Traveling through the state of Maryland, you will find that there is a lot of sites to enjoy and landmarks that tell a story.
They range from Colonial to more modern times, but they have all impacted the community of the state and even the country as a whole.
Whether you want to take advantage of historical monuments, museums with artifacts or dive into the past of American literature, there is something for you to enjoy with these famous landmarks in Maryland.
Famous Landmarks in Maryland
1. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Built in 1798, there is a lot of history with Fort McHenry. Located in Locust Point in Baltimore, the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine attracts thousands of visitors each year to visit the memorial of the U.S. military defending the Maryland border in 1812.
At that time, the British Navy was coming back for an attack and the Fort was able to hold them off successfully and defeat the fleet coming into the Chesapeake Bay. Later, this same Fort would be beneficial through several major wars before being turned into a national park in 1939.
This same battle of 1812 was the inspiration behind the poem that is now the national anthem. Francis Scott Key pulled lyrics from this poem, describing how the American flag held through the night of battle and overtook the British.
2. National Aquarium
If you are spending a day or two in Baltimore, it is essential that you give yourself some time to enjoy the National Aquarium, bringing in millions of visitors each year.
This aquarium is one of the largest in the nation with over 2.2 million gallons of water held daily among the hundreds of exhibits.
Not only are the displays there for viewing pleasure, but there is extensive conservation and research happening behind the scenes to promote healthy aquatic life for those living at the aquarium and those in the ocean.
Each pier showcases exhibits of sea treasures and aquatic life found around the globe. Each of these exhibits has been crafted to house the perfect environment so that they can survive happily. This is a public aquarium and is a must-see stop while you travel through the state.
3. Baltimore Museum of Art
With over 95,000 pieces of art available to visitors, the Baltimore Museum of Art is an exceptional exhibit and a destination for all art lovers traveling through Maryland.
It was founded in 1914 and has an array of pieces of older artwork from the infancy of this nation to more contemporary pieces. There are also international pieces housed from Europe, Asia, and Africa within the museum that has been donated or acquired through trade.
It is a large museum, and many visitors sometimes have to split the visit up into two days to ensure they see all the displays. Otherwise, you need to set aside an entire day to view and tour this museum.
There is a kitchen onsite if you are planning to be at the museum for an extended amount of time and general admission is free to the public who want to view the history and art within.
4. Antietam National Battlefield
As a part of the National Park Service, the Antietam National Battlefield is protected and must operate under standard park requirements.
When you visit this battlefield, you are viewing the site of the infamous Battle of Antietam, a Civil War Battle found on September 17, 1862. Onsite you will find a museum within an old field hospital, a visitors center, and a national military cemetery where the lives of those lost are buried.
Antietam National Battlefield experiences nearly a million visitors each year, making it a stop on many bucket lists for travelers in the area. You will travel a little way out from the city to visit Antietam, as it is located up in Washington County.
This site has been under the protection and maintenance of the National Park Service since 1933.
5. Fort Frederick State Park
Located along the Potomac River, Fort Frederick State Park is available to the public as a park to preserve the historic Fort Frederick. It was built during the Colonial Era around 1757 and was essential in the latter part of the French and Indian War.
During this period, soldiers used the Fort to house soldiers and provide them with a safe location between battles. During the American Revolutionary War, its modern design made it a great location for British and German prisoners of war.
For nearly a century after the Revolutionary War ended, the Fort was deserted until the Civil War. During this period, it again housed soldiers and held a small armory of guns and weapons for Union soldiers.
If you visit the state park today, you can do more than visit the monument and exhibits. You have the option to take advantage of great camping, fishing, and a nature trail to help you stretch your legs.
6. Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
Right in the heart of Baltimore on 203 North Amity St. is the home of Edgar Allan Poe. It is a simple row home that was popular for its time period and is now utilized as a museum for Poe and other Maryland authors that have impacted American literature.
Because this home was built in the 1830s, it has required renovations to remain in suitable condition for guests. There have been several surprises found in the home during these renovations, including skeletal remains that are reminiscent of Poe’s work, The Tell-Tale Heart.
Today this museum is operated by a non-profit organization designed with persevering the Poe legacy in mind and hosting events periodically around the home and the Baltimore area for those who are fans of his work.
7. Monocacy National Battlefield
If you are looking for another battlefield relevant to the Civil War, then a visit to the Monocacy National Battlefield outside of Frederick is a great stopping point where you can embrace Maryland history while traveling.
The battle was fought between General Early and General Wallace and was one of the last Northern battles in the war. There is a visitor center onsite in the park where some of the artifacts from the battle are stored.
This battlefield is now operated by the National Park Service after being acquired in the 1970s. Part of the battlefield is covered by the interstate, and that wasn’t able to be salvaged in time.
It is now listed as a threatened protected property by the state of Maryland to prevent further damage and land loss to the area.
8. Washington Monument State Park
Standing at just over 40 feet high, the Washington Monument at Washington Monument State Park was built to honor President George Washington and his legacy as the first President of the United States.
While this is not the only or largest Washington Monument, with one in Baltimore and one in DC, this one was built first in 1827.
After visiting the monument found in the park, you have direct access to enjoy a small museum that hosts several exhibits and direct access to the Appalachian Trail.
9. B&O Railroad Museum
The Baltimore and Ohio or B&O Railroad was a staple to Maryland and essential in the economic growth throughout the state. The museum has been opened since 1953 on Independence Day and is one of the best kept railroad museums in the country.
It is located on the Mount Clair site where passenger trains were pioneered and became essential in travel and settling in the country. Thousands of visitors flock to this museum annually to enjoy this staple of Maryland and US history, especially with the most 19th century locomotives located in one single area.
The museum has undergone renovation over time because of weathered damage to the trains, but they have all been restored to their originally glory. It is one of the best places to visit in Baltimore to really get an understanding of American history.
10. Casselman River Bridge State Park
Located in Garrett County is the Casselman River Bridge State Park, built in 1814 as a portion of the National Road.
It is now listed as a historic landmark and is on the National Registry to be preserved as of 1966. This bridge is over 350 feet long, 48 feet wide and allowed the first wagons and vehicles to cross the bridge in 1815.
When you are out visiting and admiring this piece of history, the peaceful atmosphere you encounter is great for fishing or an afternoon picnic.