Top 20 Maryland Attractions You Can't Afford To Miss

Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Nikki Jain

Uncover hidden gems and must-see Maryland attractions. Immerse yourself in rich history, natural beauty, and diverse culture throughout the state. Maryland was once the foothold for major Civil War Battles, and fortunately, there are many museums with well-preserved war remnants that will remind you of the brutal past.

But If you’re looking for more light-hearted fun, don’t worry; there is a wealth of things to do in Maryland. Outdoor enthusiasts will find miles of hiking, kayaking, swimming, and camping options in this geographically diverse state.

There’s something for everyone in Maryland. Instead of struggling to pick your favorite activities to try, consider this list of the top tourist attractions in Maryland.

Things To Do in Maryland

Table of Contents [Show]

Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link.

1: Baltimore Inner Harbor

Baltimore Inner Harbor
Baltimore Inner Harbor Skyline | Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

A trip to Maryland would not be complete without a visit to the Baltimore Inner Harbor.

The Baltimore Inner Harbor is a central location for some of the most popular Maryland attractions.

There are a variety of restaurants at the Harbor. For entertainment, shows are offered year-round at indoor and outdoor venues.

There are quite a few museums at the Harbor, including the aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, a Discovery Children’s Museum, and a unique “floating” ship museum.

Four ships are permanently docked at the Harbor, and they are called the Historic Ships. Visitors can board and explore the vessels. One ship is the only remaining sea vessel from the Civil War.

In addition to the boats, there is a lighthouse dating back to 1856.

For some fun additional on the water, visitors can book a boat cruise. There are different types of boats available, including kayaks, sailboats, and paddleboats.

The Baltimore Water Taxi is also available to transport passengers to other Baltimore neighborhoods and offer beautiful views of the city and river.

Address: Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Baltimore

2: Deep Creek Lake Area

Deep Creek Lake Area
Flickr/Jon Dawson

Visiting Deep Creek Lake State Park is one of the best things to do in Maryland for people who like outdoor adventure.

The park is open year-round for activities like fishing, boating, hunting, hiking, and camping.

In the winter, visitors can go snowshoeing through the trails and ride snowmobiles on six miles of trails. In the summer, the lake is open for boating and swimming.

The park is home to Maryland’s largest artificial lake. Along the lake are twenty miles of trails for hiking and biking, over 100 campsites, and two beaches.

Also in the park is The Youghiogheny Wild River Natural Environmental Area, a river where visitors can fish and raft.

Address: 898 State Park Rd, Garrett, MD 21561

3: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park | Top Maryland attraction Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park spans almost twenty thousand acres, making it one of the largest Maryland tourist attractions.

The canal became a national monument in 1961, and it became a National Historical Park in 1971. There are seven visitor centers throughout the park with more history of the canal.

The canal itself is 184.5 miles long, with a hiking and biking path called the towpath running parallel to it.

For visitors looking to spend a night in the park, campsites are spread out along the trail, with one every five or so miles.

There are also boat rides available for visitors to take. One of the rides is on a mule-drawn boat from the 1870s, and another is an electric boat from the 1920s.

Address: Hagerstown, MD 21740

4: Ocean City Boardwalk

Ocean City Boardwalk

Located on the east coast of Maryland is the Ocean City Boardwalk.

From amusement rides and shopping to restaurants and bars, the boardwalk has something everyone will enjoy.

Along the boardwalk, there are street performers, food stands selling classic snacks like popcorn and ice cream, and a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean.

The boardwalk spans over three miles and is open 24/7 all year round. There are hundreds of hotels and restaurants, so it is a great place to stay when you visit Maryland.

One of the most popular features of the boardwalk is Trimper’s Carousel. This merry-go-round was built in 1902 and still operates today, making it the oldest operating carousel in the United States!

Address: Boardwalk, Ocean City, MD 21842

Also Read: Best Beach Boardwalks in the USA

5: Six Flags America

Six Flags America

Six Flags America is one of the most fun things to do in Maryland.

There are fun rides and activities for kids and adults alike. Thrillseekers can find almost sixty rides between the rollercoasters, rides for kids, and many others.

Go on the Apocalypse with its unnerving drops and inversions, ride the Batwing Coaster and enjoy the most menacing ride of your life.

Within the park is a water park that guests can access with park admission. The water park has water rides, slides, lazy rivers, pools, and more.

For younger children or less adventurous adults, live shows are happening all day throughout the park, as well as plenty of dining and shops.

Address: 13710 Central Ave, Bowie, MD 20721

6: Assateague State Park

Assateague State Park
Wild horses roam freely at Assateague Island | Dreamstime/Jonathan Cohen

Assateague State Park is on Assateague Island bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

It is one of the most beautiful, nature-filled vacation spots in Maryland.

There are two miles of beaches in the park where guests can swim, surf, and fish.

Sinepuxent Bay borders the west side of the park, and the bay has an abundant amount of wildlife. There are clear areas in the water as well as coves for kayaking and canoeing.

Campsites are available to reserve for overnight guests, and the sites are located close to the beach. Boat launches are available for a fee as well.

The park is also home to some wild ponies that freely roam the island. Visitors will likely see some ponies during their visit but are not allowed to feed or interact with them.

Address: 6915 Stephen Decatur Hwy, Berlin, MD 21811

Also Read: 15 Best Maryland Beaches You Must Visit

7: Brookside Gardens

Brookside Gardens
Flickr/Hillel Steinberg

Located in Maryland just north of Washington DC is Brookside Gardens, free public gardens that span fifty acres and are among the most beautiful Maryland attractions.

The gardens are a part of Wheaton Regional Park. There are over twenty thousand plants and flowers, and there is a wide variety of gardens with different flowers and plants in each one.

The Aquatic Garden has ponds with water-based plants, and the Children’s Garden is interactive with education on Maryland’s native plants and flowers.

There are also two conservatories with tropical and seasonal plants. Trails wind through the gardens with benches and gazebos among them.

There are special events at the gardens throughout the year, including a butterfly exhibit where hundreds of live butterflies surround visitors.

Art exhibits throughout the gardens display art from local students, other countries, and more.

Address: 1800 Glenallan Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902

8: Fort McHenry National Monument

Fort McHenry National Monument

Constructed in 1798, Fort McHenry is an old military pentagon located in Baltimore, Maryland. The fort was crucial in saving Baltimore from being attacked by the British Navy during the War of 1812.

Fort McHenry is widely known for being the Star-Spangled Banner’s birthplace, the United States’ national anthem. Francis Scott Key wrote the song in 1814 after an attack by the British. His inspiration came from a U.S. flag surviving the attacks.

At the park, visitors can learn more about the fort’s history at the visitors center and then tour the historic Star Fort. Inside the Star Fort, visitors can explore different exhibits, watch short films, and participate in a flag ceremony.

There are also seasonal events at the park, including war reenactments, musical performances, educational talks, and interactive games.

Children can participate in the Junior Ranger program, where they complete activities throughout the park to earn a Junior Ranger badge.

Address: 2400 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230

Visit Website

9: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum
Flickr/Marty Bernard

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum (more commonly known as The B&O Railroad Museum) has the most extensive collection of trains and railroad memorabilia in America.

The museum is located in an old train station, The Mount Clare Station. The station is the oldest railroad station in the United States, dating back to 1829, and it is considered one of the American railroad’s birthplaces.

One of the most popular attractions in the museum is the train rides. From April to December, visitors can ride along America’s first mile of train tracks.

The museum exhibits include locomotives, buildings, and other objects that date back to the beginning of the railroad.

Address: 901 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21223

Visit Website

Also Read: Most Scenic Train Trips in America and The Best Railway Museums in the US

10: Strathmore Music Center

Strathmore Music Center
Flickr/trent roche

The Strathmore Music Center is a performance and education venue located in North Bethesda, Maryland.

The shows at the center cover a wide variety of musical genres and dance performances.

On weekdays, visitors can tour the center and admire the permanent and seasonal exhibits.

These exhibits include collaborations with artists, museums, and curators to display an array of artistic pieces.

Educational events are offered for people of all ages. There are interactive classes and experiences for children, such as art classes, tours, choirs, and orchestras.

Adults can sign up for music lessons or professional development workshops.

Address: 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, MD 20852

11: National Aquarium

National Aquarium

One of the best places to visit in Maryland is The National Aquarium.

The aquarium is located at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, and there are over 20,000 animals at the aquarium spanning 800 species.

Guests can explore dozens of exhibits that resemble rainforests, deep oceans, rivers, and more.

The aquarium has a 4D theater inside that shows immersive films about sea creatures' lives and different aquatic habitats.

Visitors can get up close and personal with some of the animals in the aquarium’s unique experiences.

Experiences include learning about sharks while they swim inches away or a behind-the-scenes look at dolphin training.

Address: 501 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202

Also Read: 25 Best Aquariums in the US

12: The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Flickr/Mike Steele

Located in downtown Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum is one of the best free attractions in Maryland.

The museum’s collection contains over 36,000 pieces from all over the world.

Father and son William and Henry Walters began collecting art in the late 19th century. When Henry passed, he donated over 22,000 pieces of art to a public gallery now known as The Walters Art Museum.

Some art dates back over seven thousand years, while other works are from the current century.

Visitors can take a one-hour self-guided tour of the museum, which spans two buildings.

There are many collections from around the world, including Asian art, Islamic art, and European art.

Each collection includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, and a large variety of other items.

Address: 600 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

Also Read: 20 Best Art Museums in the USA

13: Antietam National Battlefield

Antietam National Battlefield
Dreamstime/Daniel Thornberg

One of the most historically significant places in Maryland is Antietam National Battlefield. The battlefield dates back to the Civil War and a battle that took place in 1862.

On the site is a visitor center where guests can learn about the battle, the war, and the battlefield’s history.

There is also a replica of the church that stood on the battlefield during the war.

The structure was severely damaged, but it is restored on the original foundation, and guests can explore the inside.

The Antietam National Cemetery on-site has over forty-seven thousand bodies and remains from the Civil War; many are unknown persons.

In addition to these highlights, visitors can take a self-guided auto tour of the battlefield that includes eleven stops, beginning at the church.

Park Rangers are located throughout the battlefield giving educational talks, and there is a museum store as well.

Address: 302 E Main St, Sharpsburg, MD 21782

14: Swallow Falls State Park

Swallow Falls State Park
Flickr/Nicolas Raymond

One of the most beautiful places to see in Maryland is Swallow Falls State Park.

The highlight of the park is Muddy Creek Falls. The waterfall is a part of the Youghiogheny River and stands over fifty feet tall.

Campsites are available for guests to reserve and enjoy the natural beauty of Maryland.

Activities throughout the park include fishing along the river, hiking a trail through the woods, and admiring the historic trees.

Three hundred-foot-tall hemlock trees take up a majority of the forest. Whitewater rafting down the river is also an option for experienced rafters who can navigate the hazardous rapids and waterfalls.

While visiting the park, guests may see native Black Bears wandering around. There are safety precautions taken and tips for guests so that any bear sightings are not dangerous.

Address: 2470 Maple Glade Rd, Oakland, MD 21550

Also Read: 25 Best State Parks to Visit in the US

15: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Flickr/Judy Gallagher

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is located on the East Shore of Maryland and contains over twenty-eight thousand acres of wetlands, fields, fields, and water.

The refuge opened in 1933 as a bird sanctuary. There are now over four hundred species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and endangered plants at the refuge.

The refuge also has the largest population of breeding bald eagles in the region.

Visitors can participate in a variety of activities, including hunting for deer, turkey, and more in select areas.

Fishing is allowed in most lakes, and there are cycling trails and walking paths for guests to use. The trails offer the opportunity to see the wildlife that lives in the park.

Address: 2185 T Wallace Drive Route 1, Cambridge, MD 21613

16: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Flickr/Austin Kirk

One of the most popular attractions in Maryland for sports enthusiasts is Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The baseball field is located in downtown Baltimore and is home to the Baltimore Orioles.

The park opened for the 1992 Major League Baseball season. It cost over one hundred million dollars to build and can hold nearly fifty thousand fans.

The Orioles play their home games here from April to October. When watching a game, fans can visit team shops throughout the park and buy jerseys, baseballs, and other team merchandise.

Food and drinks are sold everywhere inside the stadium. Classic baseball food is available like hot dogs, popcorn, and ice cream in addition to specialty sandwiches, nachos, crab cakes, and more.

During baseball season, fans can take a tour of the facility. The tours include stops in the Orioles dugout, the press area, and other exclusive areas that fans do not normally experience.

Address: 333 W Camden St, Baltimore, MD 21201

17: Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland

Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland

Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland is one of the newest Maryland attractions.

The casino was built in 2012 and includes nearly four thousand slots and other electronic machines, almost two hundred live table games, and over fifty poker tables. It is rated as one of the top casinos in the state.

The adjacent hotel opened in 2018 and has over three hundred rooms. The hotel is contemporary and is the perfect place to stay for casino guests and Maryland visitors alike.

The spa and salon at the hotel offer guests massages, manicures, skin treatments, and more to enhance their stay.

In addition to the casino and hotel, there is a concert venue that holds four thousand guests for live entertainment. There are also twelve restaurants and bars for guests to enjoy.

Address: 7002 Arundel Mills Cir #7777, Hanover, MD 21076

18: American Visionary Art Museum

American Visionary Art Museum

The American Visionary Art Museum is one of the most unique Maryland tourist attractions.

The museum highlights self-taught, intuitive artistry. The museum is located in Baltimore, and the United States Congress has designated it as the national museum for visionary art.

The museum is over one acre and has art exhibits and displays that are one-of-a-kind.

The art is created using all types of materials, and the museum is unlike any other. All the artists specialized in different kinds of art, so there is a lot of variety at the museum.

The museum also holds fun events such as an annual kinetic sculpture race, special exhibitions from artists worldwide, and private events of all kinds.

Address: 800 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230

Also Read: 20 Best Art Museums in the USA

19: Port Discovery Children's Museum

Port Discovery Children's Museum

One of the best attractions in Maryland for families is Port Discovery.

This Children’s Museum is located in Baltimore and has eighty thousand square feet of exhibits spanning three floors.

The interactive exhibits are great for babies, toddlers, and children up to age ten.

The most popular exhibits include the SkyClimber, where children can climb and explore a four-story-high jungle gym.

Also, The Port is a life-sized cargo ship with educational areas about ships, sea navigation, and how boats are crucial in transporting goods across the world.

Other areas include an indoor sports arena, a theater with plays, performances, and workshops.

Port Discovery holds many events at the museum for kids and families as well. There is storytime with activities, music events, and more!

Address: 35 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202

20: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA/Goddard/Bill Hrybyk

Visiting the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is one of the most interesting things to do in Maryland.

It was built in 1959 as NASA's first space flight center. Today, the center is the largest organization of spacecraft-focused scientists and engineers in the United States.

The scientists there learn about the earth, the solar system, and the universe using information from space.

Guests can visit the center for free. Inside, there is an exhibit on the Hubble Space Telescope, which is currently orbiting the earth.

Other displays include more telescopes presently being made, a presentation that teaches how anyone can become a scientist, and a digital art and technology display about the sun.

Large events are held at the center, including festivals, robot competitions, educational presentations, and entertainment.

Address: 8800 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20771

Also Read: Top 10 Space and Aviation Museums in the USA

Maryland Travel Guide

Explore Guide