15 Epic Ways to Experience Authentic Maryland
Famous local dishes, one-of-a-kind landmarks and unique cities and towns: these 15 only-in-Maryland experiences will spark your imagination.
Whether it's your first visit or you're a lifetime resident of the Old Line State, we bet you haven't crossed all these off your bucket list yet. So what are you waiting for? Please check with attractions in advance for altered hours and openings
Many tourism destinations, museums, historic sites and other attractions are offering virtual options for visitors to explore and learn at home. And, to keep all that Maryland offers top of mind, visit Maryland Fun For Everyone for Puzzles, Bingo, Scavenger Hunt and much more.
Positioned where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay, Solomons Island is the perfect launching point for a day on the Bay. Stroll the Riverwalk, or set sail for a day of Chesapeake fishing or a leisurely cruise. The kids will love hunting for fossils at nearby Calvert Cliffs State Park and you can finish off a fabulous day with dinner on the waterfront.
Experience a quintessential beach vacation at this iconic coastal town. Miles of sand and surf and plenty to do make this beach town a prime summertime destination. Head “Down the Ocean” and leave your cares behind. For some fun in the sand, surf and sun, stroll its three-mile-long boardwalk and pick up beach treats like Thrasher’s French Fries or ice cream from Dumser’s Dairyland.
Be inspired at the home of the brave and the birthplace of the National Anthem. Fort McHenry held a strategic peninsula saving Baltimore, and some say the nation, during the War of 1812. After the historic bombardment, a young lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, was so moved by the battle that he penned the poem that would become the National Anthem. A trip to Baltimore isn’t complete without a visit to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.
Who can resist the allure and mystique of wild horses roaming the beaches of this unspoiled island? No one knows just how these horses found their way to the island more than 400 years ago, but their iconic beauty adds to the allure of Assateague's miles of pristine beaches.
Marvel at nature’s stunning beauty in this majestic wooded wonderland. The “King and Queen’s Seat,” a 190-foot outcrop that was once a gathering place for the Susquehannock Indians, offers a spectacular panorama of this park’s lush forest. Closer to earth, the park is home to Kilgore Falls, fantastic fishing, swimming, hiking and hunting.
At the time of its construction, the C&O Canal was a marvel of engineering, and it became a vital conduit for trade and travel. Today, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park provides stunning vistas and a pastoral backdrop for hiking, biking, horseback riding and water sports such as kayaking.
Whether you’re a novice paddler or a major white-water athlete, Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI) has got the thrill for you. ASCI’s safe, man-made rapids offer rafting, kayaking and river boarding with instruction for beginners and a slalom course so challenging it hosted the 2014 International Canoe Federation World Championships. For land-loving adventurers, ASCI offers hiking, biking, mountain geocaching, elite rock climbing and rappelling.
Enjoy waterfront attractions and entertainment minutes from the nation’s capital. From boating to culture, National Harbor offers something for everyone all year round. Here, you can spend an unforgettable day with the kids strolling the boardwalk and watching movies on a giant outdoor screen. Or, get away for a couples or girls’ weekend for vibrant nightlife, upscale dining and fantastic shopping. During the holidays, everyone loves the one-of-a-kind ice show and breathtaking seasonal decorations.
Get a taste of Chesapeake living with a visit to this charming town. This friendly, walkable and bikeable town boasts elegant boutiques and antiques shops, restaurants serving mouth-watering seafood, and local brew pubs with award-winning craft beers on tap.
From white tablecloth fine dining to roadside stands, the state’s famous blue crab is at home on all of Maryland’s tables. Whether you eat it in a delicious crab cake, atop a salad, in Maryland Crab soup or piping hot out of the steamer with Old Bay seasoning, enjoying this local delicacy should be at the top of every visitor’s list of things to do in Maryland.
Three centuries of history mingle on the streets of Annapolis. Here you can visit the U.S. Naval Academy and The State House, then take a break at Chick & Ruth’s Delly, home to the world’s largest milkshake. Shop and dine at the waterfront City Dock, and don’t miss the Wednesday night sailboat races.
Take a road trip along 2,500 miles of Maryland’s official scenic byways. Road trip from the mountains to the sea, take a drive through pastoral horse country or cruise an urban oasis with art galleries and great restaurants on one of Maryland’s scenic byways. With 18 designated routes, there’s a lifetime of memories just waiting to be made.
Hike the trails and fields of this legendary battlefield. The park’s rolling hills and forested vistas make a great picnic spot or fall foliage destination. For history buffs, tour the visitor center with its collection of Civil War artifacts and interpretation stations, pedal the Antietam Battlefield Bike Tour, or hike the historic trails and Bloody Lane, site of the battle’s fiercest fighting.
Called “The Moses of Her People,” Harriet Tubman used a secret network of trails, waterways and safe houses in Maryland to lead enslaved people north to freedom. Travel the 125-mile byway from Cambridge to Goldsboro to witness the bravery of her journey.
Nestled at the mouth of the Susquehanna River, this historic river port offers a waterfront promenade and welcoming downtown with great restaurants and unique shops like the huge Seneca Cannery Antiques. Pop in the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum for a peek at 1,200 masterfully carved decoys, and don't leave home without stopping by Bomboy's for homemade candy or ice cream.