Maryland

With a lengthy coastline and eclectic, cosmopolitan cities, Maryland offers great cultural attractions, beautiful beaches, water sports, fabulous seafood and waterfront restaurants. With the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and blissful Atlantic Coast beaches, Maryland has plenty of outdoor charms. Major cosmopolitan cities like Baltimore and delightful towns like the state’s capital, Annapolis, are filled with museums, restaurants, parks and many opportunities for fun on the water.

Enjoying the water is a favourite way to unwind, whether it’s a stroll along the Ocean City Boardwalk, a day exploring City Dock in downtown Annapolis, a sailing trip on the Chesapeake Bay or waterfront dining on the Eastern Shore. Take in an all-American baseball game at Camden Yards where many seats offer views of the Baltimore skyline. Bike at Patapsco Valley State Park and ski at Wisp Resort. Adrenaline junkies love the Adventure Sports Center International, the only mountaintop whitewater circulating course and home to the 2014 ICF World Canoe Championships.

Top Tips

You don’t need a big budget to experience big fun in Maryland. Here are 10 top free (or nearly free) things to do—sure to keep you coming back again and again!

The Awakening at National Harbor - There’s no chance of waking this sleeping giant—but there’s a high probability of getting an amazing photo. “The Awakening” is a 15-foot-high, multi-piece sculpture of a bearded giant bursting from the ground. For 30 years, the National Park Service had displayed the giant in Washington D.C.; now he makes his home on the beach at National Harbor.

Maryland Scenic Byways - Escape the highway, enjoy any one of Maryland's 18 Scenic Byways – for a relaxing road trip to explore charming towns, the splendour of nature and hidden gems.

Swallow Falls State Park - Commune with nature and take a walk through the woods of Western Maryland, known for its gorgeous mountain views. Just a few miles north of Oakland, Swallow Falls State Park borders the Youghiogheny River and is nestled in the picturesque Allegheny Mountains. Let your spirit run wild at Swallow Falls with its rocky gorges, roaring rapids, centuries-old hemlock trees, and Muddy Creek Falls, with a cascading 53-foot waterfall that is the tallest in Maryland!

Canal Place - June through August, jam to live music at the Canal Place Amphitheatre as part of downtown Cumberland’s concert series featuring top talent from visiting touring bands. Year-round, bike along the canal or hike one of two trails in Maryland’s first Certified Heritage Areas. Canal Place is home to many festivals and the beloved Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Brookside Gardens - Admire the beautiful blossoms at these public gardens in Wheaton. Originally planned by landscape architect Hans Hanses based on European designs and utilizing plants that thrive in Maryland’s temperate climate, the gardens have grown to include the evocative Fragrance Garden, the Gude Garden with its Japanese tea-house, the glorious Rose Garden, and the fanciful Aquatic Garden. Brookside Gardens hosts several exhibitions throughout the year, including a live butterfly and caterpillar event.

Ego Alley - Stroll historic downtown Annapolis’ brick-paved streets and make sure to visit the city dock along “Ego Alley,” so nicknamed because the marina is home to some massive yachts. During the holidays, the yachts are decked out in sparkling Christmas lights and decorations.

Movies on North Beach - The line-up of free movies runs through the fall at this Chesapeake Bay Beach in Calvert County. Plop a beach chair in the sand, snuggle under a blanket, and catch a film projected on a large inflatable screen. In September and October, the beach’s visitor parking transforms into a drive-in where you can drive up and catch the latest flicks from the comfort (and warmth) of your car.

Calvert Cliffs State Park - You’ll find a fishing hole, playground, beach, and - best of all - fossils at Calvert Cliffs State Park in Lusby. Hike the 13 miles of trails and search the beach where more than 600 species of fossils have been discovered through the years including the giant megalodon shark! Chances are pretty high you’ll collect a few fossilized shark’s teeth.

Globe Theatre - Surround yourself with sound at this historic Berlin theatre when you take in a show of live music performed by talented regional and national musicians. Or check out one of the art exhibits that showcase the works of curated local and regional artists at the Art Gallery & Lounge. Most shows are free to patrons of The Globe Restaurant & Bar.

Flying Dog Brewery - Get a peek behind the scenes of the brewing process, along with the chance to do a little beer tasting, when you head to Frederick to visit a favourite among craft breweries. An important thing to know before you go, though: being a working brewery, you should come wearing closed-toe shoes, and children aren’t allowed. Tours run Wednesday through Sunday.

Western Maryland

Getting away to Western Maryland means freshwater fishing at Deep Creek Lake, playing golf, lounging at a lakeside cabin and enjoying the majestic panoramic view from a mountain resort. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and depending on the season, try whitewater rafting, skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding and hiking. There are plenty of places to take a walk or a bike ride along the Appalachian trails. Charming towns such as Cumberland, Frostburg, Grantsville, Hagerstown, Oakland and Sharpsburg, offer an array of choices for shopping, antiquing, historic attractions and outdoor fun. Why not ride aboard a steam-engine train through the mountains or stop by a Civil War site such as Antietam National Battlefield? It’s all within a few hours drive of Baltimore or Washington, D.C.

Central Maryland

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis are just two of the popular attractions in Central Maryland. In one day, you can see where Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem, visit the Babe Ruth Museum, have a terrific seafood lunch, and then drive to Annapolis to stroll cobblestone streets and have a relaxing dinner near the City Dock. Between the cultural allure of Baltimore and the historical charm of Annapolis, you’ll have plenty of choices. Why not take in a ballgame at Camden Yards, attend a symphony performance, see live theater, or discover a fabulous neighborhood restaurant? Just minutes from the city, you’ll find Maryland Thoroughbred horse farms, old mills and wide expanses of rolling landscape. Toward the bay, you’ll come across waterside communities that are havens for boating and fishing. Throughout this region, you’ll see why Central Maryland is a rich tapestry of attractions, culture and history woven through a magnificent and vibrant landscape.

Southern Maryland

In 1634, the Ark and the Dove, two small wooden English ships, sailed up the Chesapeake Bay and arrived at St. Clement’s Island where 140 settlers stepped ashore and established the colony of Maryland. Here, in Southern Maryland, amid the natural beauty of thick woods, colourful wildflower fields and the magnificent estuary formed by the Potomac and Patuxent rivers, the settlers established a vibrant community that reflected freedom and tolerance. Southern Maryland is a tidewater wonderland. Gaze out at noble lighthouses, search for fossils along quiet beaches. Stroll through waterfront villages. Hike along woodland, riverside and cypress-swamp trails. Bike across wide-open spaces. If you’re a boater, you’ve found paradise. If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll be overwhelmed. The story of Maryland began and there is much to explore.

Eastern Shore

Blue crabs from the Chesapeake are harvested on the Eastern Shore and are often at the center of traditional get-togethers in Maryland, so bring your appetite! Eastern Shore folks will show you why Maryland has its roots in Southern hospitality, they are warmly welcoming and enthusiastic about sharing their love for the state with all its visitors. Why not spend a day on the bay and discover this region’s history and allure while sailing? Alternatively, drive from one waterfront village to the next in search of the perfect crab cake. If you yearn an action packed visit, head for Ocean City. Along this 10-mile stretch of white sandy beaches, you’ll find a boardwalk, amusement parks, an abundance of restaurants and more than two dozen golf courses.

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