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Maryland’s 3,190 miles of shoreline and long riverfronts shape its natural appeal with sandy stretches and stellar sunrises. Charming old towns boast beautiful views and relaxing beaches as well as a healthy dose of American history, be it the origins of the national anthem or the Battle of Antietam. Though Annapolis is the state’s political capital, Baltimore is much larger, and both take many cultural and political cues from being a part of the National Capital Region and their proximity to Washington D.C. Many of the state’s claims to fame come from Chesapeake Bay, the water that nearly splits the eastern part of Maryland in two. From there we get the famed Maryland crab and other seafood that drive the local cuisine; the naval and civilian boating culture of Annapolis; and, of course, the scenic byways that weave across the water.
Maryland’s main airport, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI), is a major East Coast hub serving destinations and airlines all over the country and the world. However, the other National Capital Region airports, Reagan National (DCA) and Dulles International (IAD), also provide easy access to many parts of the state. All have ample car rental options. For most destinations outside the National Capital Region, having a car is useful. Within the Region and Baltimore, public transportation makes a car unnecessary, and even difficult. The high-speed Acela train serves Washington D.C. and Baltimore’s BWI airport and Penn Station, and standard Amtrak trains connect those stations to cities all over the region and country. Other parts of the state have train service to nearby regions, including Cumberland in western Maryland.
Most of Maryland experiences four classic seasons, with chilly, snowy winters and hot, humid summers. At the Chesapeake Bay beaches, the hot, humid summers are more tolerable, making it a big draw for people looking to cool off. But for most of the state, late spring and early fall bring the most comfortable weather. Spring in Maryland brings out the blooms, and various cherry blossom and garden events lure visitors to admire the bright colors, while fall shows its own red, orange, and brown hues. Though western Maryland stays cooler year-round, the higher elevations receive more snow in winter, which attracts snowshoers and other winter sports enthusiasts. But even the eastern part of the state can see significant snowfall, resulting in cold, icy conditions that are best suited for exploring indoor attractions.
The small Eastern Shore town of Cambridge merges many of Maryland’s most iconic features. You can get a taste of history — it’s one of the oldest colonial towns in the country, just 15 minutes from the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center — as well as a taste of the local seafood at the many crab restaurants overlooking Chesapeake Bay as you wander the boardwalk, or at Sailwinds Park.
The focal point of Maryland’s largest city, this historic seaport and repurposed industrial area holds a slew of history and tons of museums. The National Aquarium, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will keep you busy all day, along with the area’s many restaurants and bars.
The peaceful, sandy beaches and windswept salt marshes of this 37-mile barrier island on Maryland’s far eastern Atlantic shores would be enough to make it an ideal destination. But it’s the beautiful herd of wild horses for which it’s most famous.