If you’re planning to visit Maryland or just looking for some fun places to spend your holiday, check out the list we’ve prepared for you. You can go to any of the national parks, and historic sites in Maryland mentioned below. Whatever you choose, we’re sure you’ll have a great time!
Maryland is found in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The state is also called the “Old Line State,” the “Free State,” and “The Chesapeake Bay State.” Another curious fact is that it’s named after the English Queen Henrietta Maria. Maryland’s capital is Annapolis, while the largest city is Baltimore. It has three national historical parks, various historic trails and monuments, and unique state parks worth visiting, as you’ll soon see!
1. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
|Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park|
|Location||Cumberland, Allegany County|
|Animals to spot||Deer, bats, butterflies, dragonflies, various species of birds, reptiles, amphibians|
|Recreational activities||Hiking, biking, camping, boating|
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park was designated to preserve the remains of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The construction of the canal started in 1828 and lasted 22 years. Its trail goes all the way from the Potomac River from Georgetown, D.C., to Cumberland, Maryland, and has a distance of 184.5 miles. This tourist attraction will clearly be rich both in natural and historical details.
This park in Maryland provides outdoor enthusiasts with various recreational activities, including hiking, biking, camping, and boating. If you’re planning a more extended visit, the park has five drive-in campgrounds and 30 sites along the canal for hiking and biking. A visitor’s center will provide you with more information regarding the park, as well as the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
2. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
|Harpers Ferry National Historical Park|
|Location in Maryland||Harpers Ferry, at the border between Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia|
|Animals to spot||Amphibians, reptiles, mammals, spiders, fish, birds, insects|
|Attractions to see||The historic town of Harpers Ferry, natural surroundings|
Animal, nature, and history lovers will certainly delight in visiting Harpers Ferry National Historical Park! It’s situated at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are only two of the many prominent figures who left a mark on this park. The place has a rich history. Some important events are the first successful application of interchangeable manufacturing, John Brown’s attack on slavery, and the education of formerly enslaved people.
Besides the historic town of Harper Ferry, the surroundings consist of scenic wooded slopes, fields, and rocky cliffs. The natural area hosts around 15 amphibian and reptile species, around 30 mammal and spider species, 43 fish species, and more than 170 types of birds and insects.
3. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
|Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park|
|Location||Church Creek, Dorchester County|
|Attractions to see||Exhibits, museum store, seasonal interpretive programs|
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park commemorates Harriet Tubman, an American abolitionist and political activist. She is the most well-known Underground Railroad worker, a network of secret passageways and safe houses. Before the Civil War, she risked her life repeatedly to help free 70 enslaved people.
The 15,000-square-foot visitor’s center on the site provides tourists with an audio-visual program, a museum store, various exhibits, a research library, and seasonal interpretive programs. The exhibits focus on a few topics: Tubman’s family and faith, the local community, the Underground Railroad, and how and why Tubman’s actions are still relevant.
There’s also a 0.75-mile memorial garden where you can go for a walk to savor the beautiful landscape.
4. Chesapeake Bay
|Location||Eastern Shore of Maryland|
|Size in Maryland||1,726 square miles|
|Animals to spot||Bottlenose dolphins, crabs, oysters, waterfowl, various species of mammals, and reptiles|
Chesapeake Bay can easily be called the largest estuary in the United States and the third-largest in the world. The northern portion of the Bay is located in Maryland, while the southern part is located in Virginia. Therefore, it is one of both states’ most important ecological and economic elements.
The exciting thing is that you don’t have to go to a specific place to enjoy the beauties of the Bay. Sixteen counties in Maryland and the largest city of the state, Baltimore, border the estuary, so it will be easy to find scenic views, especially if you’re on a road trip in Maryland or Virginia. If you’re lucky enough, you can even spot a bottlenose dolphin that can sometimes be found near harbors.
Check the official website of Chesapeake Bay, which provides you with specific details about specific locations.
5. Appalachian National Scenic Trail
|Appalachian National Scenic Trail|
|Location in Maryland||Follows the ridgeline of South Mountain|
|Length in Maryland||40 miles|
|Animals to spot||White-tail deer, squirrels, chipmunks, coyotes|
|Attractions||Hiking trails and historic sites|
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a hiking trail in the eastern United States. It starts in Georgia, from Springer Mountain, and ends in Maine, on Mount Katahdin. The trail crosses 14 states, including Maryland, and has a length of about 2,200 miles.
Forty miles of this trail are located in Maryland, following the ridgeline of South Mountain. This part is considered easy compared to those in the other states. The lowest point is at the Potomac River (250 feet), and the highest is at High Rock (1900 feet). Even beginner hikers can give it a try, as there are also shelters and backpackers’ campgrounds. The views encountered along the way are, of course, spectacular! If you’re a true hiker, we’re sure you won’t regret this.
If you’re not up for more days of hiking, you can opt for day hikes – from Greenbrier State Park to Annapolis Rock and Black Rock, from Greenbrier to Washington Monument State Park, and from Gathland State Park to Weverton Cliffs.
6. Antietam National Battlefield
|Antietam National Battlefield|
|Location||Washington County (nearest city Sharpsburg)|
|Animals to spot||Woodchucks, white-tail deer, various species of birds, including Eastern Bluebirds and Grasshopper Sparrows|
|Attractions to see||Battlefield site, visitor’s center, field hospital museum, national military cemetery|
An interesting historical and natural destination, Antietam National Battlefield commemorates the American Civil War Battle of Antietam that took place on September 17, 1862. It was dubbed “the bloodiest day in American history.” It features a battlefield site, a visitor’s center, a field hospital museum, a national military cemetery, and the Burnside’s Bridge. At the visitor’s center, you can purchase an audio tour to accompany you on an 8.5-mile self-guided tour of the battlefield.
Besides being an incredibly unique destination that enriches your knowledge with historical facts, it’s also a beautiful place in nature. It is situated near the Potomac River, on the fields among the Appalachian foothills. Nature lovers will most certainly enjoy the scenic views, and the variety of animals spotted there. The eastern bluebird is one of the beautiful birds that can cross paths with the visitors of the Antietam National Battlefield.
7. Catoctin Mountain Park
|Catoctin Mountain Park|
|Animals to spot||Squirrels, chipmunks, white-tail deer, pileated woodpeckers, black bear|
|Recreational activities||Hiking, horseback riding, camping, picnicking, fishing|
Catoctin Mountain Park is a scenic destination located in north-central Maryland. Hiking enthusiasts will find this national park an exciting destination, as it has trails measuring more than 25 miles long. Six of these trails are used for horseback riding. Even if you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, you’ll have a great time on the trail.
The Presidential retreat, Camp David, can also be found in this national park, but it’s not open to the public. Don’t worry; you won’t be bored because the park includes a campground as well as designated areas for picnicking and fishing. If you’re lucky enough, you can even spot a black bear; just make sure to do so from a distance!
8. Assateague Island National Seashore
|Assateague Island National Seashore|
|Location in Maryland||Worcester County (nearest city Ocean City)|
|Animals to spot||White-tail deer, red foxes, Chincoteague pony, merlin, sika deer, brown pelican|
|Attractions to see||National Seashore, State Park, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, visitor’s center|
Visiting Assateague Island National Seashore will undoubtedly exceed your expectations! It’s the largest natural barrier island ecosystem located along the Atlantic Ocean, mainly in Maryland and a smaller part of it in Virginia. You’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful landscape or engage in various recreational activities the island offers.
The island has three public areas and a visitor’s center. Alongside the National Seashore, the Assateague State Park is an 855-acre public recreation area with wildlife landscape, beach, and camping facilities. The Assateague horse, also known as the Chincoteague pony, is only one of the unique animal species visitors can spot in the park.
The third area is the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, a large wildlife preserve where various species of animals live. Some of them include merlin, brown pelican, sika deer, and black skimmer. Most of this preserve is located in Virginia, but it only takes a one-hour drive to get there from Assateague State Park.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Dennis W Donohue/Shutterstock.com
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