All you need is transportation, a great playlist and a pair of sunglasses to take a spontaneous road trip through one of Maryland’s 18 scenic byways. Whether taking a quick joyride or planning a weekend getaway, there are plenty of national and state parks, local eateries and unique exhibits to discover.
“The Maryland Office of Tourism recently released an updated guide and launched a new microsite on our website featuring detailed maps, videos and sites found along each byway,” said Liz Fitzsimmons, managing director, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. “With uniquely themed byways across the state, Maryland gives you a road trip that is worth the drive!”
Start your road trip on the Mountain Maryland Byway with an exhilarating white-water rafting trip with Upper Yough Rafting tours. With hundreds of trails to choose from, celebrate the National Park Centennial at one of the many state parks in Western Maryland, such as the breathtaking waterfalls in Swallow Falls State Park. Board the Western Maryland Railroad at the Historic National Road Byway and take an authentic trip through the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park.
Walk in the shoes of a soldier along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway. Visit historic Civil War sites including Monocacy National Battlefield, the site of “The Battle that Saved Washington”. Paddle down Antietam Creek or stop by downtown Frederick to learn about patients, caregivers and medical innovations at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Don’t miss Catoctin Mountain Park, home to Camp David and beautiful trails that lead you through the history of the industrial use of the mountain with orchards nearby.
What better way to stop along Baltimore’s Historic Charles Street Byway and smell the fresh flowers than at Sherwood Gardens, a six-acre garden where thousands of beautiful tulips bloom each spring. Embrace the beauty of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, better known as America’s first cathedral. Spend hours exploring Baltimore’s Inner Harbor sites, attractions and world-class institutions.
Hoist the sails in Annapolis, America’s Sailing Capital, and head south along the Roots and Tides Byway. Take the family on a guided canoe tour at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center or a picnic at Breezy Point Beach. Dust off your archeological skills at Calvert Cliffs State Park, a treasure trove of fossils.
Looking to cool off and dip your toes in the water? Follow the Cape to Cape Byway on the Eastern Shore to see some of Maryland’s most beautiful and historic beaches and islands. Take a leisurely stroll along the Ocean City boardwalk and enjoy the carousel at Trimper’s Rides. Catch a glance of the wild horses at Assateague Island National Seashore or appreciate the tranquil waters of the Nassawango Creek Preserve. If you’re interested in maritime history, fishing and sweeping river views, head to the Upper Eastern Shore for a drive along the Lower Susquehanna Byway. From the Conowingo to Havre de Grace and Perryville, learn about the region’s rich maritime heritage and traditions. Enjoy waterfront dining and summer concerts, and visit Concord Point Lighthouse, one of the oldest light houses in the Chesapeake for spectacular views of the sun setting over the Upper Chesapeake Bay.
For more information and to see stunning footage of Maryland’s scenic byways, please visit www.visitmaryland.org/scenic-byways.