22 Breathtakingly Beautiful Places to Visit in Maryland

Breathtakingly Beautiful Places to Visit in Maryland

Maryland, located on the eastern coast of the United States, is a state that offers a diverse range of attractions for history buffs, nature lovers, and adventure seekers alike. From the historic streets of Annapolis to the bustling city of Baltimore, there are countless places to explore and discover in the Old Line State. In this ultimate guide, we will take you on a journey through the 22 best places to visit in Maryland, each offering its unique charm and appeal.

Best Places to Visit in Maryland

Maryland is home to a wealth of attractions, from historic sites to picturesque state parks, lively waterfront areas, and charming small towns. Whether you’re interested in exploring the history of the state, taking in the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay, or indulging in delicious Maryland cuisine, there’s something for everyone. Let’s dive into our list of the best places to visit in Maryland and start planning your next adventure.

1. Annapolis

Annapolis
Annapolis

Nestled on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is the capital of Maryland and a city steeped in history and maritime charm. Start your visit with a tour of the impressive Maryland State House, the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use. Explore the United States Naval Academy and learn about the history of the Navy.

Stroll along Main Street, lined with boutique shops and restaurants, and take in the picturesque views of the harbor. Don’t forget to sample some of the delicious seafood Annapolis is known for at one of the waterfront restaurants.

2. Chesapeake Beach

Chesapeake Beach

Escape to the charming Chesapeake Beach, a waterfront town on the Chesapeake Bay known for its beautiful beaches, live music scene, and family-friendly attractions. Spend the day swimming or sunbathing at the beach, try your luck with fishing or crabbing, or enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the bay.

Chesapeake Beach is also home to a lively boardwalk with arcades, shops, and restaurants. Don’t miss the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum, where you can learn about the town’s history as a railroad resort destination.

3. Baltimore

Baltimore
Baltimore

No visit to Maryland is complete without exploring the vibrant city of Baltimore. Start your journey at the Inner Harbor, a bustling waterfront area with a variety of attractions, including the iconic National Aquarium, where you can get up close to marine life from around the world.

History buffs will enjoy visiting historic sites such as Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the national anthem, and Fells Point, a historic district filled with 18th-century homes, cobblestone streets, and charming shops. Immerse yourself in the city’s cultural scene, with art galleries, museums, and live music venues scattered throughout.

4. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

For nature lovers and history enthusiasts, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park is a must-visit destination. Stretching 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland, this park offers a glimpse into the history of the Ohio Canal, which was once an important transportation route during the Civil War era.

Explore the park’s scenic towpath, hike or bike along the river, or even take a mule-drawn canal boat ride. Along the way, you’ll encounter historic lockhouses, aqueducts, and boatyards that tell the story of the canal’s past.

5. Frederick

Frederick
Frederick

Step back in time and visit the historic city of Frederick, Maryland. This charming city is rich in history, with a wealth of historic sites to explore. Discover the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, which showcases the medical practices of the era, or admire the art at the Weinberg Center for the Arts.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the nearby state parks, such as Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park, where they can hike, bike, or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery. Foodies will delight in the city’s farm-to-table restaurants and craft breweries, offering a taste of local flavors.

6. Deep Creek Lake

Deep Creek Lake
Deep Creek Lake

Located in western Maryland, Deep Creek Lake is a stunning freshwater lake surrounded by forests, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Spend your days boating, fishing, or swimming in the lake, or explore the surrounding state park, which offers miles of hiking trails and breathtaking mountain views.

In the winter, the lake transforms into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Deep Creek Lake has it all.

7. Historic Ellicott City

Historic Ellicott City
Historic Ellicott City

Nestled in the hills of central Maryland, Historic Ellicott City is a quaint town with a rich history. Explore Main Street, lined with charming shops, art galleries, and historic buildings dating back to the 19th century. Stroll along the picturesque streets, visit local museums, or enjoy a meal at one of the town’s many restaurants. Don’t miss a visit to the B&O Railroad Museum, where you can learn about the history of railroads in Maryland and see historic locomotives and rolling stock.

8. Silver Spring

Silver Spring
Silver Spring

Located just north of Washington, D.C., Silver Spring is a vibrant city known for its lively downtown area. Explore the city’s art galleries, catch live music performances, or attend cultural festivals throughout the year.

Visit the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre, which showcases classic and contemporary films, or explore the Discovery Communications headquarters, home to TV networks like Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.

Nature lovers can escape to nearby Rock Creek Park or explore the stunning floral displays at Brookside Gardens. History buffs can visit the National Museum of Health and Medicine, showcasing the history of military medicine.

9. Cambridge

Cambridge
Cambridge

Located on the eastern shore of Maryland, Cambridge is a picturesque city with a rich history and proximity to the Chesapeake Bay. Explore the charming downtown area, visit art galleries and shops, or take a bike ride along the waterfront.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the nearby Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, home to a diverse range of wildlife and scenic landscapes. Don’t miss the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center, where you can learn about the life and legacy of the renowned abolitionist.

10. Calvert Cliffs State Park

Calvert Cliffs State Park
Calvert Cliffs State Park

Nature lovers and fossil enthusiasts will be captivated by Calvert Cliffs State Park. Located along the Chesapeake Bay, this state park is renowned for its unique fossils, including shark teeth and prehistoric shells.

Take a leisurely hike along the park’s sandy shores, or join a guided tour to learn about the park’s natural history. Engage in birdwatching, beachcombing, or picnicking amidst the park’s picturesque landscapes. Immerse yourself in the park’s diverse wildlife, from forest-dwelling creatures to marine life.

11. Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park
Patapsco Valley State Park

Nestled along the Patapsco River, Patapsco Valley State Park offers outdoor enthusiasts a plethora of activities to enjoy. Explore the park’s extensive hiking trails, which wind through lush forests, alongside cascading waterfalls, and up challenging inclines.

Discover the park’s historic sites, including the ruins of 19th-century mill towns that offer a glimpse into Maryland’s industrial past.

Engage in river activities such as fishing, canoeing, or kayaking, or simply relax and appreciate the park’s scenic beauty. Patapsco Valley State Park is a haven for nature lovers, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

12. Ocean City

Ocean City
Ocean City

Located on a barrier island along the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean City is a popular destination for beach lovers and families seeking fun-filled activities. Enjoy miles of sandy beaches, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and building sandcastles.

Take a stroll along the iconic boardwalk, lined with shops, amusement parks, and restaurants. Indulge in delicious seafood or try your luck at one of the arcade games. Ocean City also offers a variety of family-friendly activities, from mini-golf to go-kart racing, ensuring entertainment for all ages.

13. Assateague Island

Assateague Island
Assateague Island

Assateague Island, located on the eastern shore of Maryland, is a unique and breathtaking natural wonder. This barrier island is home to the famous wild horses, which roam freely across the island’s beaches, marshes, and forests. Explore the Assateague Island National Seashore and immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty.

Relax on the pristine beaches, go birdwatching or wildlife viewing, or take a scenic hike along the island’s trails. Assateague Island is a paradise for nature lovers, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

14. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

The Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal, often referred to as the “Grand Old Ditch,” is a historic canal that stretches 184.5 miles from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. Built in the 19th century, the canal played a crucial role in transporting goods during the Civil War era.

Today, visitors can explore the canal’s towpath, which offers scenic views of the Potomac River and opportunities for hiking, biking, and wildlife observation. Discover the canal’s lockhouses, aqueducts, and historic structures that provide a glimpse into its storied past.

15. Baltimore

Baltimore
Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland’s largest city, is a vibrant metropolis with a rich history and a wealth of attractions to explore. Start your visit at the Inner Harbor, a bustling waterfront area filled with restaurants, shops, and cultural institutions.

Take a boat tour of the harbor, visit the iconic National Aquarium, or catch a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles. Immerse yourself in the city’s art scene at the Walters Art Museum or explore the history of the national anthem at Fort McHenry. Baltimore offers endless opportunities for entertainment, culture, and history.

16. Visit a classic American saloon

 classic American saloon
classic American saloon

No visit to Maryland is complete without stepping into a classic American saloon. These historic establishments are not just places to grab a drink; they are a window into American history. Enjoy live music, soak in the ambiance, and engage in conversations with locals, immersing yourself in the stories and traditions of the past.

From the Wild West-inspired décor to the vintage memorabilia, these saloons exude nostalgia and authenticity, providing a unique and memorable experience.

17. Worship craft beer at the Ministry of Brewing

Worship craft beer at the Ministry of Brewing
Worship craft beer at the Ministry of Brewing

If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, make sure to visit the Ministry of Brewing in Maryland. This brewery is located in a historic building, adding to its unique charm. Discover an array of artisanal, small-batch beers, each crafted with precision and passion.

Embark on a beer-tasting experience, exploring unique flavors and brewing techniques. Engage with knowledgeable staff or brewers, gaining insights into the art of craft beer production. Unwind in a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere, surrounded by fellow beer enthusiasts. The Ministry of Brewing embodies a commitment to quality, innovation, and a deep-rooted brewing tradition.

18. Get lost in the George Peabody Library

Get lost in the George Peabody Library
Get lost in the George Peabody Library

For book lovers and architectural enthusiasts, a visit to the George Peabody Library is a must. Located in Baltimore, this historic library boasts an impressive collection of rare books, manuscripts, and literary treasures. Marvel at the library’s architectural grandeur, featuring ornate designs and historic elegance.

Bask in the serene ambiance, conducive to quiet reading, contemplation, or scholarly pursuits. Engage in guided tours or lectures, delving into the library’s legacy, architecture, and literary significance. The George Peabody Library stands as a cultural and academic landmark, inspiring visitors with its literary riches.

20. Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park
Rocky Gap State Park

Escape to the peaceful beauty of Rocky Gap State Park, located in western Maryland. This state park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking along scenic trails to fishing and boating on the lake.

Take in the picturesque views of the mountains, relax on the sandy beach, or try your luck at the park’s casino, which offers a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment. Rocky Gap State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, providing a serene retreat surrounded by nature’s beauty.

21. Indulge in a steamed crab feast

a steamed crab feast
a steamed crab feast

No visit to Maryland is complete without indulging in a steamed crab feast, a beloved local tradition. Maryland is renowned for its fresh, flavorful crabs, which are steamed to perfection and served with a variety of seasonings.

Join in the communal and festive atmosphere as you crack open the steamed crabs, savoring their unique flavors. Enjoy the taste of Maryland’s maritime traditions, from the Chesapeake Bay to your plate. A steamed crab feast is a culinary experience that immerses you in the local culture and cuisine of the state.

22. Explore the Crystal Grottoes Caverns

Crystal Grottoes Caverns
Crystal Grottoes Caverns

Unleash your inner explorer and venture into the Crystal Grottoes Caverns, a hidden gem in Maryland. Marvel at the breathtaking underground natural formations, including stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Embark on a guided tour of the caverns, where you’ll learn about their geological history and significance.

Immerse yourself in the underground world, surrounded by the wonders of nature. The Crystal Grottoes Caverns offer a captivating and educational experience, inviting visitors to discover the magic of Maryland’s natural treasures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-visit attractions in Maryland?

The inner harbor in Baltimore, with its iconic National Aquarium and historic sites.

Ocean City is a popular beach destination on the Atlantic Ocean, known for its boardwalk and family-friendly activities.

The Antietam National Battlefield is a historic site that commemorates one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Assateague Island is a barrier island known for its wild horses and pristine beaches.

Are there any hidden gems or off-the-beaten-path destinations that are worth checking out in Maryland?

Yes, Maryland has several hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations that are worth exploring. Some examples include small towns such as Historic Ellicott City, Cambridge, and Frederick, each offering a unique history, art galleries, and charming main streets.

These towns provide a glimpse into Maryland’s rich heritage and offer a more intimate and local experience. Other hidden gems include the Crystal Grottoes Caverns, a natural wonder hidden underground, and the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.

What are some family-friendly activities to do in Maryland?

Visit the Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore, a fun and interactive museum for kids of all ages.

Explore the family-friendly attractions in Ocean City, such as amusement parks, mini-golf, and go-kart racing.

Enjoy a day of boating, swimming, or fishing on the Chesapeake Bay, with plenty of family-friendly activities available.

Discover the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, featuring hands-on exhibits and interactive displays for the whole family.

Conclusion

Maryland is a state with a plethora of attractions that cater to every interest. Whether you’re into history, nature, or simply exploring new places, Maryland has something for everyone. From the historic city of Annapolis to the natural beauty of Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, there’s no shortage of exciting destinations to explore.

And let’s not forget about the delicious food and unique experiences Maryland has to offer. Indulge in a steamed crab feast, worship craft beer at the Ministry of Brewing, or get lost in the grandeur of the George Peabody Library. Maryland truly has it all.

So, whether you’re a local looking for new adventures or a visitor planning a trip, make sure to check out these 22 best places to visit in Maryland. And if you have any other recommendations or hidden gems to share, don’t forget to comment below!

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