Maryland, also known as the Old Line State, is a charming and diverse state on the East Coast of the United States. From historic landmarks to stunning natural landscapes, Maryland offers a wide array of attractions for visitors to explore. If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful state, you won’t want to miss these 16 best places to visit in Maryland.
Baltimore, the largest city in Maryland, is a vibrant and bustling city with a rich history and cultural heritage. One of the must-visit attractions in Baltimore is the Inner Harbor, a historic seaport that offers a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options.
Explore the historic ships docked at the harbor, or visit the National Aquarium, which houses thousands of marine animals and exhibits.
Another iconic landmark in Baltimore is Fort McHenry, a star-shaped fort that played a significant role in inspiring the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812. History buffs will also enjoy visiting the United States Naval Academy, located in nearby Annapolis, where you can take a tour of the historic campus and learn about the academy’s history and traditions.
For sports enthusiasts, Baltimore is home to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a historic baseball stadium that revolutionized sports architecture. Catch a game and experience the excitement of America’s pastime in a unique and historic setting. And if you’re looking for a lively and vibrant neighborhood, head to Fells Point, a waterfront district with cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and lively bars and restaurants.
2. Ocean City
If you’re a beach lover, Ocean City is the place to be in Maryland. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean City is Maryland’s premier beach destination, offering 10 miles of sandy beaches for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Take a stroll along the famous boardwalk, lined with amusement rides, games, and food vendors. Don’t forget to try some of the local seafood, such as Maryland crab cakes or steamed blue crabs.
For nature lovers, a visit to nearby Assateague State Park is a must. This barrier island is famous for its wild horses, which roam freely on the beach and grassy dunes. Explore the park’s hiking trails, go birdwatching, or simply relax on the pristine beaches.
Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland, is a charming and historic city with a rich maritime history. Start your visit by exploring the Maryland State House, the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use in the United States. Take a tour of this historic landmark and learn about the state’s history and government.
The United States Naval Academy is another must-visit attraction in Annapolis. Take a guided tour of the campus, visit the Naval Academy Museum, or attend a parade to witness the precision and discipline of the midshipmen.
Annapolis is also known for its beautiful waterfront and its location on the Chesapeake Bay. Explore the historic streets of downtown Annapolis, lined with colonial architecture, boutique shops, and art galleries. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Annapolis Maritime Museum, where you can learn about the city’s maritime heritage and explore exhibits on oyster harvesting, boatbuilding, and navigation.
4. Deep Creek Lake
Located in western Maryland, Deep Creek Lake is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. This 3,900-acre lake offers a wide range of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, swimming, and water sports. Relax on the sandy beaches or take a leisurely boat ride to explore the lake’s beautiful shoreline.
Surrounding the lake, you’ll find state parks and forests that offer hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and camping areas. One of the highlights of the area is Swallow Falls State Park, home to Muddy Creek Falls, the largest waterfall in the state of Maryland.
Take a hike through this picturesque park and admire the beauty of the waterfall, or continue on the trails to explore more of the park’s natural wonders.
5. The National Harbor
Situated on the banks of the Potomac River, the National Harbor is a waterfront development that offers a unique blend of entertainment, dining, and shopping options. Take a ride on the Capital Wheel, a giant Ferris wheel that offers panoramic views of the river and the surrounding area. Explore the art galleries and boutiques, or dine at one of the many restaurants that line the waterfront.
The National Harbor also features a visitor center, where you can learn more about the area’s history and attractions. Take a stroll along the marina, or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful views of the Potomac River.
6. Historic Ellicott City
Historic Ellicott City is a picturesque town located along the banks of the Patapsco River. The town’s main attraction is its historic Main Street, lined with charming shops, galleries, and restaurants. Take a stroll through the town, admire the well-preserved 19th-century architecture, and explore the unique boutiques and antique shops.
History enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the B&O Railroad Museum, located in historic Ellicott City. Learn about the history of the railroad in Maryland, explore historic locomotives and exhibits, or take a ride on the museum’s miniature train.
Ellicott City is also home to several historic sites, including the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin, the Ellicott City Colored School, and the Patapsco Female Institute. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the rich history of this charming town.
7. Silver Spring
Silver Spring is a vibrant and diverse city located just outside of Washington D.C. Known for its downtown area, downtown Silver Spring offers a wide range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options.
Explore the Silver Spring Arts District, home to art galleries, theaters, and cultural events. Spend a relaxing day at Acorn Park, a beautiful park with walking paths, picnic areas, and a serene pond.
Veterans Plaza is another popular attraction in Silver Spring, hosting concerts, festivals, and community events throughout the year. Visit the Fillmore, a historic concert venue that features a variety of live music performances, or explore the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, a historic movie theater that screens independent films, documentaries, and classic movies.
Downtown Frederick is a charming and historic city located in western Maryland. The city’s downtown area is filled with unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants, making it a perfect destination for a stroll.
Explore the history of the city by visiting the historic sites, including the Monocacy National Battlefield, which preserves the site of a significant Civil War battle.
Art lovers will enjoy the many art galleries located in downtown Frederick, showcasing a variety of art styles and mediums. The city is also home to several historic sites, including the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum, which is one of the oldest homes in Frederick, and Carroll Creek Park, known for its beautiful walkway and fountains.
Cambridge is a charming waterfront town located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It is known for its historic downtown area, which features beautifully preserved Victorian architecture, art galleries, boutique shops, and waterfront restaurants. Take a stroll along the waterfront, explore the marina, or dine at one of the many seafood restaurants.
Nature enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the nearby Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, home to a variety of wildlife and bird species. Take a hike or bike ride through the refuge, or go birdwatching to spot some of the resident and migratory birds.
History buffs should make a point of visiting the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, which tells the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Learn about Tubman’s life and her work to help enslaved people escape to freedom.
10. Assateague Island
Assateague Island is a barrier island located off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. It is known for its pristine beaches, wildlife, and of course, the famous wild horses that roam freely on the island. Spend a day at the beach, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, or sunbathing on the sandy shore. Explore the island’s nature trails, go birdwatching, or try your hand at fishing.
One of the main attractions on Assateague Island is the Assateague Island National Seashore, which offers camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the island’s wild horses, which are a unique and iconic sight.
11. Antietam National Battlefield
Antietam National Battlefield preserves the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Antietam. Explore the battlefield and learn about the events that took place during this historic battle. Visit the visitor center, where you can watch a short film about the battle, see battlefield artifacts, and learn about the soldiers who fought there.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the national cemetery, where thousands of soldiers are buried, including those who lost their lives during the battle. Take a walk through the cemetery and reflect on the sacrifice of those who fought in this pivotal moment of American history.
12. Swallow Falls State Park
Swallow Falls State Park is a hidden gem located in western Maryland, along the Youghiogheny River. This beautiful park is known for its scenic beauty, particularly its three main waterfalls, Muddy Creek Falls, Swallow Falls, and Tolliver Falls.
Hike along the park’s trails and enjoy the peacefulness of nature as you discover stunning vistas, towering hemlock trees, and cascading waterfalls. Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the river, or simply relax and have a picnic while enjoying the tranquility of the park.
13. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. This 28,000-acre refuge is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including over 250 species of birds, making it a popular destination for birdwatching.
Explore the refuge’s wildlife observation areas, or take a guided kayak tour of the marshes to get a closer look at the wildlife. The refuge also offers a variety of environmental education programs, including ranger-led hikes, wildlife talks, and photography workshops.
Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Berlin is a small, historic town with a lot of charm. Stroll down Main Street and admire the well-preserved Victorian architecture, unique boutiques, and antique shops that line the street. Berlin is known for its small-town atmosphere, friendly locals, and warm hospitality.
Take a self-guided walking tour of the town, or simply wander around and discover the hidden gems of Berlin. Don’t forget to visit the historic sites, such as the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, which offers a glimpse into the town’s history and heritage. Berlin is also home to several art galleries, showcasing a variety of local and regional art.
15. Ellicott City
Ellicott City, located in Howard County, Maryland, is a historic town with a rich history and small-town charm. Take a walk along Main Street, lined with historic buildings, boutique shops, and art galleries. Explore the town’s history by visiting the B&O Railroad Station Museum, which tells the story of Ellicott City’s past as a bustling mill town.
Ellicott City is also known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, thanks to its location on the Patapsco Valley. Take a hike or bike ride through the Patapsco Valley State Park, or go tubing or kayaking on the river.
For history buffs, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Ellicott City Colored School, which was the first public school for African Americans in Howard County.
16. Solomons Island
Solomons Island is a charming waterfront town located at the southern tip of Calvert County, Maryland, where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay. This historic island is known for its maritime history and industry, which is reflected in the many boatyards, marinas, and seafood restaurants that line the waterfront.
Visit the Calvert Marine Museum, a must-see attraction that tells the story of the Chesapeake Bay’s maritime history and ecology. Explore exhibits on the region’s unique wildlife, including a large collection of fossils, or climb to the top of the Drum Point Lighthouse for stunning views of the bay.
Take a stroll along the island’s boardwalk and enjoy the picturesque views of the waterfront, or simply relax and watch the boats go by. Don’t forget to try some of the local seafood, such as Maryland crab cakes or fresh oysters.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some must-see attractions in Maryland?
The best places to visit in Maryland, Some of the must-see attractions in Maryland include Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the national anthem, and the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, where you can explore historic ships, dine at waterfront restaurants, or visit the National Aquarium.
For nature lovers, a visit to Assateague Island National Seashore is a must, with its pristine beaches and wild horses. History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Antietam National Battlefield, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
Are there any hidden gems or lesser-known destinations worth visiting in Maryland?
The best places to visit in Maryland, Maryland is home to several hidden gems and lesser-known attractions that are worth exploring. These include:
Patapsco Valley State Park is a scenic park with hiking trails, waterfalls, and historic sites
Calvert Cliffs State Park, known for its fossil hunting opportunities along the Chesapeake Bay
St. Michaels, a historic town on the Eastern Shore with charming shops, seafood restaurants, and maritime museums
Chestertown is a small town on the Chester River with a rich history, colonial architecture, and a lively arts scene
What is the best time of year to visit Maryland for tourism?
The best time to visit Maryland for tourism depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to do. Spring and fall are generally considered the best seasons, with mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and beautiful fall foliage. Summer is popular for beach vacations, but can be crowded and hot.
Winter can be chilly, but it offers opportunities for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding in western Maryland. Maryland also has a variety of seasonal events throughout the year, such as the National Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring and the Maryland Renaissance Festival in the fall.
Are there any outdoor activities or natural landmarks to explore in Maryland?
The best places to visit in Maryland offer a plethora of outdoor activities, from hiking and kayaking to fishing. The state is also home to stunning natural landmarks like the Chesapeake Bay, Assateague Island, and Deep Creek Lake. Don’t forget to visit Catoctin Mountain Park and Great Falls National Park for more of Maryland’s natural beauty.
In conclusion, the best places to visit in Maryland offer a diverse range of attractions for every type of traveler. From the bustling city of Baltimore to the serene beauty of Deep Creek Lake, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply relaxing on the beach, Maryland has it all.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore hidden gems like the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge or the charming town of Berlin. And make sure to plan your visit during the best time of year to experience Maryland’s tourism at its peak. With so much to offer, Maryland should be on your travel bucket list. So start planning your trip and get ready to make unforgettable memories in the Old Line State.
Ferona Jose is a passionate travel writer and blogger at Travelistia. She has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her writing focuses on cheap travel destinations, travel experiences, cultural insights, and travel hacks.