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Top 10 Western Maryland Attractions


Western Maryland is the mountainous side of the state, noted for rural landscapes, small towns and numerous state parks and outdoor recreation opportunities. Find a wide variety of fun things to do for all ages. Here’s a guide to the top attractions in Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties.

1. Deep Creek Lake

© Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
With 65 miles of shoreline, Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County is Maryland’s largest freshwater lake. During the warmer months of the year, visitors enjoy boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, biking and golf. Wisp Ski Resort offers a wide range of winter activities including skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and sleigh rides. The Western Maryland resort area is the most popular attraction in the region.

2. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park

© Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The national historic park runs 184.5 miles from Cumberland, Maryland to Georgetown in Washington DC. The towpath along the C & O Canal is a popular bike trail with gorgeous scenery. The western terminus of the canal offers canal boat tours, scenic railroad excursions, dining, shopping, and outdoor recreation. The Cumberland C&O Canal National Historical Park Visitor Center offers interpretive exhibits on the transportation history of the region.

3. Antietam National Battlefield

© Maryland Office of Tourism
Located in Sharpsburg, Maryland, the site commemorates the bloodiest one-day battle in American history, fought on September 17, 1862 during the Civil War. You can explore museum exhibits, join a park ranger for a battlefield talk and take a self-guided 8 1/2 mile auto tour through the battlefield.

4. Western Maryland Railroad

© Maryland Office of Tourism
The historic railway station in Cumberland, Maryland offers a 32-mile ride through the scenic mountains of Western Maryland aboard a 1916 restored Baldwin Steam Locomotive and vintage diesels. The round trip excursion is entertaining and educational including interpretive history about rail transportation. Special rides include the Murder Mystery Train, Engineer for a Day and Santa Express.

5. Hagerstown Premium Outlets

© Hagerstown Premium Outlets
The outlet shopping mall is one of the closest to the Washington DC area, attracting shoppers to its brand named stores including Adidas, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, Gap Outlet, Guess, J. Crew, Kate Spade, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour and many more.

6. Western Maryland Rail Trail

Photo © Sam Judge
The 21-mile asphalt paved trail is perfect for hiking, biking, and roller blading. From Hancock, Maryland, the trail travels 10 miles to the east to about 1/2 mile from Fort Frederick State Park, and another ten miles to the west to Polly's Pond. The center of the trail is accessible from the Hancock Station Parking Area just off Main Street in Hancock, Maryland.

7. Rocky Gap State Park

© Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort
Located in Western Maryland’s Allegany County, the park features gorgeous mountain views and a 243-acre lake. The park has a day use area with a nature center, interpretive programs, hiking trails, boating and fishing, campgrounds and cabins. Rocky Gap Casino Resort offers luxury accommodations, gambling facilities, and a conference center.

8. Crystal Grottoes Caverns

© Crystal Grottoes
Located between Frederick and Hagerstown, Maryland's only commercial underground caverns is a popular attraction that dates back to 1920. Visitors take a 40-minute tour and learn the history of the formations and geological aspects of the caverns.

9. Greenbrier State Park

© Department of Natural Resources
Located in the Appalachian Mountains, this state park has a 42-acre man-made lake that offers swimming, sunbathing, boating and fishing opportunities. It is one of the closest lakes to the Washington DC area that allows swimming. There are also hiking trails, picnic tables and grills and playgrounds available for day use. There are 165 campsites.

10. Discovery Station at Hagerstown

© Discovery Station
The science, technology and history museum in Hagerstown, Maryland offers hands-on experiences for all ages, stimulating a curiosity for discovery and learning. Exhibits include a full-scale Triceratops skull, a Cessna 150, a model of NASA spacecraft, 15' model of the Titanic, Moller historic organ and much more.

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