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, cycling, skiing, rock climbing and white-water rafting draw the outdoor-loving crowd. Two long-distance hiking and biking trails are particularly noteworthy: the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal towpath, both offering an invigorating mix of history, scenery and adventure.
Passionate local chefs are embracing the region's bounty, and you'll find fantastic farm-to-table fare in the larger towns. There are plenty of welcoming microbreweries too.
When trip planning, remember that the narrow Maryland panhandle is bordered by Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. If you're exploring Civil War battlefields or looking for larger towns for an overnight stay, check for options that may be just a few miles over state lines.