The unique and progressive East Coast state seems to possess all the best bits of the US, hence its nickname of ‘America in Miniature.’ Its diversity stretches from pretty fishing villages, rolling farmlands, and the stunning Appalachian foothills to the busy boardwalk beaches of Ocean City and its quirky and fine-looking cities.
In such an interesting state it’s hard to know where to begin to start exploring, but here is my choice for the best and most beautiful places to visit in Maryland…
1. Annapolis – legendary historic city which is one of the best places to visit in Maryland
Often referred to as the “Sailing Capital of the U.S.”, Annapolis is the capital city of Maryland. Home to the U.S. Naval Academy, this historic attraction has been a training ground for naval officers since 1845.
A living piece of Maryland’s rich history, the academy offers on-site museums, artifacts and maritime paintings.
Stroll around the beautiful estate, the William Paca House that served as a state governor’s mansion in the 1780s.
Explore the wonderfully preserved St. Anne’s Church and the vibrant theaters or dine in and spend time on the waters, this picturesque city of Little America is full of quirky events and festivals.
2. Ocean City – a popular resort town which is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Maryland
From humble beginnings as a quiet ocean getaway, today the Ocean City is a booming vacation destination. Located in Worcester County, this Atlantic resort town is known for its rich history, boardwalk, and saltwater taffy.
The roots of this resort town date back hundreds of years ago when the Native Americans inhabited the islands.
Swim, surf, or sunbathe, this majestic sandy beach stretches over 15 km with soft sands to explore. A sea lover’s dream destination, Ocean City provides a refreshing dip with diverse watersports and exotic seafood. Definitely one of the best places to visit in Maryland!
3. Chesapeake Bay – Maryland’s serene beauty spot
Undeniably the largest estuary in the U.S., the Chesapeake Bay features unique ecology & natural environment with alluring marshes, wetlands, sandy beaches, and creeks. Along the Bay’s western shore is the quaint shore town of North Beach.
Stroll along the boardwalk with lined flowerbeds or watch the beautiful sunset along the shore, North Beach is a treasure of Chesapeake Bay.
The next popular destination on the Bay is Breezy Point Beach. Stretching half a mile across the Bay, Breezy Point Beach offers excellent water activities, a fishing pier and shaded picnic area with a playground.
4. Washington DC – a stunning city which is home to the most interesting museums and monuments in the world
Established from the land of the states of Maryland and Virginia, The District of Columbia is the heart of the U.S. Founded after the American Revolution, Washington DC offers a perfect blend of the city’s culture and poignant memorials.
The legendary US Capitol Building stands tall housing the American legislature with historical exhibits and the Library of Congress.
Yet another powerful monument, the White House is a symbol of the U.S. The Washington Monument is the best-known obelisks in the world. Pay tribute to the Lincoln Memorial or witness the poignant Veterans Memorial, the capital city is a treasure trove of America.
5. Assateague State Park – a barrier-island park known for migrating wild horses and beautiful sandy beaches
Located on the barrier Assateague Island by the Atlantic Ocean on the east & Sinepuxent Bay on the west, the Assateague State Park was created in 1956. Famed for its wild feral horses, waterfowl, and deer, the state park is managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The two-mile stretch of ocean beaches offers swimming, kayaking, sunbathing, surfing and many more water sports activities. Noted as one of the best state parks of Maryland, the barrier island has constantly shifting dunes by powerful winds.
Canoe to the secluded coves or camp along the bay, the island is a true slice of heaven and easily of one of the most beautiful places to visit in Maryland!
6. Botanic Gardens, Baltimore – beautiful scenic gardens to visit which is home to exotic flower species
The Baltimore city of Maryland isn’t just a place to learn about history, it’s a place to experience natural beauty. Housed in gorgeous Victorian glass, the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens has some of the rare plants grouped by climate.
With a rich history and myriad displays of plant life, this beautiful garden is the second-oldest glass botanic conservatory in the country.
Known for the spectacular tulip exhibits, there is no prettier place in Baltimore than the Sherwood Gardens. Whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast or garden lover, these gardens exude fresh air and fresh blooms year-round.
7. Maryland State House – one of the most stunning places to explore in Maryland
Indeed, one of the oldest state capital of the U.S., the Maryland State House is a true historical marvel in Annapolis. Running the legislative business ever since 1779, the capitol boasts a unique wooden dome towering above the city constructed without the use of any nails.
Administered by the State House Trust, the capitol houses the seat of the Governor, Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. Once served as the capital of the country, the capitol has truly spectacular architecture & beautiful gardens.
8. National Harbor – the premier Maryland waterfront destination for friends and family
A few miles away from Washington DC and Alexandria, the National Harbor is an ideal destination for individuals and families. Located along the Potomac River, this waterfront destination provides stunning beach views.
Featuring 350 acres of waterfront resort space, the National Harbor offers exquisite boutiques, restaurants, and fun-filled adventures.
Enjoy the amazing outdoor public art with beautiful murals and statues or soar high on the spectacular Capital Wheel right on the waterfront, the National Harbor makes for a stunning destination with the best sunsets in the Washington D.C area.
9. Seneca Creek State Park – one of the most beautiful state parks to explore in Maryland
Away from the daily hustle and bustle, the quaint Seneca Creek State Park is a heaven for those seeking the solitude of nature.
Located in the Gaithersburg area of Montgomery County, the Seneca Creek State Park encompasses over 6,300 acres of land including the Seneca Creek. Opened in 1958, this charming state park is full of lush forests and fields.
Hike along the marked Schaeffer Farm Trail or boat along the 90-acre Clopper Lake, the park offers the best preserved green space for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
10. Sugarloaf Mountains – a stunning hike offering panoramic views of the Maryland countryside
Named by the early European explorers for its shape of crystallized sugar, the Sugarloaf Mountain is located in Dickerson about 10 miles south of Frederick, Maryland. With a height of 1,283 feet, the mountain is visible from any part of northern Montgomery County.
A noted National Natural Landmark since 1969, the Sugarloaf Mountain is best known for its gorgeous scenic views. Resisting the forces of erosion, the mountain offers excellent hiking trails for beginners as well as veterans.
Experience the tranquillity of Maryland countryside while picnicking and relishing the local wines.
11. Rocky Gap State Park – Maryland’s rugged and untouched mountains are perfect for exploring
Stationed in Western Maryland’s Allegany County, the Rocky Gap State Park stretches over 3,000 acres with the bluest waters of Lake Habeeb. Opened in 1974, the park was received as a donation from Edward Habeeb to preserve the natural environment.
With sheer cliffs, rugged mountains, and dense hemlock forests, the state park allows you to witness Maryland’s natural wonders. With a plethora of recreational activities, the state has a bit of everything for visitors.
Swim, paddle, boat, or camp, the park offers ample hiking and mountain biking trails. A stunning destination to visit in Maryland!
12. Brookside Gardens – beautiful botanical gardens to explore in Maryland
An award-winning public garden within the Wheaton Regional Park in Silver Spring, the Brookside Gardens is Montgomery County’s spellbound treasure.
Designed in 1969, the Brookside Garden provides public education in horticulture and garden design. Stretching across 50 acres, the garden has several distinct areas with myriad blooming flowers and plants.
In every season, the garden displays glorious flowers with abundant plant life. The garden also features a conservatory and visitor center for year-round entertainment. A lovely place to reflect, contemplate, and celebrate amidst beautiful flowers and greens.
13. Gunpowder Falls State Park – Maryland’s largest state park perfect for lovers of the outdoors
Encompassing more than 18,000 acres of land in Harford and Baltimore counties the Gunpowder Falls State Park is known for its varied topography with scenic parks, tidal marshes, wetlands, and rugged slopes. Today, the state park houses six distinct areas with a wide range of activities.
While the Central Area of the park houses the historic Jerusalem Mill Village, the Hammerman Area features a swimming beach, hiking trails, and picnic spots with some of the most scenic views.
A perfect blend of nature and history, the park offers the best getaway with beautiful views.
14. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge – a beautiful waterfowl sanctuary for migrating bird
On Maryland’s Eastern shore just 12 miles south of Cambridge is the extensive Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge which houses several endangered species. Established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary, the refuge is a mix of freshwater ponds, open fields, mixed evergreens, and rich tidal wetlands.
A chief wintering area for diverse migrating birds, visitors can enjoy a wide range of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians throughout the year in the refuge.
Take a wildlife drive or paddle along the trails, the refuge is great for bird watching, cycling, hiking, and other adventure opportunities.
15. Deep Creek Lake – Maryland’s largest freshwater lake with sandy shorelines
Nestled in the Garett County of Maryland and carved in the serene mountains, the Deep Creek Lake offers unmatched splendor and beauty.
Built in 1925, this man-made lake offers plenty of adventures and action for each season. Swim on sapphire blue waters or relax in the quiet cove, the Lake offers numerous water sports along with exceptional hiking trails.
From the stunning fall colors of autumn to fresh mountain air in spring, you’ll always find a reason to escape to this captivating lake.
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Scott Balaam – writer and photographer
Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Australia, Ireland, UK and the USA but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting thirst for culture, good food and great football. In his spare time Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, the rest of Italy, Amsterdam, USA, Athens, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Find Scott on Linkedin, Instagram, or Twitter.