24 Best Places To Visit In Maryland, USA

best places to visit in maryland
| 11 min read

The mid-Atlantic state of Maryland was one of the original 13 colonies and a key player in the birthing of the United States’ independence. It is a state endowed with all kinds of attractions that appeal to all kinds of travelers. From the beautiful coastlines to the museums, from historical sites to the vibrant cultural scenes, the region has something to make every tourist’s heart leap with joy. The only problem, however, is that with so many options to choose from, it is usually overwhelming for most visitors to zero in on attractions that would bring them the greatest delight. But you no longer have to worry about that. Scroll down for a brief on some of the best places to visit in Maryland, USA.

1. Maryland City

2009 05 01 - 5677 - Maryland City - MD198 at Russett Green E
Source: Photo by user thisisbossi used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Whether you love indoor attractions such as visiting museums and art galleries, or you are the free-soul kind of traveler with a great passion for exploring the outdoors, the blend of attractions in Maryland City will suit the needs of both kinds of travelers in equal measure. Some of these attractions include National Aquarium, Great Falls, Antietam National Battlefield, Catoctin Mountain Park, and Deep Creek Lake.

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2. Baltimore

Baltimore at dusk
Source: Pixabay

The seaport city of Baltimore is central to the history of the United States, given that it is home to Fort McHenry—the origin of the U.S. national anthem. But other than its historical significance in the nation’s history, Baltimore is also a real magnet for tourists heading to Maryland. It is blessed with thriving arts and cultural districts, its museums are nothing short of world-class, its nightlife scenes are some of the best you will ever find in the country, and it is where you find the urban jewel of Chesapeake Bay as well. What it offers is an all-around range of attractions that most tourists will find difficult to resist.

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3. North Potomac

North Branch Potomac River Cumberland
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user w:Malepheasant used under CC BY-SA 2.5

North Potomac is another great destination if you are looking for a place in Maryland with a flock of can’t-miss things to do. It may not be a regular mention among the lists of the top places to visit in Maryland, but if you take time, you will discover the kinds of incredible gems it has for visitors. Whether you are interested in arts and learning about the local history, or you have a unique appetite you would love to satisfy in fine independent restaurants, North Potomac has it all for you. Another thing you will appreciate about the area is the number of special events it hosts every year. Irrespective of the time of your visit, you will always find that there is a major festival going down somewhere, and such are good avenues to interact with the locals and dig deep into their culture.

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4. Ocean City

Ocean City MD boardwalk arch
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dough4872 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Ocean City is a resort town sitting majestically between Isles of Wright Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. With a boardwalk lined with restaurants and miles of beach, it is one of the best destinations to consider in Maryland if you are looking for a beach vacation, or if you are an outdoor enthusiast with a strong appetite to satiate. With more than 15 outstanding golf courses, museums, performing arts centers, endless water-sports activities, and several sightseeing tours to the popular Assateague Island, a trip to Ocean City will guarantee a full itinerary from the first minute of your arrival to the last second until your departure.

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5. Clarksburg

Clarksburg, Maryland - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Idawriter used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Peace, safety, and tranquility are a few of the suburban charms that make Clarksburg one of the top cities to reside in Maryland. For tourists and visitors, however, the city has wonderful parks, recreational areas, vibrant art and cultural scenes, and unique dining experiences that will be pure honey to a weary soul. When you are in town, be sure to check out the buffet of things to do in Clarksburg, especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast. Worthy mentions include Little Bennet Regional Park, Woodstock Equestrian Special Park, Lake Frank, Lake Needwood, and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park.

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6. Gaithersburg

Saint Martin of Tours Church (Gaithersburg, Maryland)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Gaithersburg is the fourth largest city in Maryland and another top destination for most tourists visiting the state. Though it started as a small town known for rural farming, the years have seen it grow into a major metropolis to become the headquarters of several leading high-tech firms. As far as tourism and attraction go, the city of Gaithersburg is blessed with a myriad of orchards, parks, galleries, art centers, and farms and offers plenty of outdoor experiences. When you are around, be sure to not miss attractions such as BlackRock Center for the Arts, Bohrer Park at Summit Hill, Butler’s Orchard, Gaithersburg Art Barn, Great Seneca Stream Valley, Growler’s Pub, and Old Town Pour House.

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7. Rockville

East Middle Lane Rockville Maryland
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wikipedian1234 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

To the undiscerning tourist, Rockville may pass like any other Maryland suburb—it is in proximity to DC and Baltimore and has all the normal conveniences you may need for a comfortable stay. However, Maryland’s third-largest city is a pure gem for those with the time, spirit, and desire to scratch beneath the surface. It has plenty of tourist attractions, a vibrant nightlife, and a plethora of outdoor recreation experiences. Some of the notable activities you should never miss while in Rockville include ice-skating at Rockville Town Square, enjoying the city’s natural side at Meadowside Nature Center, and ending your day with a local brew at Saints Row Brewing.

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8. Annapolis

Paca House from Garden Jul 09
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pubdog used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Annapolis, also known as the Sailing Capital of the World, is more than just Maryland’s capital city. Its location on the Chesapeake Bay—and given that it is the home to lots of 18th-century brick houses and the condemned Maryland Statehouse—makes it an appealing destination for history and culture buffs. Other than these, Annapolis is a hotbed of attractions—a destination bound to appease the spirits of all kinds of travelers. Some of the highlights of its gems include U.S. Naval Academy Museum, William Paca House and Gardens, Quiet Waters Park, Maryland State House, St. Ann Church, Banneker–Douglas Museum, Annapolis Maritime Museum, and the famous Fort Meade NSA Cryptologic Museum.

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9. Laurel

Montpelier Mansion, front (26097870370)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Preservation Mary... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Laurel is nearly midway between Baltimore and Washington DC, sitting gently on the banks of Patuxent River. It may not get a lot of mentions when it comes to the top places to visit in Maryland, but it has its unique charms that will appeal mostly to history buffs and outdoor lovers. If you happen to pass by, be sure to check out some of these notable attractions: National Wildlife Visitor Center, Laurel Park Track, Montpelier Mansion, Patuxent Research Refuge, Dinosaur Park, and Laurel Museum.

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10. Ellicott City

Daniels Area of Patapsco Valley State Park 03
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bohemian Baltimore used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The former mill town of Ellicott City sits in the Tiber River valley, and it is full of enviable tourist attractions that offer a diverse range of experiences to visitors. The deadly flooding it experienced a few years ago may have gutted some of its most treasured historic buildings, but normalcy has since been restored, and the city has gained back the vibrancy it once had before the calamity. It is one of the few cities in Maryland where you will find elaborate ghost tours, given that its rich history features a lot of ghost sightings and similar stories. Currently, the town is a splendid collection of antique stores, taverns, eclectic shops, and festivals, with the historic downtown always hosting an event.

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11. Kensington

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Frank Hicks, Whea... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The historic circle and the older neighborhoods make Kensington feel like a tiny little town, but it is a full-fledged metropolitan, offering great access to Washington DC. As far as tourism goes, Kensington is one of the leading family-friendly destinations in Maryland. Its unique blend of charms and outdoor opportunities not only fits the needs of adventure-seeking adults but also will play to the tunes of the playful nature of the younger ones. Some of the notable attractions here include hiking along Rock Creek and Sligo Creek River, touring National Capital Trolley Museum, and increasing your cabin history and knowledge at Kensington Cabin Local Park.

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12. Chevy Chase

All Saints Chevy Chase
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Art galleries, open parks, theaters, restaurants, and wonderful shopping experiences are just but a few of the allures that make Chevy Chase appear in this list of the best places to visit in Maryland. It is a family-friendly destination whose charms will wow both the young and the old. It may not have extreme adventurous opportunities, but it has plenty of shopping, outdoor, and historical attractions that will ensure busy days and packed nights throughout your stay.

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13. Travilah

Canal swains lock
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Lorax used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Travilah is in Montgomery County and a next-door neighbor to Potomac. It is a relatively small town and may not boast a lot of endowment when it comes to tourist attractions. However, it is a destination that most outdoor enthusiasts will love, owing to its proximity to parks, rivers, and the famous Swains Lock Road.

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14. Cabin John

Cabin John Creek near Rockville MD
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Moreau1 used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Visiting Cabin John comes with the prospects of visiting Cabin John Regional Park—a recreational facility with options for indulging in a variety of both indoor and outdoor games, including but not limited to Tai Chi, tennis, baseball, basketball, ice-skating, and much more. Other than the games, the park has magnificent nature programs, picnic grounds, and an Adventure Playground that will be pure heaven for the little ones—not to mention the miles of hiking and biking trails that will not only give you the chance to improve your fitness level but also treat you to plenty of beautiful sceneries as you explore.

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15. Garrett Park

Holy Cross Church (Garrett Park, Maryland)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Garret Park is a town in Montgomery County named after Robert W. Garrett—a former president of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Though a relatively small town, with a very small population, Garrett Park harbors interesting attractions and activities that tourists looking for off-the-beaten paths and attractions away from the crowds will love. Mostly, people visit this small town when they want a quiet and less eventful vacation—simply to relax and reflect. Some of the major attractions in the town include Garrett County Museum of Transportation, Casselman River Bridge State Park, Herrington Manor State Park, Spruce Forest Artisan Village, and Swallow Falls State Park.

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16. Cottage City

Saint James Church (Mt Rainier, Maryland)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Cottage City is located in Prince George County in Maryland, and it is a relatively small city with a very tiny population. However, the fact that it is small does not disqualify it from being one of the best places to visit in the state. In its basket of attractions, you will find Greenbelt Park and Bladensburg Waterfront Park—ideal for all your outdoor recreation needs. Prince Georges African American Museum will teach you some history and give you more perspective about the African Americans, while St. James Catholic Church will be envied by those interested in history and religion.

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17. Poolesville

Poolesville Historic District 09
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Poolesville is in western Montgomery County. It is a relatively quiet town often viewed as a distant bedroom community for those who commute to DC. As a destination worth warranting the attention of tourists and travelers, the town is primarily an outdoor enthusiast’s favorite but will also have some appeal to history buffs. With plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, canoeing, golfing, wine tasting, fine dining, and agritourism, Poolesville is endowed just enough to ensure you don’t have boring stays during your visit. When exploring, be sure to check out McKee–Beshers Wildlife Management Area, Homestead Farms, Rocklands Farm Winery and Market, Western County Outdoor Pool, and Seneca Schoolhouse.

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18. Cumberland

Rocky Gap entrance
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sallicio used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

It was in Cumberland where George Washington once had his headquarters from a one-room cabin at Riverside Park. This is a subtle indication of the town’s historical significance to the country. Apart from history, Cumberland is a vibrant destination with a myriad of attractions and experiences that most visitors will fall in love with. Notable mentions include Alleghany Museum where you find all the regional history, the Great Alleghany Passage trail and Western Maryland Scenic Railroad for scenic train rides, and Rocky Gap State Park for all your outdoor pleasures.

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19. Greenbelt

Greenbelt - Albert S Buddy Attick Lake Park 07
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andrew Bossi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Greenbelt is in Prince George’s County, and it will be remembered as one of the three experimental towns of New Deal Greenbelt Cities—a project proposed, planned, and executed by the Federal government. Notwithstanding, Greenbelt is a quiet destination with a good range of activities that will fit the fun needs of most travelers. It may not have an abundance of opportunities, but it is well endowed with parks and museums that will teach, entertain, and relax at the same time. Some of these attractions include College Park Aviation Museum, Greenbelt Historic District, Beltway Plaza, Buddy Attic Park, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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20. Bowie

St Pius X, Bowie, MD
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Roberto221 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Bowie’s incredible growth from a small railroad stop to one of the largest municipalities in Maryland has been nothing but phenomenal. Currently, it is the fifth most populous city in Maryland and one of the most visited cities in the state. Its range of attractions includes sporting events, fine-dining experiences, outdoor fun opportunities, performance arts, and golfing, among others. When you visit, find time to have some fun at Bowie Ice Arena and Go Kart Raceway, then also watch some thrilling performances at Bowie Playhouse.

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21. Bethesda

Saint Bartholomew Church (Bethesda, Maryland)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bethesda is one of Maryland’s posh cities, found north of Washington DC. Its population comprises of highly educated and affluent communities, and currently, it boasts a bustling, modern, and advanced city with a plethora of galleries, theaters, restaurants, and very interesting shopping opportunities. As a tourist destination, Bethesda offers notable attractions including Strathmore, Cabin John Regional Park, Imagination Stage, KID Museum, Bethesda Salt Cave, National Museum of Health Medicine, Kidville, and Ratner Museum, among others.

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22. Pocomoke City

Pocomoke City
Source: Pixabay

Also known as “the friendliest town on the Eastern Shore,” Pocomoke City is a waterfront destination littered with plenty of attractions and top-notch things to do. With beautiful nature parks, a river boardwalk more than half a mile (805 meters), historic buildings, museums, antique shops, and proximity to the famous Assateague Island, the city doesn’t need any qualifying as one of the best places to visit in Maryland.

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23. Chesapeake City

South Chesapeake City HD MD CecilCo
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Smallbones used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Chesapeake City is a lovely beautiful town with incredible maritime history, given that it is home to the world’s third busiest canal. Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was constructed in 1829, and it remains one of the top visitor magnets to the city. Apart from the canal and its rich history, Chesapeake City has a horde of attractions and experiences that keep on bringing visitors in the thousands to this relatively quiet, quaint city. Some of these attractions and experiences include C&D Canal Museum, Ben Cardin Recreational Trail, Chesapeake Wine Trail, antique car shows, ghost walks, and Chesapeake Historical District.

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24. Takoma Park

Carroll Avenue Bridge - Takoma Park, Maryland 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 4.0

To close this list of the best places to visit in Maryland is Takoma Park, a city in Montgomery County and a suburb of Washington DC. It has a good range of fun activities, dining options, and shopping experiences that will please many. During your visit, make time to learn tap dancing at Knock on Wood Tap Studio, sample some culinary delights at Mark’s Kitchen, and shop for some fresh produce at Takoma Park Farmers Market.

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Maryland—a state with something for everyone!

A glance at the above list is a clear demonstration of Maryland’s potential as an ideal destination worth visiting. Whether you are visiting alone or with family, a little reading will reveal to you several places with a range of exciting experiences guaranteed to spice up your vacation. Read through our list of the best places to visit in Maryland, USA, and increase the scope of your choices for your mid-Atlantic visit.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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