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Maryland in Pictures: 22 Beautiful Places to Photograph

Written by Shandley McMurray
Updated Feb 15, 2022

Dubbed "America in Miniature," Maryland offers some of the country's most beautiful scenery, all in one small state. From the towering Appalachian Mountains to sparkling Chesapeake Bay to luxuriously sandy beaches, there's a bevy of postcard-worthy scenes awaiting your mad photography skills.

While famed for its incredible and widely varied topography, the region is also appreciated for its historic buildings, modern architecture, and Atlantic City-like resort towns (that's you, Ocean City). No matter what you're looking for - rural or urban, mountain or sea - you'll find it in this East Coast marvel. We told you it had everything!

1. Chesapeake Bay

Sunrise over Chesapeake Bay
Sunrise over Chesapeake Bay

The resplendent Chesapeake Bay is a massive estuary with arms in both Maryland and Virginia. At 200 miles long, it's the largest estuary in the United States. It's also a true beauty. Lined by verdant forests, this natural wonderland is home to a variety of incredible creatures. From blue crabs to finfish to 87 species of water birds, and 29 species of waterfowl, there are plenty of worthy subjects waiting to be filmed.

2. Baltimore Inner Harbor

Baltimore Inner Harbor
Baltimore Inner Harbor

Baltimore's inner harbor is where it's at. From street performers to concerts to parades to fireworks, the city knows a good location when they see it. From here, you'll capture award-winning views of the Baltimore skyline before heading into town to partake in some great eating and a little retail therapy.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Baltimore: Best Areas & Hotels

3. Annapolis

Annapolis
Annapolis

Annapolis is by far one of America's most beautiful cities. Impressively preserved, the area has retained its 18th-century charm while adding a few delightful dollops of modern life. Adorable colonial homes grace the ancient streets, which are lined by old-fashioned lamps and cobblestone. Water taxis up the charm level immensely, as do the super nice locals.

4. Frederick

Historic homes in Frederick
Historic homes in Frederick

Step foot in Frederick, and you'll swear you've jumped into a storybook. Flanked by luscious mountains and bucolic orchards, the adorable town center is a wonderful sight. Tranquil Carroll Creek passes through the middle, picturesque stone bridges traversing its width. On either side lie charming historic brick houses featuring ornate doors and windows, each clamoring for a spot on your camera roll. Did we mention the red covered bridge? You won't want to miss it.

5. Tilghman Island

Tilghman Island at sunset
Tilghman Island at sunset

Best explored by foot, bike, or kayak, quiet Tilghman Island consists of three miles of rustic beauty located 11 miles west of St. Michaels on Chesapeake Bay. Summer is its best season, as the most popular activities on this isle include sailing, fishing, and window-shopping along the lovely tree-lined streets.

6. The Choptank River Lighthouse, Cambridge

The Choptank River Lighthouse
The Choptank River Lighthouse

The unique Choptank River Lighthouse will literally light up your lens. Set on a platform above the Choptank River, this resplendent building is a replica of the Cherrystone Lighthouse, which once stood in this spot. The hexagonal beacon was designed in the traditional "screwpoint" style (i.e. it's set on "legs").

7. Guilford Avenue, Baltimore

Colorful homes on Guilford Avenue, Balitimore
Colorful homes on Guilford Avenue, Balitimore

Colorful row houses brighten Guilford Avenue in Baltimore's Charles Village. Deemed the "painted ladies" by locals, the funky colors of these effervescent homes came on the scene in 1998. They were inspired by a neighborhood contest designed to encourage locals to beautify and revitalize the area.

8. Easton

Autumn leaves and historic homes in Easton
Autumn leaves and historic homes in Easton

It's not surprising that Easton has been named one of America's best small towns. It offers visitors an authentic, old-time feel with adorable historic buildings (i.e. the Third Haven Friends Meeting House, circa 1682) and colonial architecture. Patriotic flare can be found pretty much everywhere in this sweet, walkable town.

9. Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park
Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park certainly lives up to its name. A 786-acre park, there's a ton of golden sand to be had at this popular seaside escape. Lapped by the Chesapeake Bay, this park offers impressive waterfront vistas of everything from birds to boats to bridges. When you're not busy snapping pics, take a minute to enjoy beachin' or jump in for a swim.

10. Oakland

A river flowing through Oakland, Maryland
A river flowing through Oakland, Maryland

Oakland is a tiny mountain town bursting with charm. While the quaint center is as pretty as a picture, featuring colorful shops and restaurants, the town's most impressive asset can be found a bit further afield. Rushing rapids; crashing waterfalls; and a vast, enticing river are primed for the role of perfect vacation backdrop.

11. Shadow Falls State Park, Oakland

Waterfall in Shadow Falls State Park
Waterfall in Shadow Falls State Park

A mere nine miles north of beautiful Oakland, Shadow Falls State Park will literally take your breath away. Blanketed by the fast-flowing Youghiogheny River, peppered with dramatic rocky gorges, and topped by a 53-foot-tall thundering waterfall, it will put your shutter into overdrive. The best bits can be seen along the park's 1.25-mile hike.

12. Deep Creek Lake

Fall colors at Deep Creek Lake
Fall colors at Deep Creek Lake

Tranquility found! If you're looking for an idyllic place to while away a day, visit Deep Creek Lake. A popular weekend destination for overworked city folk, this peaceful spot offers a true respite from all things hustle and bustle. Revel in the lake's impressive mirrored surface, enjoy a serene hike through verdant woods, or exercise your wallet at the antique stores.

13. Assateague Island

A wild horse on Assateague Island
A wild horse on Assateague Island

Be honest now, what photo isn't made better by a pony or two? Assateague Island, home to a throng of wild horses, can be accessed from Chincoteague, Virginia, and Ocean City, Maryland. A popular vacation destination, this natural wonderland features beautiful beaches (shared with ponies, of course), rugged dunes, wetlands, marsh areas, and a wide assortment of wildlife.

14. Ocean City

A busy beach at Ocean City, MD
A busy beach at Ocean City, MD

If you're looking for a quiet, secluded beach vacation, you won't find it in Ocean City. Maryland's answer to lively Coney Island, this Atlantic resort town tempts visitors to stay up until the wee hours of the morning. Here, you'll find a vibrant scene that literally doesn't sleep, a boardwalk packed with scantily clad beachgoers, and rides to thrill even the toughest of guests.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Maryland

15. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge

An osprey leaving the nest in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
An osprey leaving the nest in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Bird-watchers will revel in the variety of waterfowl on display at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Boasting three main habitats (marsh, forest, and shallow water), the refuge is home to one third of the state's tidal wetlands. Deemed the "Everglades of the North," this wild utopia is a nature photographer's dream.

16. Patapsco Valley State Park

Cascade Falls, Patapsco Valley State Park
Cascade Falls, Patapsco Valley State Park

It is impossible to feel stressed when traipsing through the wooded trails of Patapsco Valley State Park. Whether you're admiring spring's blossoms, splashing in the Patapsco River during summer, crossing a swinging bridge surrounded by fall's vibrant palette, or gazing at a frozen waterfall, you're in for a relaxing and beautiful treat.

17. Cunningham Falls State Park

Fall foliage in Cunningham Falls State Park
Fall foliage in Cunningham Falls State Park

If you're looking for a natural wonderland filled with everything from a sparkling lake to a cascading waterfall to wooded trails to mountains, you'll find it at Cunningham Falls State Park. This massive park is split into two sections: the more photographable William Houck Area (just west of Thurmont) and the Manor Area (just south of Thurmont), which houses the historic Catoctin Iron Furnace.

18. St. Mary's City

Historic building in St. Mary's City
Historic building in St. Mary's City

Maryland's capital from 1634-1694, St. Mary's City was also the first place to encourage Americans of differing faiths to live in "peace and goodwill." Today, this impeccably preserved English colonial archeological site is primed for visitors. Essentially a living museum, this vast, 800-acre site is set within the most picturesque setting (we're talking tranquil waterways and pastoral fields).

19. Gunpowder Falls State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park
Gunpowder Falls State Park

Named after the river of the same moniker, Gunpowder Falls State Park is home to two attractive cascades: Big and Little Gunpowder Falls. Boasting over 18,000 acres, this popular park is divided into six main sections. Depending on where you choose to spend your time, this is a perfect place to hike, tube, horseback ride, picnic, canoe, or fish, among other fun activities.

20. Fort McHenry National Monument, Baltimore

Fort McHenry National Monument
Fort McHenry National Monument

If you could see Fort McHenry from the air, you'd be incredibly impressed. This pentagonal-shaped stronghold played an important role during the war of 1812. The courageous defense shown during this time inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the words to The Star-Spangled Banner. A mastery of architecture, it's definitely worth a visit.

21. McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area

Field of wildflowers at McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area
Field of wildflowers at McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area

Early to mid-July is the best time to visit McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area. At that time, this five-acre site shines gold with blooming sunflowers so tall, they often tower above their visitors. These beauties are planted each spring to provide food to mourning doves and other birds and wildlife in the area. While guests are encouraged to take photos, they are not permitted to cut or remove any of the pretty blooms.

22. Susquehanna State Park

Rock Run Grist Mill in Susquehanna State Park
Rock Run Grist Mill in Susquehanna State Park

Susquehanna State Park is beloved by mountain bikers across the state. Home to multiple trails, this gorgeous spot is also a haven for nature lovers, as well as anglers. The park runs along the Susquehanna River Valley and houses the Rock Run Historic Area. This is where you'll find a working grist mill, the Jersey Toll House, and Carter-Archer Mansion.

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