1. Ocean City
Ocean City boasts 10 miles of soft white sand, three miles of fun boardwalk, and endless amusements, including water slides and amusement parks. Pick up some famous Maryland crab cakes on the Boardwalk and enjoy the summer-long free movies on the beach every Monday and Friday night outside the Princess Royale. The kids will also love the free Tuesday night beach fireworks, while mom and dad may enjoy the Wednesday night free beach concerts on the Division Street Beach.
2. Washington, D.C.
A visit to Washington, D.C. offers a world of museums, monuments, history, and other incredible sites. Since D.C. borders Maryland, one can find economical and nearby places to stay. For example, National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Maryland, sits just south of Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River, presenting an affordable alternative to D.C. hotels. There are plenty of vacation condos available in the heart of all the shops and restaurants, and many offer excellent views of the capital and the river. Climb the Washington Monument, stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, tour the Capitol Building, or exhaust yourself at all the branches of the magnificent Smithsonian Museum. Even if you’re tired of politics, Washington offers an incredible experience for every member of the family.
3. Talbot County
The town of St. Michael's has been called the “Most Romantic Town in America,” and it’s perfect for a weekend escape. Poke around the charming towns of Easton and Oxford, visit the Chesapeake Maritimes Museum, and plan for dinner out on the deck at Pascal’s Harbor Lights Restaurant, overlooking the town harbor. For some of Maryland’s famous steamed crabs, make reservations at St. Michael's Crab and Steak House.
4. Chesapeake Bay—Eastern Shore
On the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, the town of Cambridge has become a quaint stop full of shops, art galleries, and restaurants. However, the main reason for including it on the list of top 10 Maryland vacation spots is its proximity to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. This is a bird-lover’s paradise, made up of nearly 30,000 acres of marshland, and it is sometimes described as the “Northern Everglades.” It’s an important stop for migratory birds traveling the Atlantic Flyway, and in November, you can expect nearly 40,000 geese and 20,000 ducks to pass through this area.
The capital of Maryland sits on the banks of Chesapeake Bay, where it meets the mouth of the Severn River. It’s known as the “Sailing Capital of the World.” Whether you’re coming here to tie up your own boat on your vacation rental dock, to take sailing lessons at the Annapolis Sailing School, or you just like the view of the boats on the water, Annapolis is a sailor’s heaven. Be sure to take a tour of the U.S. Naval Academy and the many historic 18th-century buildings downtown, and plan to spend a day walking around the City Dock district.
Baltimore is an easy choice for the list of top 10 Maryland vacation spots. Bring the kids to the famous Inner Harbor, where they can visit the 16,000 species in the National Aquarium and climb all over the historic Civil War ship, USS Constellation. Literature fans can tour the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. Of course, Baltimore’s most famous resident was Babe Ruth, and you can tour his birthplace and museum up the street from the iconic Camden Yards. If you take in a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, don’t forget you have to sing “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy” during the seventh-inning stretch.
7. Western Maryland
Western Maryland is a wonderland of lakes, golf, and mountains. In the summer, Deep Creek Lake is a magnet for anyone who loves lake fishing, golf, hiking, and whitewater rafting. In the winter, it’s time for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. The Wisp Resort has more than 130 acres of winter playground for skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers. There are also lots of great antique shops in the area’s towns of Frostburg, Hagerstown, and Oakland.
8. Ocean Pines
Ocean Pines sits on the bay, just northeast of Ocean City. It has all the same access to beaches, fishing, and fun, but since it’s a little further away, it’s more affordable. There are lots of vacation rentals available, and all of them put you just a short drive away from the beaches of Ocean City.
The charming town of Berlin is close to beaches at Ocean City and Assateague Island, and it also sits close to excellent hiking trails, bird watching, quaint shops, and excellent golf. If you’ve got a big group get-together coming up and everyone enjoys different kinds of activities, a large and beautiful vacation rental in Berlin may be the perfect choice for you.
Frederick is one of the most distinctive destinations in Maryland. It is famous for its beautifully restored historic downtown area and its world-class restaurant district. Make reservations at Volt, the hot new restaurant fronted by Top Chef’s Bryan Voltaggio, or arrange for a Taste Frederick Food Tour that will take you to all of the historic specialty shops for some samples. Another great way to explore the city is with Candlelight Ghost Tours of Fredericks, so you can find out why they call Frederick Maryland’s most haunted city.