MVB Travel Series - Maryland
September 6, 2022
Maryland may be a small state, but it is packed with fun places to visit. And the best part? Most destinations are a short drive or day trip away. We have highlighted some of the best spots in 10 counties and Baltimore, starting in Western Maryland and finishing up on the Eastern Shore. By the end, you will find out why Maryland captures the best America has to offer – just on a much smaller scale.
The westernmost county in Maryland is a popular vacation spot. Deep Creek Lake attracts visitors throughout the warmer months with its pleasant climate and beautiful views. You won’t want to miss the fireworks display that takes place on the fourth of July or the Garrett County Fair that happens each August. While there, take some time to exercise and enjoy nature at Swallow Falls State Park. Located along the Youghiogheny River, the park offers views of the highest free-falling waterfall in Maryland, Muddy Creek Falls, as well as campsites, hiking trails, and other amenities. The trip to Garrett County would not be complete without a stop at Wisp Resort, with adventures available during all seasons of the year. During the colder months, hit the slopes or go snow tubing at the resort. In the warmer months, check out the zip lines, mountain rides, archery, golf, and disc golf courses, or head out to the water for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and pontoon boat tours.
Places to visit in Garrett County
Allegany County is a great starting (or ending) point for several unique trips. Looking to travel by bicycle or on foot? The Great Allegheny Passage will take you 150 miles from Cumberland to Pittsburgh, and the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath will guide you 184.5 miles along the Potomac River to Washington, D.C. How about by train? The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad travels between Cumberland and Frostburg and offers one-of-a-kind experiences for both children and adults. By car? Take the first American road trip along the National Road and make a pitstop at the LaVale Toll Gate House, the last remaining toll gate on the road. A good starting point for many of the trips is downtown Cumberland, a quaint area packed with historic spots. If you are looking to keep your adventures to one location, Rocky Gap State Park offers camping and hiking trails, as well as Lake Habeeb, a perfect spot for kayaking and sunbathing on the small beach. While you are there, stop by Rocky Gap Casino, Resort & Golf, complete with a 24-hour casino, spa, indoor pool and fitness center, dining options, live comedy and entertainment, and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
Places to visit in Allegany County
Washington County is rich in history. It is home to Antietam National Battlefield, one of the most historically significant Civil War sites. The Battle of Antietam was a leading factor in President Lincoln’s decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. The county is also the location of the first monument erected in George Washington’s honor, which stands at the top of South Mountain in Washington Monument State Park. The county’s largest city, Hagerstown, is home to City Park, which was voted one of the 10 most beautiful city parks in the United States. The park houses the Jonathan Hager House & Museum – the property of Hagerstown’s founder, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, the Hagerstown Railroad Museum, walking trails, and picnic areas. Before you continue east to Frederick County, be sure to stop at Crystal Grottoes Caverns in Boonsboro, the only cave with public access in Maryland.
Places to visit in Washington County
- Antietam National Battlefield
- Washington Monument State Park
- Hagerstown City Park
- Crystal Grottoes Caverns
Frederick County is a rapidly growing area that offers plenty to do. The county’s largest city, Frederick, is vibrant and full of history, and was recently voted the fourth best place to live in America, according to Livability. Downtown Frederick has a steeple-filled skyline packed with restaurants, shops, and walking trails leading to beautiful spots like Baker Park and Carroll Creek Park. If you are looking to explore the great outdoors, Thurmont offers Cunningham Falls State Park, complete with several hiking trails and the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland. If you are looking for an activity the whole family will enjoy, Thurmont is also home to the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve, where you can see animals native to many different countries across the globe. Another family-friendly option is Adventure Park USA in Monrovia, offering indoor and outdoor attractions such as roller coaster rides, go karts, mini golf, bowling, laser tag, bumper cars, a rock wall, a ropes course, and more.
Places to visit in Frederick County
- Downtown Frederick
- Baker Park
- Carroll Creek Park
- Catoctin Wildlife Preserve
- Cunningham Falls State Park
- Adventure Park USA
Montgomery County is home to over a million people and countless things to do. Looking to escape the crowds without traveling too far? Check out Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, where you can enjoy 50 acres of different gardens within Wheaton Regional Park. Looking for something a little more adventurous? Great Falls is divided between Maryland and Virginia, with the Maryland side offering hiking trails and water adventures at the C&O Canal National Historical Park entrance in Potomac. Rock Creek Regional Park also offers plenty of outdoor activities, with 1,800 acres filled with lakes for boating and fishing, 13 miles of trails, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and other amenities. After a day enjoying the outdoors, head to Strathmore in North Bethesda to enjoy a live performance at one of their three venues – The Music Center, The Mansion, and AMP – all within two miles of one another.
Places to visit in Montgomery County
Howard County is conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and offers a great variety of entertainment. Start your day by exploring Patapsco Valley State Park, which boasts 200 miles of trails and recreational areas perfect for hiking, biking, fishing, camping, kayaking/canoeing, and horseback riding. After a morning in nature, head over to Ellicott City’s charming and historic downtown area filled with shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums. Then, make your way over to Columbia to close the day out with a concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The venue attracts famous musical acts from across the globe and is consistently voted one of the top amphitheaters in the country.
Places to visit in Howard County
Prince George’s County
Prince George’s County is home to Greenbelt, the first federally organized community in the United States and one of three towns created during FDR’s presidency under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. It was built as an experiment in social planning and designed to provide affordable housing to families committed to participating in community organizations. A few of the original communal buildings still exist, notably Old Greenbelt Theatre, which is a great place to catch a movie. After taking in the history at Greenbelt, head over to the waterfront attractions at National Harbor, where you can shop at the stores near the water and the outlets a few streets over, catch a bite to eat, take a boat ride, and see a show at one of the nearby resorts. Amusement parks more your thing? Bowie houses Six Flags, which features several rides and attractions for adults and children.
Places to visit in Prince George’s County
Baltimore offers too many options for just one day, so we recommend spending a weekend in Charm City. Depending on the time of year, an Orioles game at Camden Yards and a Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium (or both if you hit that sweet spot in September or October) should be at the top of the list for sports fans. The Inner Harbor is a short walk away from both stadiums and offers enough entertainment options to warrant an entire weekend trip on its own. Two of the top kid-friendly attractions include the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center, where you can visit the Planetarium or catch a show at the IMAX Theater. A must-see neighborhood in Baltimore is Fells Point (or Fell’s Point, depending on who you talk to). You can reach it by car, but you’ll get a better view of the city if you take a short boat ride or walk from the Inner Harbor. It is a beautiful area lined with cobblestone streets and an array of shops and restaurants. While you are in the area, stroll over to Patterson Park to enjoy the green space and to see the Patterson Park Pagoda. Another must-see attraction is Fort McHenry. The Battle of Baltimore took place here on September 13-14, 1814, and inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the U.S. If you are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe’s writing, The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum and his gravestone near downtown are both worth a visit. From there, head a few minutes north to The Walters Art Museum and the George Peabody Library to take in some of the most breathtaking indoor spaces the city has to offer. Looking to explore multiple museums during your trip? Be sure to check out the Baltimore Museum of Art located at Johns Hopkins University as well. Round out the trip to Charm City by enjoying some live music. This page details the top spots to go based on your musical preference and whether or not you want to see a show indoors or outdoors.
Places to visit in Baltimore
- Catch a game: Camden Yards or M&T Bank Stadium
- Inner Harbor
- National Aquarium
- Maryland Science Center
- Fells Point
- Fort McHenry
- The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
- The Walters Art Museum
- Baltimore Museum of Art
- George Peabody Library
- Patterson Park
Anne Arundel County
Anne Arundel County is home to Maryland’s capital, Annapolis. This stunning city on the Chesapeake Bay is packed with history and charm and is the ultimate day trip. Many of its main attractions, including shops, restaurants, and galleries, are within walking distance of downtown. If you want to escape the downtown crowd, the William Paca House and Garden is a tranquil setting just a few blocks from the water. Wondering where all the men and women in white came from? Tour the U.S. Naval Academy and see the campus where some of the nation’s brightest young minds receive an education while serving our country. If you are looking to spend some time enjoying the outdoors, Sandy Point State Park offers beaches, picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing, boating, and more on the Chesapeake.
Places to visit in Anne Arundel County
Talbot County is home to charming towns along the Chesapeake Bay. Easton has been recognized as one of the best small towns in America. Be sure to check out the antique shops and art galleries, as well as the Pickering Creek Audubon Center, with four miles of walking trails and water access for kayaks and canoes. One of the biggest draws to the county is St. Michaels, where you can enjoy waterfront restaurants, a wide range of boutique shops and galleries, museums, and breathtaking views. Its picturesque scenery and laidback vibe make it the perfect location for couples planning a weekend away. If you make the trip between April and November, take the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, which you can walk on or ride via car, bicycle, or motorcycle. You can also bike between the two towns on the Oxford/St. Michaels Bike Trail. While you are in Oxford, dine or stay at Robert Morris Inn, the oldest full-service inn in America, and explore the quaint, tree-lined streets.
- Talbot County
Worcester County is best known for Ocean City. This Maryland beach town is filled with countless things to do, including a wooden boardwalk nearly three miles long with rides, shops, restaurants, arcades, museums, and much more. If you plan to visit during the warmer months, cool down at one of the local water parks, such as Jolly Roger Amusement Park or Frontier Town in Berlin. If it happens to be a rainy day and you can’t enjoy the beach, do some shopping at Outlets Ocean City. There are several other activities to enjoy such as boating, fishing, golfing (including mini), and nearly any other attraction you’d expect to find at the beach. If you prefer beaches that are a little more secluded, make your way down to Assateague Island, where you can relax and spot wild horses running along the sand.
- Worcester County
We have officially made our way through the state! We hope this serves as a valuable resource and inspires you to check out some places in our beautiful state you may not have thought to explore in the past. Have fun traveling across America in miniature!