7 of the Best National Parks in Maryland

There are 27 National Park Services in the state of Maryland, however, there are no National Parks. The national park services are comprised of three National Historic Trails and two National Scenic Trails. There are also three National Historical Parks, two National Battlefields, three National Historic Sites and five Parks. But wait, there’s more. There’s also a National Seashore, a Parkway, a Memorial Parkway, a National Monument and Historic Shrine, and the state is also home to a National Treasure. As you can see, there’s a lot to explore in the Old Line State. Here are some of the best National Parks in Maryland to visit.

7 of the best National Parks in Maryland

1. Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route – National Historic Trail

The 680-mile (1,090km) Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route follows in the footsteps of the Continental Army in 1781. The French and American troops, under the command of George Washington and Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau, took this route when they marched for 14 weeks from Newport in Rhode Island, to Yorktown in Virginia. 4,000 French and 3,000 American soldiers marched, making this the largest troop movement of the American Revolution.

2. Star-Spangled Banner – National Historic Trail

The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a 560-mile land and water route that commemorates the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region and links historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. It commemorates the War of 1812 and in particular, the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore, the aftermath of which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the American national anthem – the Star-Spangled Banner.

3. Chesapeake Bay Watershed – National Treasure

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It is also one of the largest and most biologically productive estuaries in the world. It is home to several thousand species of plants and animals, for instance, blue crabs and bald eagles. The Chesapeake Bay watershed and network of streams, creeks, and rivers cover 64,000 square miles of the East Coast of the USA. It stretches from upstate New York to southern Virginia, from the West Virginia panhandle to the Delmarva Peninsula. All along the watershed, you can enjoy lots of activities, for instance, fishing, hunting, boating, water sports, hiking, bird-watching, and relaxation.

4. Appalachian – National Scenic Trail

Stretching between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine, the Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Due to rerouting and modifying, the trail’s length varies from time to time but it is roughly 2,200-miles (3,500km). The scenic trail crosses “wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains.” Approximately three million people visit the Appalachian Trail every year. Almost 40 miles of the trail cross Maryland, most of which follow the ridgeline of South Mountain.

By Patorjk – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

5. George Washington – Memorial Parkway

The 25-mile long George Washington Memorial Parkway runs along the south bank of the Potomac River. It stretches from Mount Vernon in Virginia toward McLean in northwest Virginia. This wonderful parkway is an ideal road trip destination for history lovers, as it links sites that commemorate important episodes in American history. It also preserves habitat for local wildlife. There are lots of interesting places to stop off along the way in Maryland, for instance, Lady Bird Johnson Park.

6. Captain John Smith Chesapeake – National Scenic Trail

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is America’s first water-based National Historic Trail. These waterways extend roughly 3,000 miles (4,800km) along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. It follows the routes of Englishman John Smith’s historic voyages on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in 1607-1609. The trails are based on the explorer’s documents, for instance, his map and written accounts. Along the trail, you will also take in 16 National Wildlife Refuges, 12 National-Parks, and three other National Trails.

7. Harpers Ferry – National Historical Park

Harpers Ferry National Historial Park is where nature meets history, and you’ll find lots of sites of interest, for instance, 19th-century buildings, a Civil War Museum and John Brown’s Fort. This is the building where John Brown and several of his followers barricaded themselves in October 1859 during the final hours of their ill-fated raid. At ‘The Point’ lookout, where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, you have wonderful views of Maryland and Virginia.

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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