The best time of the year is among us. The air has finally reached that perfect sweatshirt temperature, the leaves are beginning to paint the skies in golden and amber, and the pumpkin patches are filling up with the favorite of festive vegetables. It’s time to get out and enjoy the change of season, and I have collected a list of the very best day trips in Maryland to do just that!
The scene is set in 1955, where a storybook themed amusement park opened in Ellicott City. The Enchanted Forest was filled to the brim with references and nods to the fairy tales and nursery rhymes that everyone had grown up with; Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty, Goldilocks and more. For 30 years, The Enchanted Forest delighted thousands of children with its various rides and attractions, and yet, in 1995, the park shuttered its doors forever.
The good news is that this place of history and humor hasn’t been lost to the ages. In 2004, Clark Elioak Farm made a deal with the owners of the old Enchanted Forest to move many of the scenes and rides to its land for restoration. They are still there today. For a small entrance fee, anyone who wishes to walk into the old storybook world Ellicott City boasted for 30 years can still do so! And the best time of year to go is when the leaves change color and the scenes blend into the beauty of Fall.
- Dates: open through October 31st
- Price: $8 for entree, with additional activities (cow train,wagon ride, etc.) an additional $2.50 to $5 a person
- Address: 10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042
A staple of Maryland fall fun and fair, the Renaissance Festival is back in town. Explore the blacksmiths, artisans, and entertainers of the 14th century and on. Galavant through Ye Old Town, watch Shakespeare or a fight demo or even an old fashion joust. The Ren Fest offers days worth of fun throughout this October for all Marylanders to explore and enjoy!
- Dates: Every weekend till October 24th
- Price: from $13 to $28 a person, depending on age and date (MUST BUY ONLINE)
- Address: 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, MD 21401
If you’re looking to fulfill everything on your Autumn bucket list in one day, Winterbook is your place to go. Corn maze, farm animals, mountain slides, apple canons, peddle carts, pumpkin patch; you name it, Winterbrook has it in surplus. With ten acres of farm fresh fun, as well as every fall comfort food you can think of, Winterbrook is your one-stop shop for getting the most out of the outdoorsy fun of Fall.
- Dates Every weekend throughout October 31st
- Price: $10 to $12 based on day of the week
- Address: 13001 Creagerstown Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788
Anyone who is into the animal adoption scene has heard about BARCS and the amazing work they do to help home and care for the animals of Maryland. Knowing that the sole purpose of saving animals is at the heart of the non-profit, it’s hard for anyone to turn down the events BARCS hosts every year. Good news is that this October, BARCS nine separate events allow everyone the opportunity to help the homeless animals of Maryland, and have a good amount of fun too!
BARCStoberfest is a massive event running this year, spanning over 8 different days in October. For the first October event on the 9th, BARCS at the Beach is celebrating man’s best friend with pet costume contests, a beach photo booth, special cocktails, live music and more. MEOWtoberfest on the 23rd honors feline familiars with adoptable kitties, face painting, kids activity stations and a beer giveback from Manor Hill. After that, on the 30th is BARCStoberfest Annual Beer Garden with limited tickets and exciting animal themed times. If all that fun isn’t enough for your animal-obsessed soul, consider joining one of the four mini fun runs throughout October and receive a complimentary beer tasting at the end. There are virtual events as well, and all proceeds go towards helping BARCS support the dozens of animals it helps house, feed, care for, and home.
- Dates: October 6th, 9th, 17th, 18th, 23rd, and 30th
- Price: ranges depending on event and date.
- Address: depends on the event and date
Nothing says Autumn like drinking an ice cold beer out in the crisp air, surrounded by friends, live music and fun. This year’s Good Beer Festival offers just that, with 38 different breweries in attendance to give you the best beer you can have on this side of the states. If beer isn’t really your thing, consider going for the chainsaw carvings, axe throwing, puppy petting, drunk spelling bee, relay contests, carnival games, or various vendors selling at the festival. Throughout the event, live music will help keep you tasting and trying, and various food booths will offer a snack if you get hungry.
- Dates: October 8th through 9th
- Price: $10 to $35 depending on if you would like to do tastings or not
- Address: 5561 Plantation Lane, Salisbury, Maryland 21801
It is once again time to pull on your tights and find your cape, as the Baltimore Comic Con makes its way back to Maryland for its 21st year. Grab your local superhero nerd, your favorite artist friend, and that guy you know who just likes a good story, and find your way down to Baltimore for one of the biggest conventions of artists that the city sees every year. With 98 different comic book writers in attendance, everyone will find something they can enjoy, superhero fan or not.
- Dates: October 22nd to 24th
- Price: $25 to $165 depending on date and VIP access
- Address: Baltimore Convention Center, 1 West Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland