1. The Antietam National Battlefield, located in Sharpsburg, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. The historic site offers visitors a chance to delve into the Civil War’s history and witness the battlefield where the Battle of Antietam took place. You can take a guided tour of the battlefield or immerse yourself in the visitor center’s exhibits to gain a deeper understanding of the war’s impact on Maryland and the United States.
2. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, situated in Potomac, follows the route of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which was built in the early 19th century to transport goods from the Chesapeake Bay to the Ohio River. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful hike, bike or horseback ride along the canal towpath, take a boat tour, or indulge in fishing and picnicking. The park is also home to the Great Falls, where the Potomac River cascades over waterfalls and rapids.
3. The Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, located in Baltimore, is the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner, the United States national anthem. Visitors can tour the fort and see the cannons and other military artifacts on display. The visitor center showcases exhibits on the War of 1812 and the events that led to the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became the anthem.
4. The Hampton National Historic Site, located in Towson, offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a wealthy colonial family and their role in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. The estate includes a mansion, gardens, and farm buildings that visitors can explore to witness how the Ridgely family lived and worked.
5. The St. Clement’s Island Museum, situated in Colton’s Point, is dedicated to the history of Maryland and the role of St. Clement’s Island in settlement of the colony. Visitors can learn about the colonists who arrived on the island in 1634 and see artifacts and exhibits that narrate the story of Maryland’s founding.
6. The Calvert Marine Museum, located in Solomons, is a unique museum dedicated to the history of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. Visitors can see live animals in the estuarine biology exhibit, explore the maritime history exhibits, or climb aboard the Drum Point Lighthouse, a restored 1883 screw-pile lighthouse.
7. The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge: This peaceful reserve in Cambridge offers visitors a chance to see various wildlife, including bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons. Take a drive or hike along the wildlife loop, paddle a kayak or canoe along the waterways, or go hunting if you’re feeling brave. Just make sure you bring your best camouflage gear and stealth skills.
8. The Assateague Island National Seashore: This park, located in Berlin, is a must-visit for beach lovers. The park offers visitors a chance to see wild horses roam the island, go beachcombing, swim or fish, or hike the nature trails that wind through the dunes and marshes. Just watch out for those pesky horse bandits. They might steal your towel or try to convince you to join their herd.
9. The Patuxent River Naval Air Museum: Located in Lexington Park, this unique museum is dedicated to naval aviation history. Visitors can see a variety of aircraft and artifacts, including planes that were used in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. The museum also offers interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience what it’s like to fly a fighter jet. Warning: visitors prone to motion sickness may want to steer clear of the simulator.
10. The Baltimore Museum of Industry – Located in the heart of Baltimore, this unique museum offers visitors an exciting glimpse into the state’s industrial past, showcasing the various inventions and innovations that have shaped the region. The museum’s exhibits feature artifacts, interactive displays, and demonstrations that bring to life the stories of Maryland’s most influential entrepreneurs and innovators. Who knew the state’s most popular export was the humble crab cake? Come see for yourself!
11. The Maryland Science Center – Nestled in the bustling Inner Harbor of Baltimore, this fun and interactive museum is a must-visit destination for science lovers of all ages. The center’s exhibits cover various scientific disciplines, including space exploration, dinosaurs, the human body, and more. Visitors can participate in hands-on activities, watch live demonstrations, and experience immersive films in the IMAX theater. Who needs Netflix when you can witness the Big Bang and the formation of our universe in stunning 3D?
12. The Ladew Topiary Gardens – Situated on a 22-acre property in Monkton, this stunning garden is home to a variety of whimsical topiary creations, including animals, geometric shapes, and other imaginative designs. Visitors can take a guided tour, explore the various garden rooms, or simply wander the beautiful grounds. In addition to the topiaries, the garden boasts beautiful blooms, serene water features, and tranquil walking paths. A word of caution: be careful not to get lost in the maze-like garden or befriend the talking topiaries. They tend to get a bit too chatty.
13. The William Paca House and Garden – a historic site in Annapolis that offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of Maryland and the life of William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house and garden have been restored to their 18th-century appearance, and visitors can tour the home and grounds to learn about Paca’s life and the history of Annapolis during the Revolutionary War period.
14. The Sotterley Plantation – a historic plantation located in Hollywood that offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of slavery and the antebellum South in Maryland. The plantation features a restored 18th-century manor house, as well as outbuildings and slave quarters that offer a glimpse into the lives of enslaved people on the plantation. Visitors can also take guided tours and participate in hands-on activities that explore the history and culture of the plantation.
15. The Maryland Historical Society – is a unique and educational museum in Baltimore that offers visitors a chance to learn about the history and culture of Maryland. The museum features exhibits on topics such as Maryland’s role in the Civil War, the state’s African American heritage, and the history of the Chesapeake Bay. Visitors can also view collections of artwork, manuscripts, and historical artifacts and participate in hands-on activities.
16. The Mount Clare Museum House – a historic site in Baltimore that offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of Maryland and the life of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The museum features a restored 18th-century Georgian mansion and exhibits the lives of the Carroll family and their role in the early history of Maryland. Visitors can also view collections of historic furnishings, artwork, and artifacts.
17. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum – a unique and educational museum located in St. Michaels that offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of the Chesapeake Bay and its culture. The museum features exhibits on boatbuilding, seafood harvesting, and the history of the bay’s watermen. Visitors can also tour historic boats and buildings and participate in hands-on activities such as crabbing and oystering.