10 Best Things to Do in Maryland: Top-Rated Attractions 2022
A popular nickname for Maryland is America in Miniature. That’s an apt description of the Mid-Atlantic state that offers a little bit of everything. You’ll find coastal destinations, waterfront cities, stunning mountains, historic national parks, and maritime towns within its borders.
Its proximity to Washington, DC, keeps it modern, but the region’s incredible history means the state is firmly rooted in the past. From major cities like Baltimore and Annapolis to magnificent bodies of water dotted throughout the state, here are the best places to visit in Maryland:
The city of Baltimore is an exciting place to visit in Maryland, and its Inner Harbor is the center of the action. The National Aquarium in the Inner Harbor is the city’s biggest attraction, packed with more than 17,000 species ranging from seahorses to sharks.
You can see entire marine ecosystems inside a single colossal glass tank, and you can watch 4D movies showing the ocean’s depths.
Also in the Inner Harbor is the Top of the World, an observation deck that allows you to admire the city from a 27th-floor vantage point. If you’re itching for a pirate-themed adventure to the town, take to the open sea with a swashbuckling ride on a pirate ship, with costumed ship’s crew and even a fire cannon.”
2. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
The C&O Canal, or the Chesapeake Canal and Ohio Canal, was built in the mid-19th century from Washington, DC to Cumberland, more than 100 miles.
Along most of the canal, some trails offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, or just admiring the view. Since the area is steeped in history, there are also many attractions surrounding various critical points along the canal.
During the summer, boat tours are available at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center and the Williamsport Visitor Center. Although few people cover the entire trail, visiting a small piece of history can be a memorable experience.
3. Ocean City
As its name suggests, Ocean City is located on the water’s edge. Being on the Atlantic Ocean means that the 10-mile sandy beach, and all the recreational activities that go along with it, are a great reason to visit.
The historic boardwalk is a must-see attraction located at the southern end of Ocean City Beach. Along the path, you can stop to play games, see live performers, shop, dine on delicious beach favorites, and even visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.
4. Assateague Island
Off the coast of Maryland is the barrier island of Assateague. This uninhabited island is divided, with half being a state park and the other half a US National Seashore.
The beautiful island is best known for its wild ponies, making a stunning sight as they run along the sandy dunes off the coast.
A walk along the Dune Life Trail is a beautiful experience, allowing you to admire the scenery, listen to the ocean waves and see the many birds that call the area home. Swimming is possible at most of the island’s beaches, and there are lifeguards at the busiest places.
5. Deep Creek Lake
In the verdant forests of Maryland, there is an artificial lake known as Deep Creek Lake. The lake’s area bears the same name and is an outdoor recreation center for locals and visitors.
During the winter, the mountains around Deep Creek Lake are famous for skiing. Golf can be played at more than half a dozen regional courses during the summer.
All kinds of water activities are available, but one of the most fun ways to spend the day is on land. At the Miller Amish Farm, you can head out in the afternoon on a horse-drawn carriage ride, exploring everyday life on a traditional Amish farm.
6. Swallow Falls State Park
Outside of Oakland is Swallow Hills State Park. The Youghiogheny River flows through the park’s boundaries, creating many impressive rapids and beautiful gorges.
A highlight of any visit to Swallow Falls State Park is the Muddy Creek Falls, a 50-foot-tall waterfall that makes a serious splash. An easy one-mile hike will take you to the falls, passing through beautiful hemlock trees along the way.
If you’re in the mood for a longer, more strenuous hike, you can hike from Swallow Falls to Herrington Manor State Park, a marked walk that’s a little longer than five miles.
As the capital of Maryland, Annapolis is a great city with many worthwhile attractions. Much of the architecture is historic in the city center, with a significant portion dating back to the 17th, 18th, or 19th centuries.
The Annapolis City Dock is a popular place to hang out. In addition to seeing Naval Academy midshipmen performing exercises in uniform, the pier is home to lots of live music and, of course, huge ships coming in and out daily.
Tours of the United States Naval Academy are also available, which can be arranged through the Armet-Leftwich Visitor Center.
8. Antietam National Battlefield
The Battle of Antietam is the bloodiest day in American military history. That means the Antietam National Battlefield is a vital landmark worth exploring.
The best way to visit the great battlefield is to start at the Visitor Center. From there, it’s a nearly 9-mile route with an audio guide. For the Civil War enthusiast, this can’t be beaten.
You can also visit the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, which has fantastic exhibits showing the extent of what the doctors and nurses faced during the battle. Finally, you can appreciate the scenery and natural beauty of the area by walking along the Antietam Remembered Trails or the Union Advance Trails.
9. The Chesapeake Bay
One of the largest estuaries on the planet is the vast Chesapeake Bay, once known as Great Shellfish Bay. Countless destinations throughout Maryland are situated right on the waters of the bay, meaning there is a myriad of ways to experience the location.
You can admire the waters as you drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Sandy Point, or you can immerse yourself in the Methodist community found on Smith Island. Wherever you go, don’t miss Chesapeake Bay’s regional culinary specialty: Maryland Blue Crabs.
If you are a fan of antiques, there is no better place to visit than the small town of Frederick. Founded in the mid-18th century, Frederick retains its historic atmosphere, and there are several great antique malls, local merchants, and artists in the area.
There are also many historic homes that you can visit, such as the Barbara Fritchie House. This house is furnished in period decor, and Barbara Fritchie was a hero known for bravely waving the Union flag even as General Stonewall Jackson passed by.
Market Street is the best place to start shopping for vintage souvenirs, although the Francis Scott Key Mall is a great alternative.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in Maryland
What is the number one attraction in Maryland?
A trip to Maryland would not be complete without a visit to the Baltimore Inner Harbor. The Baltimore Inner Harbor is a central location for some of the most popular Maryland attractions.
Is there anything interesting in Maryland?
Home to everything from sleek shopping malls to ruggedly remote mountains, Maryland is a great place for a vacation. It has a little something for everyone, so whether you’re into food, art, music, history, nature or culture, you can find plenty of cool places to visit.
What is Maryland known best for?
Home to the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is known for its blue crabs and the city of Baltimore, a major historic trading port, baseball power and birthplace of the national anthem.
Does Maryland get snow?
Snow. Average seasonal snowfall: 20.6 inches. Ranges from 10 inches on the lower Eastern Shore to 110 inches in Garrett County. The most snowfall ever recorded in a single winter in Maryland was during the winter of 2009-10, when 262.5 inches of snow fell at Keysers Ridge in Garrett County.
Why should I visit Maryland?
Variety is the spice of life and Maryland has it all. The scenery changes year-round but it always remains beautiful. Speaking of scenery, if you’re a beach lover, you’ll love hitting up the nearly 8,000 miles of shoreline on Maryland’s east coast. Western Maryland is home to rolling mountains.
Is Maryland a safe state?
With #1 being the best, Maryland is ranked #20 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C. You have a 1.95% chance of being a property crime victim in Maryland in the next 12 months. Maryland’s property crime rate is 8% lower than the average crime rate in the United States.
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