Top 15 Maryland Attractions and Best Places to Visit

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Best Places to Visit in Maryland

Maryland offers a wide variety of attractions and things to do with its landscape extending from the seashore (the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean) to the mountains (the Appalachians) to urban areas (Baltimore and the Washington DC suburbs). In one day you can enjoy the wonderful scenery and outdoor activities as well as visit museums, historic sites, and cultural events.

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Maryland Eastern Shore

Maryland, Eastern Shore, St. Michaels, harbor
Stephen Saks/Getty Images

The "Eastern Shore", the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay, is Maryland's most popular attraction. The region is characterized by historic towns, beaches and beautiful natural areas that draw a crowd during the summer months. Visit Chestertown, St. Michaels, Cambridge, Ocean City or Assateague Island. Each town has its own unique character and is well worth a visit. 

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Baltimore Inner Harbor

The National Aquarium in Inner Harbor
Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images

Baltimore is a fun place to spend the day—walk along the docks, shop, eat and watch people. It is the largest city in the state of Maryland and the Inner Harbor is a prime destination for all ages with world-class attractions including the National Aquarium, Camden Yards, Port Discovery, Baltimore's Historic Ships, Maryland Science Center, Pier Six Pavilion, and Horseshoe Casino.

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Annapolis City Dock

winter sunrise at Annapolis's City Dock
Charlie Stinchcomb/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Historic Attractions
4.7

Enjoy shopping, dining and the beautiful scenery of the state capital of Maryland and the sailing capital of America. Take a sightseeing cruise or walking tour and learn about the history of this beautiful seaport. Annapolis is the home of the United States Naval Academy and St. John's College, the third oldest institution of higher education in the United States. 

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C & O Canal National Historic Park

River running along C&O Towpath
Eric Foltz/Getty Images

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (C & O Canal) is a national historic park that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The 184.5-mile towpath extends from Georgetown in Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland. Walking or bicycling along the towpath, you can view original structures including locks, lockhouses, and aqueducts.

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Deep Creek Lake

Adirondack Chairs by Lake
Jumping Rocks/UIG/Getty Images

Deep Creek Lake is one of the top getaway destinations in the state of Maryland. Mountains, rivers, and lakes offer a wide selection of activities from active outdoor adventures to just plain relaxing. Enjoy hiking, bicycling, picnicking, boating, fishing, camping, swimming, and horseback riding in warmer weather and skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling during the winter months. 

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Maryland Live Casino

Maryland Live casino
Rachel Cooper

Located halfway between Baltimore and Washington DC, the casino features Las Vegas-style slot machines and electronic table games, including Blackjack, Roulette, Mini-Baccarat, and Pai Gow Poker. The $500 million gaming destination offers a variety of dining options and live entertainment.

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Six Flags America

Family playing in water at Six Flags America
Courtesy of Six Flags America

Six Flags America is the largest attraction for kids in the state of Maryland featuring more than 100 rides, shows, and the area's largest water park. The amusement park is a big attraction for all ages with 10 roller coasters with names like Wild One, Joker’s Jinx and Superman Ride of Steel. The show lineup includes an internationally awarded stunt show that is entertaining for all and younger kids enjoy the Looney Tunes Movie Town, where they can meet Bugs Bunny. The park is open April through October. 

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Strathmore Music Center

The Strathmore Music Center
The United States Army Band/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Live Music Venues
4.7

The 2,000-seat state-of-the-art concert hall brings world-class performances and arts education to Montgomery County, Maryland. Strathmore holds performances by major national artists including folk, blues, pop, jazz, show tunes, and classical music. Concerts and children's performances are held outdoors on the lawn during the summer months. AMP by Strathmore, a performance and event space within Pike & Rose, opened in 2015 featuring a 250-seat music venue for additional performances. 

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Brookside Gardens

Japanese pagoda at Brookside Gardens
Edward Kreis/dK.i imaging/Getty Images

The 50-acre award winning garden is one of Montgomery County, Maryland's top attractions including an aquatic garden, azalea garden, butterfly garden, rose garden, children's garden, formal garden, fragrance garden, Japanese style garden, and trial garden. Brookside Gardens offers a variety of educational programs for adults and children. ​

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National Harbor

Gaylord National Resort
Courtesy of Gaylord National Resort

The 300-acre waterfront destination along the Potomac River is a $2.1 billion mixed-use community in Prince George's County, Maryland that includes hotels, restaurants, retail stores, condominiums, a full-service marina, a convention center, and commercial office space. National Harbor is a great place to shop, dine and play. 

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Merriweather Post Pavilion

Cobra Starship perform live in concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion
Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

The outdoor concert venue is nestled within the 40 preserved acres known as Symphony Woods in Columbia, Maryland conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, DC. A wide range of musical performances are held April through September. 

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Historic Ellicott City

Former mill town now antique center, Ellicott City, Maryland
Walter Bibikow/Getty Images
Historic Attractions
4.5

During the late 1700s, Ellicott's Mills was the largest flour milling center in the region. Today, the quaint town in Howard County, Maryland is a fun place to visit and is known for its historic charm as well as a nice selection of antique and specialty shops and unique restaurants and cafes. 

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Maryland Parks

The view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain
Mr.TinDC/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Maryland's diverse geography from the Appalachian Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay to marshland on the Eastern Shore to the Atlantic Ocean make it a fun place to explore. The state has a wonderful variety of parks that offer endless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Enjoy activities such as hiking, bicycling, picnicking, boating, fishing, camping, rock climbing, horseback riding and much more. 

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AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center

AFI Silver Theatre
Courtesy of AFI Silver Theatre
Theaters & Performance
4.7

The American Film Institute (AFI), located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, is America's national arts organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television, and digital media. Events include filmmaker interviews, panels, discussions, musical performances and more. 

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NASA Goddard Visitor Center

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Visitor Center
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Visitor Center/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland offers many unique programs, special events and presentations that highlight Goddard's Earth and Space Science, engineering, and technology work. Exhibits include interactive displays and models, as well as real examples of satellites and rocket flight hardware. Closed Sunday and Monday. ​