Known for its two golf courses, Turf Valley is a great place to get kids into the swing of the sport with lessons ($25) from some of the most patient pros around. There are also tennis courts and an indoor pool.
Drive time: About two hours.
Rates: Rooms $179, suites $214-$264.
Where to eat: Housed in a Citgo gas station, Town Grill is a don’t-miss destination for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its Almost Famous BBQ Sundae combines cornbread, house-smoked pulled pork, barbecue sauce, coleslaw and a fried pickle ($7.99). 15943 Frederick Road, Lisbon, (410) 489-5016, lisbontowngrill.com.
What to do: Take your equine-obsessed youngsters to meet the residents of the Days End Farm Horse Rescue. Donations are welcome. 1372 Woodbine Road, Woodbine, (310) 854-5037, defhr.org. Clark’s Elioak Farm ($5 admission) has Mother Goose-themed climb-on attractions for the little ones, plus a petting farm and pony rides ($2 additional). 10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, (410) 730-4049, clarklandfarm.com.
Rainy-day fun: At the Robinson Nature Center, kids can learn about the ecosystem and the galaxy with interactive exhibits and a planetarium ($5, kids $3; Wednesdays free; planetarium extra). 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia, (410) 313-0400, howardcountymd.gov/robinsonnaturecenter.htm.
Turf Valley Resort 2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City, (410) 465-1500, turfvalley.com