Description - Maryland contains a diverse landscape that includes mountains, rivers, streams, wetlands and coastline. The state maintains 47 state parks and 15 state forests. The western portion of the state is the least populated. It encompasses a thin panhandle that extends between southern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. The Potomac River forms the border between West Virginia and western Maryland. Three state forests lie in this region among several state parks. Antietam National Battlefield, Catoctin Mountain Park and Harpers Ferry National Historic Park preserve and protect natural areas in western Maryland.
Copyright: National Park Service
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Site
Central Maryland contains the cities of Baltimore, the cultural capital, and Annapolis, the political center. This is a heavily populated region with thickly settled areas surrounding the cities of Baltimore and Washington and the corridor between them. Green spaces dots the map here mostly in the form of state parks. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park lies west of Washington.
Southern Maryland occupies the region south of Washington that is surrounded by the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. The green areas in this region are scattered and small, but access to water-oriented sports is plentiful.
Eastern Maryland lies on the Delaware Peninsula and surrounds the small state of Delaware. The eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay supports numerous hamlets that exude Maryland character. These are wonderful villages to visit for a relaxing stay along the water or an activity filled vacation of fishing, sailing, water-skiing and crabbing. The eastern most portion of Maryland lies along the Atlantic Ocean. This small region provides access to everything from primitive camping, in Assateague Island National Seashore, to consuming boardwalk fries, in Ocean City.
- The state of Maryland is broken into five travel regions: Western, Capital, Central, Southern, and Eastern Shore. These are similar to its five land regions: Appalachian Plateau, Appalachian Ridge and Valley, Blue Ridge, Piedmont, and Atlantic Coastal Plain. With such diversity, the state attracts millions of visitors each year to its outstanding natural resources and world-class attractions.
Visit the Western Region for thrilling white-water rafting, downhill skiing, wilderness hikes, rock climbing, and rich Civil War history. Head east into the Capital Region and discover the beauty of the C&O Canal National Historical Park at Great Falls or take in scenic vistas of Catoctin Mountain area from a 1,600-foot summit at Gambrill State Park. You can dip southward and head into the Nation's capital city, Washington, D.C. and enjoy one of America's most beautiful cities with monuments and memorials of national and international proportion. While in the southern reaches of the state on the western shore (west of the Chesapeake Bay) you'll find the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay where Point Lookout Lighthouse is a state park beacon alluring tourists to its monuments and exhibits depicting the area's role in the Civil War. Riding the wind of the Potomac has been enjoyed and pursued for generations and at the end of the day, sailors can find waterway towns bursting with shellfish delicacies of oysters and crabs. Paddlesport enthusiasts find enjoyment discovering and rediscovering literally hundreds of fingerlike tributaries where placid waters offer times of solitude and magnificent birdlife observation. The Central Region boasts the beautiful city of Baltimore, home of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the spectacular National Aquarium. Each year tourists come to relax amid the historic neighborhoods brimming with antique shops, the pastoral rolling countryside with beautiful bike paths, scenic kayak routes, and some of the nation's best fly fishing streams. The Eastern Shore region offers its visitors both solitude and adventure. Scenic wildlife refuges lie along the Atlantic Flyway providing rest stops for thousands of migrating songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and monarch butterflies. The most notable feature of the Eastern Region is of course water, both Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Water sports are limited only by one's own imagination and harvesting the fruits of the waters has been an enjoyment and livelihood for hundreds of generations dating back before European settlement. If you're looking for man-made excitement, there's Ocean City!
Each year the Maryland Office of Tourism Development publishes a wonderful calendar of fairs, festivals and events providing the latest information on approximately 1,000 happenings throughout the state. National monuments, national wildlife refuges, county parks, and state parks all have a long list of nature-oriented events and excursions scheduled for folks of all ages, abilities and outdoor interests. Why not discover Patuxent NWR where you can comfortably enjoy a wildlife refuge from a tram and have your child educated and entertained by exciting live animal exhibits and demonstrations. Or visit the NWR during their annual world-class wildlife artists and crafters exhibition, recognized as one of the best on the East Coast. Feeling bad about our dirty environment and wondering what you can do to help? Why not attend the Annual Park Clean-Up Day at New Germany State Park where staff and volunteers meet afterwards at the lake house for fellowship and food. Fort McHenry National Monument is a wonderful way to explore the country's most devastating engagement, the Civil War. Each year visitors come to relive those days brought to life through musket firing, drills, cavalry and artillery demonstrations. Celebrate one of America's favorite sports at Gambrill State Park where each year they celebrate National Trails Day. Maryland's calendar of events ends with the delightful season of cheer where many celebrate their faith of choice. Step back in time at Smallwood State Park to celebrate the holiday as American's did during the Revolutionary War. A favorite among tots can be found at Santa's Magic Workshop, Martinak State Park Nature Center. With so many festivals, re-enactments, and nature activities all within a short drive of each other, call 410-767-3400 for your own "Maryland Celebrates" guide.
Recreation - Recreation opportunities in eastern Maryland revolve around the abundant water resources. Fishing, boating, swimming, water-skiing and jet skiing are popular on the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. Western Maryland state forests and parks provide ample facilities for hiking, mountain biking and camping.
Climate - Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.
The state of Maryland is located in eastern United States along the Atlantic seaboard. The Chesapeake Bay divides most of the state into two sections. The area east of Chesapeake Bay is called the Eastern Shore and areas west of the Bay are referred to as the Western Shore.