O! say can you see,...
by the dawn's early light, a large red, white and blue banner? Whose broad stripes and bright stars . . . were so gallantly streaming! over the star-shaped Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, September 13-14, 1814. The valiant defense of the fort inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Maryland offers both residents and visitors a wide variety of recreational facilities, places to visit, and magnificent scenery. Maryland has a diversity of landscape that is no less than that of larger states, ranging from mountains and lakes in the west to ocean beaches in the east. For centuries Marylanders have engaged in a broad range of outdoor activities, which today include fishing, sailing, swimming, hunting, and hiking.
Maryland also is noted for the high quality of its lacrosse teams, and a modern form of jousting has been designated as the state sport. Maryland has several well-known Thoroughbred racetracks, including Pimlico, in Baltimore, site of the annual Preakness Stakes; Bowie Race Course, in Bowie; and Laurel Race Course, in Laurel. The Capital Centre, in Landover, is a large indoor sports and entertainment arena. Ocean City, on the Atlantic Ocean, is a popular seaside resort and a noted center for deep-water sport fishing.
The units in Maryland administered by the National Park Service include Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, which is situated in the city of Baltimore and the defense of which inspired the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park includes a section of the historic canal bordering the Potomac River. Hampton National Historic Site, an example of the lavish mansions built in the late 18th century, is situated near Towson, a suburb of Baltimore.
In western Maryland are Antietam National Battlefield, site of an important battle during the Civil War (1861-1865), Antietam National Cemetery, and part of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Near Frederick is Monocacy National Battlefield, site of a critical engagement during the Confederates' last attempt to capture Washington, D.C.
In the section of Maryland near Washington, D.C., are located the Clara Barton National Historic Site, home of the founder of the American Red Cross, and parts of National Capital Parks. Near Port Tobacco is the Thomas Stone National Historic Site, home of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Overlooking the Monocacy Valley is Catoctin Mountain Park, situated on a forested ridge forming the eastern ramparts of the Appalachian Mountains. Assateague Island National Seashore lies on Assateague Island, off the Atlantic coast of Maryland and Virginia.
The two largest state forests in Maryland are Savage River State Forest and Green Ridge State Forest. Both of them are situated in the western part of the state. Facilities for camping, hunting, and fishing are available in most of the state forests.
Many of Maryland's state parks have facilities for camping, picnicking, boating, hiking, and nature studies. The largest, Patapsco State Park, is made up of six recreation areas along the Patapsco River. Wye Oak State Park, on the Eastern Shore, preserves a white oak that is more than 450 years old and has been declared Maryland's official state tree.
Fort Frederick State Park, in western Maryland, contains a restored fort that was originally built in 1756, during the French and Indian War. Washington Monument State Park is on South Mountain in western Maryland. The stone monument honoring George Washington was erected in 1827, the first monument to Washington erected in the country.
Other Places of Interest:
Among the numerous historic cities of interest to visit in Maryland is Annapolis, the state capital, which has been designated as a national historic district. Baltimore, like Annapolis, is also noted for its numerous places of historic interest.
The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Baseball Center has exhibits and films about the sports legend. The National Aquarium on the Baltimore waterfront contains 12 major themed exhibits, including marine mammals.
Historic buildings are numerous throughout the state. Of particular interest are the fine old mansions and churches of Annapolis, Frederick, and some of the picturesque communities on the Eastern Shore. In southern Maryland is Saint Marys City, the site of the first settlement in the state, dating from 1634.