When’s the last time you went somewhere new? Maryland tourism promotes itself as “America in Miniature” as we have a little bit of everything. From Mountains, to sandy beaches, urban city life, to rural farms for miles around. Any type of natural feature you’re looking for can be found here, and we’re proud of our rich history and culture. Yes, we’re known for the Chesapeake Bay and our blue crabs coated in old bay, but there is so more. Are you ready to discover 15 of most underrated places in Maryland?
15. Cross Street Market
Located in historic Federal Hill, this historic indoor Baltimore market treats you like a local and offers samples from every heritage.
From fresh baked breads and desserts, to Italian delis and Nick’s fresh seafood and special happy hour, so grab a drink and mingle like you’re a townie.
14. Maryland International Raceway
Tucked away in rural southern Maryland, the smell of high performance fuel permeates the air and you’ll hear the thunder of cars long before you see them. From local test and tune nights, to the World Cup Finals Import vs Domestic; large crowds gather to watch anything with wheels, go really fast and make noise.
13. Muddy Creek Falls
A part of the Swallows Falls State park Located in Garret County, not far from Deep Creek Lake, is Maryland’s highest free-falling waterfall; rushing over and exposing rocks made from siltstone and shale dating over 300 million years old.
12. St. Mary’s Seminary Ruins
Once a local seminary school, all that remains are stairs leading to nowhere, a pool house, seminary alter, and rumors of hauntings.
After closing in the early 1970s and a fire set by vandals, the area looks like a ghost town, but makes for a fun hike and backs up to the Patapsco state park.
11. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
If waterfowl is your cup of tea, this park would be your mecca; Bald Eagles, Blue Heron, hawks and everything in between. Charge your camera and bring your hiking shoes and explore the wetlands and marsh, and stop by the visitor center for a loaner set of binoculars.
10. Sunflower Fields
Step into a real life landscape painting as you drive up to 200 acres of giant sunflowers that hit peak bloom for two weeks in September.
These giant flowers are harvested for bird seed by Clear Meadow Farms, but open for all visitors to enjoy.
There are plenty of paths to walk among the flowers and dogs are allowed too, but watch for spurs and bees.
9. Castle at Maryvale
Located in Greenspring Valley, this castle was built in 1916 to resemble England’s Warwick castle complete with solid wood wall paneling, doors, and ceilings reminiscent of the romantic Tudor period. The facility is currently an all-girls preparatory school so call ahead, but tours are available and you can rent for a venue.
8. Bayfront Park
Calvert County residents have done a great job of keeping this hidden beach a secret, but any fossil collector in Maryland knows this place is a treasure trove. Bring a bucket and you can collect glass beads from an offshore ship wreck, plastic beads from the closed amusement park, shark teeth, and fossils. Megaladon shark teeth are the most hunted on this beach. Bonus, go in the off season and the park is free.
7. Watkins Park
Grab the kids for this one, you can find a little bit of everything here from an old antique carousel to a mini putt-putt golf, the old Maryland barn with farm animals and the newly redesigned playground that mirrors Dorothy’s trip to Kansas complete with ruby red slipper slides and a glittery yellow brick road to guide the way.
Stay until dark and you can tour the festival of lights during Christmas season.
6. Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo
Skip the city traffic and plane tickets, take a drive to this 100 acre wildlife preserve for an intimate sampling of animals from Australia, Africa, Madagascar, Eurasia, and North America.
When you’re done touring the exhibits, climb aboard a modified bus for a safari ride to see Ostrich, Emu, and hoofed animals.
Don’t forget to buy some feed, the animals expect it.
5. Washington Monument State Park
Home to the first completed monument dedicated to George Washington, sits atop South Mountain and is a part of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Leading up to the monument are historic buildings and cannon replicas offering a glimpse into the past, but nothing beats the view from the top of the monument as you gaze out for miles taking in rural Washington county below.
4. Clark’s Elioak Farm
More than your average farm stand and petting zoo, this farm is bringing classic storybook tales back to life with pieces from the abandoned Enchanted Forest Theme Park.
Say hello to the farm animals, ride a cow train, and then follow the gingerbread men through the Castle walls to see large kid friendly exhibits of Peter Pumpkin, Snow White, The Old Woman’s shoe Red Riding hood and more. Don’t forget to pick up some farm fresh local produce on your way out.
3. Assateague Island
Herds of wild ponies roam the natural beach and dunes here and can be seen entering the ocean to cool off or “horsing around” along the along the surf. These ponys are accustomed to seeing humans, but are wild animals and should not be fed intentionally, but secure your food as they will help themselves if they can.
Avoid this location on hot summer days as the horse flies swarm and bite, and the ponies take to the water making swimming dangerous.
2. Mallows Bay
Home to the largest ship graveyard fleet in North America, with over 150 ships (or remnants thereof) including a revolutionary war-era longboat, and 18th century schooners. In 1996 a Maryland grant study set out to clean up the bay, but found the decaying ships had provided a valuable ecosystem for marine wildlife, so the graveyard remains and continues to grow.
1. Historic St. Mary’s City
Come experience life as it was for the first settlers, from a Mayflower replica, to a working colonial farm, and historical depiction of a Yaocomico Indian village. The staff is dressed in period attire, but modern amenities are offered.
This living museum is considered one America’s best-preserved colonial archaeology sites and a historical landmark.
There are so many places to visit in Maryland; it would take a lifetime to explore them all. This list is not doesn’t list every underrated place, but a great place to start. If you’d like to find more places off the beaten path consider any one of Maryland’s geocaching trails and see where the GPS takes you.