Trips and Tips

Looking for a fun way to explore the Chesapeake Bay region? Interested in visiting a historic community or a nature preserve or just paddling down a river near your home?

Each week we highlight interesting, unusual and off the beaten path events taking place from the mouth of Bay to the Susquehanna and everywhere in between. Cruises in southern Maryland, hikes in the Shenandoah and festivals in Baltimore, it’s all there and more! Find more ways to explore the Chesapeake watershed at, brought to you in partnership with the National Park Service.

Have an event you want to see included? Email us with the details, [email protected]

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Trip Of The Week :History, Horticulture & Shopping Combine to Make A Great Spring Destination

The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, established at Monticello in 1986, collects, preserves, and distributes historic plant varieties and promotes greater appreciation for the origins and evolution of garden plants. The Center, located at Tufton Farm near Monticello, will be open every Saturday this Spring, giving visitors an opportunity to explore inspiring display gardens and then shop for favorites in the nursery. You can also shop online for hard to find varieties that have been handpicked by the Center's experts. Add or join an event at the all-new interactive map - Earth Hour Tracker. Read more about Earth Hour and sign a pledge to participate at the World Wildlife Fund website. Photo: Regi Fauzi

Tall Ship Night

Nautical Before Nighttime

Don't wait until the sun goes down to head to the Inner Harbor for Light City Baltimore festivities. Pride of Baltimore II, USS Constellation, and special guest ranger Scott Sheads are offering free hands-on educational programming for the whole family during the day from April 1 to 8. "Nautical Before Nighttime" programs explore a wide range of historic maritime themes and are fun for the whole family. And when the sun goes down, Pride II will be illuminated and open for free deck tours March 31-April 8. More information and scheduling details.

Wood Duck Canoe at Leight Park

Explore the wooded marsh of Anita C. Leight Estuary Center on their first canoe trip of the season. As you paddle through the marsh keep an eye out for the resident wood ducks. $12/person. April 1, 9am-12pm; Abingdon. Advance registration is required. More info and registration.

Lattes with Lambs

Accokeek's spring lambs are excited to meet you! Spend your Saturday with the newest additions to their barnyard while enjoying live music, coffee, and donuts. Bring the whole family to enjoy other activities on the farm including sheep shearing, butter making, and felting. Admission (taken at the gate) is $10 for adults or $5 for children, members, and military. All activities are included in the price of ticket. April 1, 10am-2pm; Accokeek. More information.

"Otterly" Outrageous Fun at Ottermania

Join in celebrating the Calvert Marine Museum's favorite museum mammal! Dance "the Swim" with the otter mascots, get your face painted, and listen to otter tales from an "otterly" terrific story teller. Meet the Otter Keepers at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. March 31, 10am-4pm; Solomons. More information.

Tracing Piscataway Indian History on the Ground

Archaeology has become an important tool in the effort to track, preserve, and interpret Piscataway Indian history. An archaeologist and members of the state-recognized Piscataway Conoy Tribe talk about exciting new discoveries and how this information will be used by the tribe to tell their story. Free. April 6, 7pm-8:30pm; Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, St. Leonard. More information

Annual Patuxent River Cleanup

The Patuxent Riverkeeper coordinates the only Patuxent river-wide annual cleanup event each April, and is looking for volunteers to make this year's effort the best ever. The Riverkeeper is joined by other partners to provide supplies, site supervision and other resources in an effort to make each year's cleanup bigger than the last. After the cleanup they will tally the yield and increases in the amount/tonnage of trash collected. Ages 13+. April 1, 9am-12pm; Upper Marlboro. More information and additional locations

Monticello Spring Wildflower Hike

This three-hour, five-mile hike through the woodlands of Monticello to the Rivanna River is a perennial favorite of hikers and native plant enthusiasts alike. Enjoy the botanical treasures of early spring: trout lilies, Virginia blue bells, spring beauties, and more. Be prepared for a strenuous trek, muddy slopes and uphill climbs, and an intimate view of the wild Monticello, particularly the lovely plant communities along the river. April 1, 6, 8 and 20; 9am-12pm; Charlottesville. More information and tickets.

Gloucester Daffodil Festival

Begin the day with a colorful parade on Saturday and with a 5K race on Sunday. Watch the parade, meet the Daffodil Festival Queen, and tour the beautiful grounds of Brent & Becky's Bulbs. Enjoy the rides and games. Take part in a talk on gardening, shop the many vendors, listen to a live music performance or have a tasty treat and get your face painted. And don't miss the fabulous Mutt Show! April 1, 9am-5pm and April 2, 12pm-5pm. More information.

Hoffler Creek Wings & Things Spring Fling!

Join in for an afternoon of free fun for kids of all ages! Featuring crafts and activities, with Easter egg hunts going on all afternoon. Local wildlife rehabilitators including Nature's Nanny and Zooography, will be bringing along live ambassador animals! Participation in the afternoon's festivities and admission to the preserve are free. A donation may be requested for some activities and refreshments. April 2, 1pm-4pm; Portsmouth. More info.

Cherry Blossom Lantern Walk

Bring your flashlight for an evening stroll beneath the blossoms; evening is one of the best times to beat the crowds and enjoy the beautiful serenity of the Cherry Trees! This 1.8 mile, two-hour guided walk around the Tidal Basin begins at 8 p.m. at the National Park Service tent in the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Free. March 31, April 1, 2, 7, 8; 8pm-10pm.

Ranger Cherry Blossom Bike Tour

Bring your own bike, helmet, and water for a leisurely ride beneath the blossoms. The three-hour National Park Service tour is free. April 1 and 8, 1pm-4pm; meet at the Lincoln Memorial Plaza. More information.

Cherry Blossom Pups and Petals Dog Walk

Bring your furry friend for a two-hour stroll among the cherry blossoms! Meet your Park Service guides on the backside of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (East Basin Drive) at 2 p.m. Don't forget your leash (required), waste bags and water. Free. April 1, 2 and 8, 2pm-4pm. More information.