Free Sites in the "Free State"
Skip to main content
Mediaplex_tag
Maryland Header Logo
Search Button

facebook icon twitter icon google icon youtube icon pinterest icon foursquare icon

Skip Navigation Links
Home
Places To See
Things To Do
Places To Stay
Places To Eat
Getting Here
About MD
Related Items

Find Events
Go
Events Date Range
From From Date Picker
To    To Date Picker Go

flash divider

Sign up for Newsletter
Subscribe

flash divider
 Interactive map
Destination Travel Guide
DESTINATION MARYLAND The Official Guide To Maryland State Travel
Order or view now >>

Free Sites in the "Free State" 

 

Free Sites in the “Free State”

          Maryland earned the nickname “Free State” in the early 1900s, when Congress passed a law prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol. Marylanders opposed prohibition on the basis that it violated their state’s rights. The nickname is also said to represent Maryland’s ongoing tradition of political freedom and religious tolerance.

        But the state’s tourism industry offers a third reason to call Maryland the “Free State” by providing the following list of free attractions throughout the state. Visitors are encouraged to travel in Maryland and pursue countless free adventures along the way.

        For more information about travel to Maryland, the public may call 800-719-5900 or visit www.visitmaryland.org.

It’s always a good idea to call ahead to sites to be sure they’re open on the date and at the time that you wish to visit.

Happy traveling!

  WESTERN MARYLAND 

Allegany County


Allegany County Museum
The museum houses displays that portray local life during different eras in the county’s history. Special exhibits focus on architecture, the glass and tire industries, and brewing. 81 Baltimore Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, 301-777-7200

C&O Canal National Historic Park/Canal Place
A 184.5-mile towpath follows the route along the Potomac River and connects Georgetown in Washington, D.C., to Cumberland in Western Maryland. Visitors centers are set up along the way. In this area, stop at Canal Place, the state’s first Certified Heritage Area. It features a 1913 railway station, trestle walk, festival area and picnic area. One of the canal’s many visitors centers is set up within the railway station. Displays focus on the history of the canal and feature hands-on exhibits about life on the canal. Other local canal highlights include the Paw Paw Tunnel, the only tunnel along the canal, and Lockhouses 71 and 75. Western Maryland Station, 13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, 301-722-8226 and www.nps.gov/choh (Visitors Center) or 301-724-7655 and www.canalplace.org (Canal Place)

Clarysville Bridge
This circa-1812 stone arch bridge continues to stand alongside the Historic National Road, America’s first federally funded highway. It was fully restored in 1976. Route 55 and Alternate Route 40, LaVale, MD21502, 301-777-5132, www.mdmountainside.com

The Cumberland C&O Canal Boat Replica
This full-scale replica of a canal boat includes an on-board mule stable, hay house and captain’s quarters. Canal Place, 13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, 301-722-8226, www.nps.gov/choh & www.canalplace.org

Dan’s Rock Overlook
The overlook features a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and states from an elevation of 2,898 feet. Route 36, Midland, MD 21521, 301-777-5132, www.mdmountianside.com

Fort Cumberland Walking Trail and George Washington’s Headquarters
The walking trail encompasses several blocks lined with plaques that address life in Cumberland during the French & Indian War. The trail includes Riverside Park, where visitors can view George Washington’s cabin (circa 1755). Information available at the Allegany County Visitors Center, Western Maryland Station, 13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, 301-777-5132, www.mdmountianside.com

LaVale Toll Gate House
Built in 1836, this octagonal home housed the gatekeeper who collected tolls along the Historic National Road, the first federally funded highway in the United States. 14302 National Highway, LaVale, MD 21502, 301-729-3047

Lonaconing Iron Furnace
Built in 1837, this was the first furnace in the United States to successfully use coal and coke fuel rather than charcoal to make pig iron. In its heyday, it produced 75 tons of iron a week. Route 36 South/Main Street, Lonaconing, MD 21539, 301-463-6233

Mount Savage Museum and Historical Park
The park is dedicated to the early settlers of this region and features a row house where Cardinal Edward Mooney grew up. Old Row, Main Street, Mount Savage, MD 21545, 301-264-9916

The Narrows
Visitors can drive along the first federally funded highway in the United States, built in 1811 to carry pioneers west to the Ohio Valley, and stop here for an ideal view. The Narrows is a 1,000-foot breach in the mountains that offers a terrific view of the sheer rock cliffs that line the gorge. Alternate Route 40, Centre Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, 301-777-5132, www.mdmountainside.com

The Saville Gallery of the Allegany Arts Council
Local artists provide rotating displays of arts, including mixed media, oils and ceramics. 52 Baltimore Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, 301-777-2787, www.alleganyartscouncil.org

 
Garrett County


Backbone Mountain
Hoye Crest on this mountain is the highest point in Maryland, boasting an elevation of 3,360 feet. This point, a favorite destination for hikers, was named for Captain Charles Edward Hoye, the historian who preserved the area’s history and founded the county’s historical society. Visitors who make it to the crest can pick up a certificate near the marker sign. Informationv and maps available through the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, 15 Visitors Center Drive, McHenry, MD 21541, 301-387-4386, www.garrettchamber.com

Bear Creek Fish Rearing Station
The station is managed by the Fisheries Service of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Visitors can stroll the banks of Bear Creek to view the process of raising fish from fingerlings to prize-sized catches. Bear Creek Road, Accident, MD 21520, 301-746-8148, www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/recreational/hatchery/bearcreek.html   


Cranesville Subarctic Swamp
This was one of the first National Natural Landmarks designated by the National Park Service. It has been described as a “small piece of forest and bog that remained behind after the Ice Age.” Formed nearly 15,000 years ago, the swamp is now home to species of plants and animals generally found only in the northern reaches of the United States and Canada. A boardwalk crosses the 850-acre swamp, and six trails wind through it. Information and maps available through the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, 15 Visitors Center Drive, McHenry, MD 21541, 301-387-4386, www.garrettchamber.com

Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center
Overlooking the lake at Deep Creek Lake State Park, the Discovery Center offers visitors a glimpse into the history, culture and wildlife of Western Maryland. Exhibits include fossils found in the Allegheny Mountains, fish in a lake habitat aquarium and black bear paw prints. 898 State Park Road,Swanton, MD 21561, 301-387-7067, www.discoverycenterdcl.com/

The Drane House
Reputed to be the oldest residence in Garrett County, this house was constructed prior to 1800. The log home belonged to James and Priscilla Drane and was painstakingly restored to demonstrate early life in this region. Old Cemetery Road, Accident, MD 21520, 301-746-6346

Garrett County Historical Society Museum
Highlights of the museum include history exhibits and Native American artifacts. 107 S. Second Street, Oakland, MD 21550, 301-334-3226, www.deepcreektimes.com/gchs.html 


Historic B&O Train Station
This train station, now on the National Registry, is among the nation’s most distinguished historic depots. The 1884 Queen Anne-style station was built to serve the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s resort clientele and welcomed visiting presidents, captains of industry and other prominent citizens. 117 E. Liberty Street, Oakland, MD 21550, 301-334-2691, www.oaklandmd.com

Simon Pearce Glassblowing
Visitors can stand on a catwalk above the facility to observe the glassblowers at work. 265 Glass Drive, Mountain Lake Park, MD 21550, 301-387-5277, www.simonpearce.com

Spruce Forest Artisan Village
More than a dozen artisans – including a blacksmith, bird carver and weaver -- work in a cluster of authentic 19th-century log and plank buildings. Visitors can watch the artists at work for no charge, but each craftsperson does also sell his or her wares. 177 Casselman Road, Grantsville, MD 21536, 301-895-3332, www.spruceforest.org

 
Washington County
 

Engine 202 Steam Locomotive Caboose Display
This is the only Western Maryland Railroad-type steam locomotive still in existence. The facility also houses eight cabooses and railroad memorabilia. City Park, Hagerstown, MD 21740, 301-739-8393

Sideling Hill Exhibit Center
The center offers an unbeatable view of the cut that engineers carved in the mountains of Maryland in order for Interstate 68 to pass through. Interstate 68 East or West, 3000 Sideling Hill, Hancock, MD 21750, 301-678-5442

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
Exhibitions range from Old Masters to contemporary art. The museum boasts an excellent collection of 19th- and 20th-century art. 91 Key Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740, 301-739-5727, www.washcomuseum.org

Western Maryland Rail Trail
The trail parallels the Potomac River and the C&O Canal and provides a unique paved hiking and biking experience. ¼ mile off Interstate 70 to Route 56 or ½ mile west of Interstate 70 on Route 144, Hancock, MD 21750, 301-842-2155, www.dnr.state.md.us

 
CAPITAL REGION 

Frederick County


C&O Canal & Monocacy Aqueduct
Measuring 516 feet long and boasting seven arches, the aqueduct is the largest structure along the C&O Canal. It spans the Monocacy River and allowed the country’s earliest travelers along the canal safe passage across the river. The aqueduct was finished in 1833 and has survived attacks by the Confederate army and a damaging hurricane. Off Route 28 at the Montgomery-Frederick County line,301-739-4200, www.nps.gov/choh

Catoctin Furnace
Built in 1774 by the family of Maryland’s first elected governor, Thomas Johnson, the furnace produced iron for arms during the Revolutionary and Civil wars and for the Union’s ironclad battleship, the Monitor. Cunningham Falls State Park, Catoctin Furnace Road, Thurmont, MD 21788, 301-271-7574, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/cunninghamhistory.html

Community Bridge Mural
A large-scale mural project has transformed a plain bridge into a work of art that has received international recognition and acclaim. Carroll Creek at Carroll Street, Frederick, MD 21701, 301-228-2888, www.bridge.skyline.net

Covered Bridges of Frederick County
Three covered bridges located near the mountain town of Thurmont are within an easy drive of each other. The Tourism Council of Frederick County publishes a map and brochure to help visitors find the bridges and explore the area. Pick up maps at the Tourism Council of Frederick County, 19 E. Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701, 301-228-2888, www.fredericktourism.org

Francis Scott Key Monument and Mount Olivet Cemetery
Established in 1854, this cemetery includes the gravesites of Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner ” ; Barbara Fritchie, a Civil War heroine immortalized in John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem; and Thomas Johnson, the first elected governor of Maryland. 515 S. Market Street, Frederick, MD 21701, 301-662-1164
 
Frederick Brewing Company
This brewery in historic Frederick offers free tours on Saturdays. 4607 Wedgewood Boulevard, Frederick, MD 21701, 301-694-7899

Monocacy National Battlefield
This is the site of the July 9, 1864, Civil War battle that has been dubbed “The Battle That Saved Washington.” At this battle, Confederate troops defeated the Union troops, but the Union was nonetheless able to delay the Confederates and marshal a successful defense of nearby Washington, D.C. 4801 Urbana Pike/Route 355, Frederick, MD 21704, 301-662-3515, www.nps.gov/mono/home.htm

National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park
The park honors America’s heroic firefighters. A brick “wall of honor” links the official national monument to a visitor information center and the historic firefighters chapel. 1682 S. Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, MD 21217, 301-447-1365, www.firehero.org

National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes
This is the oldest replica of the Grotto of Lourdes in the Western Hemisphere. Mount St. Mary’s College, 16300 Old Emmitsburg Road, Emmitsburg, MD 21727, 301-447-5318, www.msmary.edu/grotto

National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
This religious site includes a basilica, visitors center, museum and historic homes. It pays tribute to Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint. 333 S. Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, MD 21727, 301-447-6606, www.setonshrine.org

 

Montgomery County 


Clara Barton National Historic Site
The site commemorates the life of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. This house served as Barton’s home, the headquarters for the Red Cross and a warehouse for disaster relief supplies. 5801 Oxford Road, Glen Echo, MD 20812, 301-492-6245, www.nps.gov/clba

Dennis & Phillip Ratner Museum
The museum is a walk-through of the Hebrew Bible via visual arts. Features include sculpting, drawings, paintings and graphics. 10001 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, 301-897-1518, www.ratnermuseum.com

Sandy Spring Museum
The museum offers insight into the history of the small community of Sandy Spring and features exhibits about the town’s residents and their achievements in the fields of abolitionism, invention and the arts. 17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860, 301-774-0022, www.sandyspringmuseum.org

Seventh-Day Adventist Church World Headquarters
This site is the world headquarters for a church that began in the early 1800s and today has more than 12 million members in more than 200 countries. Exhibits include pieces by Adventist artists, life-size bronze sculptures and a hand-painted mural that portrays prominent figures throughout the religion’s history. 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904, 301-680-6316, www.adventist.org

Strathmore Hall Arts Center
This circa-1900 mansion houses the Art Center for Montgomery County and exhibits works by local and regional artists. 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, MD 20852, 301-530-0540, www.strathmore.org

Washington D.C. Temple Visitors Center
The visitors center features information about the neighboring temple, films and videos. A 500-seat auditorium shows the film Legacy, which portrays the Mormon faith and the hopes and trials of the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington, MD 20895, 301-587-0144, www.washingtonlds.org

 

Prince George’s County 


 Agricultural Research Center
The U.S. Department of Agriculture operates this, the largest of its research centers. The National Visitor Center is housed in a log lodge that was built from blueprints for Yellowstone ski lodges. Visitors can peer into the future of food and farm sciences in plant breeding, animal and human nutrition, products, and inventions of agricultural science. Powder Mill Road, Beltsville, MD 20705, 301-504-9403, www.ars.usda.gov/is/

Belair Mansion
Built in the 1740s, this mansion is today filled with period furnishings that help interpret the rich history of its former owners, including former governor Samuel Ogle and the horseracing magnate William Woodward. 12207 Tulip Grove Road, Bowie, MD 20715, 301-809-3089, www.cityofbowie.org/comserv/museums.htm

Belair Stable Museum
The stable was part of the “Belair Stud,” one of the premier racing stables in the United States from the 1930s through the 1950s. Often called “The Cradle of American Racing,” this was home to Gallant Fox and Omaha, the only father and son horses to win the Triple Crown. 2835 Belair Drive, Bowie, MD20715, 301-809-3089, www.cityofbowie.org/comserv/museums.htm

Duvall Tool Museum
The museum is part of the Patuxent Rural Life Museums and houses a collection of 19th-century farm implements, tools and antique household items. Patuxent River Park, 16000 Croom Airport Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772, 301-627-6074, www.pgparks.com/places/eleganthistoric/patuxent_intro.html

Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary and Visitor Center
Started in 1932 as a nesting and wintering grounds for Canada geese, the sanctuary overlooks the Patuxent River. Today nearly 2,000 acres of land are dedicated to wildlife habitat and waterfowl management. The center features exhibits on native wildlife; eight miles of trails through fields, forests and wetlands are ideal for hiking and bird watching. 11704 Fenno Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772, 301-888-1410, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/merkle.html

National Archives at College Park
This site is best known for being the current home of the Richard Nixon/Watergate tapes. The state-of-the-art archival facility houses an extensive collection of important and historic documents, tapes and film. There are also exhibits, lectures and film presentations here. 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740, 202-501-5205, www.archives.gov

National Wildlife Visitor Center
The center features interactive exhibits with a focus on global environmental issues, migratory bird studies, endangered species, wildlife habitats and creature life cycles. In addition to exploring the indoor exhibits, visitors may take tram tours or hike along the refuge’s trails. (There is a small fee for the tram tours.) Patuxent Research Refuge, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, MD 20708, 301-497-5760, http://patuxent.fws.gov

Oxon Hill Farm
A historical farm run by the National Park Service, this site is home to a collection of cows, horses, pigs and sheep. Buildings date to the 1800s, when the property was a wheat plantation. Oxon Cove Park, 6411 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, MD 20745, 301-839-1176

Radio-Television Museum
The museum is administered by the Radio Historical Society and features exhibits about the history of radio and television. 2608 Mitchellville Road, Bowie, MD 20715, 301-809-3089, www.radiohistory.org

Tobacco Farming Museum
This site, another part of the Patuxent Rural Life Museums, demonstrates the rich agricultural heritage of Prince George’s County and features exhibits about the history of tobacco in Maryland. Patuxent River Park, 16000 Croom Airport Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772, 301-627-6074, www.pgparks.com/places/eleganthistoric/patuxent_intro.html 


CENTRAL MARYLAND
 
Annapolis and Anne Arundel County


Banneker-Douglass Museum
This museum of African-American history and culture features changing exhibits, lectures, films, tours and educational programs. It is housed within the former Mount Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was built in 1874. 84 Franklin Street, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-263-7973, www.marylandhistoricaltrust.net/bdm.html

City Dock
The city’s port bustles with activity. Watch boats come and go along “Ego Alley”; take in the sights, sounds and smells of Market House; or simply enjoy the view of the water in one direction, the historic city in the other. A highlight here is the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial, which commemorates the arrival of Kunta Kinte (the main character of Haley’s book Roots) and honors Haley. Information about the area is available from the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau, 410-280-0445, www.visit-annapolis.org

Government House
The official residence of Maryland’s governor was built during the Victorian period and is open for tours by appointment. State Circle and School Street, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-974-3531, www.mec.state.md.us/mec

Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden
This five-acre botanical garden features representations of Maryland’s natural communities, from Western Maryland forest to Eastern Shore peninsula. Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-260-8189, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/tawesgarden.html

Maryland State Archives
The historical agency and permanent records repository for the state features a public search room for family history and historical research. 350 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-260-6400, www.mdsa.net

Maryland State House
The state house is the oldest one in continuous legislative use in the country, and it once functioned as the U.S. Capitol. Free tours are given daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. 91 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-974-3400, www.mdarchives.state.md.us

Mitchell Art Gallery
Museum-quality exhibitions change regularly. Other features include talks, tours and children’s programs. St. John’s College, 60 College Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-626-2556, www.sjca.edu

Old Treasury Building
Built between 1735 and 1737, this is the oldest public building in Maryland. It’s located on the State House grounds and functions as the Historic Annapolis Foundation’s research center. State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-267-7619, www.annapolis.org

St. Anne’s Episcopal Church
The third church built on this site was erected in the late 1850s. Among its collection is a silver communion service presented by King William III in 1695 and which is still in use. Church Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-267-9333, www.stannes-annapolis.org

U.S. Naval Academy
A good starting point here is the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center, where visitors can watch a movie about life at the academy or join a free walking tour. Other highlights at “The Yard” include the Class of 1951 Gallery of Ships, the chapel and crypt of John Paul Jones, and the statue of Tecumseh. 52 King George Street, Annapolis, MD 21402, 410-263-6933, www.navyonline.com

Baltimore City


Inner Harbor/Harborplace
The centerpiece of Baltimore’s tourism scene is a working harbor that features an array of sights, sounds and smells. It’s fun to stroll along the bricked path that leads all around the harbor or sit on one of the many benches and simply watch the harbor traffic. In warmer months, performers offer free entertainment for the crowds gathered around the amphitheater. Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association,877-BALTIMORE, www.baltimore.org

Carroll County 

 
Carroll Arts Center
This multi-purpose community arts center is actually the renovated 1937 art deco Carroll Theatre. Today it includes a 263-seat theater as well as a large art gallery. (The gallery is free to the public, but there is a charge for some performances in the theater.) 91 W. Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157, 410-848-7272, www.carr.org/arts

Historical Society of Carroll County
Located in the heart of old Westminster, the historical society is dedicated to serving people interested in history, culture and heritage. The site features two exhibits: “Doorway to the Past,” which is an overview of objects great and small that represent the community and culture of Carroll County, and “Childhood Playthings,” with selections from the society’s doll and toy collections. 210 E. Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157, 410-848-6494, www.carr.org/hscc

Harford County 

 
Concord Point Lighthouse
Built in 1827, this is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in Maryland. Concord and Lafayette streets, Havre de Grace, MD 21078, 410-939-9040

Jerusalem Mill and Village
Located within Gunpowder Falls State Park, this village offers living history demonstrations of Colonial life and work. 2813 Jerusalem Road, Kingsville, MD 21087, 410-877-3560, www.jerusalemmill.org

U.S. Army Ordnance Museum
The museum houses a collection of small arms, artillery, combat vehicles and ammunition. Aberdeen Proving Ground, Exit 85E off Interstate 95, Aberdeen, MD 21005, 410-278-3602, www.ordmusfound.org

 
Howard County  

Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge
The Bollman Truss semi-suspension bridge, a National Historic Landmark, is the last bridge of its kind still standing in America. Built in 1860, the all-iron bridge is the sole surviving example of a revolutionary design in American bridge engineering. 8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD 20763, 410-792-2820

Elk Ridge Historical Society
The society is headquartered in the Brumbaugh House, which is used as a museum, library and gift shop. The organization’s purpose is to share information about the history and culture of Elk Ridge, the oldest community in Howard County. 5825 Main Street, Elkridge, MD 21227, 410-796-3282

Firehouse Museum
Completed in 1889, this first firehouse in Howard County has an unusual shape that follows the contour of the land on which it is built. The first fire truck used here was a hand-drawn ladder truck, and the slope of the property gave firefighters a running start to move their machinery. The building now houses an exhibit of early firefighting memorabilia. 3829 Church Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043, 410-313-0232

Franciscan Friary

The friary is the Sanctuary of St. Anthony, the special site in the United States that houses a first-class relic of St. Anthony of Padua. 12290 Folly Quarter Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042, 410-531-2800

Historic Oakland
Built in 1811 in the traditional Federalist style, this historic home represents an evolution of architectural styles – including Federal, Greek and Colonial Revival designs. The Bishop’s Garden, located outside of the east wing, displays plantings popular in the early 19th century. 5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia, MD 21044, 410-730-4801, www.historic-oakland.com

Historic Savage Mill
The mill, which is nestled on the banks of the Little Patuxent River, functioned as a working textile mill from 1822 to 1947. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and now consists of nine buildings that house antiques dealers, boutiques and restaurants. 8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD 20763, 410-792-2820, www.savagemill.com

Historic Waverly
Governor George Howard, the only son of a governor to become a governor himself, built this house between 1756 and 1764. The house is furnished with period pieces and also features lovely gardens. 2300 Waverly Mansion Drive, Marriottsville, MD 21104, 410-313-5400

Howard County Historical Society
The former First Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1894, functions as the organization’s headquarters and the home of its museum. The Old Schoolhouse next door dates to pre-1790 and functions as the research library. 8328 Court Avenue, Ellicott City, MD 21041, 410-465-1050 (museum) or 410-750-0370 (library)

Mt. Pleasant and the Howard County Conservancy
Mt. Pleasant Farm is a 232-acre farm with nine historic outbuildings -- including a carriage house, blacksmith shop, barn and smokehouse. The facility offers historical, environmental and agricultural programs. 10520 Old Frederick Road, Woodstock, MD 21163, 410-465-8877, www.hcconservancy.com

Thomas Isaac Log Cabin
The oldest building on Main Street in historic Ellicott City is outfitted to represent a “way station” on the Historic National Road, the first federally funded highway in the United States. Way stations were built to give travelers a place to rest, get supplies and learn the news of the day. Main Street and Ellicott Mills Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043, 410-313-1413

Thomas Viaduct
Built in the 1830s, this was the first curved stone arch bridge in America. It carried the early B&O Railroad over the Patapsco River and it has remained in service for nearly 175 years. 6086 Old Lawyers Hill, Elkridge, MD 21075, 410-796-3282

SOUTHERN MARYLAND
 
Calvert County 

 
American Chestnut Land Trust
Fifteen miles of nature trails extend throughout the watersheds of Parkers Creek and Governor’s Run. Scientists Cliffs Road, Port Republic, MD 20676 and Double Oak Road, Prince Frederick, MD 20678, 410-586-1570, www.acltweb.org

Annmarie Garden on St. John
Museum-quality artwork is displayed outdoors in the tranquil setting of this garden. Dowell Road, Solomons, MD 20678, 410-326-4640, www.annmariegarden.org

Battle Creek Cypress Swamp
An elevated boardwalk provides access to observe nature in the northernmost stand of bald cypress trees in the United States. An accompanying nature center educates visitors about the flora and fauna of the area. 2880 Grays Road, Prince Frederick, MD 20678, 410-535-5327, www.calvertparks.org

Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum
The 1898 railway station that once serviced the amusement park at this resort area is now a museum that includes exhibits on railway history, the park and the steamboats that once plied these waters. 4155 Mears Avenue, Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732, 410-257-3892, www.cbrm.org

Chesapeake Biological Laboratory Visitor Center
Experience the scientific atmosphere of this research center, and then learn about the ecology and natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay and the important contributions made by CBL scientists. One Charles Street, Solomons, MD 20688, 410-326-7443, www.cbl.umces.edu Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
This archaeological museum sits on a 500-acre historic property that overlooks the Patuxent River. Features include exhibits about archaeology, nature trails and a picnic area. 10515 Mackall Road, St. Leonard, MD 20685, 410-586-8500, www.jefpat.org

Joseph C. Lore & Sons Oyster House
An old oyster house has been transformed into a museum documenting the region’s commercial seafood industry. Exhibits include tools and gear used by the area’s watermen. 14430 Solomons Island Road, Solomons, MD 20688, 410-326-2042, www.calvertmarinemuseum.com (Note: The oyster house is owned by the Calvert Marine Museum. Though there is a charge for entry to the museum, visitors can see the oyster house at no charge.)

Charles County


Chicamuxen Watchable Wildlife Center
The Naval Surface Warfare Center operates this 30-acre facility that is tucked away on a peninsula surrounded by the Potomac River and the Chicamuxen and Mattawoman creeks. Stump Neck Road off Route 224, Indian Head, MD 20640, 301-744-4705, www.charlescounty.org

Chicamuxen Wildlife Management Area
This 381-acre property was the site of a Civil War encampment led by Union General Joseph Hooker. Today it is a protected area of prime marshlands that are home to a variety of wildfowl species and an abundant forest interior that is home to several species of birds during nesting season. It’s a great place to spot bald eagles as they patrol the waters for food.Route 224, Indian Head, MD 20640, 301-743-5161

La Plata Train Station
Located in the town of La Plata, county seat of Charles County, the station shares the history of the railroad in this region. 101 Kent Avenue, La Plata, MD 20646, 301-934-8421, www.charlescounty.org/tourism/sites.htm

Mattawoman Creek Art Center
Located within a state park, the gallery offers monthly exhibits, illustrated talks and lectures. Smallwood State Park, Route 224, Marbury, MD 20658, 301-743-5159, www.mattawomanart.org

Mount Carmel Monastery
Founded by four Carmelite nuns in 1790, this was the first monastery of religious women in Colonial America. Two of the original convent buildings have been restored and are open to visitors. 5678 Mount Carmel Road, La Plata, MD 20646, 301-934-1654, www.carmelofporttobacco.com

Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area
Once home to the Piscataway Indians, the 1,410 acres of forests and fields here are considered a prime location for bird watching and nature photography. The area is home to barred owls, songbirds, waterfowl and salamanders. A 23-acre lake is ideal for largemouth bass fishing. Route 225, La Plata, MD 20646, 301-743-5161, www.dnr.state.md.us

Port Tobacco One-Room School
This school is the original structure built in the 1870s by the townspeople of Port Tobacco using county funds. It was in use until 1953 but is furnished with items from its earliest time period. 7215 Chapel Point Road, Port Tobacco, MD 20677, 301-932-6064

Smallwood’s Retreat
The house was built around 1760 and was the home of General William Smallwood until his death in 1792. Smallwood was heavily involved in the American Revolution and achieved the rank of general at the battle of Camden, South Carolina. After the war, he was appointed governor of Maryland and served three one-year terms. Smallwood State Park, 2750 Sweden Point Road, Marbury, MD 20658, 301-743-7613, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/smallwood.html

St. Ignatius Catholic Church and St. Thomas Manor House
The nation’s oldest active parish with a continual pastorate, St. Ignatius was founded in 1641 by Reverend Andrew White. He accompanied Catholic settlers to Maryland in 1634. The church and manor house, a residence for priests at Chapel Point for more than 300 years, are located on a 120-foot bluff overlooking the mouth of the Port Tobacco River where it joins the Potomac River. 8855 Chapel Point Road, Port Tobacco, MD 20677, 301-934-8245, www.chapelpoint.org

Thomas Stone National Historic Site
This National Park Service property depicts the home of Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Continental Congressman and framer of the Articles of Confederation. His home, Haberdeventure, was built in the early 1770s and reflects a Southern Maryland tobacco plantation with a five-part Colonial mansion. 6655 Rose Hill, between Routes 225 and 6, Port Tobacco, MD 20677, 301-934-6027, www.nps.gov/thst

St. Mary’s County
 

Old Jail Museum
Built in 1858 and used until 1942, the jail features original cells upstairs and exhibits relating to county history downstairs in the keeper’s quarters. Highlights include an original cannon from the Ark, the ship that brought colonists to Maryland. 41625 Courthouse Drive, Leonardtown, MD 20650, 301-475-2467, www.smchsonline.org

Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
This is the Navy’s only museum dedicated to naval aviation research, development and testing. Exhibits include the “Iron Maiden,” the unmanned “Pioneer,” a rubber aircraft and a portable helicopter. 22156 Three Notch Road, Lexington Park, MD 20653, 301-863-7418, www.paxmuseum.com

Point Lookout State Park Civil War Museum
Located within the state park, the museum tells of Point Lookout’s history as a Union hospital camp for captured Confederate prisoners. Just outside the park are monuments dedicated to the 3,384 prisoners who died there. Route 5, Scotland, MD 20687, 301-872-5688, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/pointlookout.html

Tudor Hall
Home to the Key family, this 18th-century house features an unusual inset portico, a hanging staircase and a triple fireplace in the kitchen. It is now home to the St. Mary’s County Historical Society. 41680 Tudor Place, Leonardtown, MD 20650, 301-475-2467, www.smchsonline.org

 

EASTERN SHORE 
 
Caroline County


Museum of Rural Life
The museum examines how the lives of seemingly isolated people in this rural county were affected by national and world events over the course of 300 years. 16 N. Second Street, Denton, MD 21629, 410-479-2055

Cecil County
 

C&D Canal Museum
In operation since 1829, the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal is the busiest canal in the United States. This museum includes exhibits, artifacts, a giant waterwheel and a monitor that provides up-to-the-minute locations of ships in the canal. 815 Bethel Road, Chesapeake City, MD 21915, 410-885-5622

Elkton Arts Center
The center is home to the Cecil County Arts Council’s offices and primary gallery. The historic building is the site of art exhibitions, workshops, lectures, poetry readings and other events. 135 E. Main Street, Elkton, MD 410-392-5740, www.cecilcountyartscouncil.org

Turkey Point Lighthouse
The lighthouse is located on a scenic bluff 100 feet above the waves and can be reached via a brief stroll along a wooded trail. The walk is about a mile, and the view is well worth the exercise. Elk Neck State Park and Forest, 4395 Turkey Point Road, North East, MD 21901, 410-287-5333, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/central/elkneck.html

Dorchester County
 

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge is a resting and feeding area for migrating and wintering waterfowl. It’s also home to the largest population of nesting bald eagles on the East Coast. 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, MD 21613, 410-228-2677, www.friendsofblackwater.org

Brannock Maritime Museum
Exhibits include early navigational instruments, ship models and Chesapeake Bay and maritime memorabilia. There is also an extensive maritime history library. 210 Talbot Avenue, Cambridge, MD 21613, 410-228-6938

Christ Episcopal Church
Built in 1692, this church features famous stained glass windows and needlepoint cushions. 601 Church Street, Cambridge, MD 21613, 410-228-3161, www.christepiscopalchaptico.org

Dorchester Arts Center
The center showcases artists’ works in various media, including watercolor, oils, sculpture, basketry, pottery, quilting, photography and stained glass. 120 High Street, Cambridge, MD 21613, 410-228-7782

Dorchester County Historical Society – Meredith House and Nield Museum
Meredith House is a 1760 Georgian home featuring artifacts from six Maryland governors born in Dorchester County. The Nield Museum houses a collection of agricultural, maritime, industrial and Native American artifacts. 902 La Grange Avenue, Cambridge, MD 21613, 410-228-7953

Old Trinity Church
Built in 1675, this is the nation’s oldest Episcopal church in continuous use. The graveyard includes the remains of such famous Americans as Anna Ella Carroll, known as the “silent member” of Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet. Route 16, Church Creek, MD 21622, 410-228-3583

Richardson Maritime Museum
The museum pays tribute to master boat builder Jim Richardson. Exhibits promote Chesapeake Bay wooden boat heritage and watermen. 401 High Street, Cambridge, MD 21613, 410-228-1871, www.richardsonmuseum.org

Spocott Windmill
This is Maryland’s only existing post windmill used for grinding grain. Also on the site are a tenant farmhouse, Victorian schoolhouse, country store and museum. 1625 Hudson Road, Cambridge, MD 21613, 410-476-5058

Vienna Heritage Museum
This museum offers free demonstrations of the machinery used in the last pearl button factory in the United States. Other artifacts trace Vienna’s development, from its roots as what was intended to be the port of Baltimore through its industrial aspects. 303 Race Street, Vienna, MD 21869, 410-376-0490, www.viennamd.org

 

 Kent County
 

Chesapeake Farms Wildlife Habitat
Visitors can take a self-guided driving tour along the 3,000 acres of wildlife management area. 7319 Remington Drive, Chestertown, MD 21620, 410-778-8400

Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge
A 2,285-acre habitat includes nature trails, picnic areas, fishing areas and observation decks. The refuge is home to nearly 250 species of birds, including the southern bald eagle, and such endangered species as the Delmarva fox squirrel. 1730 Eastern Neck Road, Rock Hall, MD 21661, 410-639-7056, www.easternneck.fws.gov

Geddes-Piper House
This Philadelphia-style townhouse, today operated by the Kent County Historical Society, dates to the 1780s. It contains 18th-century furniture and a historical library. 101 Church Alley, Chestertown, MD 21620, 412-778-3499, www.hskcmd.com

Kent Museum
The museum houses collections of antique agricultural machinery and artifacts of rural life. The property also includes a circa-1700 house and nature trails. Turners Creek Road, Kennedyville, MD 21678, 410-348-5239

Millington Wildlife Management Area
The original land of Lenni Lenape Indians now features four stocked ponds for anglers, as well as opportunities for bird watching, mountain biking and nature photography. Maryland Line Road, Millington, MD 21651, 410-928-3650, www.dnr.state.md.us/baylinks/19.html

Tolchester Revisited Museum
In its heydey, Tolchester was the site of a waterfront resort and amusement park. This museum traces the history of that resort, from the 1850s to the 1950s. Oyster Court (just off Main Street) Rock Hall, MD 21661, 410-778-5347, www.rockhallmd.com

Waterman’s Museum
The museum pays tribute to those who have made their living on the Chesapeake Bay. The collection includes exhibits on oystering, crabbing and fishing. The museum also features historical photographs, local carvings and boats. 20880 Rock Hall Avenue, Rock Hall, MD 21661, 410-778-6697, www.havenharbour.com/hhwatmus.htm

Queen Anne’s County
 

Cross Island Trail
The east-west trail spans Kent Island from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay at Terrapin Nature Park to the Chesapeake Exploration Center at Kent Narrows. The trail presents pedestrians, runners and cyclists a specialized recreational facility and affords natural visits and unique opportunities to view wildlife.The Chesapeake Exploration Center is an ideal place to pick up the trail -- 425 Piney Narrows Road, Chester, MD 21619, 410-604-2100, www.historicqac.org 

Wye Grist Mill and Museum
The little village of Wye Mills is located just off Route 50, Maryland’s main road along the Eastern Shore. The museum is open for tours and grinds on the first and third Saturdays of the month. The millpond and millstream are ideal spots for a picnic or some freshwater fishing. 14114 Old Wye Mills Road, Wye Mills, MD 21679, 410-827-6909, www.historicqac.org

Somerset County
 

Fairmount Academy
The academy is noted for its Italianate-influenced architecture. The two-story Gothic Revival schoolhouse is the last of its kind. It was active from 1839 to 1969. A second building on the site includes a museum of local 19th- and 20th-century artifacts. Route 361, Upper Fairmount, MD 21867, 410-651-0781, www.visitsomerset.com

Port of Crisfield Walking Tour
The tour highlights Crisfield’s rise as a seafood capital and includes stops along the town’s streets and in some of its seafood plants. Participants observe hard crabs being steamed and picked, soft crabs being cleaned and packed, and oysters being shucked. Workers often sing as they go about these tasks, adding an element of entertainment to this educational experience. Somerset County Tourism, 800-521-9189 or 410-651-2968, www.visitsomerset.com/heritage.html

 Talbot County
 

Academy Art Museum
The museum offers rotating national and regional exhibitions, concerts and lectures. 106 South Street, Easton, MD 21601, 410-822-2787, www.art-academy.org

Historical Society of Talbot County
Learn about the historical events, cultural contributions and steeped traditions of this county, which was forged through a lasting relationship between people and the natural environment. The award-winning garden is a reproduction of a Federal-period garden. 25 S. Washington Street, Easton, MD 21601, 410-822-0773, www.hstc.org

Pickering Creek Audubon Center
This center is a sanctuary that incorporates a variety of trails along natural habitats, taking visitors through hardwood forest as well as along fresh water, brackish marsh and Chesapeake Bay shoreline environs. The center features a canoe fleet, farm program and group challenge course. 11450 Audubon Lane, Easton, MD 21601, 410-822-4903, www.pickeringcreek.org

St. Mary’s Square Museum
Two circa-1860 buildings display artifacts significant to the history and culture of the town of St. Michaels. St. Mary’s Square, St. Michaels, MD 21663, 410-745-9561

  
Wicomico County
 

Adkins Historical and Museum Complex
A collection of historic buildings (circa 1905) includes a village store, Old Fellows Hall, livery stable, one-room schoolhouse and farmhouse. 106 Brattan St, Mardela Springs, MD 21837, 410-677-4740

Art Institute and Gallery
This facility serves the Lower Eastern Shore with exhibits and educational programs in visual arts. 212 W. Main Street, Salisbury, MD 21801, 410-546-4748, www.qiandg.com

Chesapeake Fire Museum
This learning center was designed to raise awareness about fire safety and prevention and how fires have been managed throughout history. It preserves the history and traditions of the fire service in the Chesapeake Bay region. Route 670, Hebron, MD 21830, 410-860-0843

Chipman Cultural Center
Chipman was the site of the first African-American school and church on the Eastern Shore. Today the center highlights the heritage of the area and focuses on the history, religion, culture, artistry and achievements of African Americans in the area. 327 Broad Street, Salisbury, MD 21801, 410-860-9290

Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame Museum
Located at Perdue Stadium, home of the Delmarva Shorebirds minor league baseball team, this museum acts as a shrine to baseball and its role in the history of the Delmarva Peninsula. 6400 Hobbs Road, Salisbury, MD 21802, 410-219-3112, www.theshorebirds.com

Galleries at Salisbury University
The University Gallery at Fulton Hall and the Atrium Gallery at Guerrieri University Center comprise a regional, membership-supported arts resource that is free to the public. Salisbury University, 1101 Camden Avenue, Salisbury, MD 21801, 410-543-6000, www.salisbury.edu

Mason-Dixon Marker
Located 6.5 miles west of the town of Delmar, Maryland, the marker was erected in 1768 and represents the famed middle point of the Mason-Dixon survey. Delmar, MD 21875

Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture
The center acts as a repository for documents and artifacts pertaining to the Delmarva Peninsula. Power Professional Building, Wayne and Power Streets, Salisbury, MD 21801, 410-543-6312, www.nabbhistory.salisbury.edu

Pemberton Hall and Park
Visitors get a glimpse of 18th-century life at this historic plantation, established in 1741 by Colonel Isaac Handy. The park includes five miles of nature trails. 27851 Pemberton Drive, Salisbury, MD 21801, 410-749-0124, www.wicomicorecandparks.org/pember.htm

Salisbury Zoo and Park
This 13-acre facility is considered one of the best small zoos in the country. It provides naturalistic exhibits to house nearly 400 creatures native to the Americas. 755 S. Park Drive, Salisbury, MD 21802, 410-548-3188, www.salisburyzoo.org 


Upper Ferry and Whitehaven Ferries
The free ferry system has operated on the Wicomico River for more than 300 years and provides transport for vehicles and pedestrians. Upper Ferry Road off Route 349, Salisbury, MD 21802, 410-548-4873 (Upper Ferry); Wicomico River Crossing, Whitehaven, MD 21856, 410-334-2798 (Whitehaven Ferry), www.co.wicomico.md.us/publicworks/roads.htm

Worcester County
 

Assateague Island National Seashore Visitors Center and National Park
The 37-mile long barrier island is known for its marshlands, beaches, herd of wild ponies and birds. The Barrier Island visitors center features a nature film, aquarium with hands-on discovery tank and beachcombing exhibit. Visitors can get a free wild pony decal here simply by filling out a questionnaire. 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811, 410-641-1441, www.nps.gov/asis

Ocean City’s Boardwalk and Beach
There’s no charge to access the 10 miles of white-sand beach. The town’s three-mile boardwalk provides a nice beginning for a stroll along the ocean. Town of Ocean City, 4001 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD 21842, 800-OC-OCEAN, www.ococean.com

 OTHER FREEBIES 

 
Maryland Welcome Passport
Vacation planners can call 800-719-5900 and request a free Maryland Travel Kit, which includes the latest edition of Destination Maryland, the state’s official guide to travel. Each issue of Destination Maryland includes a free Maryland Welcome passport, which provides users with discounts throughout the state.

Driving and Walking Tours
Many Maryland counties offer free brochures that outline driving and walking tours through their region. The best way to access these brochures is by stopping at one of Maryland’s Welcome Centers or the county- or city-operated visitors centers. In addition, the state offers two Civil War driving tour brochures ( www.civilwartrails.org ) and a guide to scenic byways (877-MD-BYWAY).

Parks
Many of Maryland’s state parks and several regional/county-operated parks offer free admission. For information about Maryland’s state parks, visit www.dnr.state.md.us . For information about regional and county parks, visit a Maryland Welcome Center or a city- or county-operated visitor center.

Wineries
Maryland is home to several wineries, most of which offer free tours and tastings. For more information about these sites, visit the web site for the Association of Maryland Wineries at www.MarylandWine.com . Some of the wineries host special events for which there is a charge, so be sure to call ahead for details.

 

UPDATED 6-05

 

 
MARYLAND OFFICE OF TOURISM PRESS ROOM STUDENTS 511 TRAVEL INFO CONTACT US SITE MAP
GROUPS GREEN TRAVEL MARYLAND.GOV MARTIN O'MALLEY, GOVERNOR ACCESSIBILITY PRIVACY
Maryland Footer Logo