Annapolis is as charming as state capitals get. The Colonial architecture, cobblestones, flickering lamps and brick row houses are worthy of Dickens, but the effect isn't artificial: this city has preserved, rather than created, its heritage. Perched on Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis revolves around the city's rich maritime traditions.
The western spine of Maryland is mountain country. The Appalachian peaks soar to 3000ft above sea level, and the surrounding valleys are packed with rugged scenery and Civil War battlefields. This is Maryland's playground, where hiking, skiing, rock climbing and white-water rafting draw the outdoors-loving crowd.
St Michaels & Tilghman Island
St Michaels, the prettiest little village on the Eastern Shore, lives up to its motto as the 'Heart and Soul of Chesapeake Bay.' It's a mix of old Victorian homes, quaint B&Bs, boutique shops and working docks, where escape artists from Washington mix with salty-dog watermen.
'The OC' is where you'll experience the American seaside resort at its tackiest. Here you can take a spin on nausea-inducing thrill rides, buy a T-shirt with obscene slogans and drink to excess at cheesy theme bars. The center of action is the 2.5-mile-long boardwalk, which stretches from the inlet to 27th St.
Oxford is a small village with a history dating back to the 1600s and a fine spread of leafy streets and waterfront homes. Although you can drive there via US-333, it's well worth taking the old-fashioned ferry from Bellevue. Try to go around sunset for memorable views. Once in Oxford, don't miss the chance to dine at the celebrated Robert Morris Inn, near the ferry dock.