Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Eldersburg, MD

  • Published 2023/01/09

Eldersburg is a small, unincorporated community in Carroll County, Maryland, home to about 30,418 residents.

Despite being a relatively smaller town, it offers a pleasant change of scenery, especially for those who need a break from the busy metropolitan life.

Since it’s located less than an hour from Baltimore, it makes for an ideal weekend getaway.

From quaint parks, nature areas, and local restaurants, there’s something for every kind of traveler here.

Want to know more?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in Eldersburg, Maryland:

Enjoy Outdoor Activities at the Morgan Run Natural Environment Area

The waters of Morgan Run Natural Environment Area

Bohemian Baltimore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Morgan Run Natural Environment Area boasts 2,000 acres of woodlands and rivers, perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, trout fishing, and deer hunting.

Its vast space allows for a day out surrounded by nature, letting you unwind and enjoy a change of scenery.

Hiking and equestrian trails are popular activities at the Morgan Run Natural Environment Area, although equestrians are restricted on certain trails.

The grounds of Morgan Run Natural Environment Area

Bohemian Baltimore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For anglers, there’s a wheelchair-accessible platform for fly fishing, and the park is available to trout fishermen as a catch-and-release trout stream.

Take note that archery deer hunting is permitted on specific days of the week, and muzzleloader deer hunting is allowed only in designated hunting areas.

Morgan Run Natural Environment Area is on Benrose Lane.

Sip on Craft Beers at Oscar’s Alehouse

Conveniently located in Eldersburg Plaza, Oscar’s Alehouse is a lively bar and restaurant offering tasty American dishes, craft beers on tap, and live entertainment.

This is the perfect place to unwind and socialize with locals over beers and wood-grilled burgers.

Oscar’s Alehouse’s menu includes appetizers, soups, salads, craft sandwiches, homemade pizza, and mouthwatering main courses.

Try the seared ahi tuna, open-faced meatloaf sandwich, four-cheese pizza, and house specials like Alehouse cajun burger, baby back ribs, and chicken pot pie.

Don’t forget to check out their burger of the week and savor wood-grilled burgers served with hand-cut fries.

Complete your meal with an ice-cold glass of draft beer hailed from other cities like Baltimore, Portland, Cleveland, and Boston.

Savor Italian Cuisine at Basta Pasta

Craving Italian classics and seafood?

Basta Pasta combines home-cooked Italian fare and famous Maryland seafood.

Located in Liberty Exchange, the restaurant is the perfect dining option for mall-goers in the middle of their shopping trip or anyone who wants a taste of fresh and high-quality Italian food.

At Basta Pasta, enjoy Italian classics like saltimbocca, shrimp scampi, chicken alfredo, fettuccine carbonara, and marsala.

If you’re in the mood for seafood, order a jumbo lump crab cake, seafood wrap, cast iron scallops, or seafood pasta.

Basta Pasta also offers gluten-free dishes for customers with special dietary requirements.

Pair your dishes with a cocktail, sangria, beer, or any of the red and white wines from their wine list.

Hang Out at Freedom Park

Situated along Raincliffe Road, Freedom Park is one of the popular hangouts for locals and tourists.

It’s a multi-use sports complex with baseball diamonds, playgrounds, soccer fields, picnic shelters, and restroom facilities.

Freedom Park occupies a large area in Eldersburg, and there are well-maintained walking trails for those who don’t want to partake in sporting activities.

There’s a smaller loop around the park that goes around the three baseball diamonds for those who want a shorter walk.

On the other hand, there’s another trail going around the park’s vicinity if you prefer a longer walk.

Both trails are ideal for walking, rollerblading, and skating during the winter months.

Try Axe Throwing at Stratosphere Social

Stratosphere Social is your all-in-one place for fun indoor games, good food, and an impressive selection of booze.

Encompassing 24,000 square feet, the venue offers state-of-the-art attractions like a modern arcade, a high-tech bowling alley, and a Virtual Reality experience.

The establishment is also one of the best venues to celebrate special events such as birthdays, reunions, and team building.

If you want to try something new, challenge yourself with axe throwing at Stratosphere Social, the home of the first interactive axe-throwing targets in Maryland.

Aside from axe throwing, play a few rounds of bowling, feel nostalgic as you play at the arcade, or hang out in the indoor backyard or indoor rooftop.

You can find it on Londontown Boulevard.

Spend the Day with Nature at Piney Run Park

Nature trail at Piney Run Park

Bohemian Baltimore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a break from the high-rise buildings and bustling streets of the city and marvel at the beauty of nature at Piney Run Park.

It is the oldest developed park in Carroll County, encompassing 550 acres.

Formerly a private farm, Piney Run Park features thick forests, open fields, hiking trails, a lake, and various recreational facilities.

A lake at Piney Run Park

Bohemian Baltimore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy outdoor activities like fishing and boating, and rent a boat to see gorgeous views of the park from the water.

The park also has over five miles of hiking trails that will give you stunning lakeside views and plenty of shade.

If you prefer a more relaxing way to spend the day here, have a picnic at the designated areas or lay down a mat and read a book as you take in the tranquil environment.

Playground at Piney Run Park

Bohemian Baltimore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have a Cozy Dinner at the County Cork Wine Pub

After a busy day out, enjoy dinner in a classy but relaxed setting at the County Cork Wine Pub, located along Liberty Road.

Hailed as one of the best restaurants in Carroll County, the restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends.

The restaurant specializes in New American cuisine and uses fresh ingredients and locally-sourced produce, meats, and cheese.

To assure customers of the best-tasting dishes, everything is prepared from scratch.

Dine at the County Cork Wine Pub and feast on house specials like hot chicken drummettes, pan-roast duck breast, and seared flank steak.

Aside from its meal options, cocktails like white chocolate s’mores martini and winter wonderland martini are a must-try.

Take Your Kids to Bubala Indoor Playground Eldersburg

Treat your kids to a fun and safe indoor playground experience at Bubala Indoor Playground Eldersburg.

It is an interactive indoor playground for children ages 7 and under and an ideal venue to celebrate children’s parties.

Not only are the slides, inflatable playgrounds, and other play areas fun and exciting for children, but they are safe and allow kids to learn independence at a young age.

Located at Liberty Plaza, you can easily visit Bubala Indoor Playground Eldersburg during your shopping trip.

If you’d like to celebrate your child’s special day here, party packages include an hour of open play, use of the party room, and an extra-large pizza for all kids to enjoy.

Get All Your Needs at Eldersburg Commons

Eldersburg Commons is a sprawling shopping center for all your needs strategically located along Liberty Road.

The mall has everything you need: grocery stores, restaurants, department stores, clothing shops, car repair shops, and more.

It is also one of the few establishments with a charging station for electric vehicles, so you can safely charge your EVs here.

Whether you want to catch a movie, do some last-minute shopping, or satisfy your food cravings, find them all at Eldersburg Commons.

Some establishments include Petco, Auntie Anne’s, Walmart Supercenter, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and T.J. Maxx.

Bring Your Dogs to South Carroll Dog Park

If you’re traveling with your furry friend, treat them to a day out at South Carroll Dog Park, one of the few dog parks in the area.

The park was established due to the demand for a second dog park in the county, and the county commissioners approved the use of land behind the South Carroll Senior and Community Center.

Today, South Carroll Dog Park is a favorite hangout for dog owners to let their pets run off-leash and get a chance to play with and meet other dogs.

It has fenced areas to separate small and large dogs and water fountains to keep your pets hydrated.

But even if you don’t have your four-legged friend with you, you can stop by the park on Mineral Hill Road and watch the dogs run and play.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Patapsco Valley State Park – McKeldin Area

A gorgeous waterfall at Patapsco Valley State Park

Jon Bilous /

The Patapsco Valley State Park – McKeldin Area is a portion of the larger Patapsco Valley State Park located in Marriottsville, 30 minutes from Eldersburg.

The McKeldin Area is the park’s westernmost section and has multipurpose trails, a disc golf course, a fishing area, picnic shelters, and a rapids area.

With all these, a day trip to Patapsco Valley State Park – McKeldin Area is a must for outdoor lovers.

Nature trail at Patapsco Valley State Park

Curtis Clare /

Go hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding on the trails, which are popular with equestrians.

You can also hang out at the picnic shelters and bask in the peaceful atmosphere.

Biking at Patapsco Valley State Park

David O Navarro /

Make Your Own Pottery at Sykesville Pottery and Art Center

Channel your inner artist and create your own pottery at Sykesville Pottery and Art Center, a local art center in Sykesville, 10 minutes from Eldersburg.

The center is equipped with high-quality pottery wheels, a slab roller, an extruder, and other pottery tools and materials.

Visitors can choose between a 30-minute session with a quick demonstration before the hands-on experience or a longer 1-hour 30-minute session that delves deeper into the technical and mechanical process.

Aside from making your own poetry, Sykesville Pottery and Art Center has other activities for art enthusiasts of different ages.

It offers painting classes, paint-your-own-pottery sessions, glass fusing sessions, and summer programs.

Tour the Ellicott City Historic District

Buildings at Ellicott City Historic District

Nicole Glass Photography /

From Eldersburg, travel 25 minutes to Ellicott City and explore the streets of the Ellicott City Historic District.

Also known as Old Ellicott City, the National Register of Historic Places-listed district features local shops with timeless and swoon-worthy architecture.

One of the main sights in the Ellicott City Historic District is the oldest surviving train station in the country, built in 1830.

The street of Ellicott City Historic District

Nicole Glass Photography /

In addition, history buffs will like the old museums, log cabins, and places of interest that will let you in on the city’s past.

For art enthusiasts, drop by any of the studios or check out handmade jewelry and one-of-a-kind oriental art pieces at the art galleries.

You can also dine at the cozy restaurants, walk along the nature trails, or shop at the antique stores and locally-owned boutiques.

An antique store at Ellicott City Historic District

Nicole Glass Photography /

Shop for Fresh Produce at Bupperts / Doran’s Chance Farm

Bupperts / Doran’s Chance Farm is a farmer’s market in Marriottsville, located five minutes from Eldersburg.

The family-owned and operated farm has been around since 1951 and started as a traditional farm with livestock, grain, produce, and hay.

Today, it is a popular farmer’s market in Marriottsville, offering fresh flowers and herbs aside from fruits and vegetables.

The farm focuses on natural and sustainable practices and offers agri-educational programs emphasizing the importance of healthy food choices and environmentally safe agricultural practices.

At the farm, purchase fresh and organic tomatoes, onions, squash, berries, nectarines, and more.

During autumn, pay a visit to Bupperts / Doran’s Chance Farm and go on hayrides, pick your pumpkins, and get lost in the corn maze.

Visit Robinson Nature Center

Far view of the Robinson Nature Center

Sarr Cat, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in Columbia, Robinson Nature Center is a nature education center that opened in 2011 and is 30 minutes south of Eldersburg.

The facility has interactive exhibits on local wildlife and habitats, a children’s discovery room, play areas, outdoor trails, and more.

Its main building, an eye-catching structure with large glass windows, utilizes geothermal heating, green roofing, and recycled wood and was awarded a “Best Sustainability Project of the Year in New Construction.”

Explore Robinson Nature Center and immerse yourself in nature as you check out the exhibits and walk along the nature trails.

At the trails, find native plants and rain gardens, or follow the path to the Middle Patuxent River and the Simpsonville Mill, a historic pre-colonial mill complex.

Final Thoughts

Despite its reputation as a sleepy town, Eldersburg has much to offer tourists.

You can find quaint parks and green spaces for a change of scenery, local restaurants and pubs for foodies, and family-friendly establishments for everyone to enjoy.

If you’re looking for a weekend destination away from big cities like Baltimore, consider this city and take note of these best things to do in Eldersburg, Maryland!

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