A thin strip of land between West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the Maryland Panhandle is hidden away in the mountains of western Maryland, and is known for its lush forests, gushing rivers and cozy mountain towns. While this is a great area to road trip around throughout the year, it truly comes into its own during the fall, and is known for being one of the best places in the country from which to view some incredible fall foliage.
For any history enthusiasts out there, or those wanting to learn more about Maryland’s heritage, Frederick is a fantastic city from which to begin your road trip. There are plenty of fascinating and unique museums that you can stop off at, such as the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, as well as historic homes and battlefields that you can tour.
The next town that you should drive through is Boonsboro, and while it may not be big, it is quaint, historic, and surrounded by natural beauty. If you have the time, take a detour through the Greenbrier State Park, and have a swim in the sparkling lake, before enjoying a meal at Dan’s Restaurant and Tap House.
Being the largest city in Western Maryland, Hagerstown is a great spot to stop for the night if you are stretching your road trip out for a couple of days. While there may be a number of attractions here, the city’s museums are always popular with visitors that are just passing through, from the Washington County Museum of Fine Art to the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, which features restored train cars.
A scenic drive west from Hagerstown will soon have you arriving at Cumberland, which is located at the base of the towering Appalachian Mountains. The Cumberland Gap National Historic Park is usually the most popular point of interest here, as you will be able to stroll down the very same paths that were used by early American pioneers. If you would like to let someone else do the driving for a while, take a ride on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and you will be rewarded by some gorgeous scenery.
Mountain Lake Park
Located in Maryland’s Garrett County, Mountain Lake Park is a small town with a truly unique charm, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. This Victorian resort dates all the way back to 1881, and, as you drive through, you will see many of the original homes that were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is a town that is rich in character, and, for those that would also like to indulge in some retail, it is home to the Simon Pearce Outlet, where you can watch the glass factory at work and pick up some gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces.
While there may not be much to do in the Maryland Panhandle when it comes to big city activities, its spectacular natural beauty and historic charm more than makes up for this. From the sleepy historic town of Boonsboro to the panoramic views from Cumberland, these are some of the best stops to make when road tripping through the Maryland Panhandle.