The east coast state of Maryland has hundreds miles of coastline, thanks to it encompassing the vast estuary of Chesapeake Bay. Unsurprisingly, Maryland is a maritime state, filled with historic nautical towns such as Saint Michaels and Crisfield, renowned for its delicious blue crabs and sailboat cruises out of Annapolis.

Its main resort town, Ocean City, sports miles of sandy beaches and vacationers pack the lively boardwalk each summer. The state has plenty to offer inland too. Its western regions offer spectacular scenery to delight outdoor enthusiasts, in addition to a few ski resorts and challenging waterways from the mountains to tempt kayakers and rafts.

Maryland is an important heritage destination for those exploring United States history. Back in 1634, a small group of Europeans came ashore in the southern part of the state and established a colony at the current city of St Mary's City. Also known as Historic St Mary's City, it's now preserved as a state-run, living history museum.

The US national anthem was composed in Maryland following Britain's failed attempt to take the state's strategic shipbuilding centre of Baltimore in the Revolutionary War. The flag stayed flying over the city, inspiring the writing of 'The Star-Spangled Banner'. The Civil War also left its mark in Maryland, with one of the bloodiest battles fought at Antietam in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

In 1791, the state donated the land on which Washington, D.C., and the state's counties of Montgomery, Frederick, and Prince George now border on the capital territory, providing dormitory suburbs.