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With its beaches, parks and outdoor areas to explore, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, is a popular destination for families who want a break from the hustle and bustle without sacrificing comfort or amenities. In addition to all the nature activities, the county also hosts family-friendly events that celebrate its unique history and culture, meaning there’s always something new to see and do each time you visit. Ready to explore? Here are the top free things to do with kids in Queen Anne’s County.
Visit Chesapeake Heritage & Visitor Center
Learn more about the history and culture of the Chesapeake Bay at Visit Chesapeake Heritage & Visitor Center. Discover how the maritime, agriculture and farming industries shaped the area, and see how the construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge changed the region forever. Climb the observation tower to enjoy more views of the working Kent Narrows Waterfront and marshes below. The visitor center is located directly adjacent to Ferry Point Park. Don’t miss the park’s boardwalk, beach and nature scavenger hunt!
Cross Island Trail
Grab the bikes and get ready to pedal through some of the prettiest paved paths in Queen Anne's County. The 6-mile Cross Island Trail meanders along the waterways, and wetlands of Kent Island. There are also several miles of hiking trails and even an old graveyard for kids to explore.
Terrapin Nature Area
Want to host a little family-friendly competition? Head to Terrapin Nature Area. Here, is one of the best places to find sea glass on the shore. Or host a wildlife-spotting contest while following the 3.25-mile trail that winds through the surrounding meadows, wetlands and woods. After tallying up your results, enjoy a picnic under the park’s gazebo. Pro tip: The boardwalk here offers some of the best views of Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the county.
Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center
Get back to nature at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center. This 510-acre wildlife preserve offers miles of trails perfect for hiking and bird-watching. The Chesapeake Bay’s tidal marshes are always evolving. Even if your family has visited before, there’s always something new to experience. Pack a picnic lunch to see what the bay has in store for you.
Matapeake State Park
Matapeake State Park is the perfect spot for a family beach day. In addition to the expansive sandy beach, the park is also home to an outdoor amphitheater, picnic area and hiking trails. Kids will have a blast exploring the park’s old ferry terminal. They may be shocked to learn that at one point, these ferries were the only way to cross the bay. If your family includes a few fur babies, Matapeake State Park also has a pet-friendly beach and trails.
Events at Godfrey’s Farm
Throughout the summer, kids can pick strawberries, cherries and peaches at Godfrey's Vegetable Farm, a family-run operation that’s been in business for three generations. But for a special treat, come for one of the farm's special events. The Bluegrass in the Berry Patch Festival in late June features a bounce house and hayrides, as well as vendors selling local wine, blueberry pies and hand-dipped ice cream. In August, the farm hosts its Sudlersville Peach Festival. This is another fun day of live music, delicious homemade food and plenty of family-friendly activities.
Bay Music Festival
One of Maryland's oldest music festivals, the Bay Music Festival features live bands—including several kid-friendly performers— a petting zoo and face painters, as well as vendors selling some of the region’s best pulled pork sandwiches. Kids younger than 10 get in for free. Everyone else pays only $5.
Queen Anne’s County Fair
Every summer, the Queen Anne’s County Fair is a big draw for families, near and far. Kids can get face-to-face with goats, horses and cows at the livestock shows, try their luck in the annual corn hole tournament, and compete in stick horse races and sheep wrangling competitions. There’s also nightly entertainment and special events like crab cake cook-offs and the annual cutest baby in the county contest.
Paddlepalooza at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center
For a unique take on the wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay, consider registering the family for Paddlepalooza, a guided kayak ride through the waters of Cabin Creek, Kent Narrows and Marshy Creek. Afterward, the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center will come alive with live music, food vendors and a beer truck pouring your favorite brews.
Kent Island Day
Time your visit the same time has Kent Island Day to celebrate the birthday of the largest island in the Chesapeake Bay. The island was established in 1631, and on the third Saturday of May, the county commemorates its founding with a parade down Main Street, live entertainment, and plenty of food and family-friendly activities. Kids will learn about the area’s history from costumed performers and can crawl through vintage cars and try their hand at tying specialty knots in the craft tent.
Historic Site Tour of Queen Anne's County
Every April through November, you can tour some of the most impressive historic sites in Queen Anne’s County with a local docent. Kids can explore a 1930s movie theater, visit a four-room schoolhouse and see what life was like before email at the town’s historic post office.
Paul Reed Smith Factory Tour
Since 1985, Paul Reed Smith factory has been making guitars for artists, including Santana and John Mayer. Get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating one of these famous guitars on a Paul Reed Smith factory tour. Kids will see the electric guitar manufacturing line in action and learn the intricacies of building a world-class amplifier. Afterward, everyone in the family can try their hand at playing one of the factory’s newest models. Rock on!
Museum of Eastern Shore Life
Do your kids complain about doing dishes or mowing the lawn? Give them some perspective at Museum of Eastern Shore Life. They’ll learn how the area’s early settlers lived and worked on the land before dishwashers and lawn mowers. They’ll also get to tour a replica of a 19th-century blacksmith shop. The museum is open on the first Saturdays of each month, April through December, or by appointment.
There’s always something fun for families to see and do in the Historic Stevensville Arts & Entertainment District, especially from April through December when the area is bursting with excitement. The first Saturday of these months the district hosts all-day celebrations that focus on a different theme, whether it’s music, art, dance or all of the above. There are also special events throughout the month, including outdoor movie nights, scavenger hunts and car shows. You and the family can also tour the area’s historic homes with local docents who explain the history and significance of each site in a way even kids will love.
After all that exploring, your family's bound to be hungry. The Jetty Restaurant and Dock Bar and Kentmorr Restaurant are two popular and family-friendly restaurants in Queen Anne’s County. Enjoy crabs and seafood on the waterfront. The Jetty has table swings and a man-made beach and Kentmorr has a private beach right on the bay! Kids will love eating dinner with their toes in the sand, and you’ll love the live music and drink specials. Afterward, head to Harris Crab House and treat the family to a round of homemade nutty buddies. Locals will tell you it’s the best dessert in Queen Anne’s County.