Known as “America in Miniature,” Maryland lives up to its reputation with diverse geography, bountiful culture and rich history. From the mountains to the ocean, and everywhere in between, Maryland and its residents welcome you. Whether you choose to sit quietly beside a sparkling mountain stream or prefer the air-conditioned comfort of your luxury RV, Maryland has what you’ve been looking for.
Fort McHenry held a strategic peninsula thus saving Baltimore during the War of 1812. A young Francis Scott Key was so moved after witnessing the historic battle that he wrote the poem that would become our National Anthem. View a short orientation film and then tour the grounds of the Fort. During the summer months, you can enjoy daily ranger talks and watch as the Fort McHenry Guard performs early 19th century military demonstrations, historical interpretation and official ceremonies on weekends. Volunteers also portray citizens carrying on with their everyday activities in early 19th century society in Baltimore and at Fort McHenry.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, otherwise known as the C&O Canal, provided jobs and opportunities for people throughout the Potomac River Valley for nearly 100 years. It is a stunning reminder of our country’s pre-railroad era when coal, lumber and grain were moved in barges pulled by mules. What remains of the C&O Canal today highlights stories of western expansion, transportation, engineering, immigration, industry and commerce.
Antietam is the site of the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Considered one of the best preserved battlefields in the country, Antietam provides unmatched opportunities so see and experience the sacrifices made during our Nation’s greatest struggle. Stop by the visitors center before hiking historic trails, viewing Bloody Lane or touring the Dunker Church, which ranks as perhaps one of the most famous churches in American military history.
Held over Memorial Day Weekend, the Chestertown Tea Party Festival celebrates one of our nation’s original acts of civil disobedience. In protest to the British Parliament’s closing of the port of Boston in 1774, the citizens of Chestertown set forth “Resolves” forbidding importing, selling or consuming tea in Chestertown. Residents then marched to the British ship Geddes, which was anchored in the Chester River, and threw her cargo of tea overboard. An annual reenactment of the event serves as the centerpiece of the Chestertown Tea Party Festival. Other activities include a colonial-themed parade, raft race, food and beverage vendors, arts and crafts booths, a regional wine and beer tasting event and a 10-mile or 5K run.
Founded in 1987, the Columbia Festival of the Arts is one of the premier events of its kind in the Baltimore area. With four weekend-long festivals to choose from, there is sure to be something that will catch your imagination including exhibitions, performances, family activities, workshops, master classes and compelling arts-oriented presentations. Garrison Keillor, Sir James Galaway, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Capitol Steps comedy troupe, Hal Holbrook, The Neville Brothers and others have delighted attendees throughout the years.
Celebrating more than two decades of great blues music, the Western Maryland Blues Festival brings together national, regional and local performers for four jam-packed days in June. In addition to some of the best blues around, families can enjoy the Family Blues Picnic or have the kids try their hands at learning to play the harmonica.
The Adventure Sports Center International was built to host Olympic level races but don’t let that scare you off. The 1,700-foot course is adjustable enough to accommodate beginners and families. Located in the Fort Run Recreation Area, the park features guided and solo rafting experiences, rock climbing, river boarding, hiking, biking and geocaching.
Tracing its history back to 1873, the National Aquarium is considered the nation’s first public aquarium. Today, it features a remarkable assortment of exhibits designed to give visitors an educational and exciting experience. Stop by the Living Seashore exhibit for an interactive look at the ever-changing Mid-Atlantic shoreline. Shark lovers won’t want to miss Shark Alley or Blacktip Reef, where sharks swim alongside a 500-pound green sea turtle and several honeycomb stingrays.
Take a step back in time as you tour an archeological dig, rub elbows with living historians, get a taste of 17th-century life or stroll the paths and fields around St. Mary’s City. Visit the tall ship the Maryland Dove to learn what it was like to travel to the New World. Check in at the Town Center to see the mercantile, a precursor to today’s modern motel and an old-time printing press. Discover how the indigenous Yaocomaco people lived in the Woodland Indian Hamlet. Special events scheduled from March through December offer visitors unique opportunities to work alongside professional archaeologists, churn butter, watch a militia drill or shoot a bow and arrow.
There is so much to do and see at the Calvert Marine Museum, you may need to devote an entire day to explore. Located in Solomons Island at the mouth of the Patuxent River, the museum brings together the prehistoric past, natural environments and maritime heritage to tell the story of the Chesapeake Bay. Don’t miss the Drum Point Lighthouse, one of two lighthouses on the property. This faithfully restored building is one of only three screwpile, cottage-type lighthouses remaining of the 45 that once served the Chesapeake Bay.
Ranked among the top 12 children’s museums in the United States, this three-story museum is filled with educational, interactive exhibits for children ages 0-10. The littlest ones can toddle and crawl through Tot Trails while older children can enjoy learning about health and fitness in the Kick It Up! exhibit or cooking and serving food in the Tiny’s Diner exhibit. Wonders of Water, the Royal Farms Convenience Store and Fill’er Up Station and KidWorks offer all kinds of purposeful playing opportunities. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and close-toed shoes to get the most out of your visit.