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Concord lighthouse Havre de Grace, Maryland

Concord lighthouse Havre de Grace, Maryland

© smlatme57

Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution, and has three occasionally used nicknames: the Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State.




Maryland borders Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. Maryland is the 9th smallest state by area, but the 19th most populous and the 5th most densely populated of the 50 United States. Maryland has an area of 32,133.2 km2. It is the 9th smallest state of the USA. Maryland possesses a variety of topography, hence its nickname, "America in Miniature."[12] It ranges from sandy dunes dotted with seagrass in the east, to low marshlands teeming with wildlife and large bald cypress near the bay, to gently rolling hills of oak forest in the Piedmont Region, and pine groves in the mountains to the west. The highest point in Maryland, with an elevation of 1,020 metres, is Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain, in the southwest corner of Garrett County, near the border with West Virginia.




  • Capital Region - Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties Mostly suburbs and exurbs of Washington, D.C.
  • Central Maryland - Frederick in the west, Baltimore City, Baltimore County which reaches north to Pennsylvania, south to Annapolis, and northeast to Carroll County and Harford County.
  • Eastern Shore - Maryland's lowlands east of the Chesapeake. This region goes from the northern end (Cecil County - Chesapeake City on the C&D Canal), and extends along the Chesapeake side including Smith Island, Crisfield (the Crab Capitol), and Kent Island, all the way to the south eastern beach resort of Ocean City as well as the northern part of the barrier Assateague Island.
  • Southern Maryland - A solidly Chesapeake region on the Western shore of Maryland - Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's Counties. St. Mary's is the Mother County of Maryland.
  • Western Maryland - Where Maryland gets mountainous and rugged, in Garrett, Alleghany and Washington Counties, with some charming, laid-back, smaller cities, including the town of Hagerstown and outdoor opportunities at Deep Creek Lake. Wisp is a popular ski resort, and on the Appalachian Trail.




  • Annapolis - the quaint state (and one-time national) capital, with strong maritime, naval, and seafood traditions
  • Baltimore - Maryland's big city on the Chesapeake, home to the Inner Harbor, a magnificent Aquarium, Camden Yards, lots of history, and vibrant city life
  • Bethesda - the urban-upscale hotspot in the D.C. inner suburbs, with over 200 restaurants
  • Columbia
  • Ellicott City
  • Frederick - Bustling historic city near Harpers Ferry, famous for its antiques
  • Germantown



Sights and Activities


  • The Edgar Allan Poe House
  • The Maryland Science Center
  • The National Aquarium
  • The Baltimore Museum of Art


  • The Banneker-Douglass Museum
  • The Annapolis Maryland State House is another great city highlight bursting with US history.
  • The State London Town and Gardens


  • The Catoctin Mountain Park
  • The Monocacy National Battlefield
  • The Cunningham Falls State Park.


  • The National Library of Medicine
  • The Dennis & Phillip Ratner Museum
  • The McCrillis Gardens and Gallery


  • The Salisbury Zoo
  • The Chipman Cultural Center
  • The Poplar Hill Mansion
  • The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art

Silver Spring

  • The Penn Oaks Winery
  • The Sandy Spring Museum


  • Ocean City is the designated beach resort for those looking for water activities.
  • Chesapeake Beach - Quiet, great place for fishing, crabbing, sailing, swimming on the north and chesapeake beaches, or the water park! Or just great place to relax enjoy the marina and seafood galore!
  • Hagerstown City is renowned as a shopping place in the region and people flock from all over to enjoy excellent deals and savings.
  • Historic Saint Mary's City - Archaeological museum, Maryland Dove, Tobacco Plantation, Old State House and Brick Chapel of 1667 Address: 18751 Hogaboom Ln, St Marys City, MD 20686, Phone: (240) 895-4990, Price: Gemeral admission $10.00



Events and Festivals


  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.


  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.




The eastern half of Maryland has a humid subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and a short, mild to cool winter. This region includes the cities of Salisbury, Annapolis, Ocean City, and southern and eastern greater Baltimore. Beyond this region lies the Piedmont which lies in the transition between the humid subtropical climate zone and the subtropical highland zone, with hot, humid summers and cool winters where average annual snowfall exceeds 50 centimetres and temperatures below -12 °C are annual occurrences. Farther into western Maryland, the higher elevations of Allegany County and Garrett County lie in the subtropical highland zone. Due to their elevation (more typical of the Appalachian mountain region) with milder summers and cool, and snowy winters, far west Maryland has a humid continental climate. Precipitation in the state is characteristic of the East Coast. Annual rainfall ranges from 890 to 1,100 mm with more in higher elevations. Because of its location near the Atlantic Coast, Maryland is somewhat vulnerable to tropical cyclones, although the Delmarva Peninsula, and the outer banks of North Carolina to the south provide a large buffer, such that a strike from a major hurricane (category 3 or above) is not very likely but is not impossible. Maryland averages around 30–40 days of thunderstorms a year, and averages around six tornado strikes annually.



Getting There

By Plane

There are three major airports that serve the Baltimore-Washington Area. Getting from each of these airports into town is a mixed bag. They all have the standard taxi, shuttle services and rental cars. Public transportation on the other hand is lacking.

1. Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) - Located 10 miles (16 kilometres) south of Baltimore and 30 miles (48 kilometres) north of Washington, D.C., this airport's main carriers are Southwest Airlines and US Airways.

To/from Baltimore-Washington Airport

  • Rail: The airport's station is located about a mile from the airport terminal; a free shuttle bus connects the train station and airport terminals. The station is served by Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains and, on weekdays, by the MARC Penn Line. Travel time by train is about 10 minutes to Baltimore's Penn Station and 35 minutes to Union Station in Washington, D.C. Trains depart at least once an hour seven days a week, with departure times during rush hours and business hours being significantly more frequent. The Maryland Transit Administration's Light Rail line has a stop just outside the entrance to the airport's International Terminal. Passengers can take the Light Rail to a variety of destinations in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, and Baltimore County, and can transfer to the Metro Subway in Baltimore. A ride downtown takes approximately 30 minutes. Trains run every 20 minutes during peak hours, and 30 minutes all other times.
  • Bus: Bus service between the airport and the Greenbelt station of the Washington Metro and MARC Camden Line is provided by WMATA's Metrobus on Route B30 every 40 minutes 6:00am-10:00pm weekdays and 9:00am-10:00pm on weekends. The Maryland Transit Administration's Bus Route 17 serves the airport 24/7. During the hours when the Light Rail operates, buses operate to the Patapsco Light Rail Stop. When the Light Rail is not in service, buses operate to Downtown Baltimore. Howard Transit's Silver route operates between BWI and The Mall in Columbia hourly at most times except overnight. Annapolis Transit's Route C-60 operates between the airport and Annapolis.
  • Car: parking places, rental car facilities and plenty of taxis are available at the Baltimore-Washington Airport.

2. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) - This airport is located 25 miles (40 kilometres) west of Washington, D.C., in Dulles, Virginia. United Airlines, JetBlue Airways and American Airlines are the main airlines in this airport.

To/from Dulles Airport

  • Washington Dulles Airport is served by a private bus company that picks you up at the terminal and drops you off at a Metro station in DC. For a cheaper option, one can take the Metro Bus, which runs on a slightly longer schedule, every hour or so. This 5A express bus makes two to three stops on its way from the airport to downtown Washington, depending on the time of day. Stops include the Herndon–Monroe transfer station in Herndon and the Rosslyn Metro station in Arlington.
  • Loudoun County Transit provides bus service which runs from the Dulles Town Center shopping center, to the airport, then to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Air and Space Museum.
  • Taxis, shuttles and rental cars are widely available and byc ar Dulles is accessible via the Dulles Access Road/Dulles Greenway (State Route 267) and State Route 28.

3. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) - This airport is located three miles (5 kilometres) south of Washington, D.C. in Arlington County, Virginia. US Airways is the carrier with the most flights across the country.

To/from Ronald Reagan Airport

  • Rail: The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Metro station is located on an elevated outdoor platform (with a canopy) connected to the concourse level of Terminals B and C, and offers service to the Yellow and Blue lines.
  • Bus: Metrobus provides service on weekend mornings before the Metrorail station opens. Door-to-door service is available from several providers.
  • Car: Taxis from DCA to Virginia are metered. Taxis from DCA to the District of Columbia now run on a metered system as well. DCA is located on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and connected to U.S. Route 1 by the Airport Viaduct (State Route 233). Interstate 395 is just north of DCA, and is accessible by the G.W. Parkway and U.S. Route 1. There are numerous car rental facilities and parking places at the airport as well.

By Train

Many Amtrak trains travel to and from Maryland, mainly stopping in Baltimore:

By Car

Maryland is served by several main Interstate highways, and a number of other routes enter the state. Interstates 68 and 70 are the main east-west interstate highways in the state. In addition, US Routes 40 and 50 are major east-west arteries. Interstates 81, 83, 95 and 97 are major north-south routes. In addition, US Routes 219, 220, 29, 11, 15, 1, and 13 are major north-south arteries.

Maryland has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

By Bus

Greyhound runs regular bus between all the major cities. There exist on the East Coast a system commonly referred to as the 'Chinatown Bus'. These buses are run by several companies, some use old retired buses to brand new ones. Tickets go from $10 to $20 roundtrip between Washington, D.C. Chinatown to New York City, with optional stop in Baltimore.



Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.




Without a doubt, the state is known first for its Maryland Blue Crabs, fished from the Chesapeake Bay, served in magnificent quantities, drenched in Old Bay (a peppery mix of celery salt, bay leaf, mustard seed, black and red pepper, cinnamon, and ginger), accompanied by copious amounts of beer, and a total, wonderful mess. Soft Shell Blue Crabs, another Maryland staple, are available throughout the world in fine restaurants as a high class delicacy; here they're everyday bar food in the summer.

Aside from crabs, shellfish in general are a classic cornerstone of Maryland cuisine, (no surprise, given "Chesapeake" is Algonquian for "Great Shellfish Bay") and raw oysters on the half shell are a local delicacy. They're typically appreciated with a dash of hot sauce, and clams are often served the same way. Steamed mussels can make for a warming winter evening dinner, and Bertha's in Baltimore serves the state's most famous (and tastiest) mussel.




Beer lovers will want to try a few of the state's great craft brews. Heavy Seas Beer, DuClaw Brewing, Brewer's Art Resurrection, and Oliver Ales are among the most popular. Local beers offer a variety of styles - stouts, porters, ales, ESBs, IPAs,and Goldens. Also, Wild Goose, Flying Dog, Blue Ridge Ales, Deep Creek, and Foggy Bottom are brands worth sampling.

The great drink of Maryland, however, has all but disappeared since Prohibition - Maryland rye whiskey. The distilleries that once dotted the Baltimore County countryside have all shut down, and production of rye whiskey is now centered around Kentucky. But the Baltimore hasn't lost its taste for the beverage, and in the city's dive bars you can still order a dirt-cheap and tasty rye 'n soda. Stores in the area sell "Pikesville Rye" at a great value, which is the only Maryland rye that never ceased production, although the operations have relocated to Kentucky.




Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

View our map of accommodation in Maryland



  1. 1 Mid-2008 estimate, U.S. Census Bureau

Quick Facts



Accommodation in Maryland

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Maryland searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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Maryland Travel Helpers

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