There’s nothing like hopping in the car and going for a leisurely drive, especially now that fall is just around the corner. Maryland may be a small state, but it’s quite diverse and offers some truly beautiful scenery. The changing leaves will make for a spectacular view, and with mountains to the west and the bay and ocean to the east, you can’t go wrong with any of these top scenic drives.
Blue Crab Scenic Byway
Starting Location: Princess Anne, MD
Ending Location: Ocean City, MD
Length: 43 miles
The Blue Crab Scenic Byway is a water lover’s dream drive with spots to access both the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The landscape of this drive varies from farmland, marshland, creeks, coves, and ocean. If you’re hungry, stop into Crisfield, which is known as the crab capital of the world. You could even take the ferry out to Smith Island or spend your afternoon in Ocean City, strolling the boardwalk or playing games and enjoying the amusement park rides.
Mountain Maryland Byway
Starting Location: Keysers Ridge, MD
Ending Location: Cumberland, MD
Length: 90 miles
The Mountain Maryland Byway is a scenic tour through the Western mountains of Maryland. Travel alongside the raging Youghiogheny River, take a pit stop at Backbone Mountain for a vigorous hike, or stretch your legs in the historic town of Oakland. This drive is truly stunning during the fall season when the leaves are turning color.
Roots and Tides Scenic Byway
Starting Location: Huntingtown, MD
Ending Location: Annapolis, MD
Length: 41 miles
The Roots and Tides Scenic Byway is a picturesque drive along the Chesapeake Bay boasting plentiful water views. Explore the maritime roots of the Western shore towns, search for antiques in North Beach, have a seafood feast, tour the museums such as the Chesapeake Railroad Station, or simply take in the view. This drive offers scenery and history.
Historic National Road
Starting Location: Keysers Ridge, MD
Ending Location: Baltimore, MD
Length: 183 miles
The Historic National Road spans from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay to the majestic Negro Mountain. This drive follows part of the historic route that once connected Baltimore to Vandalia, Illinois and was known as the National Road. Located northwest of Cumberland is the Narrows, a geologic formation that provides a pass through the Allegheny Mountains. Wills Creek runs north and south through the Narrows, creating the narrow gorge through Wills Mountain. The mountainous scenery makes for a beautiful drive.
Starting Location: White’s Ferry, MD
Ending Location: Sharpsburg, MD
Length: 92 miles
The Antietam Campaign is a history buff’s dream drive. Beginning where General Lee entered Maryland from Virginia and ending near the spot where the Antietam battle took place, this scenic historical tour provides Civil War markers describing the battles that took place in each location. Aside from the historical aspect, this route also provides panoramic views of the countryside.
Old Main Streets
Starting Location: Emmitsburg, MD
Ending Location: Mount Airy, MD
Length: 84 miles
This unique scenic route provides day-trippers with a rural tour of the state down a winding road with views of farmlands and charming small towns. Littered with old Victorian style homes, antique shops and mom & pop restaurants, be prepared to stop and explore. Pass through the covered bridges of Thurmont, enjoy the vineyards in Libertytown, or partake in some recreational activities such as hiking or fishing in Mount Airy. This scenic route has something for everyone.
Maryland has numerous scenic drives to offer, and they’re each unique in their own way. What is your favorite route for a day trip? Share your experiences with us.