Defined by its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is a state with a long maritime history and abundant parklands. Over 6.7 million visitors per year gather at one the state’s 18 national parks, 74 national historic landmarks, 6 national historic landmarks, or 637 archeological sites. Hike one of the 5 national trails or multiple trails throughout the state, from the edge of Pennsylvania down to the Potomac River. The list of parks in Maryland includes the Appalachian Trail as well as the slightly lesser known Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. A state forest or park is often within miles of every city, so go out and explore one of the state’s many state park or forests. You are a history buff? There are over 1500 places on the National Register of Historic Places.
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National Parks & Historic Sites
Antietam National Battlefield
302 E Main St, Sharpsburg, MD 21782
23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Maine to Georgia, CT, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.
Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island National Seashore MD, VA
Want to live on the edge? Visit a place recreated each day by ocean wind and waves. Life on Assateague Island has adapted to an existence on the move. Explore sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays. Rest, relax, recreate and enjoy some time on the edge of the continent.
Baltimore National Heritage Area
100 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21202
For nearly three centuries, Baltimore has stood as a center of commerce and culture for the Chesapeake Bay. The city has seen the incredible transformation of American identity, shaped by war, prosperity, and struggles for freedom and civil rights. Visit the Baltimore National Heritage Area to experience the places and people that shaped the nation and forged the American identity.
Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, MD
This 29-mile highway connects Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. The parkway has carried visitors to and from the capital city since 1954.
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Various States VA, MD, DE, DC, PA, NY; 716 Giddings Ave, Annapolis, MD 21403
Four hundred years ago Englishman John Smith and a small crew of adventurers set out in an open boat to explore the Chesapeake Bay. Between 1607 and 1609 Smith and his crew mapped nearly 3,000 miles of the Bay and rivers and documented American Indian communities. Smith’s map and journals are a remarkable record of the 17th-century Chesapeake. Come to join the adventure on the Chesapeake Bay!
Catoctin Mountain Park
14707 Park Central Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788
President Franklin D. Roosevelt created programs to give people a chance to rebuild their lives from the Great Depression. The Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps gave this land a second opportunity and through re-growth, a new role as a recreation area.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
205 W Potomac St, Williamsport, MD 21795
Preserving America’s early transportation history, the C&O Canal began as a dream of passage to Western wealth. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber, and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today it endures as a pathway for discovering historical, natural, and recreational treasures.
Chesapeake Bay Watershed, DC, DE, MD, NY, PA, VA, WV
NPS helps you learn about and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America. Here, you can visit major league cities, colonial towns, American Indian landscapes, farms and fishing villages. You can learn to kayak, pick crabs, go fishing, tour a lighthouse, slurp oysters, and slow down to enjoy the natural beauty of the Chesapeake.
Civil War Defenses of Washington
Washington, DC, MD, VA
On forested hills surrounding the nation’s capital are the remnants of a complex system of Civil War fortifications. Built by Union forces, these strategic buttresses transformed the young capital into one of the world’s most fortified cities. This month, we will feature Fort Totten, part of the Northern Defenses and engaged during the Battle of Fort Stevens.
Clara Barton National Historic Site
5801 Oxford Rd, Glen Echo, MD 20812
Clara Barton dedicated her life and energies to help others in times of need – both home and abroad, in peacetime as well as during military emergencies. Glen Echo was her home the last 15 years of her life and the structure illustrates her dedication and concern for those less fortunate than herself.
Fort Foote Park
8626 Fort Foote Rd, Fort Washington, MD 20744
Fort Foote was constructed in 1863 atop Rozier’s Bluff to strengthen the ring of fortifications that encircled Washington, D.C. Two of the Guns that protected Washington are still there along with the remains of the fort’s earthworks.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
2400 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230
Fort McHenry is a historical American coastal pentagonal bastion fort located in the Locust Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. It is best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy from the Chesapeake Bay on September 13–14, 1814.
Fort Washington Park
13551 Fort Washington Rd, Fort Washington, MD 20744
Built to defend the river approach to Washington, DC, Fort Washington has stood as a silent sentry for over 200 years. As technologies advanced so did Fort Washington, from the brick and stone of the 19th century to the concrete and steel of the 20th century. Joining the National Park Service in 1946, the park continues to protect the Potomac River.
George Washington Memorial Parkway
DC, MD, VA
The George Washington Memorial Parkway was designed for recreational driving. It links sites that commemorate important episodes in American history and preserve habitat for local wildlife. The parkway and its associated trails provide a scenic place to play and rest in busy Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD 20812
Glen Echo Park began in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly “to promote liberal and practical education.” By 1911, it transformed into DC’s premier amusement park until it closed in 1968. Since 1971, the National Park Service has owned and operated the site and today, with the help of the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, offers year-round cultural and recreational activities.
6565 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20770
The park and campground are open year round. Greenbelt Park is located in suburban Greenbelt, Maryland. Starting April 1, Specific site Reservations will be required at the Greenbelt Park campground year round. The park features a 174 site campground with specific site reservations, nine miles of trails, and three picnic areas. Enjoy the affordability, peaceful surroundings and NPS hospitality
Hampton National Historic Site
535 Hampton Ln, Towson, MD 21286
Once possibly the largest private home in America by 1790, the Hampton mansion serves as a grand example of late-Georgian architecture in America. Hampton is also the story of its people, as the estate evolved through the actions of the Ridgely family, enslaved African Americans, European indentured servants, and paid laborers within a nation struggling to define its own concept of freedom.
13551 Fort Washington Rd., Fort Washington, MD 20744
The 18th century Harmony Hall mansion is located on a 62.5-acre open pasture land estate along the Potomac River. This estate was purchased by the National Park Service in 1966, to preserve southern Maryland cultural heritage. Surrounded by a rich landscape, it offers visitors many chances to connect with Colonial History. The park is also home to the remains of the Want Water House and canal.
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
767 Shenandoah St, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425; Harpers Ferry, WV, VA, MD
A visit to this quaint, historic community, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, is like stepping into the past. Stroll the picturesque streets, visit exhibits and museums, or hike our trails and battlefields. Spend a day or a weekend. We have something for everyone, so come and discover Harpers Ferry!
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
4068 Golden Hill Rd, Church Creek, MD 21622
Harriet Tubman was a deeply spiritual woman who lived her ideals and dedicated her life to freedom. She is the Underground Railroad’s best-known conductor and before the Civil War repeatedly risked her life to guide nearly 70 enslaved people north to new lives of freedom. This new national historical park preserves the same landscapes that Tubman used to carry herself and others away from slavery.
Monocacy National Battlefield
5201 Urbana Pike, Frederick, MD 21704
During the summer of 1864, the Confederacy carried out a bold plan to turn the tide of the Civil War in their favor. They planned to capture Washington, DC and influence the election of 1864. On July 9, however, Federal soldiers outnumbered three to one, fought gallantly along the banks of the Monocacy River in an effort to buy time for Union reinforcement to arrive in Washington, DC.
Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm
6411 Oxon Hill Rd, Oxon Hill, MD 20745
The diverse history of Maryland and our national heritage can be experienced at Oxon Cove Park. Through hands-on programs and other activities, you can experience farm life and how its changed over time. Explore how the park evolved from a plantation home during the War of 1812, to a hospital farm, to the park you can visit today.
3400 Bryan Point Rd, Accokeek, MD 20607
Piscataway Park is home to bald eagles, beavers, deer, foxes, ospreys, and many other species. To complement the surroundings, the park has, in addition to a public fishing pier and two boardwalks over freshwater tidal wetlands, a variety of nature trails, meadows, and woodland areas. The Park is also home to National Colonial Farm.
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
The corridor between the Chesapeake Bay and the Allegheny Highlands, DC, MD, PA, VA, McLean, VA 20175
Linking the tidal Potomac and upper Youghiogheny river basins, the evolving Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail network lies within a corridor rich in historic pathways and waterways. You can travel this historic corridor today—on foot, bicycle, and horse and by boat—exploring contrasting landscapes between the Chesapeake Bay and the Allegheny Plateau.
Star-Spangled Banner National Trail
2400 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230; DC, MD, VA
For three years the young United States was embroiled in the War of 1812 and the Chesapeake Bay region felt the brunt of it, choked by shipping blockades and ravaged by enemy raids. Through sites and landscapes in Virginia, the District of Columbia, and throughout Maryland, the Trail tells the stories of the events, people, and places that led to the birth of our National Anthem.
Thomas Stone National Historic Site
6655 Rose Hill Rd, Port Tobacco, MD 20677
Prior to the Revolutionary War, Thomas Stone led a very comfortable life as a planter and lawyer. After realizing war with Great Britain was inevitable, he risked everything he held dear– life, fortune, and sacred honor– to safeguard American rights. To that end, Thomas Stone became one of 56 men to sign one of the most important documents in World History; the Declaration of Independence.
Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail
MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, DC
In 1781, General Rochambeau’s French Army joined forces with General Washington’s Continental Army to fight the British Army in Yorktown, Virginia. With the French Navy in support, the allied armies moved hundreds of miles to become the largest troop movement of the American Revolution. The effort and cooperation between the two sides led to a victory at Yorktown and secured American independence.
For more attractions, visit the Official State of Maryland Tourism Site.
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