Maryland contains barrier islands, fertile lowlands, and rugged terrain. This and the differences in climate among the state's regions have earned Maryland the nickname of "America in Miniature."
The state's best-known feature is Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the world. Formerly teeming with fish and shellfish, the bay now serves as a hub for sailing and fishing sports. Bicycling along the bay and boating along the Potomac River to the south are popular activities.
Maryland's Western Region features opportunities for hiking along the Appalachian Trail, camping, and whitewater rafting. For boating and waterskiing, there's Deep Creek Lake, while in the winter months skiing and tubing are available at Wisp, a ski resort. The state's capital, Annapolis, and its most populated city, Baltimore, are in the Central Region, where the attractions of the big city are just minutes from vineyards, farms and waterside villages, as well as Maryland's thoroughbred horses.
At the historic Capital Region, explore Washington, D.C. and indulge in world-class cuisine or down-home cooking. The Southern Region is where you'll find Historic St. Mary's City, the state's original capital, now a living history museum. This region also offers bass fishing and swimming at the many waterside resorts. Ocean City is one of the highlights of the Eastern Shore. Visitors to this region will enjoy sailing, boating, and Maryland's famous blue crab.
There are countless ways to enjoy Maryland. One can follow the National Road through history, explore the state capital of Annapolis and its colonial charms, or follow the Chesapeake Bay for fresh seafood. Visitors can also choose to explore Baltimore, with the National Aquarium, Port Discovery, an activity center for kids, the Inner Harbor with its bustling nightlife, and the place where Francis Scott Key penned The Star-Spangled Banner. From August to October, visitors young and old will enjoy the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, close to Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, with special activities for children.