Maryland encapsulates much of what this enormous country represents, in a very small package. Maryland is often nicknamed “America in Miniature,” because it has a little bit of every: rugged coastlines, soft sandy beaches, mountains and lakes, rural stretches and bustling cities, and historical sites that date from before the founding of the United States.
In Maryland’s big cities, like Annapolis and Baltimore, visitors can explore lively port areas as well as museums and some of the country’s most important historical attractions. The coastline of Maryland is lined with quaint beach towns that are perfect for scenic drives and relaxing weekends.
Baltimore Inner Harbor
This popular area is known for its historic seaport that has been widely recognized as a model for post industrial waterfront redevelopment. The area is composed of not just the harbor, but the surrounding city areas as it is within walking distance of notable museums, historic ships in the harbor, sports stadiums and concert halls, and other attractions like the national aquarium, galleries, and several sites of touristic interest.
Fort McHenry National Park & Monument
The Fort McHenry National Park and Monument represents one of the most important moments in U.S. history, dating back to the war of 1812 as a defense base against the British. It was during the September battle of 1814 at the fort that Francis Scott Key was inspired and wrote the United States National Anthem. At the fort, tourists can explore the visitor center, walk through the fort, and enjoy spectacular views of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, often shortened to C & O, is located in Maryland, D.C., and West Virginia along the Potomac River with its end in Cumberland, Maryland. The park is one of New England’s most popular tourist destinations and visitors in Maryland can learn about the canal and its history at the Cumberland Visitor Center. Another popular way to experience the enormous canal is on a tour that travels through the water on a mule-powered canal boat.
National Aquarium in Baltimore
In Baltimore’s inner harbor area you’ll find the National Aquarium, a popular tourist attraction.The aquarium has been widely recognized as one of the best in the nation by the Travel Channel and Coastal Living magazine.
The aquarium’s collection of marine animals and life includes over 16,500 specimens representing 660 species. Some of the aquarium’s exhibits include habitats like tropical rain forest, coral reef, open ocean, and the Australian: Wild Extremes exhibit. The National Aquarium’s marine mammal exhibits are home to eight bottlenose dolphins.
American Visionary Art Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum is an art museum located in Baltimore, Maryland. The museum specializes in the preservation and display of outsider art. The museums contain 67,000 square feet of exhibition space and a permanent collection of approximately 4,000 pieces. The museum’s Main Building features three floors of exhibition space, and the campus includes a Tall Sculpture Barn and Wildflower Garden, along with large exhibition and event spaces in the Jim Rouse Visionary Center.
Top Things to Do in Maryland
Deep Creek Lake
Maryland’s largest inland body of water is Deep Creek Lake which has a shoreline of 69 miles. The lake is popular as a resort destination with excellent fishing and other recreation opportunities. It is also popular in the winter due to its proximity to the Wisp ski resort.
Ocean City Boardwalk
In the popular town of Ocean City you’ll find this 2 ½ mile boardwalk that is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. The boardwalk dates to 1880 and it is the site of Ocean City’s first amusement park. The Wonderland Amusement park, which opened 80 years later in 1965, is still open today but with the new name Gillian’s Wonderland Pier. Attractions along the boardwalk include two amusement parks, an arcade, a water park, miniature golf courses, restaurants, and cafes.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
Port Discovery Children’s Museum is a non-profit institution located in the historic Fish Market building in Baltimore, Maryland’s Inner Harbor. It is 80,000 square feet and offers three floors of exhibits and programs designed to be interactive and hands on, allowing children to learn through play. Ranked among the top five children’s museums in the United States, Port Discovery Children’s Museum offers educational exhibits and ever-changing programs for children age’s birth through 10.
Assateague Island National Seashore
This national park is located on Assateague Island and covers about 41,000 acres from Ocean City to the border of Virginia. The national seashore was created after the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 destroyed 5,000 lots that were going to be turned into a resort community. Because the park is located on a barrier island, it is shaped by stormy seas along the peninsula.
The park is famous for its white sand and wild ponies, but a wide variety of recreational opportunities can be enjoyed in the area. Some of the popular activities at the national seashore include camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, and off-roading or four-wheeling.
Antietam National Battlefield
The site of the Civil War’s most notorious battle is today a popular attraction for visitors interested in learning about this important battle. The Battle of Antietam took place on September 17, 1862 and it is considered the bloodiest day in American history, with the most deaths and injuries happening on both sides in a single battle in one day. Today, visitors can learn about the battle and the battlefield site at the visitor center.
Things to Do in Maryland
As a state that once owned the land that is today the United State’s capitol city, it makes sense that Maryland is at the center of the country’s social and political history. Whether you’re visiting Maryland for a leisurely weekend along the coast, a rough trek through the hills, or a few long days and nights of sightseeing in the big cities, this state has a special place in America’s heart and it has something special for everyone.