PHOTO: Turkey Point Lighthouse at Maryland's Elk Neck State Park. (photo via Flickr/Ashley)
Though it may not be the first place one thinks of, few states stack up with Maryland when it comes to the range of experiences available.
The Old Line State is home to big-time tourist destinations like Baltimore and Annapolis, of course, but it also takes pride in hidden gems on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay.
Whether seeking unparalleled scenery, vivacious nightlife or a relaxing break with nature, these (often) overlooked parts of Maryland won't disappoint.
Located in Glen Burnie just a few miles south of Baltimore, Point Pleasant is a quiet neighborhood flanked by a pair of creeks. Perfect for fishing or water sports, the area also boasts a trio of bars and restaurants within close proximity, two of which feature waterfront seating.
Rams Head Dockside (pictured above) is an excellent spot to enjoy a craft beer in the sand while you watch the sun set over Furnace Creek. Although best experienced in the warmer months, Point Pleasant offers stellar water views year-round, while the Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille is always open to visitors looking to sample rums from all over.
Maryland's beauty extends across the Chesapeake Bay to St. Michaels. While not nearly as far under the radar as Point Pleasant, there's plenty to see and do here for visitors. There's no shortage of shops, restaurants and several local accommodation options if travelers want to extend their stay, including the Inn at Perry Cabin.
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In addition to shopping and eating along Talbot Street, visitors can tour the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum or sample some local libations from Saint Michaels Winery, Eastern Shore Brewing and the Lyon Distilling Company.
Elk Neck State Park
Elk Neck State Park is ideal for camping, swimming, fishing, boating and hiking. Visitors will definitely want to track down and tour the Turkey Point Lighthouse, which dates back to the 1830s and overlooks the Chesapeake Bay, making it the perfect place to spot hawks and eagles.
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The park is home to nearly 2,200 acres of forests, cliffs and marshlands and features five hunting areas. Meanwhile, the Elk River Camping Area boasts hundreds of campsites and more than a dozen cabins.
Even if it's just for an afternoon picnic, Elk Neck is certainly worth a visit.
Another popular camping destination and a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, Assateague Island exists in the massive shadow of nearby Ocean City.
Although the barrier island is renowned for its wild horses, it offers much more to see and do beyond the iconic ponies. There are paved biking and hiking paths where visitors can seek out more wildlife, designated areas for canoeing and kayaking, and over-sand vehicles are permitted on 12 miles of the beach.