The Top 12 Places to Visit in Maryland

Ocean City Maryland Aerial View

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With its landscape extending from the seashore (the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean) to the mountains (the Appalachians) to urban areas (Baltimore and Annapolis), Maryland offers a wide variety of things to do. In one day, you can immerse yourself in the state's wonderful scenery and outdoor activities before visiting its museums and historic sites. From the Eastern Shore to the suburbs of Washington, D.C., here are the top places to visit in Maryland.

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Baltimore, Maryland

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The largest city in the state of Maryland, Baltimore makes for a great weekend getaway. You could easily spend an entire day exploring the city's Inner Harbor, which features world-class attractions like the National Aquarium, Port Discovery, Baltimore's Historic Ships, and the Maryland Science Center. However, be sure to visit the city's other neighborhoods, including Fell's Point, listed on the National Register of Historic Districts, and Hampden for its independent shops, restaurants, and buzzing cocktail scene (The Bluebird Cocktail Room is a must-visit).

Baltimore, MD, USA
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Ocean City

Ocean City, Maryland

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Located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the town of Ocean City is infused with nostalgia and good ol' Americana. Here, you'll find 10 miles of white-sand beaches, mini-golf courses, go-kart tracks, and Trimper's Rides, the world's oldest continuously family-owned-and-operated amusement park. Don't leave without hitting up the 3-mile Ocean City Boardwalk, open since 1902, for arcade games, shopping, and a spin on Jolly Roger Amusement Park's Ferris wheel. When you get hungry, grab a cup of Thrasher's Fries or settle in at On the Bay Seafood for "heavy" blue crab.

Ocean City, MD, USA
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Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park

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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, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. Walking or bicycling along the towpath, you can view original structures including locks and aqueducts. If you're planning to do the trail all in one go, consider booking a stay at one of the seven historic lockhouses along the canal.

142 W Potomac St, Williamsport, MD 21795, USA
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View of boats by the Annapolis Harbor and the city
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The state capital of Maryland has a little bit of everything: Enjoy dining on steamed crabs at Cantler's Riverside Inn, browsing boutique shops on Main Street, and touring 18th-century buildings in the city's historic district—including the Maryland State House, the country's oldest capitol building in continuous use. And because Annapolis is the sailing capital of America, consider diving into the city's nautical heritage by visiting either the Annapolis Maritime Museum or U.S. Naval Academy, then setting sail on a sightseeing cruise through the Chesapeake Bay.

Annapolis, MD, USA
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Deep Creek Lake

Deep Creek Lake Maryland
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Offering a wide selection of activities for outdoor adventures, Deep Creek Lake is one of the top getaway destinations in the state of Maryland. In the summer and fall, you can enjoy everything from hiking, cycling, and horseback riding to boating and fishing. Come winter, the area is great for skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Located in Western Maryland’s Garrett County, you can either camp at Deep Creek Lake State Park or stay at a hotel in McHenry.

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, USA
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The National Harbor

Ferris wheel at National Harbor in Maryland outside Washington DC

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The National Harbor, found just 20 minutes south of Washington, D.C., is a 300-acre waterfront destination along the Potomac River. The $2.1 billion mixed-use community in Prince George's County, Maryland is home to hotels, restaurants, retail stores, condominiums, a full-service marina, Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, and commercial office space. Shop, dine, and play your way around here, or get out on the water by renting a kayak, paddleboard, or pedal boat.

National Harbor, Fort Washington, MD 20745, USA
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Historic Ellicott City

The Tiber River in Ellicott City, Maryland.

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During the late 1700s, Ellicott Mills was the largest flour milling center in the region—and while the area closed down its last commercial grain mill in 2020, it's still imbued with historic charm. A 30-minute drive from Baltimore, this quaint town in Howard County, Maryland makes for a fun day trip. Stop by the B&O Ellicott City Station Museum, the nation's oldest standing railroad station, before browsing the town's nice selection of art galleries and antique and specialty shops. When you get hungry, settle in for pub fare at Manor Hill Tavern or Korean barbeque at Honey Pig Restaurant.

Ellicott City, MD, USA
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Silver Spring

A Fall Sunset in Brookside Gardens, Rockville, Maryland

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Located near Ellicott City, this Washington, D.C. suburb offers city-goers a quiet respite. Movie buffs will want to pay a visit to the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, run by the American Film Institute. In addition to film screenings, events here include filmmaker interviews, panels, discussions, and musical performances. If the weather is nice, head to Brookside Gardens, nestled within Wheaton Regional Park. The 50-acre, award-winning garden boasts azaleas, roses, perennials, yews, maples, and a Japanese-style garden, as well as two year-round conservatories. Admission is free.

Silver Spring, MD, USA
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Monocacy National Battlefield

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With historic sites, natural attractions, and an underrated wine scene, this Western Maryland city has something to suit every traveler. Dive into Civil War history by touring Monocacy National Battlefield, the site of the Battle of Monocacy Junction in July 1864, or perusing some 1,200 artifacts at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. A 30-minute drive from downtown, Crystal Grottoes Caverns offers daily guided tours, whereas the 6,080-acre Cunningham Falls State Park has hiking trails and a 78-foot waterfall. For a relaxing retreat, while away an afternoon by sampling one or two of the Frederick Wine Trail's 15 wineries, including Elk Run Vineyards & Winery and Linganore Wine Cellars.

Frederick, MD, USA
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Blackwater Boathouse In Fall

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Situated on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Cambridge offers a combination of outdoor attractions and historic points of interest. Birders should make Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge their first stop; the 27,000-acre waterfowl sanctuary contains a third of the state's tidal wetlands and welcomes more than 250 species of migrating and wintering birds. To view the wildlife up close, you can opt between hiking 5 miles of trails or paddling 17 miles of waterways. Later, check out the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, considered the gateway to the Harriet Tubman Scenic Byway. Be sure to carve out 45 to 60 minutes to fully immerse yourself in the center's permanent exhibits and film.

Cambridge, MD 21613, USA
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Assateague Island

Feeding Assateague Ponies

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Home to more than 300 wild ponies, the 37-mile-long barrier island of Assateague Island runs parallel along the coasts of Maryland and Virginia and features three public areas: Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Virginia side, and Assateague State Park and Assateague Island National Seashore on the Maryland side. Each is worth visiting in their own right, but if you only have time to visit one, make it the latter. The national seashore offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, and snapping photos of the island's beloved horses. Camping is available on the beach, but you can also find accommodation in Ocean City and Berlin, located just over 8 miles from the park.

7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811, USA
Phone +1 443-614-3547
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Antietam National Battlefield

Antietam's 150th

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On September 17, 1862, the Confederate Army of North Virginia invaded the North for the first time. During the 12-hour Battle of Antietam, approximately 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing, leading President Abraham Lincoln to institute the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. You can learn more about the bloodiest battle in American military history by exploring the former battlegrounds, whose sites include the National Cemetery, Dunker Church, and Pry House Field Hospital, where Union Commander General George B. McClellan set up headquarters. There are also several hiking trails through and around the battlefield, as well as a self-guided 8.5-mile auto tour.

302 E Main St, Sharpsburg, MD 21782-1727, USA
Phone +1 301-432-5124
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The Top 12 Places to Visit in Maryland