24 Essential Maryland Bucket List Activities and Food

Updated

Maryland is a small state filled with wonder, adventures, and fabulous times to be had by all. There’s something for everyone, from ocean-lovers and history buffs to ski enthusiasts, outdoor adventure lovers, wildlife watchers, and foodies.

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No matter where you go in Maryland, you’ll find something to do. This list could be tripled if we listed every single adventure there is. However, we’ve put together the top 24 recommendations from Marylanders all across the state.

Maryland Bucket List Trip Destinations

We could say that Maryland is one giant bucket list destination; however, we do want to provide some pointers for where to go. Consider adding these destination spots to your bucket list.

1. Visit Blackwater

Blackwater is a stunning natural area that sees an incredible convergence of wildlife fill the area. Commonly touted as the “Everglades of the North,” Blackwater offers plenty of opportunities for kayaking, hiking, biking, and strolling. Catch sight of the greatest convergence of North American birds to grace one area, glimpse pods of dolphins as they come to feast on schools of bass and trout, and find yourself filled with awe and wonder at these incredible sights.

2. Assateague Island National Seashore

If you’ve ever longed to watch wild horses run on the dunes with the ocean in the background, you can finally scratch it off your bucket list when you visit Assateague Island. There, wild horses romp and play among the dunes while park visitors take pictures and admire their beauty.

There are plenty of other things to do here, too. You can camp, hike, kayak, horseback ride, join ranger programs, swim, go crabbing, and more!

3. Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

Hop into a time machine and go back to visit the historical town of Harpers Ferry. Stroll through downtown, stop into the many museums, and take advantage of the area’s stunning and plentiful hiking trails.

Outdoor Activity, Hike, and Adventure Bucket List Ideas for Maryland

There are plenty of things to do outdoors no matter where in Maryland you are. Check out some of these adventures and add a few to your travel bucket list.

4. Haul in 40-pound rockfish

Next to eating crab, there’s nothing better than catching your rockfish right in the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Rockfish are also called striped bass, and they can grow up to 40 mouthwatering pounds.

Pro tip: Schedule a charter boat to take you out fishing in the bay. Some companies supply you with everything needed including poles and bait.

5. Ride the Wisp roller coaster

Though this area is typically renowned for its powder and fabulous skiing, visiting in the summertime can be just as fun. Hop aboard the mountain coaster for 3,500 feet of thrills as your car rockets up to 30 mph while twisting and turning through the forested slopes.

Pro tip: Up for even more adventure? After riding the coaster, try your hand at the ropes course or the only man-made mountaintop whitewater course!

6. Connect with nature at Adkins Arboretum

Explore 400 acres of wetlands and gardens, take in stunning waterfront views, and admire the abundant wildlife. This stop is perfect for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike. Make sure to pack extra batteries for your camera. You’ll need them!

Spring and Summer Maryland Bucket List Ideas

There is plenty to do during the warmer months in Maryland, so be sure to add a few of these to your summer list. 

Pro tip: Dividing bucket list locations or activities by season is a great way to make a travel bucket list.

7. Rock out to Maryland’s Summer of Music

If Appalachian bluegrass gets you on your feet, then you don’t want to miss one of the best bluegrass festivals in the nation. The three-day summer event features multiple bands, activities, food, and events for the whole family. 

8. Catch sight of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels

Every Memorial Day, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels soar over Annapolis. This high-flying tradition goes back decades, and it’s a sight unlike any other. You’ll be glad you put this item on your list.

9. Go on a lighthouse tour

Maryland is home to 30 stunning, historic lighthouses. If you’re a lighthouse lover or history buff, you’ll love taking time to tour a lighthouse or two or three. Some fan-favorite lighthouses include the Hooper Strait Lighthouse at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Drum Point Lighthouse at the Calvert Marine Museum, and Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse.

10. Ride the Capital Wheel at National Harbor

You don’t want to miss hopping aboard this Ferris wheel that provides views as stunning as a window seat on an airplane. From atop the 180-foot wheel, you’ll enjoy views of the Potomac River, the National Mall, Washington Monument, and Capitol Dome.

All buckets are private, gondola-style, and fully enclosed. Each one seats up to eight people but will take parties as small as one or two per gondola.

Pro tip: Want to propose or get married at the top? Opt for VIP tickets which include a luxury ride and special treatment and accommodations.

Fall and Winter Maryland Bucket List Ideas

It may be colder or snowy, but Maryland during fall and winter is downright stunning. From outdoor to indoor activities, this state offers a ton to do, and you’ll be glad you visited.

11. Catch a baseball game 

Maryland is home to six award-winning minor league ballparks and one major ballpark. The main attraction is Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but there are other parks to watch games at like Municipal Stadium, Ripken Stadium, and Purdue Stadium.

12. Ski the slopes at Wisp

The slopes at Wisp boast a phenomenal 100 inches of fresh, pristine powder every year. Thirty-four ski trails cover more than 170 acres of downhill fun. Get your blood pumping with advanced double diamond trails and a 700-foot vertical drop!

There are plenty of gentle trails for the little ones or brand new skiers, as well, so don’t be shy! Just head on over and have some fun.

13. Trace the steps of Harriet Tubman

You probably read about Harriet Tubman, conductor of the Underground Railroad, in your history books, but there’s nothing like walking in her footsteps. Take a trip on the Underground Railroad Byway and go back in time. Visit the places she lived, where she grew up, and walk part of the trail on the road to freedom.

14. Fly in an F-14 Tomcat simulator

Take a trip to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and check out the coolest air museum you’ll ever step foot into. The Patuxent River Naval Air Museum will delight military buffs and aeronautics lovers of all ages. While the exhibits and programs are second to none, the coolest thing there is the F-14 Tomcat simulator. There is only one Tomcat simulator open to the public in the world, and you can fly it at PAX River Naval Air Museum.

Bucket List Foods and Restaurants in Maryland

Planning a foodie road trip? Put these must-eat foods on your Maryland food bucket list.

15. Feast on fresh boiled Maryland-style steamed crab

Ask any Maryland local for one food recommendation, and they’ll all tell you to get some fresh steamed crab. Made the classic Maryland way, it’s so good that you won’t be able to eat just one or two.

Pro tip: Are you a serious crab gourmand? Hop on the Maryland Crab and Oyster Trail and sample succulent crab and oysters from the Eastern Shore, Central Maryland, the capital, and southern and western regions.

16. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Smith Island Cake

Smith Island Cake is unique to, you guessed it, Smith Island. It’s made up of thin layers of alternating chocolate and yellow cake. It looks like a work of art and tastes even better. 

Pro tip: For a slice of cake as fresh as you can get, head over to Smith Island and try a slice made at a local bakery.

17. Tame your hunger with a coddie

Coddies are fried codfish balls and they’re a must-try. Stop at Faidley’s when you’re in Baltimore for a few balls made fresh and hot.

18. Slurp down some crab soup

You can get crab anything in Maryland, but one thing that’s a must-try is crab soup. It’s available year-round from any restaurant, and it’s always good.

Ocean City, Maryland Bucket List Ideas

Ocean City is a fan favorite for Marylanders and tourists alike. Here are a few things you’ll want to get in.

19. Catch the Ocean City Air Show

Military buffs and aeronautics fans of all ages will delight in the stunning airshow that occurs above the beach and boardwalk in Ocean City. Look up and you’ll see aerial acrobatics, gravity-defying tricks, and stunning displays including stunt work, formation flying, and parachute jumps. 

20. Walk the Ocean City Boardwalk

The OC boardwalk is two and a half miles of fun. Walk along to the sights and sounds while you nosh on Thrasher’s Fries and slurp a chocolate malted shake from Dumser’s Dairyland. Before you leave, take a ride on the heart-pumping Tidal Wave roller coaster and purchase a souvenir shirt to remember your trip. 

21. Learn to blow glass

Kids aged four to 94 can dive into the world of glass making and walk away with their very own blown glass ornament. It’s a class and bucket list item you’ll remember forever.

Baltimore, Maryland Bucket List Ideas

Baltimore is the busiest and most-visited tourist destination in Maryland. Read on to find out why.

22. Scuba dive at The National Aquarium

Feel like donning your scuba gear and going for a dive? Well, head to the National Aquarium in Baltimore where you can dive, swim among schools of fluorescent fish, and feed sharks, tangs, and rays!

23. Explore Baltimore Harbor from a water taxi

The Baltimore Harbor area has a ton to do and is a great place to stay for a few days or longer. While there, be sure to take in the sights and sounds by hopping aboard a water taxi. Water taxis will take you to all of the hottest attractions and activities, show you around the harbor, and provide stunning views of the shore and skyline.

24. Sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at Fort McHenry

This is the very place where the national anthem was penned by Sir Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Baltimore September 13–14, 1814. The area also holds volumes of military history ranging from the Civil War to WWII. No trip to Baltimore is complete without a stop at Fort McHenry.

Visit Maryland and Stay for a While

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the incredible activities, fun, and adventures Maryland has to offer! Did we mention your favorites? Or maybe you have a must-do item that you think should be on this list. If so, let us know what we left out!

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