What makes Maryland such a popular vacation destination is its variety of attractions for all ages and tastes. The proximity to Washington DC and Virginia make it a popular weekend getaway and rental homes, especially along the shore are very popular. Families tend to head to Chesapeake Bay and Ocean City, while outdoor lovers head to the mountains for hiking or horseback riding. Maryland has a long and colorful history, which means that there is plenty to enjoy and explore for history buffs as well.
Assateague Island National Park
Known for the wild horses which call this area their home, Assateague Island remains uninhabited by humans. Assateague’s wild horses are feral, descended from domesticated horses that have since broken free and were made famous by Marguerite Henry’s book, Misty of Chincoteague. Every last Wednesday in July, the horses are herded and swum from Assateague to Chincoteague Island, and the young foals are auctioned off. Visitors can enter the park during daytime hours to enjoy a hike, canoe, kayak, walk along the shore, or try to spot the horses. There is an entrance fee for visitors and cars and guided tours are available.
Address: Assateague Island Visitor Center, Maryland District, 11800 Marsh View Lane, MD 21811, USA
With over 1.6 million visitors a year, the National Aquarium in Baltimore is one of the city’s most popular attractions. The aquarium boasts over 660 animal species and children love the Dolphin Discovery zone, where visitors can interact with dolphins. For something unusual, why not try the Shark Lover’s Dream, an overnight stay at the aquarium with the sharks? There is also a 4D Immersion Theater showing 3D films with special effects like bubbles, smells, wind, and leg ticklers.
Address: 501 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
The Allegheny Mountains are part of the large Appalachian Mountain chain and run through Western Maryland. Backbone Mountain is Maryland’s highest point at 1,024 m high, while Dans Mountain providers climbers with another challenge at 883 m. Cumberland is the main starting point for outdoor adventures with hikers able to take in the abundant flora and fauna from red maple to elk and bison.
Address: Western Maryland, USA
Cumberland’s Historic District
The main hub of Maryland’s Allegheny Mountains is home to an interesting historic district simply called Downtown, which features the city’s largest concentration of stores and restaurants. The pedestrianized Baltimore Street is the center, lined with pretty 19th and 20th century buildings indicative of the city’s former wealth. Weekly farmers’ markets and summertime festivals make for great events to attend.
Address: Western Maryland, USA
NASA Goddard Visitor Center
For anyone interested in space, the NASA Goddard Visitors’ Center is a must see. Open daily and free of charge, the facility showcases spacecraft, satellites, Hubble photographs, and interactive displays. Monthly model rocket launches take place here and the center also hosts many special events.
Address: Public Inquiries, Mail Code 130, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Annapolis Maritime Museum
Annapolis is steeped in maritime history and is home to the famous Naval Academy. The Annapolis Maritime Museum is a crown attraction with the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse at its core, built 1874. Interesting exhibits include the Oysters on the Half Shell, which explains the history of the oyster industry in Maryland and the interactive Bay Experience Center. The museum also hosts a wide range of events, concerts, lectures, and educational activities.
Address: Second Street and Back Creek, Annapolis, MD 21403, USA
Adventure Park USA
No family trip to Maryland would be complete without spending a day at Adventure Park USA, the largest amusement park in the state. Thrill rides, mini-golf, a rock wall, paintball, go karts, and much more await. Unlike other amusement parks, the park has no entrance fee, but rides are charged via a Fun Pass that is like a debit card.
Address: 11113 West Baldwin Road, New Market, MD 21774, USA
Adventure Sports Center International
The Adventure Sport Center International (ASCI) is home several activities: a whitewater kayak/canoe course, rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking. This manmade whitewater adventure is open from May to October for those that want to give whitewater rafting or river boarding a try. All skill levels are welcome with a professional guide. ASCI also offers a range of other outdoor sports like bike tours, backcountry trips, rock climbing, and rappelling that need to be booked in advance.
Address: 250 Adventure Sports Way, Deep Creek Lake, MD 21541, USA