Close to home: 51 fresh summer destinations

The just-renovated Hampton Mansion near Baltimore was the USA's largest private home when completed in 1790. Today, the estate is run by the U.S. Park Service as the Hampton National Historic Site. It includes a manor house — a stellar example of Georgian architecture — plus impressive gardens and original stone slave quarters. 410-823-1309; — Kitty Bean Yancey


The island of Nantucket was once the Interstate 95 of shipping for food and other goods, as well as whaling. Not every trip was blessed with calm seas, as the revamped and renamed Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum attests. Brimming with artifacts, photos and dramatic tales of sea rescues near this "graveyard of the Atlantic," the museum will reopen July — Kitty Bean Yancey


Rothbury Festival, a music and camping extravaganza to be staged July 3-6 at the sprawling Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, bills itself as a "party with a purpose," using high-wattage rock acts to raise awareness of climate change and clean-energy choices. In addition to 70-plus bands, highlighted by Dave Matthews, John Mayer and Widespread Panic, there will be a scientists-led Think Tank and an interactive Energy Fair. 888-512-7469; — Jerry Shriver


Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater caps off its third summer in its new building with the world premiere of Little House on the Prairie, a musical based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House book series. Francesca Zambello (most recently director of Disney's The Little Mermaid on Broadway) directs the show, which depicts life on the Midwest frontier. Previews begin July 26; performances will run Aug. 15-Oct. 5. Box office, 877-447-8243; — Jerry Shriver


Severely damaged when Hurricane Katrina pummeled the state's Gulf Coast in 2005, the Biloxi retirement home of Confederacy President Jefferson Davis reopens June 3, in time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Davis' birth. Among the opening-day tributes at the 52-acre seaside estate, known as Beauvoir, will be a military processional, musket and artillery salute, and music. 228-388-4400; — Laura Bly


Just look at yourself! Self-assessment is the whole point of the YouZeum in Columbia, a new interactive health-science museum that explains to visitors how the human body works. The 3-D All Systems Go movie spurts viewers through the heart of the matter while virtual-reality games test their reactive abilities. Afterward, a virtual vending machine called Snackster dispenses healthy advice. 573-886-2006; — Jerry Shriver


Native American craftspeople, Chinese dragon dancers and cowboy poets are among the multicultural performers touching down in uptown Butte July 11-13 for the National Folk Festival. Sponsored by the National Council for Traditional Arts, the event begins the first of a three-summer stint in Butte. Performances on seven stages will showcase blues, jazz, zydeco, gospel and other musical styles. More than 250 musicians, dancers and craftspeople are expected at the event, which also will feature hands-on workshops and other chances to join in. Admission is free. 406-497-6464; . — Jayne Clark


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