Maryland has a generally moderate climate. July is the warmest month with average temperatures in the upper 20s (Celsius) and into the 30s in Baltimore. Summers are humid and have thunderstorms. Winters are snowy and moderate in the east and south, but cold in the western mountains. January, the coldest month, has average temperatures in the minus figures (about minus six), but Baltimore rarely goes below freezing.
When to fly to Maryland
Throughout the state, summer is the high season. Baltimore, Annapolis, and the Atlantic coast resorts see substantial crowds in summer and through October when the fish are biting and the weather is better for boating. Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley have festivals and events year-round. Booking flights to Maryland and hotel accommodations during the summer months should be done in advance. There are often package air-hotel-rental car deals available for travellers.
Baltimore is also very busy in mid to late May for the Preakness, the second race in the Triple Crown.
Western Maryland attracts visitors year-round, though spring may be a bit chilly. Summers are cooler here, the falls splendid, and winters beautiful with cross-country skiing.
The weather is milder and less humid in fall. The crowds and prices more manageable. Fall and winter months are a good time to find cheap flights to Maryland. Baltimore is also pleasant in early May.
Winter brings cross-country skiing in the western part of the state, particularly the Deep Creek Lake area.
Getting around Maryland
Maryland has buses to most cities and towns. The best way around the Chesapeake Bay is by boat. Outside the cities you need a car or bicycle for extensive exploration. Cycling is good on the eastern shore where the roads have wider shoulders and less travel. The state tourism office has maps of the most scenic and safest bike routes through the state.
If you are driving, try to avoid the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) during rush hour, from 7am-9am and 3pm-6pm.
If you are in Baltimore near the harbour, you can walk almost everywhere or take a water taxi. If you travel from the Inner Harbor north, taxis are plentiful and advisable. Bus and light-rail service is limited downtown but excellent to the suburbs.
Annapolis has walking tours; the historic district in particular is easier to walk than to find parking.
Maryland insider information
- Maryland is nicknamed “America in Miniature” because the small state contains a huge variety of different countryside. As well as the miles of coastland, providing sandy dunes and marshland, there are also oak forests, pine groves and lakes. Maybe not all the topography available throughout the United States, but a good representation in a small space. Outdoor pursuits, understandably, are popular here and draw in many tourists.
- Maryland is home to the appealingly named town of Boring. Among the attractions for a visitor here is the Boring Gas Engine Show and Flea Market, held on the second weekend of June. The antique tractors and old gas engines on show are actually pretty interesting…
- Learn about the history of the state, and the United States: St Mary’s City is the site of the fourth permanent settlement in British North America. The living museum now on the village invites visitors to “come discover the 17th century” with a series of reenactments and activities. The museum is open year-round, but be warned if you visit in winter that the living history exhibits are closed from the end of November through March.
- One of the most famous destinations in Annapolis, the state’s capital, is the United States Naval Academy. All midshipmen are trained at the huge site here, often described as a “city within a city”. Tours are available throughout the year (9am-5pm) but many areas have restricted access. The campus also contains the U.S. Naval Museum, though this is currently closed for renovation, scheduled to reopen in 2008.
- Baltimore is the largest city and has a host of museums and attractions. The town was the residence of one of America's favourite literary sons, Edgar Allan Poe, from 1829 until 1836. The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum celebrates his life and writings. An unmissable event is the Poe birthday celebration, held on the weekend closest to his birthday, January 19. The “Toast to Poe” is held at his grave every year.