Small though it may be, Maryland boasts of a great diversity of attractions. They range from lovely wilderness areas to famous battlefields, and from thriving seaside resorts to historic landmarks. There are state and national parks, ski areas, and racetracks.
The Antietam National Battlefield, south of Hagerstown, vividly recalls one of the bloodiest and most important battles of the Civil War; more than 23,000 men were killed or wounded. In Baltimore you can visit the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the "Star Spangled Banner" in 1814. The U.S. Frigate Constellation, the first ship of the U.S. Navy, is moored in the harbor. Other historic sites in Baltimore include the Edgar Allan Poe House, the Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton House, the Babe Ruth Birthplace, the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Maryland Science Center and Davis Planetarium, and the National Aquarium.
In Annapolis you can visit several more historic buildings, including the Maryland State House where George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in 1783. If you're a lover of the seashore, go to Ocean City, Maryland's only Atlantic coast resort. The beach runs for 10 miles, offering sand, shops, restaurants, auction houses, and fishing charters. South of Ocean City, you'll find Assateague Island National Seashore, the largest undeveloped seashore between Massachusetts and North Carolina. More than 275 species of birds make their homes on the island's marsh grass and bayberry leaves. The island is also home to the famous Chincoteague ponies. Historians think that the ancestors of the ponies were either washed ashore from a Spanish shipwreck, or imported to the mainland by Eastern Shore planters in the mid-17th century, then turned loose on the island to graze.
Two of the most popular annual events in Maryland are the Preakness Festival and Race, the second jewel in the triple crown of horse racing, and the Waterfowl Festival. The Preakness is held each May in Baltimore. The Waterfowl Festival is held in Easton each November.