kids, a bounce castle, arts and crafts and fireworks.

Stroll Ocean City’s 15th Annual Art's Alive event and visit 100 artists as they sell their treasures and compete for awards on June 27-28. Enjoy the picturesque lagoon setting at Northside Park and free art activities for the children while listening to the sounds of lively music.

Indulge in Maryland’s famous steamed crabs, crab cakes, fried clams and BBQ fare at the Tilghman Island Summer Seafood Festival on June 28, including live music and hard crab races in the park.

Head to Talbot County and stop by the Scottish-Highland Creamery in Oxford. Victor Barlow, a real kilt-wearing Scot, makes the ice cream in small batches at his waterside facility. Still hungry? Try Justine’s in St. Michaels. Kathy Lash and Joe Trippi’s ice cream parlor serves up freshly-made ice cream—which can be made into 50 different flavors of milkshakes.  

About Maryland Tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $15.4 billion on travel-related expenses in 2013. During 2013, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.1 billion in state and local taxes, and provided 138,682 jobs for Maryland residents.