Maryland Road Trips

The Most Scenic Drives in Maryland

Maryland road trips are defined by the vast amounts of water in the state and the close proximity you will have to the coast when driving. With coastlines on Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean there are some spectacular views along the way.

As well as the coastlines, there are stunning drives that take in National Parks, waterfalls and mountains along the way. This is a state where the scenery is constantly changing, making it the ideal spot for some slow scenic driving.

The Maryland road trips on this list are manageable within a day or two, as ideally you will stop and stay overnight along the way. There really is so much to see and do that you would be foolish not to make a little vacation out of your drive!

The Best Maryland Road Trips

1. Mountain Maryland Byway

Take your time driving through peaceful glades, valley and marshlands, finally emerging from thick forest areas for find the shore of Maryland’s largest freshwater lake. Four seasons of outdoor activities — including hiking, skiing, fishing and boating — are available for anyone wishing to explore the Western Maryland countryside, as well as cute mountain towns along the route.

Distance: 90 miles

Route highlights: Western mountains of Maryland, Oakland, Lonaconing

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: mountain_maryland


2. Maryland Waterfall Road Trip

Put on your hiking gear (and bring your swimsuit!) for this epic road trip that takes in eight waterfalls in seven locations. Maryland doesn’t have a lot of waterfalls, but the ones that it does are beautiful. Must-visits include Cunningham Falls and the Great Falls of the Potomac, both cascading waterfalls.

Distance: 307 miles

Route highlights: Muddy Creek Falls & Swallow Falls, Paw Paw Falls, Great Falls, Gunpowder Falls, Kilgore Falls.

When to do it: Spring and Summer

Photo Cred: deepcreekvacations


3. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Built between 1828 and 1850, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal worked with 74 lock lifts that was originally built for the canal mules to walk beside the canal as they “towed” the canal boats through the waterway. Today, it is a popular recreational trail with scenic river views and state parks along the way.

Distance: 57 miles

Route highlights: Green Ridge Forest, North Branch Potomac River, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Museum.

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: jennabwild


4. Antietam Campaign Byway

A key turning point in the Civil War, The Battle of Antietam took place on Maryland soil, as Confederate soldiers crossed the Potomac River and clashed with Union forces in the sleepy town of Sharpsburg. This byway brings you face to face with both familiar and lesser-known Civil War stories, while also bringing you breathtaking scenery.

Distance: 92 miles

Route highlights: Civil War historic markers, Frederick, Boonsboro

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: emilyswesley


5. Catoctin Mountain Region

What to expect from a mini road trip around this area? Think: scenery, wildlife, wildflowers, historic buildings, hiking trails, scenic drives, camping, and fly-fishing and overnights in a historic cabin in Camp Misty Mount. Catoctin Mountain Park has long been known for its scenic vistas and offers some stunning views.

Distance: 66 miles

Route highlights: Cunningham Falls State Park, Pen Mar

When to do it: Spring, Summer, and Fall

Photo Cred: moosefish


6. Roots and Tides Scenic Byway

From bayside towns to fishing communities, this byway showcases the rich history and culture of this region. You’ll drive a relaxing 47 miles from the busy streets of Annapolis to scenic, quiet roads that lead to Plum Point. Step through one of the several National Park Service’s designated Chesapeake Bay Gateways in the area,  and stop for sunset at Chesapeake Bay.

Distance: 47 miles

Route highlights: Chesapeake Bay, North Beach, Annapolis

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: tracie_love2


7. Falls Road

Drive from Prettyboy Reservoir to Baltimore, where rural landscapes give way to city driving. The Jones Falls was once an important source of power for grist and cotton mills that popped up in the Jones Falls Valley and produced goods that were taken into town via the Falls Road Turnpike. Many of those mills still remain as shops, galleries and homes amid elegant neighborhoods.

Distance: 38 miles

Route highlights: The Cloisters, Gunpowder Falls State Park

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: katiedish

If you are spending time in the state check out The 25 Best Pizzas In Maryland.

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