Deep Creak Lake
Deep Creak Lake © Maryland Office of Tourism Development

In a state with so much coastline, it is inevitable that Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean will be central to a holiday in Maryland. A large part of the state's appeal is related to the sea, with fishing boats and 'watermen' who pull fresh seafood from Chesapeake Bay, historic waterfront towns and vibrant harbours, pleasure sailing, bustling ports and important shipyards, beaches and speciality crab cakes.

The maritime heritage of the Chesapeake Bay region is evident in the major attractions of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the sailing capital of Annapolis and the sleepy boating communities on the Eastern Shore, with old towns like St Michaels and Crisfield preserving traditions from hundreds of years ago. The sprawling resort of Ocean City on the Atlantic Coast sees the most action, especially during summer when the miles of white beaches and the action-packed boardwalk are crowded with vacationers from around the state.

The inland regions have their own kind of charm with lakes, waterfalls, mountains and valleys, rivers and savage rapids that are a delight for kayakers and white-water rafters. The western part of the state has endless opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast as well as beautiful scenery, from hiking and fishing to skiing, ensuring there's always plenty of things to do in Maryland, no matter the season.

As a result of Maryland's role in the history of the US, visitors can retrace the colonial past and movements of the Revolution and resistance to British rule, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The country's national anthem was penned by Francis Scott Key after the unsuccessful attack on the key shipbuilding centre of Baltimore, as a desperate last effort by the British to keep America from independence, which left the city intact and the flag flying that inspired the words for the 'Star-Spangled Banner'. The fields stretching out towards the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains were the site of the Civil War's bloodiest battle at Antietam; and the mixture of both Northerners and Southerners in Baltimore, straddling the line separating the North and South, was the cause for divided loyalties and violent friction that contributed to Maryland's fascinating history.

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