Maryland is a wonderful state that often gets overlooked as people instead flock to the nearby Washington, D.C. Don’t do this! Next time you find yourself in the area, make a point of checking out the Free State and enjoying all the wonderful attractions the state has to offer.
Not sure what to do while in Maryland? In this article, we will be sharing our Maryland bucket list. We recommend checking out our favorite places to visit and things to do, and then choosing your favorite bucket list ideas from the bunch to add to your own travel bucket list. This will help you narrow down your options and help ensure you see the things that are most important to you during your visit.
What is a Bucket List?
Before we dive into our Maryland travel list, let’s take a moment to explain the idea of a bucket list to those who may not have heard of it before. Essentially, a bucket list is a collection of things you’d like to do before you pass away, or “kick the bucket.” The term can apply to any experiences you’d like to have, but many times, bucket list items evolve around travel in some way.
Because many people find that a single bucket list for all of their to-dos gets really long really quickly, we highly recommend making separate travel lists for all the places you hope to go. This helps keep things organized and makes travel planning easier.
— Bucket List Vacations: Maryland’s National Parks —
The first items on our Maryland bucket list are the state’s incredible national park sites. Honestly, any sites run by our National Parks Service are fantastic places to see and visit, and those in the Free State are no exception. Make sure you get at least a couple of these awesome parks on your bucket list.
#1. Antietam National Battlefield
The battle that led Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the Battle of Antietam was an important event indeed. Learn all about his historic event at Antietam National Battlefield.
#2. Assateague National Seashore
Want to see horses running free on the beach? Assateague is your place. Book a campsite or just visit for the day. Enjoy the sand-covered beach and be sure to snap some photos of the beautiful feral horses that call this seashore home.
#3. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is an important part of America’s early transportation history. It was along this canal that such important goods as coal, lumber, and agricultural products floated from one place to another. This NPS site aims to preserve this little piece of history.
#4. Clara Barton National Historic Site
A selfless woman, Clara Barton dedicated her entire life to helping those in need. Her home for the last 15 years of her life was in Glen Echo, Maryland. Visit this home and learn more about the amazing life of an amazing woman.
#5. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Fort McHenry was the birthplace of the United States’ national anthem. It was at this fort during the Battle of Baltimore that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write those patriotic lyrics we all proudly sing to this day. Learn about that story and many more at this national monument.
#6. Hampton National Historic Site
The Hampton Mansion was quite likely the largest home in America when it was built in 1790. It is the perfect example of late-Georgian architecture in the US, and is home to some fascinating stories. Visit the home to learn all about its history.
#7. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Step back in time with a visit to the historic community of Harper’s Ferry. This adorable town is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. It features lovely streets, quaint museums, gorgeous hiking trails, and more.
#8. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
The Underground Railroad was a fascinating operation that absolutely deserves to be studied. Harriet Tubman was a well-known conductor for this operation and deserves to be learned about even more. This woman risked her life numerous times to guide 70 enslaved people to freedom. Learn all about it at this national park site.
#9. Monocacy National Battlefield
Another Civil War Battlefield that is worth seeing is the Monocacy National Battlefield. Here, history was made as Federal soldiers, outnumbered 3 to 1, fought the Confederacy, giving the Union time to travel to Washington, D.C. and prevent the Confederates from unfairly influencing the election.
#10. Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Thomas Stone was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. A lover of peace, Stone was not quick to latch onto the idea of independence. However, he did eventually change his mind, joining the fight for our freedom. See the unusually named home this reluctant revolutionary lived in, which has quite a few stories of its own to tell.
— More Maryland Bucket List Experiences —
Want more great bucket list ideas for your visit to Maryland? Lucky for you, we have lots. The ideas below are our absolute favorites, and we’re betting you’ll like quite a few of them as well.
#11. Eat Steamed Crab
Obviously, you have to eat crab while in Maryland, and the best way to enjoy a good crab is by steaming it. Whether you steam the crab yourself or head to a local restaurant, you’re sure to enjoy this Maryland favorite.
#12. Admire Fish at the National Aquarium
The National Aquarium is famous for a reason. This is an incredible attraction that features an enormous number of fish and other sea creatures. Guests can even opt for special experiences such as scuba diving with the fish to make their day at the aquarium extra exciting.
#13. Kayak the Everglades of the North
Considered by many to be the “Everglades of the North,” Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is a truly beautiful place that everyone should see. We highly recommend getting out on the water in a kayak in order to fully immerse yourself in this amazing environment.
Be sure to keep an eye out for eagles, dolphins, and other wildlife!
#14. Try Maryland Rye
Once upon a time, Maryland was famous for its whiskey, and no event was complete without Maryland Rye. Unfortunately, Prohibition really put a damper on things and almost wiped out Maryland whiskey forever. Fortunately, the drink is making a comeback, and it’s as good as ever.
#15. Attend DelFest
If you enjoy bluegrass music, you’re going to love DelFest. This amazing music festival comes but once a year and is a bluegrass lover’s dream come true. Join a camping community in the mountains for three days of toe-tapping fun you won’t soon forget!
#16. Go Skiing at Wisp
Skiing at Wisp is an absolute must-do if you’ll be in Maryland during the cold months. This place gets more than 100 inches of snow every year, and features 34 trails and 172 acres of amazing mountain land. Whether you’re a pro or a complete beginner, you’re sure to enjoy hitting the slopes at this winter hangout spot.
#17. Ride a Mountain Coaster
Heading to Wisp in the summertime? No worries, there’s still plenty to do. One of our favorite options is the incredible mountain coaster. This coaster doesn’t use a chain to lift riders. Instead, you sit in a car that uses gravity to make its way to the bottom of the mountain, twisting and turning as it goes and providing plenty of thrills along the way.
#18. Fish for Rockfish
Yes, Maryland cabs are wonderful, but the rockfish are also a fantastic seafood staple that many visitors don’t even know about. These fish are also known as striped bass. They are enormous, delicious, and fishing for them on a rockfish charter is a blast.
#19. Get Your Thrills at Six Flags America
Are you a thrill seeker? If the mountain coaster mentioned above isn’t quite enough for you, you might want to look into visiting Six Flags America. This awesome theme park is home to a total of 8 incredible coasters that you aren’t going to want to miss. Of course, the many other attractions are pretty great as well, and the Hurricane Harbor water park is just icing on the cake.
#20. Explore on the Baltimore Water Taxi
Looking to experience a lot of Baltimore in a single day? There’s no better (or more unique) way to get around than in a water taxi. These taxis are just what you’d imagine: boats that take people from one place to another on the water. Not only will this get you from point A to point B, it’ll also provide a fun experience you can tell your friends about.
#21. Enjoy Smith Cake
You’re probably going to want some dessert after eating your crab and rockfish. This is where Smith Cake comes into play. Unfortunately, you can’t eat Smith Cake just anywhere; you’ll have to go to Smith Island in order to ensure you’re getting the real deal. It’s worth it though. Those many, many layers of moist yellow cake and rich chocolate frosting are incredible, to say the least.
#22. Fly an F-14 Tomcat Simulator
Did you know that Maryland is home to the world’s only F-14 Tomcat simulator that is open for the public to use? This simulator can be found at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, which is the Navy’s premier test facility for fighter planes of the future. It has an awesome collection of planes, and gives guests a chance to feel what it’s like to fly the coolest plane out there.
#23. Catch a Baseball Game
Maryland is one baseball-loving state. Yes, it is home to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and yes, you should visit this field. However, this state is also home to six award-winning minor league parks, meaning seeing a baseball game is a must when visiting.
#24. Tour Lighthouses
There are a total of 30 gorgeous lighthouses in the state of Maryland, and every single one is lovely, unique, and worth visiting. We highly recommend putting together a lighthouse tour during your visit. You likely won’t be able to see all 30, but you’ll definitely want to squeeze in as many as you can.
#25. Ride the Capital Wheel
Want to see Washington, D.C. without actually driving there and dealing with parking and crowds? Consider a ride on the Capital Wheel. This gorgeous Ferris wheel lights up the night with its kaleidoscope of colors that can be seen up and down the boardwalk. It’s also a full 180 feet high, meaning riders get an amazing view of the National Mall and Washington Monument, as well as the National Harbor and Potomac River.
#26. Learn Something New at Calvert Marine Museum
Those with an interest in marine biology will adore the Calvert Marine Museum. Here you can watch adorable otters play, sift for fossils you can take home, and board fishing boats. Of course, you’ll also want to be sure to check out the star of the show: a 37-foot megalodon shark skeleton recreation. It doesn’t get much cooler than that!
#27. Visit the National Folk Festival
The National Folk Festival is one of the neatest festivals in the country. The focus at this event is on bringing together the music, art, and dance of various cultures and blending them into one enormous party that celebrates the beautiful diversity that makes up America.
#28. Walk the Ocean City Boardwalk
Finally, we must mention the Ocean City Boardwalk. Yes, this is a short Boardwalk, at only 2.5 miles end-to-end. Nevertheless, it is chock-full of fun and well worth exploring. Be sure to try Thrasher’s Fries while you’re there!
As you can see, Maryland is a wonderful state that is overflowing with amazing things to see and do. The only problem? Making sure you squeeze it all in.
This is where a Maryland RV rental comes into play. By staying in an RV, you can easily hop from one attraction to the next, making it simpler to get everything done during your Maryland vacation.