A Maryland Geography Lesson
In the 1920s, a reporter for National Geographic visited Maryland and dubbed the state “America in Miniature.” We’re proud of our nickname, and we think it sums us up quite nicely. We have it all – from mountains to seashores – and everything is within about a 3-hour drive of our biggest city, Baltimore.
To make it easier on our visitors, we’ve divided the state into five tourism regions. Here’s a capsule description of each, just to whet your appetite. No matter where you go, you’ll find something fun just around the corner.
Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties
If there’s a touch of Indiana Jones in you, this is the perfect place for your next adventure. Western Maryland is where you’ll find picturesque mountains that are perfect for hiking and white-water rapids just waiting to be tackled by daring rafters. Deep Creek Lake, the state’s biggest manmade body of water, welcomes boaters and water skiers in warm weather; Wisp, Maryland’s ski resort, welcomes skiers and tubers in the winter months. If you prefer to step back in time rather than taking a walk on the wild side, explore such sites as the C&O Canal and Antietam National Battlefield.
Baltimore City and Annapolis
Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties
As home to both Maryland’s capital, Annapolis, and to its most populated city, Baltimore, this region boasts an unbeatable combination of fun and culture. You can go out to a ball game, attend the symphony, shop ‘til you drop and visit historic sites all in the same day – and still have time left to enjoy a great meal at one of the region’s famous restaurants. Within minutes’ drive of the big-city hustle and bustle, you’ll find serene pastures that are home to Maryland’s Thoroughbred horses, old mills and farms, and waterside villages that are havens for boaters and history buffs alike.
Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties
Maryland is a generous state; so generous, in fact, that in 1791 we donated the land that became Washington, D.C. We have benefited greatly from that action, and today the three Maryland counties that border the nation’s capital are far more than “bedroom” communities. In fact, if you had to choose a room in your house that best represents this area, you’d have a tough time deciding whether it should be the study (this region is packed with history); the rec room (there are a surprising number of state and national parks that offer everything from hiking to biking); or the dining room (there’s an astounding array of restaurants featuring everything from down-home cooking to cuisine from around the world).
Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties
This is where it all began way back in 1634, when 140 Europeans arrived to settle the colony that would be named Maryland. The state’s original capital, now called Historic St. Mary’s City, is preserved as a living history museum, but don’t think for a minute that this area’s appeal is limited to those who enjoying delving into the past. You’ll be hard-pressed to find better bass fishing anywhere on the East Coast, and the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent and Potomac rivers are a hit with boaters, too. If you prefer to just sit back and take it easy, you can do that here, as well. It’s where you’ll find a number of tiny waterside resorts that beckon to travelers eager to abandon their cares.
The beach resort of Ocean City
Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties
They say that “Maryland is for crabs,” and nowhere is that proven more true – or false – than on the Eastern Shore. It’s true in terms of the quality and quantity of the beloved blue crab, whose succulent meat is the key ingredient in many a feast. But it’s entirely false if you’re referring to the attitude of the people you’ll encounter along your journey; there’s a level of hospitality here that makes it easy to understand why Maryland is considered a Southern state. Spend a day on the bay, sailing from point to point and discovering this region’s history, or drive from one waterfront village to the next in search of the perfect crab cake.