Nicknamed ‘America in Miniature’ thanks to its varied biodiversity, Maryland is one of the oldest states in America, welcomed into the Union in 1788. Maryland has seen America change drastically as it played important roles in the Revolutionary War, American Civil War and the War of 1812. The state received its name on orders of King Charles I, who ordered settlers in the New World to name this area after his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. But Maryland’s link to the development of the Union extends beyond its input to war.
Francis Scott Key, a lawyer from the state, wrote the national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ in 1814 after seeing the American Flag still fluttering in the wind after an attack on Fort McHenry. The state is also home to the first school in the United States, King Williams School, opened in 1696.
Maryland has natural wonders, from deserts with dunes to lush and dense forests. Its varied biodiversity has helped Maryland cultivate a range of crops, plants and wildlife. More than 400 species of birds, 90 species of mammals, reptiles and fish call the state their home.
While in Maryland, be sure to head to Chesapeake Bay, where the seafood is plentiful. The state produces more blue crabs than any other state, and restaurants and street food stalls around the bay sell more crab cakes than any other form of street food. America has small towns with unusual names and unique stories, and Maryland is no different. The small town of Boring may seem an unusual name for a town, however, it was named after the first postmaster, David Boring. This unique sight has quickly made the little town a must-visit landmark for road trippers keen to take their photos with the unique post office sign. Here are 20 more incredible natural and historical landmarks in Maryland that are well worth a visit.
- 21 Maryland Landmarks
- Natural Landmarks in Maryland
- Historical Landmarks in Maryland
- 11- Fort McHenry
- 12- Antietam National Battlefield
- 13- Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum
- 14- Maryland State House
- 15- Washington Monument State Park
- 16- The Baltimore Museum of Art
- 17- Colonial Annapolis Historic District
- 18- Clara Barton National Historic Site
- 19- Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum
- 20- Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Centre
- 21- Washington Monument
21 Maryland Landmarks
Natural Landmarks in Maryland
1- Deep Creek Lake
Deep Creek Lake is Maryland’s largest inland body of water.
The artificial lake is 11 miles (18 kilometres) long and 1 mile (1.8 kilometres) wide, created as a hydroelectricity project in the 1920s.
These days, Deep Creek Lake is a magnet for those interested in outdoor adventures and sports.
Its waters are swum in, kayaked or canoed over in summer and marvelled at as the seasons change.
The lake is also home to northern pike and rainbow trout, making its waters a famous fishing lake for anglers.
Deep Creek Lake is at Deep Creek Lake State Park, Swanton, MD 21561.
2- Gilpin’s Falls
Gilpin’s Falls is a beautiful natural waterfall in Cecil County.
Its landmark status comes not from the waterfall’s waters, but the covered bridge that offers the best vantage point over the falls.
The waterfall came from metavolcanic activities in the area more than 500 million years ago.
The bridge was built in 1860 and sits just a few feet over the waters below.
The falls themselves were harnessed for their natural power during this time to power local flour mills.
Gilpin’s Falls is at North East Rd, North East, MD 21901.
3- Crystal Grottoes Caverns
Crystal Grottoes Caverns was founded in 1920 as limestone was quarried for State Route 34.
The caverns were discovered when drill bits were lost in holes that began to appear in the quarry.
They opened to the public in 1922 and have welcomed tourists from the state and beyond ever since.
Inside the cave, the temperature is a pleasant 54 degrees year-round, making it a welcome and cooling location in summer and a warm escape from the cold outside in winter.
19821 Shepherdstown Pike, Boonsboro, MD 21713.
4- Catoctin Mountain
Catoctin Mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the broader Appalachian Mountains.
The mountain also crosses into neighbouring state Virginia and forms the easternmost ridge of Blue Ridge, stretching for approximately 50 miles (80 km).
Catoctin reaches 1900ft (580m) at its peak and its surrounding landscapes are protected at both federal and state-level and incorporate reservoirs, parks and forests.
As such, the mountain is a popular location for hikers seeking out both the Appalachian trail and Catoctin’s own Catoctin Trail, which stretches for 27 miles (43 km).
When visiting the mountain and park, keep your eyes peeled for the local wildlife.
Turkeys, deer and black bears live in its forests.
Catoctin Mountain is at Camp Misty Mount Historic District, Maryland, United States.
5- Cunningham Falls
Cunningham Falls is inside the Catoctin Mountain State Park and is the highest waterfall in Maryland.
The falls cascade over 78ft (23m) of the rock face.
Steep rocks surround the water, but many still brave the hike to see this natural Maryland landmark.
For the length of the falls, there are many deep pools to bath and cool off after a hike.
As the falls are located in a thick forest, stumbling across them is a rather magical experience and well worth the hike.
There are many hikes to the falls, with the most popular taking you in a 1.25 mile (2 km) loop.
Cunningham Falls is at 14039 Catoctin Hollow Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788.
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6- Assateague Island
Assateague Island is home to wild Chincoteague ponies, which draw more than two million people each year.
The white sands of Assateague Island are a spectacular sight contrasting with the darker blue of the sea, making this a popular destination for summer day trips.
The wild ponies even venture onto the beach and can be seen galloping in harras or simply wandering the beach alone or in pairs.
Assateague Island is at 7370 Stephen Decatur Hwy, Berlin, MD 21811.
7- Calvert Cliffs
Like many coastal areas of Maryland, Calvert Cliffs is a popular location for hikers.
The cliffs stretch for 24 miles (38 kilometres) from Chesapeake Bay to Drum Point.
Its main appeal, aside from the beautiful surroundings, is its beach.
The beach, which grows and shrinks with the tide, is home to hundreds of fossilised species.
Many visitors flock to the beach here to find unusual and rare fossils, including Megalodon shark teeth.
Calvert Cliffs is at 10540 H G Trueman Rd, Lusby, MD 20657.
8- Grove Of Remembrance
Grove of Remembrance is a poignant natural landmark in Maryland.
The grove consists of oak trees planted in the wake of WWI by mothers who lost their sons in battle.
They planted in 48 oak trees, with each tree representing the 48 states of the Union at the time.
Additional trees were planted with dedications to the Allied states, the City of Baltimore where the trees would grow, and the president of the time Woodrow Wilson.
The planting and dedication ceremonies were carried out quietly and respectfully and were attended by the Mayor, local governors, and 20 war-wounded veterans.
Grove of Remembrance is at Beechwood Dr, Baltimore, MD 21217.
9- Battle Creek Cypress Swamp
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is the northernmost swamp in Maryland and a conservational area covering 105 acres.
The swamp and its surrounding wetlands are an important habitat for various bird and animal species.
As the swamp is a birdlife habitat, only part is open to the public.
A boardwalk was built across a quarter-mile (0.4 km) stretch of the swamp to protect the area.
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is at 2880 Grays Rd, Prince Frederick, MD 20678.
Daniels could be seen as both a natural and historical landmark within Maryland.
Once a thriving industrial town that straddled the Patapsco River, Daniels is now a ghost town that has been reclaimed by nature.
Daniels was known as Elysville, named after its founder Thomas Ely, who moved to the area in 1810.
After setting up a textile mill, a small town soon followed, complete with churches, schools and a railway station.
The mill closed in the 1960s, and soon the residents packed their things and moved away, abandoning the town.
The ghost town’s ruins are full of graffiti and cars have been left to rot while the remnants of the church crumble as ivy and trees take over the land once more.
It is possible to reach Daniels on foot, with parking nearby.
Some areas of the town are accessible only by crossing the river or braving the decaying bridge that crosses it.
Daniels is at Baltimore, MD 21244, United States.
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Historical Landmarks in Maryland
11- Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry is a pentagonal bastion fortress in Locust Point, Baltimore that played a crucial role in the War of 1812.
Fort McHenry was the site where American troops defeated the British navy and inspired ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ to Francis Scott key.
Today, the fort is sat inside a 42-acre park and offers visitors access to the fort, exhibitions displaying artifacts from the 1812 war, and ranger programs and tours.
Keeping up with its military history, Fort McHenry fires cannons and muskets and has drum performances during the summer months.
Fort McHenry is at 2400 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230.
12- Antietam National Battlefield
Antietam National Battlefield serves as a commemoration for the American Civil War battle of Antietam in 1862.
The battle was bloody and many losing their lives.
Within the battlefield is the cemetery, which has more than 4976 interments, 1836 of which are unidentified.
Only Union soldiers were buried within the grounds.
Since the Civil War, the cemetery has expanded with graves of veterans and their wives from other wars, including both World Wars and the Korean War.
The battlefield allows visitors to explore the grounds of this important location in American history, as well as learn more about the battle in the visitor centre, where visitors are shown a film explaining its importance, which James Earl Jones narrates.
Antietam National Battlefield 302 E Main St, Sharpsburg, MD 21782.
13- Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum
Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum in Maryland is a national historic landmark.
Poe is one of America’s most influential writers, and as such, his house is a popular destination for tourists.
Poe lived in the house on North Amity Street from 1833 to 1835, which, while not a long period, has been preserved in the style of the time to reflect Poe’s surroundings while he wrote.
The home’s decor reflects the style of the times.
Within the home are exhibits sharing Poe’s life story and his tragic death, and includes some famous artefacts of his.
On display are his portable writing desk and chair, as well as a telescope used by the author when he lived in Virginia.
Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum is at 203 N Amity St, Baltimore, MD 21223.
14- Maryland State House
Maryland State House is the oldest US state capitol that is still in legislative use.
The statehouse dates back to 1772 and served as the Congress of the Confederation during 1783 and 1784.
The formal event that signified the end of the American Revolutionary War occurred at this statehouse.
Little has changed in its time, and its traditional large wooden dome still stands proud over the building.
The wooden dome was constructed entirely without nails.
Maryland State House is at 100 State Cir, Annapolis, MD 21401.
15- Washington Monument State Park
The famous Washington Monument in Washington DC draws millions of visitors each year to the tower celebrating George Washington’s role in developing America into today’s country.
This little-known first Washington monument is quite a gem.
The state park is a small 1 mile (1.6 km) parkland designed to preserve the first Washington Monument.
Washington Monument is a 40ft (12m) tower dedicated to the first president of America.
The citizens of Boonsboro built the dry-laid stone tower in 1827.
The tower has been restored several times during its time due to its materials and changes in the surrounding landscape.
Protective orders in 1920 allowed the monument and its land to be saved as a state park.
Washington Monument State Park is at 6620 Zittlestown Rd, Middletown, MD 21769.
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16- The Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art was founded more than 100 years ago.
The museum was designed as a place where art and ideas can help build healthy and vibrant cities and positively influence people’s lives.
The museum has a wonderful collection of art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, many of which reflect America’s growth as a country.
The art on display incorporates traditional painting styles alongside more modern interpretations of art, including digital media and film.
The museum also houses art and sculptures from Africa and Europe and displays of modern art.
The BMA is at 10 Art Museum Dr, Baltimore, MD 21218.
17- Colonial Annapolis Historic District
Maryland’s Annapolis Historic District is a National Historic Landmark and a must-visit place when exploring the state.
The area is European in style and typical of towns and cities developing around the birth of the United States.
The city itself has more original 18th century buildings than any other state in the USA.
Many of the traditional buildings within the historic district are open to the public to explore, and some reflect that period internally and externally.
The district can be explored through numerous walking tours taking in the historical district, focusing on Washington and his time within the city, and women of Annapolis who had a significant impact on the nation’s development.
Colonial Annapolis Historic District is at 211 Main St, Annapolis, MD 21401.
18- Clara Barton National Historic Site
Clara Barton National Historic Site was established in 1974 to celebrate the life and work of Clara Barton.
The site is the first national historical site in America dedicated to the accomplishments of a woman.
Clara was a pioneer, teacher and nurse who founded the American Red Cross.
Julian B. Hubbell designed Clara’s home in 1891, which today serves as a museum dedicated to the humanitarian.
The home is where Clara spent the last 15 years of her life.
However, the site is not an example of a home but rather a true reflection of how Clara transformed the buildings.
Keeping a small area to herself for living quarters, the rest of the site served as Red Cross offices, parlours and emergency buildings.
Clara Barton National Historic Site is at 5801 Oxford Rd, Glen Echo, MD 20812.
19- Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum honours and celebrates the legacy of Benjamin Banneker, a free African American man who lived on the land during the 1700s.
Benjamin’s family purchased the land during the 1700s, with six-year-old Benjamin’s name appearing on the deed so he could remain a free man throughout his life.
Benjamin spent his life studying, and he became an accomplished mathematician and astronomer and published six almanacs.
The park and museum are dedicated to Benjamin’s life as an accomplished intellectual and celebrates his achievements.
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum is at 300 Oella Ave, Catonsville, MA 21228.
20- Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Centre
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland.
After escaping to her freedom in the North in 1849, Tubman dedicated her life to helping other slaves gain their freedom by creating the Underground Railroad.
The Underground Railroad Visitor Centre honours what Tubman did for slaves and how her secret network allowed many to escape and gain freedom.
The visitor centre is set in the landscape where Tubman lived and is overwhelmingly left unspoiled to reflect how the landscape would have looked during her time.
The centre features exhibits about Tubman’s life and the Underground Railroad.
The visitor centre also provides visitors with a self-guided driving tour map which will take tourists to 36 different sites that were key to the success of the Underground Railroad and Tubman’s life.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Centre is at 4098 Golden Hill Rd, Church Creek, MD 21622.
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21- Washington Monument
The Washington Monument at Vernon Place is in Baltimore.