The Best Things to do in Maryland

The 25 Best Things to Do in Maryland

For its size, Maryland packs a powerful punch when it comes to delivering a diverse collection of landscapes. You’ll find everything from beautiful beaches and waterfront towns to mountain backdrops, while the picture-perfect Chesapeake Bay is one of the biggest lures to The Old Line State. 

Add to that wild horses you can observe roaming the coastline and restaurants serving freshly caught seafood, and it should come as no surprise why it was the inspiration behind our national anthem. With a mix of historic battlefield sites, family-friendly attractions, and natural wonders where you can enjoy kayaking and river tubing, there’s truly something for everyone in Maryland! 

You can plan a summer getaway to Ocean City’s famous boardwalk or discover local charms along Main Street in the capital city Annapolis. Sports fans can visit the birthplace of Babe Ruth in Baltimore, while outdoor lovers are spoiled for choice, with Maryland’s state parks offering scenic camping options and waterfall viewing. 

Whatever your interests are, you’ll find a wealth of fun options in Maryland. Instead of struggling to find your favorite activities to try, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Maryland for you. This Maryland bucket list has the best of the best, highlighting the state’s top-rated outdoor activities and kid-friendly spots, as well as small-town gems and scenic road trips you can add to your itinerary!

25 Fun and Unique Things to Do in Maryland

1. See Wild Horses on the Beach at Assateague Island

Unique Things to do in Maryland: Assateague Island

Assateague Island is a protected barrier island and one of the top Maryland attractions, offering a picturesque setting where you can watch wild ponies frolicking along the shoreline. The state park offers two miles of ocean beaches where you can enjoy swimming and fishing in warmer months, while the bayside area is popular for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing excursions. 

Wildlife watchers will also delight in the island’s scenery, as it’s possible to spot Sitka deer and more than 200 species of birds, including snowy owls and eagles. If you want a glimpse of what colonial life was like in Maryland, plan a trip to the Rackliffe House. Set a half-mile from the island’s visitor center, the restored 18th-century building has a museum open from mid-May to October. 

You can hike on the paved and unpaved trails or the miles of open beach while several miles of bike trails wind through the island. Horseback riding is available seasonally, while crabbing is a year-round activity with a chance to catch a blue crab, one of Assateague’s best-known and sought-after crustaceans. 

Camping on the island is also possible, as Assateague has plenty of overnight options. You can pitch a tent or camp out in a trailer, where you’ll be just steps from the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Book a Boat Tour of Assateague Island

2. Plunge Into Marine Life at Baltimore’s National Aquarium

Fun Things to do in Maryland: Baltimore's National Aquarium

If you’re traveling with kids, Baltimore’s National Aquarium should be at the top of your things to do in Maryland list. With almost 20,000 animals on view, this top attraction is a full-on immersion into marine life. 

Aside from its eye-catching exterior in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, this aquarium will keep all ages captivated by its award-winning exhibits. You can get up close to an array of creatures, including sharks, jellyfish, octopuses, and dolphins.

There are dozens of unique aquatic habitats to explore, from a northern Australian river gorge to an Indo-Pacific reef to a tropical rainforest. See the natural wonders of Australia: Wild Extremes, travel to South America in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest, or get up close with sharks in the 225,000-gallon Shark Alley. 

Kids will also love the 4D theater, which brings fun animal-themed films to life, while behind-the-scenes tours range from Dolphin Training Sessions to Aquarium Sleepovers and Family Sunrise Tours. For a hands-on experience, the Living Seashore features kid-friendly touch pools.

3. Visit Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

What to do in Maryland: Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

No trip to Maryland would be complete without ticking off a visit to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. One of America’s oldest seaports, it’s a central location to many of the city’s top attractions.

Located just south of downtown and connected via a seven-mile brick waterfront promenade, the Inner Harbor is home to an array of family-friendly sites. In addition to the National Aquarium, kids will love exploring the Maryland Science Center and Port Discovery Children’s Museum. You can also dine and shop at Harborplace Mall or book a boat excursion on the water, with scenic tours sailing past Baltimore’s famous attractions. 

History lovers can visit the USS Constellation Museum. Part of the Historic Ships in Baltimore on Pier 1, the USS Constellation was built in 1854 and offers you a chance to tour its interior, participate in a rifle drill, and see the on-site artifact collection with 50,000 objects.

For some of the best views of the harbor, head to Federal Park Hill. While it was once a former lookout during the War of 1812 and the Civil War, it’s now a scenic getaway offering dramatic views of the city’s sparkling skyline. 

Experience an Inner Harbor Lunch Cruise

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4. Enjoy World-Class Art for Free at the Baltimore Museum of Art

Best Things to do in Maryland: Baltimore Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts can make a beeline for the Baltimore Museum of Art, as this free attraction has one of the most important collections of 18th, 19th, and 20th-century art in the United States. Founded back in 1914 with a single painting, this museum is now home to 95,000 works.

Its exhibits span everything from ancient Egypt to some of the most significant works of today. Come and see the internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art, including the largest holding of Henri Matisse’s works in a public institution, alongside important examples of artistic expression from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Pacific Islands.

Even non-art fans will be captivated by its collection, where you can see works from more than 200 African states and societies, including headdresses, masks, textiles, and paintings, as well as jewelry, ceremonial weapons, and pottery. It feels like you’re traveling across the globe as you get up close to more than 1,000 objects from China, Japan, India, Tibet, and Southeast Asia.

History lovers can admire the collection of over 1,000 artworks from Native North America that includes highlights such as Plains beadwork, Arctic carved ivories, and Navajo textiles. Don’t miss the Oceanic artworks, which feature Hawaiian jewelry and masks from today’s Papua New Guinea.

5. Visit the Birthplace of Baseball’s Biggest Hero at Oriole Park

Cool Things to do in Maryland: Oriole Park

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is one of the must-see things in Maryland for any baseball fan. Home of the Baltimore Orioles, it’s also the birthplace of Babe Ruth – one of the greatest baseball players of all time. 

You’ll be greeted by a bronze statue of the legendary player at the entrance of the stadium, which leads to the famous ballpark that blends an old-fashioned ballpark feel with modern facilities. Take note of the center field, the exact spot where Ruth’s father once operated Ruth’s Cafe on the ground floor of the family’s home.

Located in the former rail center of Camden Yards, the stadium opened in 1992 and is within sight of the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore. Snag tickets to games from April to October and cheer on the team while enjoying a classic baseball game experience. 

After a game, visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, which presents the life and times of George Herman “Babe” Ruth. Its exhibits follow the life of this Baltimore native that became America’s first sports celebrity. 

6. Sip Beer at the Only Guinness Brewery in the US

Maryland Bucket List: Guinness Brewery

Combining 260 years of Irish brewing with American beer creativity, the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore is a must-visit for anyone that’s a fan of Guinness. It’s always beer time at this top attraction, which boasts the first experimental Guinness taproom in the United States. 

A popular destination for beer lovers, this brewery in Baltimore shares the spirit of discovery with its sister brewery in Dublin. They focus on putting a spin on classic beer styles and introducing new ones at this facility, while it’s also one of the best places outside of Ireland to sip iconic Guinness stouts.

Head to Baltimore’s Open Gate Brewery for a group tour, where a knowledgeable guide will teach you all about the history of Guinness. You will be able to step inside the innovative brewery to get a behind-the-scenes look at the legendary brewing process, then enjoy a guided tasting of some of its most popular beers and receive a keepsake glass. 

Even if you don’t take a guided tour, you can still pull up a seat at the on-site taproom and beer garden. Order a classic pint and pair it with one of their tasty burgers, wings, and flatbreads, then pop into the Guinness Store before you leave to pick up take-home beer, Guinness apparel, and more. 

Enjoy a Guided Craft Brewery Tour

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7. Visit Charming Waterfront Towns on the Chesapeake Bay

Best Things to do in Maryland: Chesapeake Bay

One of the top Maryland attractions, Chesapeake Bay is a place of serene beauty. It’s also the largest estuary in the United States and one of Maryland’s most famous natural attractions. From the salty sea air to the fresh seafood bounty, it boasts a long list of inviting towns where you can enjoy only-in-Maryland bayside architecture, historic lighthouses, and incredible waterfront vistas. 

Annapolis is a no-brainer when it comes to visiting Maryland, but other Chesapeake Bay destinations include Smith Island (home to the state dessert – Smith Island cake) and the historic college town of Chestertown. Oxford is a quiet waterfront escape with laid-back vibes, while Cambridge is friendly, walkable, and a popular spot to dine on fresh crabs. 

Listed on the National Historic Registry, Chesapeake City is a beautiful town peppered with restored homes and inns. Often ranked as Maryland’s most charming retreat, Havre de Grace is beloved for its pedestrian-friendly promenade, historic lighthouse, and seafood restaurants. A short drive from Baltimore, this waterfront town is the true crown of the Chesapeake Bay. 

One of the most popular Maryland attractions is the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. You can check out the working shipyard and explore the bay’s waterfront history in St. Michaels, which is a lovely Eastern Shore town. 

Sail a Cruise around Chesapeake Bay

8. Take a Spin on the Ferris Wheel in National Harbor

Maryland Bucket List: National Harbor

National Harbor is a major waterfront development along the picturesque Potomac River in Maryland, located only 20 minutes from Washington, DC. It offers a wealth of things to see and do year-round and is a prime destination for dining, shopping, and nightlife. 

Take a spin on The Capital Wheel to see the photogenic Potomac waterfront from 180 feet above, then explore the array of restaurants, attractions, and nightlife venues in National Harbor. You can roll the dice at the casino at MGM National Harbor or soak up the fresh air and rent a kayak, canoe, paddleboat, or even stand-up paddleboard to explore the river. 

A massive 18×32-foot outdoor Jumbotron often streams movies and sports games, while excellent shopping deals can be found on dozens of brands at the Tanger Outlets. You can also take a water taxi to historic Mount Vernon or the National Mall in Washington DC or stay on land and dine at local restaurants such as Walrus Oyster Ale House, which is famous for being home to “Maryland’s Best Lobster Roll.” 

Book a Capital Wheel Entry Ticket

9. Admire Sea Views From Ocean City Boardwalk

Maryland Things to do: Ocean City Boardwalk

The Ocean City Boardwalk should definitely be on your Maryland bucket list, as this classic beachfront boardwalk (also known as Atlantic Avenue) is a hotspot for fun. In addition to a long list of entertainment and dining options, there’s a carousel, museums, and street performers.

Located on the coast of northeast Maryland, the three miles of Ocean City’s top attraction is packed with things to do and see both day and night. It’s a popular destination throughout the spring and summer seasons, where you can check out amusement parks and arcade games or shop for souvenirs.

Get up close to marine life at the Life-Saving Station Museum, which has an Aquarium Room with a feeding program and a tank with seahorses, crabs, and eels. Make sure to stop and see Trimper’s Carousel, one of the oldest merry-go-rounds in the United States that dates back to 1902.

Considered one of the best boardwalks in the country, families with kids are spoiled for attractions, from arcade games at Marty’s Playland and roller coasters at Jolly Roger Amusement Park to fun photo ops at Flashback Old Time Photos. End your day with a hand-dipped donut at Fractured Prune Donut Shoppe or a funnel cake at Love’s Lemonade. 

Explore the Boardwalk of Ocean City

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10. Bike Along the Water in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park

Best Things to do in Maryland: Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park

Bikers looking for a scenic excursion should head to Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park, which stretches over 180 miles from Washington, DC, to Cumberland, Maryland. The historic canal makes for a great bicycling and walking route, where mules and horses once pulled barges through the canal.

The well-maintained trails (called the Towpath) give stunning views of the Potomac River, with locks, lock-keepers’ cottages, and the remains of canal buildings dotted along the way. Start at Thompson’s Boat House, then follow the canal to see the ever-changing landscapes to one of the six visitor centers. 

The Great Falls Tavern is a notable landmark at mile 14.3 in Montgomery County. Serving as a visitor center, you can visit an overlook of the Great Falls of the Potomac, hike the Billy Goat trail, or ride aboard a historic canal boat.

11. Marvel at Dramatic Waterfalls in Great Falls Park

Fun Things to do in Maryland: Great Falls Park

Boasting one of the area’s most impressive natural wonders and top Maryland attractions, Great Falls Park is an 800-acre recreation hotspot located along the Potomac River. Best known for its powerful waterfall display, the bucket list-worthy attraction is also an excellent destination for hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, biking, and horseback riding. 

The park actually has two locations, one in Maryland and the other in Northern Virginia. The Maryland side is part of the C&O Canal National Historic Park and has two overlooks near the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. 

Make a point to stop at the Washington Aqueduct Observation Deck for a picture-perfect view of the upper falls. To the south, the Olmsted Island Bridges have several viewpoints where you can also take in the beauty of the Great Falls. 

If you want to see the falls from another angle, you can drive to the Virginia location in the northern part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Here you’ll find three overlooks, with Overlook 1 offering the closest view, while Overlooks 2 and 3 are wheelchair accessible. 

12. Float on Tubes at Gunpowder Falls State Park

What to do in Maryland: Gunpowder Falls State Park

One of Maryland’s largest state parks, Gunpowder Falls State Park covers over 18,000 acres in Harford and Baltimore Counties. Divided into six areas, the park is home to some of the best things to do in Maryland. This place has everything from multi-use trails to historic sites and areas for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming. 

It’s also a popular spot for river tubing, as the area is quiet, peaceful, and slow-moving, so it’s an activity that all ages can enjoy. The park is the perfect spot to cool off from the summer heat while enjoying the incredible natural scenery. 

Head to the Hammerman Area in Middle River to enjoy a swimming beach. It’s a family-friendly destination with plenty of spots for picnicking and includes kid-friendly facilities like pavilions and playgrounds. Alternatively, the Dundee Creek Marina offers boat launching and boat rentals and is near the Dundee Creek fishing area and archery range. 

The Hereford Area is ideal for hiking, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking and includes the popular Mill Pond Cottage, while the Sweet Air Area is a nice spot for hiking and horseback riding. The Central Area encompasses both the Little and Big Gunpowder Falls and is the oldest part of the park, ideal for hiking and mountain biking, and includes the Jerusalem Mill Historic Village

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13. Experience the Quaint Downtown in Annapolis

Cool Things to do in Maryland: Annapolis

Annapolis is definitely one of the must-do things in Maryland, famously home to a soaring statehouse dome topped with a lightning rod made by Benjamin Franklin and charming bricked streets lined with mansions. The historic capital city is known as the “Sailing Capital of the US,” and you’ll be hard-pressed to find more impressive waterfront views. 

Start your day by heading to the water to see the mega-yachts in Ego Alley, a narrow waterway set in the heart of the historic downtown. Afterward, you can cross the harbor to the Maritime Republic of Eastport and visit the Annapolis Maritime Museum in the McNasby Oyster Packing House. 

You can also tour some of the city’s top attractions, like the U.S. Naval Academy or the Maryland State House, which is older than the country itself, built in 1772. For more insight into the city’s history and culture, join a walking tour with Watermark and alongside a colonial-attired guide, or hop on a cruise or yacht charter to see the Chesapeake Bay from Annapolis! 

When the hunger pangs hit, Cantler’s Riverside Inn is a hit in Annapolis with seafood lovers with its decadent fresh-off-the-boat crabs and stunning views of Mill Creek. Chick & Ruth’s Delly is another favorite, offering hearty breakfast options and piled-high sandwiches on Main Street. 

Discover Annapolis with a Walking Tour

14. Enjoy Year-Round Water Activities at Deep Creek Lake

Fun Things to do in Maryland: Deep Creek Lake

Maryland’s largest lake, Deep Creek Lake is a stunning natural wonder surrounded by mountains and forests. It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise, offering a beautiful spot to enjoy a day on the water while tubing, boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing. Fishing is also very popular at Deep Creek Lake and the neighboring rivers and streams. 

Carved in the quiet mountains of western Maryland, Deep Creek Lake is actually a unique four-season destination. While summer days are filled with sunshine, the winter season coats the surrounding landscape with a brilliant white blanket, providing amazing skiing conditions for nearby Wisp Resort

Perfect for almost any season, you can also explore some of the several state parks in our area. In the fall, hike up to the Thayerville fire tower, located in Deep Creek Lake State Park, for a stunning view of Deep Creek Lake and the autumn leaves. This is easily one of the coolest things to do in Maryland in the fall.

If you want to explore, Grantsville is located 20 minutes north of Deep Creek Lake and has several dining and shopping options, while Oakland is 15 minutes south of the lake and has a charming downtown area with antique stores, specialty shops, and an old-school diner. If you’re not looking to venture too far from the lake, there are several restaurants and shops in the immediate lake area.

15. Take a Step Back in Time in Ellicott City

Best Things to do in Maryland: Ellicott City

Dating back to 1772, Ellicott City is one of Maryland’s most historic towns. It’s also one of the most charming Maryland attractions and home to the oldest surviving railway station in the United States. 

A stroll down Ellicott City’s quaint Main Street reveals a collection of more than 200 18th- and 19th-century buildings, stunning historic homes, and a quaint collection of local shops and boutiques. You can pop into Wayside Inn B&B, where it’s rumored that General George Washington once stayed, or shop for treasures in the Historic Savage Mill, a former cotton mill that now features restaurants and shops. 

Train enthusiasts can learn more about the historic city at Ellicott City Station, which has been transformed into a fascinating museum showcasing the Provost Marshal’s Office, Telegraph/Ticket Office, Men’s Waiting Room, and Car House. Ellicott City also houses the Patapsco Female Institute, a revolutionary institution that educated young women between 1837 and 1891. 

Spend the Night at Wayside Inn B&B

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16. Take a Guided Tour of Fort McHenry

Unique Things to do in Maryland: Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry is one of those must-do things in Maryland, as it was actually the inspiration behind the iconic US national anthem. Completed in 1803, this historical site was used to guard the entrance to Baltimore’s lively harbor and became famous after withstanding a 24-hour bombardment by the British in 1814 at the Battle of Baltimore. 

These events inspired Francis Scott Key, who was being held prisoner on a British ship during the attack, to write “The Star Spangled Banner.” Today, you can head to Fort McHenry to get your own inspiration as you walk the ramparts and tour the historic buildings. 

You can step back in time and enter the original star fort structure. Surrounded by an outer battery, it features original Rodman cannons dating back to the 1860s. Some passageways lead down into powder magazines as well. 

Inside the fort, you’ll browse the fascinating exhibits or watch short films, while participating in the flag ceremony is a highlight for many. After a tour, sit and enjoy a picnic while enjoying beautiful views of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. 

17. Sample Craft Beer in Downtown Frederick

Frederick, Maryland, is a charming city located less than 60 miles from Baltimore, offering a peaceful getaway where you can spend an afternoon strolling its downtown. Lined with shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants, those 21 and up can also partake in the small town’s many brewery options. If you’re a beer connoisseur, brewery hopping in Frederick is one of the top things to do in Maryland! 

You can quench your thirst at your pick of places in Frederick, from Attaboy Beer with its family-friendly (and dog-friendly!) atmosphere from the working farm at Frey’s Brewing Company, which has several free-range animals, including cows, sheep, goats, chickens, dogs, and of course their friendly barn cats. You can also visit a farm brewery that has high-quality, hand-crafted beers at Mad Science Brewing Company.

Idiom Brewing Co. is set on Carroll Creek and specializes in old-school English styles, with New England IPAs and fruited sours on the menu, while Brewer’s Alley is a kid-friendly space that pairs tasty pub grub with house-label microbrews. When the weather is good, Olde Mother Brewing is a perfect spot to enjoy a cold beer on the patio and soak up the sun. 

If spirits are more your thing, head to Dragon Distillery to try artisan spirits using locally-sourced, natural ingredients. McClintock Distilling is another option in the heart of Frederick, while Tenth Ward Distilling Company was once voted “Maryland Absinthe Distillery of the Year.” 

Savor Local Flavors in Downtown Frederick

18. Take a Step Back in Time at Antietam National Battlefield

What to do in Maryland: Antietam National Battlefield

The Antietam National Battlefield is the site of one of the most significant Civil War battles in the United States. It’s one of the top things to do in Maryland for history enthusiasts who want to learn more about Civil War history, located just a few miles from the West Virginia border. 

The well-preserved historic battle site was the setting of one of America’s most brutal battles, The Battle of Antietam. You can start your exploration of the National Park service-protected area at the visitor’s center, which has a museum and introductory movie. 

Afterward, wander the open countryside to see the various monuments dedicated to the war or follow the 8-mile, self-guided tour route on foot, bicycle, or by car. Some of the most notable stops along the way include the Dunker Church, where it all started, the Sunken Road (also known as “Bloody Lane”), and Burnside Bridge, where Union troops forced General Lee to withdraw. 

Stop and pay your respects at the National Cemetery, which contains the remains of 4,700 Federal soldiers, then visit the Pry House Field Hospital Museum. Exhibits at the museum include a re-creation of an operating theater, interpretive panels, and objects relating to the care of the wounded.

Take a Self-Guided Driving Tour

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19. Follow Scenic Trails at Catoctin Mountain Park

Best Things to do in Maryland: Catoctin Mountain Park

Catoctin Mountain Park is a hiker’s paradise, offering easy to strenuous trails that lead to stunning overlooks and vistas. It’s one of the best things to do in Maryland if you love the outdoors, with a chance to get up close to Maryland’s Cunningham Falls. 

The West Side Trails of Catoctin Mountain Park are for those who prefer a more secluded experience, as it’s a wilder, more quiet hiking experience on offer. You’re more likely to see wildlife, wetlands, and remnants of former farms, while picnic areas and campgrounds also connect with trails. 

If you’re up for a serious adventure, the Catoctin National Recreation Trail spans 26.6 miles and encompasses four park and forest units. It’s a challenge for experienced hikers but offers an epic adventure along the easternmost ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

There’s also an option for horseback riding, as six miles of designated horse trails are available for public use. Fishing for trout is also possible in Big Hunting Creek, while the park’s unique rock formations are popular with rock climbers. 

20. Ride Historic Trains at The B&O Railroad Museum

Calling all train enthusiasts! The B&O Railroad Museum is worth a spot on your Maryland sightseeing itinerary. It’s one of the coolest things to do in Maryland for train and history fans, home to the oldest and most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world. 

Dating back to 1827, the B&O Railroad Museum is located on the oldest railway in the country and features galleries with historic locomotives that were at the forefront of American railroading. 

The museum also features rolling stock, historic buildings, and small objects that document the beginning of the railroad industry. There are also themed guided tours of the museum available, including Junior Tours for families with kids. 

One of the main attractions at the museum is the Mile One Express, where you can ride along the first mile of train tracks in the United States. The scenic 40-minute round-trip train ride includes a stop at the First Mile Stable, a state-of-the-art equestrian facility built by the B&O.

For something different, grab a ticket to the Observation Car train rides, which offer the chance to ride in the historic 1948 Royal Blue lounge car while you enjoy light refreshments and an immersive train ride experience. 

21. Go Camping at Swallow Falls State Park

Fun Things to do in Maryland: Swallow Falls State Park

Swallow Falls State Park boasts some of Western Maryland’s most stunning natural scenery. If you’re a nature lover, it’s worth heading to this park to see its collection of cascading waterfalls and enjoy an overnight adventure. 

The park is most notably home to Muddy Creek Falls, a captivating 54-foot-tall waterfall that is surrounded by foliage that includes tall hemlocks and an old-growth forest. The Youghiogheny River flows through the park’s borders, passing through the rocky gorges to create its rippling rapids. 

There are 65 wooded campsites with a fire ring, picnic table, and lantern post, with all campsites located near modern bathhouses with hot and cold water. If you prefer a cabin, book a stay at one of the cozy abodes that feature electric heat, a microwave, and a mini fridge, as well as a double bed and bunk bed. 

Campers can wake up and follow the short Canyon Trail through the forest, which passes by several waterfalls, including the highest free-falling waterfall in Maryland. This is one of the coolest things to do in Maryland for nature and camping enthusiasts. 

Mountain bikers can follow another 5.5-mile trail that connects Swallow Falls and Herrington Manor State Park, while the park’s catch-and-release trout fishing area is four miles long. 

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22. Fossil Hunt at Calvert Cliffs

Maryland Things to do: Calvert Cliffs State Park

If you’ve ever wanted to dig up a real fossil, Calvert Cliffs State Park is the place to visit. Nature lovers flock to this dramatic shoreline to see prehistoric shark teeth and experience one of the most unique things to do in Maryland.

The park’s renowned cliffs dominate about 30 miles of Chesapeake shoreline and offer a treasure trove of hidden gems. Formed over 10 to 20 million years ago when all of Southern Maryland was covered by a warm, shallow sea, these cliffs have revealed the remains of prehistoric species, including sharks, whales, rays, and seabirds the size of small airplanes.

While treasure hunting for fossils along the beach is the top activity in the park, it’s also a popular destination for outdoor activities like hiking and fishing. There’s also a large playground for kids and a picnic area.

23. Find Your Zen in Brookside Gardens

Best Things to do in Maryland: Brookside Gardens

A perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Brookside Gardens is a beautiful, award-winning public garden in Montgomery County. This free attraction is not only family-friendly, but it spans 50 acres and is one of the best sights in Maryland. 

There are thousands of plants and flowers to admire along its picture-perfect trails, which feature benches and gazebos where you can stop to admire the seasonal landscapes. Wander around the garden’s several distinct areas, including an Aquatic Garden, Butterfly Garden, and Children’s Garden, then stop to smell the blooming flowers in the Rose Garden, Japanese Style Garden, and Rain Garden. 

Step inside one of the two conservatories open year-round to marvel at the variety of tropical and seasonal plants, or head to the formal Perennial Garden, Yew Garden, and Fragrance Garden to marvel at the vibrant displays. You can even time your visit for what’s in bloom, from the daffodils in April and azaleas in May to colorful camellias in December. 

Time your visit to coincide with one of its events. The garden supports local artists through rotating monthly art exhibits, and in November and December, they host the annual Garden of Lights display that transforms the park into a winter wonderland with walk-through exhibits and twinkling lights among the flowerbeds. 

24. Paddle Around Janes Island

Best Things to Do in Maryland: Janes Island

Set on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Janes Island State Park is a must on your Maryland bucket list if you love paddling. The park has more than 30 miles of water trails, as well as quiet landscapes perfect for outdoor recreation. 

The park has two distinct areas, with the island portion of the park, which is Janes Island, featuring almost 3,000 acres of salt marsh. The seemingly untouched natural landscapes lead to miles of isolated pristine beaches, while its tranquil setting also provides a habitat for wildlife such as birds, fish, and crabs.

Perfect for a group outing, paddle the marked water trails and take in the expansive nature vistas. The waterways are protected by the wind and are ideal for both novice and expert paddlers, and the state park rents canoes and kayaks from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

You’ll find everything you need at this park for an outdoor adventure, with walking trails, a boat launch, and a nature center available on-site. There are also campsites, cabins, and pavilions where you can rest and relax, and the town of Crisfield (which is known as the “Crab Capital of the World”) is nearby. 

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25. Drive the Historic Harriet Tubman Byway

The 125-mile Harriet Tubman Byway offers one of the most powerful and inspiring road trips in the United States. It’s one of the top things to do in Maryland, allowing you to immerse yourself in Tubman’s life and how she became a heroic leader in the fight against slavery. 

Born enslaved in Maryland around 1822, Harriet Tubman eventually escaped and led dozens of others to freedom utilizing the Underground Railroad. This self-guided byway’s more than 30 stops have close ties to Tubman, the Underground Railroad, and other key moments in the abolitionist movement. 

Highlights include the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center in downtown Cambridge, which features exhibits on Tubman’s legacy and a famous mural. Also in Cambridge, the Stanley Institute was a one-room schoolhouse established to serve the Black community after the Civil War and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Another worthy stop is the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, which is located in the heart of Dorchester County. Where she led herself and so many others to freedom, it features exhibits, a research library, a museum store, and a fascinating documentary about Tubman’s life. 

There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Maryland. What’s your favorite thing to do in The Old Line State?

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