Close Menu

Budget-Friendly Travel

Paddle Boats at rio | Gaithersburg, MD

Montgomery County, Maryland offers a variety of budget-friendly attractions and activities for travelers without sacrificing the fun! From Gaithersburg to Potomac, our list is filled with ways to explore the county with family and friends without breaking the bank.

Gaithersburg + Germantown
Rio is Gaithersburg’s premier shopping and dining destination in a vibrant setting. Enjoy a budget-friendly meal by the lake at Potbelly, Nando’s Peri-Peru, Poki DC, BGR The Burger Joint, or Corner Bakery.

After your meal, rent a paddleboat, let the kids have some fun on the playground, grab some sweet treats from IT’SUGAR, window shop around retail row, or take a ride on The Carousel for $6. During the warmer months, catch free live music and a concert series from local artists on the lawn.*

Family-owned farm Butler’s Orchard in Germantown is perfect for all ages and allows visitors to pick their own variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers straight from the source. Other activities on the farm include feeding the farm animals and playing on the playground. Tickets are $5 or $10 per person depending on the day of the week and children under 24 months get free admission.

National Capital Trolley Museum | Colesville, MD

East County
For just $10 for adults and $8 for children and seniors, visitors can learn about the deep history of trolleys, streetcars, trains, and more at the National Capital Trolley Museum. Admission includes museum displays, docent-led tours, and unlimited streetcar rides.

North Bethesda + Potomac
With nearly 300 acres of landscape integrated with all of its architecture and artwork, you’ll find yourself completely immersed in arts and culture at the iconic Glenstone Museum. During your visit, relax and grab a bite to eat at their café where they offer quick meals like soups, salads, and sandwiches. Admission is always free and advanced reservations are required. It is important to note that all visitors must be 12 or older and all minors (ages 12-17) must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Explore everything the C&O National Historical Park has to offer including hiking the Billy Goat Trail, viewing the famous waterfalls at Great Falls, spotting wildlife, visiting the Great Falls Visitor Center, and even fishing.

Glenstone Museum | Pavilions | Potomac, MD

Bethesda/Chevy Chase
There are so many open-spaced parks and trails in Montgomery County, Maryland and you don’t need to bring your own bike to explore them! Aside from parks, biking is a great way to explore the county’s outdoor art scene and Arts & Entertainment District. Bike rentals from Capital Bikeshare and local shops like Big Wheels Bikes in Bethesda are readily accessible across the county.

Choose to see a live theatre performance in a variety of genres like comedy and drama at the Round House Theatre. The theater offers a “Free Play” program which allows any student above the age of 12 to see a show at no cost.*

Afterwards, grab a slice of wood-fired artisanal pizza from Cipolla Rossa Pizza at Bethesda Farmers Market on Sundays. Pizza lovers will love all of their delicious and cheesy options including crowd favorites like Smokey Shroom, Hot Mutz, and “Say Cheese”.


Hike Sugarloaf Mountain, a 1,000-foot high mountain with farmland views. This hike is catered to all different skill levels making it the best activity for a range of people. We recommend heading to the mountain during the mornings or evenings to view the sunrise or sunset from the very top.

Find the best deals from some of the top retailers in the world such as Old Navy, Sketchers, and Bath and Body Works at Clarksburg Premium Outlets. Shop your way around more than 90 stores that offer savings of 25% to 65% off. After your shopping spree, try out a fresh empanada from La Poteria, a Colombian-inspired food truck open at the outlets on weekends.

Agricultural History Farm Park
Ag History Farm Park | Derwood, MD

To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the Agricultural Reserve is the place to be and perfect for a budget-friendly outing. Explore the scenic 455-acre Agricultural History Farm Park which includes an apple orchard, open fields, farm animals, a modern farming center, and buildings rich in history. Learn about the dairy industry at the King Barn Dairy MOOseum and then enjoy an ice cream cone with “jimmies” also known as “sprinkles” from Jimmie Cone.

*Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the live concert series at Rio and Round House Theatre performances are currently on hold until further notice.