As one of the original thirteen colonies, Maryland is filled with plenty of history to keep you entertained on a trip there. Located in the Northeastern US, this Mid-Atlantic state has plenty of access to both fresh and saltwater adventuring. As one of the two states bordering the District of Columbia, Maryland also has a role in the modern political sphere. Though the capital of Maryland is Annapolis, the largest and best-known city is Baltimore. The state as a whole is an interesting mix of big cities and coastal towns, offering plenty of things to put on your itinerary for a trip there.
Ready to explore Maryland’s sandy beaches, oceanside forests, salt marshes and coastal areas? The National Park Service offers ranger-guided programs with information on the unique island environment. Camping is a big draw on the island as well, whether you’ve rented an RV or are simply pitching a tent. Rent a kayak or canoe and check out what lives in the beautiful bays. The most interesting part of your trip is likely going to be a sighting of the wild horses that can be found there. They’re a bit smaller than the horses you’ve likely seen before (and some would tell you more aggressive as well!) and visitors are encouraged to view them from afar.
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, check out the whitewater rafting options along the different Maryland waterways. The Youghiogheny River or the Savage River in Garrett County both offer a more death-defying trip with the Class IV and V rapids and are world renowned. In fact, the Savage River is where you’ll find the US Olympic team practicing. If you’re feeling like you’d prefer something smaller than a waterfall for your first time, there are plenty of options out there though. There are guided tours where you rent a boat and a guide for the day to take you to the best spots. Plus, they’ll be there to make sure that when you get tossed off the raft you know how to get back on!
As with every state in the US, Maryland has foods that it is well known for. Crab is a favorite among Maryland residents and visitors alike. Prepared in a variety of ways, it’s a fun way to explore the culinary talents of the area. You’ll find sautéed soft-shell versions, crab cakes, crab dip and of course crab soup. The blue crab is what locals will refer to as the “the Maryland crab,” and a large portion of them are caught in the Maryland part of the Chesapeake Bay.
There are actually five distinct regions in the state that serve up this and similar local delicacies. The Eastern Shore will bring you fresh crabs from dock to table. Central Maryland, on the other hand, is for the oyster lovers among us. There you’ll find oyster bars, oyster roasts and festivals celebrating this mollusc. The restaurants in this region are often accessible by both land as well as water in case you want to dock your boat for lunchtime in the middle of a day spent on the water. The Capital Region, as well as Southern and Western Maryland are also good places to feast locally.
Take A Road Trip
As enormous as America is, the Northeast is special in its smallness. You can drive for a few hours and hit a number of states. Maryland is bordered by the state of Pennsylvania to the north, Delaware to the east, Virginia to the south, and West Virginia to the west. Washington D.C. lies right along the state's border with Virginia, too. You don’t need to leave the state to have a good time, though. There are beautiful scenic byways with breathtaking views of both nature as well as historical sites. You’ll find small main streets in sweet little towns and sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. With their proximity to water in all forms, Maryland also has plenty of maritime history museums.
The history of Maryland is a complicated one, which you’ll certainly find if you spend any time at any historical monuments. As one of the slave-owning states leading up to the American Civil War, the area has a tumultuous past. Located right in the middle of the North and the South at the time, it very nearly seceded from the Union. The secret network of paths, waterways and safe houses for escaped slaves is known as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad. There are still families living there today who are descendants of those who helped slaves on their way to the North, hiding them in homes that still stand.
Mallows Bay is a national marine sanctuary with nearly 200 shipwrecked boats and vessels that date back to the American Civil War. The most famous of these is the Ghost Fleet, a collection of 100 wooden steamships that were supposed to have acted as part of the United States’ emergency fleet during World War I. You can rent a kayak or canoe and paddle around the area to see the haunty beauty of the area for yourself. You might even catch a glimpse of the national bird, the Bald Eagle! Just make sure you don’t go picking up any feathers, it’s actually illegal to do so across the country thanks to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
The Inner Harbor in Baltimore
Are you more city-focused? Baltimore is the largest city in the state, and Inner Harbor is considered the heart of it. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to shop and dine at wonderful restaurants. Continue the aquatic trend with the National Aquarium or take a water taxi. Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium hosts a collection of unusual artifacts and art as well as a 4D mobile theater and an intriguing mirror maze. The American Visionary Art Museum is ideal for the artistic traveler, while the Maryland Science Center entertains children and adults alike. Finish your trip to the city off with a lovely walk along the 7-mile waterfront promenade.