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Chesapeake Bay, Maryland: Adventures on the Water

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Maryland may be small, but it’s big in history, natural beauty and things to see and do. From clambakes and bonfires to scenic drives through mountains or evenings spent on Ocean City’s boardwalk, this diminutive state welcomes visitors with a blend of modern life and history.

Maryland speaks volumes about US maritime life and culture. A dozen lighthouses set Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic aglow, and maritime museums and parks bring Mid-Atlantic history to life. Don't miss trying the cuisine, fresh-caught from the Maryland waterways, which tells a mouthwatering story of its own.

State capital Annapolis offers tours and sailing schools for seafarers. See the state by land on a trip down one of two major byways, Historic National Road through the mountains or Chesapeake Country Byway along the state’s waterfront villages. Hike the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, a complex and illuminating network of trails that let you explore a substantial part of US history, and visit the Maryland Museum of Military History in Baltimore for an education in the country’s military past. Don’t leave without unwinding on one of Maryland’s family-friendly beaches or spending a fun night in Baltimore or Gaithersburg, where you’ll also find museums, parks, science centers and zoos.

Chesapeake Bay, Maryland: Adventures on the Water

Video: Chesapeake Bay, Maryland: Adventures on the Water
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Fun Fact

Maryland Fun Fact
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Maryland gave the USA its first railroad, dental school and umbrella factory.

Must see places

Ponies on the beach at Assateague Island

Assateague Island National Seashore

On this protected barrier island, you can ride horses on the beach, watch the wild Chincoteague ponies or take a guided tour on one of many trails.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore Harbor

National Aquarium

With almost 20,000 animals on view, this aquarium in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a major plunge into marine life. Shark, rainforest and dolphin experiences, among others, await visitors of all ages.

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Monuments at the Civil War battlefield of Antietam

Antietam National Battlefield

At the site of one of the USA’s most significant Civil War battles, you’ll find events and programs that make this significant moment of American history come alive.

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A view from Catoctin Mountain in the Appalachians

Catoctin Mountain

Hikers find thrills along the 43-kilometer trail that follows a mountainous ridge where you can spot bears, turkey and deer.

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Cycling along the historic C&O canal

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Within the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and at the north bank of the Potomac River lies this historic canal, which also makes for a great bicycling route.

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Thomas Point Lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay

Perhaps Maryland’s most famous feature, this estuary counts well-known towns, islands, lighthouses, cliffs and museums among its attributes.

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Exterior of Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry

This fort, known for staving off the British in the War of 1812 – an event that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the poem that would later become the US national anthem, or “Star-Spangled Banner” – offers guided tours and special events.

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Fall foliage at Deep Creek Lake

Deep Creek Lake

Dive right in to the state’s largest lake, bordered by mountains and forests, where you'll find a variety of outdoor activities and plenty of festive events.

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View of National Harbor from Woodrow Wilson Bridge

National Harbor

Take a spin on the Capital Wheel to see the Potomac waterfront from on high, then explore National Harbor’s lively restaurants, attractions and nightlife.

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Ocean City boardwalk at dusk

Ocean City Boardwalk

Walk this classic beachfront boardwalk, otherwise known as Atlantic Avenue, which comes complete with a carousel, museums and a historic guard tower, as well as entertainment and dining.

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Hot air balloon over Asheville, North Carolina
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Experience Maryland

Official Maryland Travel Site