Traveling Maryland’s Heritage Areas

Travel through these Heritage Areas to see some of the best of Maryland's historic sites and towns. 

By Jennifer Ajello



Featured Places

Known as George Washington's Headquarters, this one-room cabin was used by George Washington while an aide to General Braddock.
Known as George Washington's Headquarters, this one-room cabin was used by George Washington while an aide to General Braddock.
Image Credit: VisitMaryland
Take a ride aboard 1916 restored Baldwin Steam locomotive through the scenic mountains of Allegany County.
Western Maryland Railroad
Image Credit:

One of the best features of Maryland is its rich heritage, and thanks to the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, it is easy to travel to any of the 13 designated Certified Heritage Areas around the state, including the ones profiled here. By car or on foot, come explore Maryland’s local color and watch history come to life.

Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, Prince George’s County

For culture, art and entertainment, this may be the perfect heritage trail. The Painting the Town: Arts & Humanities Heritage Route and Cultural Crossroads Route highlights the theaters and art centers that dot the region. Additional heritage routes connect multiple sites with themes such as the War of 1812 and the Battle of Bladensburg; Linking the Nation: Transportation and Communication Milestones; and Fields and Farms: Agricultural Heritage Route.

Baltimore National Heritage Area, Baltimore City

Founded in 1729, Baltimore quickly became an influential American city and several routes explore this history. The Heritage Walk includes sites like the Flag House and Star-Spangled Banner Museum, the USS Constellation, The Baltimore Civil War Museum, and the Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture. The Mount Vernon Cultural Walk features the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Basilica and Baltimore’s Washington Monument. The Historic Fells Point and Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage trails showcase Baltimore’s authenticity and charm.

Four Rivers

Annapolis is Maryland's capital city, home of the U.S. Naval Academy and a great base of operations for exploring pastoral landscapes, waterfront villages and historic sites nearby.

Patapsco Valley Heritage Area

The Patapsco Valley Heritage Area is located in Central Maryland and includes Ellicott City, Oella, Catonsville, and Elkridge. Centrally located is Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland's first state park which extends 32 miles along the Patapsco River and receives over 1 million day visitors a year. Natural processes, natural beauty, and history combine to create a unique opportunity for visitors to understand and enjoy Maryland’s most dramatic river valley. 

Canal Place Heritage Area, Allegany County

Canal Place, located in the western terminus of the C&O Canal in Cumberland, was the first designated heritage area in the state. Maryland’s transportation heritage is waiting to be explored with a ride on a steam train, a hike or bike ride along the C&O Canal Towpath, or a tour of a canal boat replica. Other notable sites include George Washington’s Headquarters, the Iron Furnace, Mt. Savage Historical Structures and Old Bedford Village.

Mountain Maryland, Gateway to the West

Four themes help with understanding the pioneering spirit of the 18th and 19th centuries: transportation, man and nature, historic recreation and cultural uniqueness.  Or, travel the Mountain Maryland Scenic Byway.

Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area, Dorchester County

The Eastern Shore’s Dorchester County is one of the oldest colonial counties in Maryland, dating back to the 1600s. Churches, museums, and famous historical sites dot this heritage area. Tours include Agricultural Life; Maritime Villages, Trades, and Life; Harriet Tubman and African-American History; and Native American Heritage. Guided and self-guided tours, itineraries, and a list of top tour guides and operators are available.

Stories of the Chesapeake

Celebrate the arts at small maritime towns while enjoying the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay.

Lower Eastern Shore

Parks, water trails, museums and discovery centers provide plenty of options for discovering this warm and inviting area nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay.

Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties

The Civil War Heritage Area offers tours of the towns and homes of those who experienced the war firsthand in Frederick, Union Mills, Westminster and Hagerstown. Here the legendary battlegrounds of South MountainAntietam, and Monocacy, as well as cemeteries, hospital centers and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine are open to tour.

Montgomery County

Discover 18th- and 19th-century landmarks just beyond the Bethesda and Silver Spring arts and entertainment districts

Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, Cecil and Harford Counties

Almost entirely accessible by foot, this area boasts 14 museums illustrating folk art and the counties’ way of life, from lighthouses to train stations to a restored canal system. Nature and wildlife also feature prominently—you may spot an American bald eagle, great blue heron or osprey as you tour the region’s trails and scenic byways.

Southern Maryland

Time and tide meet amid the region's sandy beaches, fossil-filled shores, ample fishing spots and Maryland's earliest settlement, Historic St. Mary's City.

Featured Places
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House
844 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202
Washington Monument and Mount Vernon Place
699 North Charles St
Baltimore, MD 21201
Statue of boy and donkey
13 Canal St
Cumberland, MD 21502
George Washington Headquarters
Riverside Park at Greene St
Cumberland, MD 21502
South Mountain Battlefield State Park
6620 Zittlestown Rd
Middletown, MD 21769
Antietam Battlefield
5831 Dunker Church Rd
Sharpsburg, MD 21782
Monocacy National Battlefield
5201 Urbana Pike
Frederick, MD 21704
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