Maryland, the seventh state to join the Union, is one of the nation's smallest states, but has been named "America in Miniature" for its geological diversity.
Maryland enjoys nearly 4,000 miles of shoreline - more than any other state in the country. Much of it can be found along the Eastern Shore of beautiful Chesapeake Bay.
Baltimore County, the third largest county in the state, is a beautiful area traditionally known for its world-famous Thoroughbred horse farms, picnic-friendly steeplechase races and occasional fox hunts.
On Sept. 17, 1862, the bloodiest single-day battle in American history was fought on the fields of Antietam. Today, Antietam National Battlefield is a surprisingly tranquil destination - its hills and monuments are often much quieter than those at Gettysburg just an hour away.
Baltimore, or Charm City, might be best known for its famous Inner Harbor, but its real charm lies in its collection of distinctive neighborhoods, like Little Italy and Federal Hill.
Baltimore is also a great city for sports lovers. Orioles Park at Camden Yards sits on hallowed ground - at least for baseball enthusiasts - only two blocks from the birthplace of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.
Rugged Assateague Island is considered the jewel of Maryland's 31 miles of Atlantic Coast. Spend some time on this barrier island, and you'll likely encounter its most famous residents: bands of small, shaggy, wild horses often seen roaming the beach.
For a pop of spring color in Maryland, spend a day strolling through flower-filled Brookside Gardens in Wheaton. The 50-acre public garden includes a lovely azalea garden, rose garden and a vibrant spring showing of tulips in the perennial garden.
First built in the late 19th century, Loy's Station Covered Bridge sits on Old Frederick Road and is one of only half a dozen remaining covered bridges in the state.
The 184.5-mile-long Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, or the C&O Canal for short, has served as an important industrial waterway for more than 100 years. Each year, the towpath and surrounding trails attract hikers and bikers to enjoy a slice of transportation history in the great outdoors.
Some 30 miles of the Chesapeake Bay coastline are dominated by rugged cliffs where more than 600 known species of fossils have been uncovered. Visitors to Calvert Cliffs State Park can enjoy beaches, 13 miles of hiking trails, fishing and fossil hunting.
Seneca Creek State Park is one of Maryland's most scenic. Set alongside 16 miles of Seneca Creek, the park is also home to Clopper Lake, one of 400 lakes in the state, all of which are manmade.
No trip to Maryland would be complete without making a meal of the state's official crustacean, the Maryland blue crab. Seafood restaurants scattered throughout the state serve up these tasty critters caught in the Chesapeake Bay in a number of ways: steamed or sautéed whole, made into crab cakes or as crab soup or dip.
With so many miles of shoreline, waterfowl hunting is one of Maryland's favorite pastimes.
Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland and one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the Mid-Atlantic region, has done an excellent job of preserving its heritage, and you can see it everywhere: in cobbled streets and brick row houses, and in the museums and maritime traditions.
Annapolis is home to the U.S. Naval Academy, occupying 328 waterfront acres. Established in 1845, students come here from around the country and the world to study, and you'll often see them in uniform around town on any given day.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge comprises protected forests and tidal marshlands, where it's possible to spot bald eagles and other waterfowl.
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park occupies land in Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, but one of the best views in the park is found at Maryland Heights, a rugged peak overlooking Harpers Ferry below.
A favorite with kayakers, Janes Island State Park features miles of marshland and isolated shores surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay. Camping, picnicking, fishing and boating are also popular here.
One of the country's most prestigious educational institutions, Johns Hopkins University, calls the city of Baltimore home. Founded in 1876, the university is famous for its rigorous programs and excellent lacrosse program.
Ladew Topiary Gardens, ranked among the best topiary gardens in the world, invites visitors to enjoy the bushes and blooms from April to October each year. The lovely gardens were the work of Harvey S. Ladew, a self-taught gardener, who created them with very little outside help.
Football fans will know M&T Bank Stadium as the home of the Baltimore Ravens. Located adjacent to Orioles Park at Camden Yards, the stadium is often honored as one of the best facilities in the NFL.
For a summer escape to the shore, it doesn't get much more iconic than Maryland's Ocean City Beach. Famous for its three-mile-long boardwalk, Ocean City attracts millions of tourists each year to enjoy sun, surf, saltwater taffy and seafood.
Much of the lower Potomac River lies within the state of Maryland and is one of the most popular areas in the state for cycling, hiking and kayaking.
Thomas Point Lighthouse, the most famous in the Chesapeake Bay and one of the most recognizable in the country, was built in 1875 and remains the only intact screw-pile lighthouse to still occupy its original location.
The town of College Park is home to the University of Maryland and the UMD Terrapins. Founded in 1856, the historic university lies just 8 miles outside of Washington.
Maryland, and particularly Annapolis, have a rich and storied maritime heritage which remains alive and well. Visitors to the state's capital can get a taste of the action when the Annapolis Yacht Club hosts its weekly Wednesday Night Races regatta.
Fort McHenry, Baltimore's star-shaped brick fortress, was the location where Francis Scott Key penned "The Star Spangled Banner" while watching the British attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812.
The neighborhood of Hampden in Northwestern Baltimore ranks among the city's prettiest. This retro-cool hipster enclave features a series of quint row houses, which are even more beautiful come Christmas time, when residents decorate for the annual "Miracle on 34th Street" spectacle.