Are you thinking about visiting Maryland this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Maryland. These pretty sights and destinations will blow your mind.
Welcome to the mesmerizing realm of Maryland – a state where every path leads to a new discovery, and every moment becomes a cherished memory. These stunning Maryland destinations beckon, promising experiences that will be etched in the heart forever.
Often referred to as “Miniature America,” Maryland showcases a tapestry of landscapes and cultural spots. From its serene coastlines to the most beautiful cities in Maryland, there’s a myriad of experiences awaiting every traveler. From the bustling streets of Baltimore to the tranquil shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is a treasure trove of scenic spots and cultural gems.
When considering the most scenic places in Maryland, a myriad of destinations spring to mind. The state boasts a rich blend of awe-inspiring architecture, vibrant culture, serene landscapes, and a history that speaks volumes. From the historic charm of Annapolis to the wild beauty of Assateague Island, every corner of Maryland exudes charm and allure.
This guide is your passport to Maryland’s beautiful places, each one a gem waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or someone seeking urban adventures, Maryland promises a diverse landscape that caters to all. So, gear up and let’s embark on this captivating journey, exploring the places to see in Maryland that deserve a spot on every traveler’s list.
Here’s everything you need to know about the most beautiful places in Maryland in 2023:
Ready to jump into all the prettiest locations in Maryland? As noted above, there’s something for everyone in this corner of the East Coast. So keep reading to discover the incredible scenery in Maryland.
Are you looking for scenic city and cultural attractions? Or would you prefer a relaxing getaway in nature? Whatever you’re planning, Maryland can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best spots in MD you should know about:
Often dubbed the “Sailing Capital of the U.S.,” Annapolis is a beautiful place in Maryland that’s steeped in history. Nestled by the Chesapeake Bay, its waterfront brims with activity. Sailboats dot the horizon, while the city’s streets echo tales of the past.
The U.S. Naval Academy stands proud, a testament to Annapolis’s maritime heritage. Cobblestone streets lead to historic homes, once the abode of signatories of the Declaration of Independence. The Maryland State House, the oldest in continuous use, is a must-visit.
Ego Alley is the city’s vibrant heart. Here, boats parade, showcasing Maryland’s love for the waters. As evening descends, the city’s pubs come alive. Local musicians play, while patrons savor Maryland’s famed crab cakes.
Main Street offers a shopping haven. Quaint boutiques, art galleries, and cafes line its stretch. Every corner of Annapolis whispers tales, from colonial times to the present.
Beyond its historic charm, Annapolis offers a plethora of festivals. The Annapolis Film Festival and Maryland Day celebrations are events that locals and tourists eagerly await. The city’s parks, like Quiet Waters Park, offer serene escapes.
In essence, Annapolis is more than a city. It’s where history meets modernity, and the Chesapeake’s waters tell tales of adventures old and new. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Maryland, indeed.
2. Deep Creek Lake
Nestled in the mountains of Western Maryland, Deep Creek Lake is a Maryland beauty that promises year-round adventure. The state’s largest freshwater lake, it’s a haven for water enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
In summer, the lake buzzes with activity. Boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding are popular pastimes. Families flock to sandy shores, basking in the sun and building sandcastles. The surrounding trails, like those in Swallow Falls State Park, beckon hikers and bikers with scenic vistas.
As leaves turn golden in fall, the area transforms into a beautiful place in Maryland for foliage viewing. The Autumn Glory Festival celebrates this seasonal change, with parades, concerts, and craft shows.
Winter paints Deep Creek Lake in shades of white. The nearby Wisp Resort becomes a hotspot for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. The frozen lake invites ice fishing enthusiasts, while the crisp air is perfect for winter hikes.
Spring sees the region bloom. Wildflowers carpet meadows, and the lake’s waters reflect clear blue skies. It’s a time for fishing tournaments and rejuvenating nature walks.
Deep Creek Lake is more than just a destination; it’s an experience. A place where each season brings new adventures and memories. Truly one of the most scenic places in Maryland. It’s truly a place where you’ll want to stay in a cozy Airbnb to soak it all in!
3. Assateague Island
A wild and untouched gem, Assateague Island stands as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Maryland. Spanning the coast of Maryland and Virginia, this barrier island is renowned for its wild horses, pristine beaches, and diverse ecosystems.
The Assateague wild horses are the island’s most famous residents. These majestic creatures roam freely, often spotted grazing by the roadside or frolicking on the beach. Their presence adds a touch of magic to the island’s already enchanting landscape.
The beaches here are a dream for sun-seekers and surfers. Golden sands stretch for miles, kissed by the Atlantic’s waves. It’s a Maryland scenery unlike any other, where the rhythms of nature dictate the pace.
Beyond the beaches, the island boasts salt marshes, maritime forests, and coastal bays. Birdwatchers will find paradise here, with over 320 species calling Assateague home. The Assateague Lighthouse, with its red and white stripes, offers panoramic views and a peek into maritime history.
Camping on Assateague under a canopy of stars is an experience to remember. The sound of waves, the cool sea breeze, and the island’s natural beauty make it a unique place to visit in Maryland.
4. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
At the heart of Maryland’s largest city lies Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, a bustling waterfront that’s a testament to the city’s maritime heritage and a must-see in Maryland. Once a historic seaport, the harbor has transformed into a vibrant hub of culture, entertainment, and dining.
The iconic National Aquarium stands as a beacon, home to thousands of marine creatures. From mesmerizing jellyfish to playful dolphins, it offers a deep dive into the wonders of the ocean. Adjacent to it, historic ships like the USS Constellation tell tales of Baltimore’s naval past.
Harborplace is a shopper’s delight. With its array of shops, eateries, and entertainment venues, it’s where the city comes alive. Street performers entertain, while the aroma of Maryland’s famous crab dishes wafts through the air.
For those seeking a touch of green, Rash Field Park offers a serene escape. Overlooking the harbor, it’s a favorite spot for picnics, kite flying, and simply soaking in the views. The nearby American Visionary Art Museum showcases quirky and innovative art, adding a touch of creativity to the harbor’s landscape.
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor isn’t just a destination; it’s the pulse of the city. A place where history, culture, and modernity converge, making it one of the best places to visit in Maryland.
5. Catoctin Mountain Park
Nestled in the rolling hills of Northern Maryland, Catoctin Mountain Park is a testament to nature’s splendor and a beautiful place in Maryland for those seeking outdoor adventures. With its dense forests, cascading streams, and diverse wildlife, it’s a haven for nature lovers.
Hikers will find a paradise in the park’s extensive trail system. Trails like the Blue Ridge Summit, Thurmont Vista, and Wolf Rock offer varying levels of difficulty but reward with breathtaking views of the Monocacy Valley. Each season paints the landscape in different hues, from the vibrant greens of spring to the fiery reds and oranges of fall.
History buffs will appreciate the park’s ties to the past. The Cunningham Falls State Park, located within Catoctin, is home to Maryland’s highest cascading waterfall. A short hike leads to this natural wonder, where visitors can enjoy a refreshing dip during the summer months.
For those interested in a unique experience, the park offers cabin camps built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. These rustic cabins provide a glimpse into the past while offering a cozy stay amidst nature.
Catoctin Mountain Park isn’t just a destination; it’s an experience. A place where nature’s beauty intertwines with history, making it a must-see in Maryland for every traveler.
6. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Spanning over 184 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland in Maryland, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park is a journey through time. Once a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River, today it stands as a testament to America’s canal age, offering a unique place to visit in Maryland.
The towpath, once trodden by mule teams pulling cargo-laden boats, is now a favorite among hikers, bikers, and history enthusiasts. As you traverse this path, you’ll encounter a series of lockhouses, each telling a different story of the canal’s past. Some of these historic lockhouses are even available for overnight stays, offering a unique glimpse into the 19th-century canal life.
Wildlife enthusiasts will be thrilled with the park’s biodiversity. From white-tailed deer to blue herons, the park is a sanctuary for a myriad of species. The serene waters of the canal also offer opportunities for fishing and birdwatching.
For a deeper dive into history, the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center provides exhibits on the canal’s construction, operation, and the communities that thrived alongside it. Nearby, the majestic Great Falls of the Potomac offers a stunning natural spectacle, showcasing the river’s raw power and beauty.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park is more than just a park. It’s a beautiful journey through Maryland’s history and scenery, waiting to be explored.
7. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Straddling the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is where history, nature, and adventure converge. Located at the juncture of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, it’s one of the most scenic places in Maryland and a pivotal site in American history.
The picturesque town of Harpers Ferry, with its historic buildings and cobblestone streets, feels like a step back in time. It played a significant role during the Civil War and was the site of John Brown’s famous raid in 1859, an event that fueled the flames of the impending conflict.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the park offers a plethora of activities. Hiking trails like the Maryland Heights Trail provide panoramic views of the town and the rivers below. The waters themselves are popular for rafting, kayaking, and fishing, offering both thrill and tranquility.
The park is also a significant landmark on the Appalachian Trail, making it a favorite among long-distance hikers. The Point, where the two rivers meet, offers a serene spot to relax and soak in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park isn’t just a destination; it’s an experience. A place where the echoes of history blend seamlessly with the natural beauty of Maryland, beckoning travelers to explore and discover.
8. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Situated on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Often referred to as the “Everglades of the North,” this refuge is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Maryland, especially for those keen on witnessing wildlife in its natural habitat.
Spanning over 28,000 acres, Blackwater is a mosaic of tidal marshes, freshwater ponds, and mixed forests. It’s a critical stopover for migratory birds, especially waterfowl. The refuge is renowned for its significant population of American bald eagles, and it’s not uncommon to spot these majestic birds soaring overhead or perched in tall pines.
The Wildlife Drive offers a scenic route through the refuge, with numerous pull-offs for photography and birdwatching. For a more immersive experience, there are several trails and paddling routes that allow visitors to explore the refuge’s diverse habitats.
The Visitor Center provides insightful exhibits on the area’s natural and cultural history, as well as the conservation efforts in place to protect its fragile ecosystems. Whether you’re kayaking through serene waters, hiking amidst whispering reeds, or simply enjoying the Maryland scenery, Blackwater offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
9. Great Falls of the Potomac
Just a short drive from the bustling streets of Washington, D.C., the Great Falls of the Potomac offer a stunning natural retreat. As one of the most scenic places in Maryland, the roaring cascades and rugged cliffs of Great Falls provide a dramatic backdrop for outdoor adventures and relaxation.
The Billy Goat Trail is a favorite among hikers, offering challenging terrain and unparalleled views of the falls. Split into three sections, this trail takes adventurers over rocky outcroppings, through dense woodlands, and along the river’s edge, showcasing the diverse beauty of the area.
For history buffs, the nearby Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Historic Park offers a glimpse into the past. The preserved locks and lockhouses tell the story of a bygone era, where mules once pulled boats along this vital waterway.
Water enthusiasts can test their skills against the Potomac’s challenging rapids, though it’s essential to exercise caution due to the river’s power. For those who prefer a more leisurely experience, picnicking by the riverbank while watching kayakers navigate the waters is a popular pastime.
With its blend of natural beauty and rich history, the Great Falls of the Potomac is a must-see in Maryland. It offers visitors a chance to reconnect with nature just a stone’s throw from the urban landscape.
10. Smith Island
Floating in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay, Smith Island is a slice of Maryland’s rich maritime heritage. As one of the unique places to visit in the state, this island offers a glimpse into a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries.
Accessible only by boat, Smith Island comprises a cluster of small communities, with Ewell, Rhodes Point, and Tylerton being the most prominent. The island’s isolation has preserved its distinct culture and traditions, including the unique Smith Island accent, reminiscent of the early English settlers.
A visit here isn’t complete without indulging in the famous Smith Island Cake, Maryland’s state dessert. This multi-layered treat, often featuring eight to ten thin layers with chocolate frosting, is a testament to the island’s culinary prowess.
The island’s waterways are a haven for kayakers and boaters, offering serene routes through salt marshes teeming with wildlife. Birdwatchers will be delighted with the abundance of waterfowl, especially during migration seasons.
For those seeking a deeper connection with the island’s history, the Smith Island Cultural Center in Ewell provides insights into the island’s crabbing industry, maritime traditions, and unique way of life.
Smith Island is more than just a destination; it’s an experience, a journey back in time where the Maryland beauty of yesteryears still thrives amidst the waves of the Chesapeake.
11. Savage River State Forest
Spanning over 54,000 acres, Savage River State Forest stands as Maryland’s largest state forest and a testament to the state’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty. This expansive forest, one of the beautiful places in Maryland, offers a diverse landscape of dense woodlands, pristine streams, and rugged terrain.
Hikers and nature enthusiasts will find a plethora of trails winding through the forest, each offering its unique perspective of the area’s beauty. The Big Savage Hiking Trail, stretching over 17 miles, is particularly popular for its panoramic views and challenging terrain.
For anglers, the pristine waters of the Savage River are a haven, teeming with brook and brown trout. The river’s clear, cold waters, fed by numerous springs, make it one of the top fly-fishing destinations in the eastern United States.
Winter transforms the forest into a snowy wonderland, making it a hotspot for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The forest’s vastness ensures that even during peak seasons, one can find tranquil spots to connect with nature.
Camping enthusiasts can pitch their tents in designated areas, falling asleep under a canopy of stars and waking up to the gentle sounds of the forest. Savage River State Forest truly encapsulates the Maryland scenery in its rawest form, offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
12. Brookside Gardens
Nestled within Wheaton Regional Park, Brookside Gardens is a 50-acre award-winning horticultural gem that stands as one of the prettiest places in Maryland. This botanical paradise offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in a world of vibrant colors, fragrant blooms, and serene landscapes.
The gardens are divided into several themed areas, each with its unique charm. The Rose Garden boasts over 100 varieties of roses, creating a riot of colors and fragrances. The Japanese Style Garden, with its tranquil ponds, ornate bridges, and meticulously pruned trees, offers a peaceful retreat, transporting visitors to a different world.
For those interested in local flora, the Maryland Native Plant Garden showcases the diverse plant species native to the state. The Butterfly Garden is a favorite among families, where children can watch in wonder as butterflies flit from flower to flower.
Throughout the year, Brookside Gardens hosts various events and workshops, from flower shows to bird-watching sessions, ensuring that there’s always something new to experience. The Garden of Lights, a winter event, transforms the gardens into a magical wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights.
Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast, a nature lover, or someone seeking a peaceful escape, Brookside Gardens is a testament to the beautiful places in Maryland, offering a refreshing blend of nature, art, and tranquility.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in Maryland
Looking to expand your knowledge about the most scenic spots in Maryland? Here are some common questions I get a lot about the best Maryland attractions and activities.
What is the number 1 tourist attraction in Maryland?
While it’s challenging to pinpoint just one, Annapolis is often regarded as one of the most beautiful places in Maryland. Its historic charm and waterfront views make it a top attraction.
What is beautiful about Maryland?
Maryland boasts a diverse landscape, from sandy shores to mountainous regions, making it a state filled with beautiful places to visit in Maryland.
Which destinations are recommended for nature enthusiasts?
For those who love nature, the most scenic places in Maryland include Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and Deep Creek Lake, offering serene landscapes and abundant wildlife.
Where should I go for a unique travel experience in Maryland?
For a distinctive experience, St. Michaels is a unique place to visit. Known for its maritime history, it’s a hidden gem in the state.
Which part of Maryland is beautiful?
Maryland is a state with diverse landscapes and a wide range of beautiful areas to explore. From the mountains to the coast, here are some particularly scenic parts of Maryland:
- Deep Creek Lake: A popular destination for boating, fishing, hiking, and skiing, offering stunning mountain views.
- Cumberland: Known for its historic charm, the Great Allegheny Passage, and the scenic Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
- Garrett County: Home to beautiful forests, waterfalls, and state parks like Swallow Falls State Park.
- Annapolis: Maryland’s capital city, known for its historic architecture, waterfront, and the U.S. Naval Academy.
- Baltimore’s Inner Harbor: Offers a blend of urban and waterfront beauty with attractions like the National Aquarium.
- Patapsco Valley State Park: Offers hiking, biking, and beautiful views of the Patapsco River.
- St. Michaels: A picturesque waterfront town with charming streets, boutiques, and seafood restaurants.
- Assateague Island: Famous for its wild horses, sandy beaches, and salt marshes.
- Chesapeake Bay: The largest estuary in the U.S., offering boating, fishing, and stunning sunsets.
- Solomons Island: Known for its marinas, seafood, and the Calvert Marine Museum.
- Point Lookout State Park: Offers a mix of history and natural beauty with views of the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River.
Near Washington, D.C.
- Great Falls: Part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, Great Falls offers dramatic views of the Potomac River’s rapids and waterfalls.
- Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway: Takes you through charming towns, farmland, and waterfront areas.
- Mountain Maryland Scenic Byway: Offers breathtaking mountain views and opportunities to explore Appalachian history.
Why is Maryland a top destination for tourists?
With its rich history, diverse landscapes, and cultural festivities, Maryland is one of the must-see in Maryland destinations that captivates travelers.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in Maryland
Maryland, with its diverse landscapes and rich history, truly offers some of the most beautiful places of Maryland for travelers to explore. Going to Maryland is like opening a book filled with captivating stories, each location narrating its unique tale. From the bustling cities to the serene coastlines, every pretty destination beckons with its own charm.
The best part of Maryland is its ability to surprise and enchant its visitors at every turn. It does not matter if you’re a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or someone simply looking for a place to relax in Maryland, this state has something for everyone. The Maryland beauty is not just in its scenic spots but also in its vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and the warmth of its people.
For those wondering where to go in Maryland, this guide has hopefully illuminated some of the top destinations. Yet, the true essence of Maryland lies in its hidden gems, waiting to be discovered. So, whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, Maryland promises a journey filled with unforgettable memories.
Remember, the beautiful places of Maryland are not just destinations; they’re experiences, waiting to be lived. So pack your bags, set your itinerary, and embark on a journey through one of America’s most enchanting states. Happy travels!