Around our area, we're fortunate enough to have a few tourist spots that every family should visit at least once during the summer, so here's IKO Community Management's countdown of the best places for your family's ultimate summer bucket list:
- Brookside Gardens – Wheaton, Maryland: From sunrise to sunset, guests will have the opportunity to walk among the blooming flowers. Throughout the summer, visit Brookside Gardens for the special Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar Exhibit where nature lovers can get up close and personal throughout the insects’ amazing metamorphosis.
- Busch Gardens – Williamsburg, Virginia: About 60 miles northwest of Virginia Beach is a family-friendly theme park that’s more than meets the eye. You can visit the real Sesame Street, hop aboard world-class roller coasters, take a mini river cruise, or ride in the sky above the park. Don’t forget to catch a show or special event this summer!
- Deep Creek Lake – Garrett County, Maryland: This man-made lake has an adventure for all four seasons, just like it promises. This summer, visitors can boat, camp, hike, fish, and whitewater raft. There’s also laser tag, a movie theater, and shopping for those who’d rather spend the day out of the sun. Only a short drive, adventure awaits at Deep Creek.
- Hippodrome Theatre – Baltimore, Maryland: This theatre has been home to Broadway shows for more than 100 years. From classics like Beauty and the Beast to modern stories like Kinky Boots, this stage has been graced by the presence of some of the greatest performers of all time. This summer, get tickets to Love Letters, Chris Cornell, Nick Offerman, and Brian Wilson.
- Kings Dominion – Doswell, Virginia: It’s no wonder that the slogan for this park is “Ride On.” Roller coaster enthusiasts will spend hours on some of the fastest, tallest, and most thrilling rides on the East Coast. From the Anaconda to the Backlot Stunt Coaster, Kings Dominion has it all. Did we mention that it has a water park and attractions dedicated to dinosaurs and Snoopy?
- Madame Tussauds – Washington, D.C.: Rub shoulders with your favorite stars in this popular wax museum. From media celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Larry King to cultural icons like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, Madame Tussauds has it all. See a history of all 44 presidents and a few first ladies, or visit Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, and Babe Ruth just because.
- National Aquarium – Baltimore, MD: The National Aquarium has been a popular tourist attraction for years, and there are a few reasons why. Visit everything under the sea (and a few animals from the land), including anemones, bats, birds, crabs, crocodiles, dolphins, frogs, fish, jellyfish, monkeys, octopi, sharks, shrimp, skates, sloths, snakes, spiders, starfish, stingrays, and turtles.
- National Zoo – Washington, D.C.: About 1,800 animals reside at the National Zoo, including Asian elephants, amphibians, big cats, birds, giant pandas, reptiles, small mammals, and so many more. Celebrate World Oceans Day on June 11 or the Giant Panda Birthday on August 21 for even more family fun.
- Smithsonian Museums – Washington, D.C.: As the pioneer for education in science and art, the Smithsonian Institute offers a variety of free museums for a fun-filled, educational day trip. Visit the Air and Space Museum for a pretend flight into orbit, see the Renwick Gallery for a glimpse at how color changes the world, or try the National History Museum to see your child’s textbook come to life.
- Tombs of the Unknowns – Arlington, Virginia: Also called the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, this stunning monument is a must-see for all. It includes dedications to all of the fallen soldiers from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War whose remains weren’t found after battle. This touching display of military resilience and pride will tug at the heartstrings of anyone who visits.
Virginia has thrills, and Washington, D.C. is great for educational opportunities (and a few meet-and-greets with your favorite icons). If you’re looking for an outdoor getaway, try one of Maryland’s natural destinations. Even if you choose to visit a national park, we hope you check everything off your bucket list this summer.
From all of us at IKO Community Management, happy traveling!