Maryland offers both residents and visitors a wide variety of recreational facilities, places to visit, and magnificent scenery. Maryland has a diversity of landscape that is no less than that of larger states, ranging from mountains and lakes in the west to ocean beaches in the east. For centuries Marylanders have engaged in a broad range of outdoor activities, which today include fishing, sailing, swimming, hunting, and hiking. Maryland also is noted for the high quality of its lacrosse teams, and a modern form of jousting has been designated as the state sport. Maryland has several well-known Thoroughbred racetracks, including Pimlico, in Baltimore, site of the annual Preakness Stakes; Bowie Race Course, in Bowie; and Laurel Race Course, in Laurel. The Capital Centre, in Landover, is a large indoor sports and entertainment arena. Ocean City, on the Atlantic Ocean, is a popular seaside resort and a noted center for deep-water sport fishing.
The units in Maryland administered by the National Park Service include Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, which is situated in the city of Baltimore and the defense of which inspired the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park includes a section of the historic canal bordering the Potomac River. Hampton National Historic Site, an example of the lavish mansions built in the late 18th century, is situated near Towson, a suburb of Baltimore. In western Maryland are Antietam National Battlefield, site of an important battle during the Civil War (1861-1865) (see Antietam, Battle of), Antietam National Cemetery, and part of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Near Frederick is Monocacy National Battlefield, site of a critical engagement during the Confederates’ last attempt to capture Washington, D.C. In the section of Maryland near Washington, D.C., are located the Clara Barton National Historic Site, home of the founder of the American Red Cross, and parts of National Capital Parks.
Near Port Tobacco is the Thomas Stone National Historic Site, home of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Overlooking the Monocacy Valley is Catoctin Mountain Park, situated on a forested ridge forming the eastern ramparts of the Appalachian Mountains. Assateague Island National Seashore lies on Assateague Island, off the Atlantic coast of Maryland and Virginia. See also Clara Barton. The two largest state forests in Maryland are Savage River State Forest and Green Ridge State Forest. Both of them are situated in the western part of the state. Facilities for camping, hunting, and fishing are available in most of the state forests.
Many of Maryland’s state parks have facilities for camping, picnicking, boating, hiking, and nature studies. The largest, Patapsco State Park, is made up of six recreation areas along the Patapsco River. Wye Oak State Park, on the Eastern Shore, was established to preserve a white oak that was more than 450 years old when it was toppled in a storm in June 2002. Fort Frederick State Park, in western Maryland, contains a restored fort that was originally built in 1756, during the French and Indian War. Washington Monument State Park is on South Mountain in western Maryland. The stone monument honoring George Washington was erected in 1827, the first monument to Washington erected in the country. "Maryland" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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