Take Your Pick
Aberdeen, MD
No Ordinary Ordnance Museum
Ordnance Museum - Ordinarily there would be an ordinance against an Ordnance Museum having such an inordinate amount of ordnances, but thankfully this is no ordinary Ordnance Museum. Between the large indoor area and the 25 acre outdoor exhibit, there are nearly 250 tanks, armored vehicles, munitions and artillery pieces in the collection. The museum officially opened in 1927 as an exhibit of captured enemy materials and today is one of the largest collections of ordnances. Before you rush to Aberdeen call the museum - they were talking about moving to Richmond, Virginia. And I'll keep you posted.
Annapolis, MD
The Oldest State Capitol
State Capitol Building - The Maryland State Capitol Building was completed in 1779 and is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use. There is so much history between these walls; from 1783 and 1784 it was the capital of the United States where delegates from the colonies met, it is here where George Washington resigned his command of the Continental Army, and it is here where the Treaty of Paris (which ended the Revolutionary War) was ratified. Walking through the echoing rotunda and gazing at the 13 starred Shaw Flag, you can hear the ghosts of our forefathers whispering the word "freedom".
Annapolis, MD
US Naval Academy
US Naval Academy - The US Naval Academy was established in 1845 to educate officers for a career in the US Navy. The Academy has graduated over 65,000 students since its inception. While walking the meticulously manicured streets stop by the Visitor Center to see the Freedom 7 Space Capsule that was flown by Alan Sheppard, Jr. (a 1945 graduate of the Academy) and the John Paul Jones exhibit. At the Visitor Center several tour options are available, including walking tours of the 300 acre campus. There is also a US Naval Academy Museum with a nice collection of model ships.
Baltimore, MD
USS Constellation
Inner Harbor - The Inner Harbor is one of the nation's major seaports and one of the oldest (shipping from the harbor dates back to the 1600s). Today the redeveloped waterfront is one of the city's most popular attractions. For shopping head to the Harbor Place and Gallery and for great food check out Phillips Harbor Place Seafood Restaurant or take a dinner cruise aboard the Spirit of Baltimore. Be sure to visit the Maritime Museum with its assortment of ships and a submarine to walk through and climb aboard the USS Constellation, the only floating Civil War still afloat.
Baltimore, MD
The Guns of Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry - Fort McHenry "the star-shaped fort" was completed in 1802 and was designed to protect Baltimore's Harbor. It was just 12 short years later that the fort was called upon to do that very thing. On September 13th and 14th, 1814 during the War of 1812, the British Royal Navy pummeled the fort with cannon fire. While witnessing the bombardment and then seeing that the American Flag still flying, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write "The Star Spangled Banner". A short film entitled "The Defense of Fort McHenry" is shown at the Visitor Center every 20 minutes. Then walk the perimeter of the fort to see the large guns and the interior for a tour of the barracks.
Baltimore, MD
The Mighty Babe Museum
Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum - George Herman "Babe" Ruth (1895-1948), is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player to ever play game. In his 22 year career, "The Bambino" hit 714 homeruns, had an incredible batting average of .342, and won four World Series titles. The "Salton of Swat" came from humble beginnings; he was born in what is called Pig Town, a poor area of Baltimore where pigs ran down the streets on their way to market. The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is where you can see his birth home, articles, memorabilia, photos and all the stories. When you're done, head over to the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, it's "just a long fly ball away".
Baltimore, MD
Cool Stingray Pool
National Aquarium - The centerpiece of the Inner Harbor is the National Aquarium with over 16,500 animals housed in its unique and multi-storied building. The world-famous aquarium includes a centralized ray pool, an entertaining dolphin show, luminescent jellyfish, an enormous shark tank and a 4-D Immersion Theater. There are also land animals here, parrots, sloths, kookaburras, and more in the Rain Forest Exhibit. With nearly 1.5 million visitors a year, the National Aquarium does get busy. Be sure to buy tickets ahead of time.
Berlin, MD
Um...Which Way to California?
Assateague Island National Seashore - There aren't too many places in the world where you can drive your car and a horse sticks his head in to ask a sock monkey directions, but Assateague Island National Seashore is one of them. These "wild" horses came to the island over 300 years ago, some say as shipwreck survivors and others say they were let loose as a way for farmers to avoid paying taxes on them. Whatever the case may be, the horses are a national treasure and truly a joy to watch grazing the saltmarsh codgrass and playing in the surf. Do be careful, I almost lost an arm.
Boring, MD
Waiting at the Boring Post Office
Boring - The next time the little monkeys proclaim, "I'm bored", take them on vacation to the town of Boring. There isn't a lot to this little village, maybe 50 buildings, but it sure makes for a good photo-op. There is the Boring Post Office where you can send Boring letters, the Boring Methodist Church with Boring sermons, and the Boring Fire Department that puts out Boring Fires. The town does host the annual Boring Antique Gas Engine Show which also features a small flea market. Of course if that's boring to you, you could head west to Accident, Maryland.
Chesapeake Beach, MD
Chesapeake Beach
Boardwalk - For a more relaxing and less crowded seaside resort area, Chesapeake Beach has what you're looking for. The area offers several secluded beaches, a boardwalk, piers, and delicious seafood all in a historic town with a hometown feel to it. Major activities include the Chesapeake Beach Water Park, the 1800s Railway Museum and charter fishing boat tours. During the early 1900s Chesapeake Beach was a brimming with tourists from nearby Washington DC, who came by rail to the little town for a weekend of gambling and to stay at the luxurious Belvedere Hotel.
Chesapeake City, MD
C and D Canal Museum
C and D Canal Museum - The C and D Canal Museum (Chesapeake and Delaware River) is located in the original canal pumphouse which houses a waterwheel and pumping engines. The C and D canal is a fully operational sea-level canal that is over 14 miles long, 450 feet wide, 35 feet deep and carries 40% of the ship traffic to and from the Port of Baltimore. The museum details the early days of the canal and shows, via television monitor, up-to-the-second ship locations in the canal. The Bethel Bridge Lighthouse is also part of the museum and is only a quick hike away.
Hagerstown, MD
C and O in Cumberland
C and O Canal National Historic Park - The 184.5 mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, also called the "Grand Ditch", snakes along the Potomac River on its way through three states, Washington DC, West Virginia and Maryland. Originally intended to extend from Pittsburgh, PA to DC in order to carry coal from Steel Town, it fell out of favor to the faster and more efficient railroad. The C and O Canal National Historic Park preserves the remnants of the 1800s canal and has six different visitor centers. At the Georgetown and Great Falls locations, hop a ride on the fancy "mule-powered" boats.
Middleburg, MD
Terra Rubra
Francis Scott Key - On the night of September 13th, 1814 Francis Scott Key (1780-1843), was being held guard by the British in Chesapeake Bay while the Royal Navy bombarded Fort McHenry. After a long night, Key looked out at the Fort and was so relieved to see the American flag still flying, he wrote a poem. That poem, originally entitled "The Defense of Fort McHenry" was later change to "The Star Spangled Banner". In 1931 Congress officially adopted the song as our national anthem. Francis Scott Key was born on the family's Terra Rubra plantation near Tanytown.
Ocean City, MD
Trimper's Rides
Boardwalk - The 2.5 mile Ocean City Boardwalk is one of the oldest and best boardwalks in the country. Dating back to 1902, the boardwalk has been a gathering place for beach goers from all over Virginia, the Carolinas and DC to stroll along the white sand beaches. There are hundreds of great hotels and fine restaurants as well as any number of places to lie under a brightly colored umbrella. A famous fixture and fantastic place to get your carnival fix is at Trimper's Rides. The park features a 1902 and 1905 merry-go-round, Ferris wheels, bumper cars, a Tilt-a-Whirl and fun houses.
Port Tobacco, MD
A Signer of the Constitution
Thomas Stone National Historic Site - Thomas Stone (1743-1787) was a lawyer, representative of the Second Continental Congress and one of only 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. The Thomas Stone National Historic Site protects the patriot's 322 acre former estate and plantation called "Habre de Venture" which Stone purchased in 1770. The home has been restored to its late 19th century appearance and the grounds contain a family cemetery where Stone is buried.
Salisbury, MD
Exhibit in the Ward Museum
Ward Museum of Waterfowl Art - The Ward Museum of Waterfowl Art contains the world's most comprehensive collection of sculptures and antique decoys. The Ward Brothers, Stephen Ward (1895-1976) and Lemuel T. Ward, Jr. (1896-1984) carved realistic wooden waterfowl decoys and for over 50 years, until 1950. After that time they carved finely detailed decorative pieces. Exhibits at the museum include the Ward Brother's Workshop, a Decoy Study Gallery and World Championship Gallery. A great time to visit is in the fall during the Annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo.
Sharpsburg, MD
Bloodiest Day in American History
Antietam National Battlefield - September 17, 1862 was the single bloodiest day of the Civil War and the single bloodiest day in American History. It is said that soldiers became physically ill as they slaughtered the opposing Armies during the close range musket-fire. An estimated 23,000 men were killed, wounded or missing after the 12 hour battle, in which was essentially a draw between the north and south. The battlefield today is almost identical to the day of the fight. Two significant events occurred just after the battle; the following day Mathew Brady photographed the dead and showed the war's devastation to the nation, and five days after the battle Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that would free all slaves in the southern states.
St. Michaels, MD
Boat Auction and Maritime Museum
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum - The small town of Saint Michaels was once primarily a ship building and sea-fishing community. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum captures the days of old with exhibits on boat building and features a large collection of indigenous vessels. The 18 acre waterfront museum and grounds are located on the site of old packing houses and the docks where their work boats were anchored. If you are near the area Labor Day weekend and in the market for a good used boat, the museum holds a boat auction (the proceeds are help support the museum).
Thurmont, MD
A Short Hike to Cunningham Falls
Cunningham Falls - Tucked away in the Catoctin Mountains is Maryland's largest cascading waterfall, Cunningham Falls. The waterfall and a 44 acre lake are part of Cunningham Falls State Park. A short hike takes you to the falls area (also called McAfee Falls) were water tumbles down the 78 foot of rocky embankment. There are several other trails ranging in difficulty from easy to rigorous that wind past the Historic Catoctin Furnace Site. Activities at the park include canoeing, hiking, swimming, fishing and camping.
Towson, MD
Home of the Million Dollar Sofa
Hampton National Historic Site - The Hampton Mansion on the Hampton National Historic Site is a fantastic example of Georgian architecture. Completed in 1790 by Captain Charles Ridgely (1733-1790), it became the largest private residence in the USA. The estate grew to over 25,000 acres and included iron works, mills, and farming operations which were partially operated by slaves and indentured servants. Tours of the house today let visitor see the originally owned furniture, including the "million dollar" red sofa. The current 66 acre grounds include an ice house, the slave quarters, mule barn and green houses.