Howard County…Where Maryland Comes Together!
Centrally located within 30 miles of Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington DC, Howard County, Maryland offers a convenient and affordable location for day trips and weekends throughout the Capitol Region. Just minutes from I-95, BWI airport, Amtrak and MARC rail-stations, Howard County provides easy, reasonable priced access for visitors.
VISITING…Follow Civil War trails along the Historic National Road to a wealth of historic sites, mansions and museums
Tour the B&O Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station, the destination of the first 13 miles of railroad in America. Retrace the footsteps of soldiers both blue and grey along two-lane country roads to our 9 sites along Maryland Civil War Trails including Savage Mill, Oakland Manor and a one-room school house built by returning US Colored Troops veterans. Roll-up your sleeves and dig in at the Patapsco Female Institute, the stabilized ruins of a Victorian school for girls and an active archeological site, or marvel at the engineering wonder that is the Thomas Viaduct . Interactive docent led group tours offered of historic Ellicott City by day to learn the five Rs (railroad, rock, river, road and rebuild) and by night to learn its haunted history!
SIGHT-SEEING…Chic art galleries, award-winning theatre, crowd pleasing concerts & outdoor Shakespeare
The arts come OUTSIDE to play in Howard County. A vibrant visual arts community hosts a Plein Air in historic Ellicott City and a sidewalk street chalk art contest in downtown Columbia each summer. Pack a picnic for outdoor Shakespeare perched high-above Ellicott City under the stars. FREE outdoor rock, pop and orchestral concerts, kid-friendly movies and even dance lessons are offered lakeside. Don’t miss docent-led or self-guided outdoor sculpture and Frank Gehry architecture walking tours in Columbia. Join local artists in a springtime community luminary lantern procession at dusk during Cherrybration Days.
Home of The Patapsco Valley State Park, affectionately referred to as “Moab East” by mountain biking enthusiasts, Howard County is an oasis of eco-tourism activities in the Baltimore & Washington region. With gravity defying thrills at Terrapin Adventures’ ziplines, horseback riding at The Columbia Horse Center, TWO state-of-the-art and group friendly Nature Centers for hand-on learning, hot air balloon rides and L.L. Bean’s Walk-On Adventures for kayaking & much more! Wanna really get out and play? How about glow-in-the-dark Monster Mini-Golf or batting cages, petting farms, driving ranges, skate-parks, swim-centers and ice rinks for good ol’ fashioned fun?
SHOPPING…Find everything your home & heart desires at The Mill, The Mall, and On Main Street
Right off I-95 between Baltimore & Washington DC, Historic Savage Mill, an 18th century cotton mill transformed into haven of shops, artist studios and antique dealers is a savvy shoppers dream come true. Shopaholics and fashionistas welcomed at The Mall in Columbia with its 200+ trendy shops, themed restaurants and IMAX movies! Main Street Ellicott City’s old world charm makes for a perfect day of strolling, antiquing and upscale boutiquing.
Local bistros, cafes, gastro pubs and taverns partner with local farms to deliver the freshest products and produce for the most delicious dishes possible. Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia offers diners lip-smacking fare along with award winning entertainment. How about memorable meals in lovingly restored mansions transformed into group-friendly restaurants that even offer group cooking classes? What’s a visit to Maryland without a crab-feast or crabcakes, The Shanty Grille awaits with plenty of motor-coach parking!
LODGING…3,000 restful sleeping rooms to relax & renew, from posh hotels, family-friendly inns to boutique B&Bs
After a long day of touring Baltimore, Washington, DC or local sight-seeing, catching some well-deserved ZZZs await your group at new group friendly select amenity hotels and inns with double-doubles, hot breakfast and yes the all important swimming pool. With room rates far lower then the nearby big cities and free parking, make Howard County, MONEY magazine’s “America’s Best Places to Live” your ‘home away from home.’
1,300 blossoming kwanzan cherry trees that mark Cherrybration Days every April. Don’t miss Wine in the Woods, Maryland’s largest wine festival and the Columbia Festival of the Arts, 17 exciting days of visual and performing arts. The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival welcomes knitting, quilting and fabric arts enthusiasts from around the world. Rockin’ Merriweather Post Pavilion, one of Frank Gehry’s first commissioned work hosts the famous 3-day Capital Jazz Festival, and more!
*Image of Chilly morning walking in Centennial park courtesy of Eric McCormick, Image of bubble blowing on Main Street in Old Ellicott City courtesy of Erica Kavadias, Image of goat cheese & beat salad courtesy of The Kings Contrivance Restaurant, Image of hotel room courtesy of the Sheraton Columbia Town Center, Image of outdoor concert courtesy of Howard County Recreation and Parks.