Budget-Friendly Day Trips Near Baltimore

Get out of town without breaking the bank.

Credit: Ellicott City
Credit: Ellicott City

Written by Amber Woods

Uncovering hidden local treasures doesn’t have to cost a king’s ransom. These wallet-friendly locales will give you a feeling of discovery on the cheap. The best part? These destinations are only a tank of gas (or less) away.

Ellicott City

2711 Maryland Ave.

Ellicott City, MD

Why Go? Tucked away in the hills of Howard County, Ellicott City offers history and quaint culinary option.

Insider Tip: Make a day of visiting Ellicott City’s historic district by checking out the B&O Railroad Station Museum and stop at Johnny’s Bistro on Main. The latter is “great for sandwiches with terrific specials,” Google reviewer David Zimmerman posted.

Must Do: Swing by The Pottery Stop & Coffee Shop and enjoy a creative session with a group or friends or a date.

The Fine Print: B&O Railroad Museum is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.

Lancaster County 

150 N. Queen St.

Lancaster, PA

Why Go? Scenic and budget-friendly, everyone will love a road trip through Dutch country and may even spot an Amish buggy or two along the way.

Insider Tip: The kids will love having breakfast or lunch inside of a real train car at Red Caboose Restaurant. “The food was very good and reasonably priced,” TripAdvisor user Tyler W. posted.

Must Do: Take a half-hour journey to a local Amish farm and petting barnyard. We recommend A is for Amish Buggy Rides, located at 312 Paradise Ln. Call (717) 687-5000 for reservations.

The Fine Print: Red Caboose Restaurant is only open 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Chesapeake City

Why Go? Antique shops nestled along the C&D Canal and quaint waterfront restaurants make for a romantic day trip right in Maryland.

Insider Tip: Walk along George Street to see restored 19th century homes. 

Must Do: Enjoy lunch at The Bayard House Restaurant, where you can grab a table by the window. “Wonderful view of the canal,” TripAdvisor elivela67 commented.

The Fine Print: It's a small town—the 2010 census estimates there are 673 people living in Chesapeake City—so come for the quaintness, not to party.


Herr’s Snack Factory Tour

271 Old Baltimore Pike

Nottingham, PA

(800) 284-7488

Why Go? A free tour of the Herr’s Snack Factory will get the kids talking (and thinking) about how some of their favorite treats are made. Learn about the history of Herr’s, and the process of making snacks at the manufacturing plant.

Insider Tip: Make it easy by scheduling your tour online and factor in time for a an affordable lunch at the Herr’s Snack Bar.

Must Do: In December, Herr's puts on an impressive holiday lights display on the factory grounds. The public is welcome to tour the lights display by driving through the factory grounds after dark, free of charge.

The Fine Print: Factory tours are scheduled between 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9-11 a.m. Fridays.


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