Great day trips with a dose of education

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By Kristy MacKaben

Taking family day trips can foster a love of learning while being tons of fun at the same time. Luckily there are plenty of destinations within a couple of hours of Annapolis that are the perfect combination of history and fun.

HarpersFerryHarpers Ferry, W.VAKelly Green of Ellicott City refers to day trips with her two daughters, Kate, 9, and Meghan, 7 as adventures. In the summer, the trio frequently sets off for farms, museums, hiking trails and other fun destinations — usually no more than two hours away.

"What makes for an awesome day trip is probably why I keep planning day trips — the rave reviews I receive from my family," Green says. "I ... often try to find day trips that complement an area my children have been studying in school or a fun new activity I think they should try."

Spending time as a family away from home can help lay a solid foundation and a feeling of stability in children, says Grace David, an Annapolis-area counselor, who enjoys venturing on day trips with her three children. Kids are less likely to bicker with one another and are more likely to bond when they are away from home, David says.

"There's something to say about getting out and doing something out-of-the-ordinary," she says. "It makes it special and it builds memories which make a family unit stronger."

Taking family day trips with young children can also foster curiosity as they grow. Mimie Helm, of Ellicott City, fondly remembers the day trips she and her daughters took when they were young. Mount Vernon was their favorite, but they ventured anywhere that was interesting and educational. The girls, now in their 20s, take off on their own day trips, she says.

"Some of our daughters' best memories are the day trips we took," Helm says. "It's great family time together and it gives them a curiosity about things that they carry with them when they get older."

Here is a list of great trips within two hours of Annapolis. Pick one for your family to take this summer or hit them all!

Click next below for great day trips.

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