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Get Maritime in Maryland

From verdant mountains rising gently along its western reaches to sunny stretches of seashore and bayfront gracing its eastern half, Maryland offers natural beauty to explore and enjoy. But the 10,460-square-mile “Old Line State” — as George Washington dubbed Maryland for its fierce Revolutionary War fighting forces — offers cultural attractions as well. Military and maritime history; a new, state-of-the-art entertainment venue; and some of the Mid-Atlantic’s finest food and lodging options are a few of the delights that await group travelers. These ideas will help you plan the perfect Maryland getaway for your group.


Popular Demand

National Aquarium

Situated on Baltimore’s bustling, beautiful Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium is a wonderland of aquatic flora and fauna. Themed habitats inspired by environments as diverse as the Amazon River forest and an Atlantic coral reef are home to puffins, sloths, stingrays, clownfish and other exotic creatures. Customized group tours are a must, made even better with animal encounters, feedings, guest speakers and other add-ons. Behind-the-scenes offerings, based on availability, visit sites like the catwalk above Shark Alley and the exhibits like Australia: Wild Extremes.

United States Naval Academy

Established in 1850, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis offers a variety of themed tours like the Anchors Aweigh Music Tour, which concludes with a performance by the Navy Band, and the USNA Tour and Tea, topped by afternoon tea at the Naval Academy Club. Sights on the waterside campus include the magnificent Naval Academy Chapel, the crypt of legendary naval hero John Paul Jones and the showstopping brigade formation outside Bancroft Hall each weekday at noon in the spring and fall.

Assateague Island

There is a wealth of ways to experience Assateague, the beautiful barrier island famed for its wild ponies. Leaders can schedule a guided kayak, bicycle or paddleboard tour through Assateague Outfitters or book an 80-minute Assateague Adventure boat cruise from Ocean City, located eight miles away. Another option? Pick up a step-on guide in Ocean City, drop by the Assateague Island Visitor Center’s interpretive exhibits and then head off to see the ponies, which typically stroll along the island’s beaches and roadways.

Up and Coming

CFG Bank Arena

Groups looking for a night out on the town during their Maryland adventure are in luck. Downtown Baltimore’s completely revamped, 14,000-seat CFG Bank Arena reopened last April, with a concert by Bruce Springsteen, no less. The $250 million remodel boasts next-generation acoustics, comfy seating, beautifully designed suites and upscale food and beverage. More than 120 events are on the schedule each year, so it is likely something will be happening when your group is visiting.

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Welcome Center

One of the Eastern Shore’s crown jewels, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is upgrading its 18-acre campus in St. Michaels. In December, its $10 million, 12,000-square-foot welcome center celebrated its grand opening. Groups can tour three exhibition spaces, shop in the and catch the long-term exhibit, Water Lines: Chesapeake Watercraft Traditions, with its nearly 30 boats from the museum’s small-craft collection.

Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center

Site of the deadliest one-day battle in American history, Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg is a must-see made even more appealing after a nearly $7 million, 940-day renovation of its visitor’s center. Reopened in September, highlights are new interactive exhibits and an expansive, window-lined orientation room with views of the battlefield. Outside, markers that provide a timeline of Civil War battles lead from the parking lot to the vistors center and an interpretive sculpture that depicts Antietam soldiers.

Overnight Sensations

Historic Inns of Annapolis

Three landmark buildings make up the swooningly elegant Historic Inns of Annapolis: the Maryland Inn, the Governor Calvert House and the Robert Johnson House. Together, they offer 124 rooms, in 18th-century structures that are appointed with modern amenities and period-style furnishings. Statesmen who were visiting Annapolis, the nation’s first peacetime capital, often stayed at the historic inns, which are located downtown within walking distance of the city’s attractions.

Wisp Resort

Nestled in the mountains of Western Maryland on the fringes of Deep Creek Lake, Wisp Resort serves up four seasons of fun for groups. From its humble beginnings as an improvised ski area in a cow pasture nearly 70 years ago, Wisp has become a resort with a 169-room lodge and newly renovated guest rooms, six restaurants, golf, chairlift rides in the summer, whitewater rafting and unexpected group activities like behind-the-scenes snowmaking tours.

Memorable Meals

Harrison’s Harbor Watch Restaurant and Raw Bar

When visiting Maryland, groups simply must sample the state’s justifiably celebrated seafood. For four decades, family-owned Harrison’s Harbor Watch, which sits pretty at the southern end of the Ocean City boardwalk, has dished out the ocean’s bounty, caught locally and served fresh. Signature delicacies include cream of crab soup, oysters Rockefeller and rockfish. The view of the Inlet and Assateague Island is almost as scrumptious as the food.

The Carriage House Inn

If the charming Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg doesn’t have it all, it sure comes close. The New American-style cuisine is reliably great and the location — in a circa-1857 building tucked in the Catoctin Mountains foothills — is delightful. Live piano music enlivens weekends. During lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch, groups can fill up on favorites like fried oysters, crab-crusted haddock and prime rib in one of the restaurant’s private dining rooms.