If Maryland is on your travel itinerary, prepare to be captivated by a wealth of intriguing Maryland facts that unveil the state’s enigmatic charm and fascinating history.
In this article, I’ll share some fun facts about Maryland that will give you insights into its culture, history, geography, colorful people, and traditions.
Nestled in the heart of the Eastern United States, Maryland is a state that’s often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors.
However, beneath its unassuming exterior lies a treasure trove of fascinating and peculiar facts that might surprise, entertain, and take you off the beaten track to enjoy the true essence of Maryland when you visit.
31 Maryland Facts: Fun Facts About Maryland You Need to Know
1. Maryland Was Named After The Wife Of A King
The starting point of interesting facts about Maryland is the origin of the name.
Who was this Mary? The state took its name from Queen Henrietta Maria. She was the wife of the king of Great Britain and Ireland, Charles I, who reigned in the 1600s.
The Baron of Baltimore, George Calvert, asked Charles for a charter for the Maryland area as a haven for Catholics who were often persecuted in Britain.
But the king only granted it in 1632 after Calvert’s death, so instead, it went to his son, Cecil. Charles named the territory for his wife, who was known as Mary in England.
2. Maryland Is Nicknamed The Old Line State
One of Maryland’s nicknames is the Old Line State. General George Washington nicknamed Maryland during the Revolutionary War when 400 brave soldiers held off 10,000 British troops long enough to allow Washington’s forces to escape.
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3. Maryland Has Another Nickname
The second nickname, The Free State, is found in documented Maryland facts for not one reason but three!
The first time was on November 1, 1864, when the state established the Maryland Constitution. It abolished slavery, making it a free state.
One of the fun facts about Maryland being a free state relates to alcohol! In 1919, Maryland opposed Congress’s law prohibiting the sale and use of alcohol.
The people believed it violated their rights, and by rejecting the law, Maryland earned the nickname The Free State.
Thirdly, Maryland earned its nickname as The Free State because of its history of constant striving for political and religious freedom.
4. Annapolis Was Known As The Athens Of America
Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland, had the nickname of the Athens of America during the 1600s for its glitzy social scene, cultural activities, intellectual society, and gracious hospitality.
It also served as the United States capital for a few months between 1783 and 1784.
Annapolis had two other names before the residents settled on this one.
Initially, the founding Puritans named the town Providence, and later, it changed to Anne Aundel’s Towne, honoring Lord Baltimore’s wife.
5. Maryland’s Flag Has A Quartered Design
Maryland’s state flag is the only one in the USA with a quartered design featuring the Calvert and Crossland coats of arms.
Marylanders are passionate about their flag and use it as a logo for anything from sports to airlines.
6. Maryland’s Geography Is Diverse
Maryland has almost every type of topography inside its borders, except deserts, which earned the state another nickname, “America in miniature.”
The eastern side has sand dunes and seagrass, and the Chesapeake Bay boasts low marshlands.
You will find verdant pine groves, rolling hills, mountains, and oak forests within the borders of beautiful Maryland.
One reason for the lack of deserts in the Old Line State is the abundance of water. Rivers crisscross the state in all directions, and of course, it has a stunning coastline.
7. Maryland Has Some Strange Animals
One of the lesser-known Maryland facts is its strangest animal – the nutria.
This large, semi-aquatic rodent is a lightning-fast breeder and a vegetation destroyer.
It was introduced to America in 1899 to start fur farms, but the industry failed in the 1940s, causing farmers to release them into the wild.
The nutria looks a little like a beaver, weighs about 20 pounds, and its forelegs are shorter than the hind legs.
Their large front teeth are yellow-orange, and their tails are scaly and covered in wiry hair.
One vestigial toe dangles loosely, unconnected to the webbing that keeps the others together.
To add to their weirdness, the female’s teats are on the sides of their bodies, as opposed to the chest.
8. Maryland Has Wild Horses
One of the most interesting facts about Maryland is that it has a colony of wild horses on the island of Assateague.
Legend has it that they are descendants of horses that survived the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon off the coast of Virginia centuries ago.
However, it’s more likely that they descended from domestic horses brought to the island by owners trying to avoid livestock taxation and fencing laws.
9. The Most Dangerous Animal Is Found In Maryland
Maryland facts reveal that the black bear is the most dangerous land predator in the state.
It is found in four counties: Allegany, Washington, Fredrick, and Garrett.
The Chesapeake Bay is home to some scary aquatic animals, including several shark species and three types of jellyfish. Still, there have been no fatalities relating to these sea creatures.
10. Maryland’s Had The Largest Oak In The USA
The White Oak tree became Maryland’s official state tree in 1941. These beautiful hardwood trees are tall and slow-growing, common in most Maryland forests.
The famous Wye Oak of Wye Mills town, Talbot County, was the largest in the United States until a storm demolished it in 2002.
The Wye Oak was over 400 years old, stood 96 feet tall, and had a circumference of 31 feet, 10 inches. Its crown spread was approximately 119 feet!
11. Maryland Has A Boring Town
One of the quirkiest Maryland facts is that it has an unincorporated community called Boring in Baltimore County.
It lies approximately five miles from Reisterstown and boasts about 40 houses, a Methodist church, a post office, and what used to be the Boring Volunteer Fire Company.
Yes, there’s not much activity, but the town got its name from the original postmaster, David Boring.
12. Chevy Chase Was Born In Maryland
In 1890, Nevada Senator Francis Newlands and his partners established the Chevy Chase Land Company.
Its purpose was to ensure that the land they acquired was sold to wealthy white people.
The company created an artificial lake, known as Chevy Chase Lake, for hydroelectric power to service the streetcars.
In addition, it provided a popular area for swimming, boating, and other activities.
13. Football And Classic Literature Mix In Maryland
Football and classic literature don’t usually have anything in common. However, Maryland fun facts disagree.
The Baltimore football team, the Ravens, got its name from the famous Edgar Allen Poe Poem, The Raven.
14. Edgar Allan Poe Lived In Baltimore
The famous author and poet Edgar Allen Poe lived for a while in Baltimore, the state’s largest city. Today, his home is a museum, and his grave a notorious landmark.
Creepy Maryland facts state that the house has a reputation for paranormal activity.
In addition, every year on Poe’s birthday, a strange man visits his grave and places three roses and a bottle of whiskey on it.
15. Maryland Has A State Dessert
Another of Maryland’s fun facts is that it has a state dessert, written in Chapters 164 and 165 of the Acts of 2008.
Smith Island Cake is a dessert consisting of eight to ten layers of yellow cake sandwiched together with a delicious chocolate frosting. Bakers also slather the entire outside in the frosting.
16. Marylanders Get Very Old
One of the most encouraging Maryland facts (at least to Marylanders) is that longevity seems achievable in the Old Line State.
Statistics courtesy of the State Board of Elections show that at one point, the state had 48 people over the age of 114. If you want to live a long time, move to Maryland.
17. Babe Ruth Was A Marylander
In 1895, George Herman “Babe” Ruth came into the world in Baltimore and went on to become a celebrity member of the New York Yankees, a Maryland fact that made its residents burst with pride.
18. It’s A Battle To Play Maryland’s State Sport
Despite the USA’s passion for football and baseball, Maryland’s state sport is jousting. It’s been official since 1962.
Perhaps it’s a little unconventional, but Maryland facts prove that the state is anything but ordinary.
19. Maryland Loves Lacrosse
Maryland took lacrosse as its official team sport in 2004. Sport-loving tourists will enjoy the Lacrosse Museum and Hall of Fame in Baltimore.
20. The State Song Was Repealed
In 2021, Governor Larry Hogan repealed the state song Maryland, My Maryland, because it refers to Abraham Lincoln as a tyrant and calls the Union states “northern scum.”
21. The Ouija Board Was Constructed In Baltimore
One of the more peculiar Maryland facts relates to the paranormal. Charles Kennard constructed the Ouija board in Baltimore in 1890.
Kennard, Elijah Bond, the inventor, and Helen Peters, a medium, proved to the Patent Office that the board’s properties were genuine by asking it what its name should be.
22. Maryland Has A State Crustacean
Not too many states have state crustaceans, but Maryland does. The blue crab became the official state crustacean in 1989, and it became a staple in the state in crab cakes and soups.
Marylanders are famous for covering their blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay or Old Bay seasonings.
23. The Harbor Houses National Aquarium
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor houses the National Aquarium, home to 17,000 animals from 750 species.
If you’re into trivia, Maryland fun facts say it’s the fourth largest aquarium in the USA. The aquarium receives upwards of 1.5 million visitors each year.
24. Maryland’s Underground Railroad Saved Countless Lives
Harriet Tubman was a famous Maryland abolitionist and “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, a group of people working to liberate slaves.
She was born in Dorchester County, Maryland, into an enslaved family.
In 1849, she escaped to Philadelphia, yet returned to Maryland thirteen times over ten years to rescue her family and other enslaved people.
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25. There Have Been Sightings Of A Sea Monster
Whether this tidbit of information belongs on the list of Maryland facts or Maryland fiction is up for debate.
For almost half a century, there have been sightings of a massive serpent-like creature in the Chesapeake Bay area.
The animal is fondly known as Chessie, the equivalent of its Scottish cousin across the pond, the Loch Ness monster, or Nessie.
26. Balloon Trips Happened First In Maryland
The first balloon flight in the USA occurred in Baltimore.
Peter Carnes designed the contraption but sent a 13-year-old boy, Edward Warren, into the atmosphere because he could better fit inside.
27. Maryland’s Oldest Newspaper Has Been Operating Forever
William Parks founded the Maryland Gazette in Annapolis in 1727. The Gazette is the longest-continuously operating newspaper in America.
28. Maryland Allows Consanguine Marriage
One of the most unbelievable Maryland facts concerns the state laws.
In Maryland, a person may legally marry their first cousin, despite documented proof of the genetic risks.
29. Maryland Has Other Bizarre Laws
According to Maryland law, a lion may not accompany you to the movies, should you prefer one as a date.
30. Baltimore Raised A Famous Author
Best-selling author Tom Clancy was born in Baltimore in 1947. Clancy wrote the renowned Hunt for Red October while employed at an Owings insurance company.
After selling 5 million copies of the book, he likely retired from the insurance industry! Clancy also part-owned the Baltimore Orioles until his death in 2013.
31. Maryland Has Plenty Of Ghostly Inhabitants
Many Maryland fun facts revolve around hauntings and the paranormal. The Goatman is a well-known ghostly creature with a beard, cloven hooves, and horns.
He skulks through the Prince George’s County woodlands, eats wild animals, and may break into homes to eat pets.
Other haunted areas in Maryland include Crybaby Bridge, Sotterly Plantation, Jericho Covered Bridge, and Glenn Dale Hospital for criminally insane patients, to name a few.
Quick Fun Facts About Maryland
Maryland borders Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Maryland is the ninth-smallest state by land, with a total land area of 12,406 square miles.
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, commonly known as BWI, holds the honor of being Maryland’s biggest airport. It is named in honor of Thurgood Marshall, the Baltimore native who served as the first African-American Supreme Court justice.
The first railroad in North America was the one between Baltimore and Ohio, which was chartered by Baltimore merchants.
Once teeming with Indigenous communities long before the Europeans set foot, present-day Maryland harbored rich cultural legacies. Surprisingly, a mere 2% of the state’s population identified themselves as Native Americans in the recent 2020 US census.
During the War of 1812, the British military attempted to capture Baltimore, and the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the Battle of Baltimore inspired the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” written by Francis Scott Key.
Ocean City is the easternmost city in Maryland.
Hoye Crest, perched atop Backbone Mountain in Garrett County, stands as the highest point in Maryland, rising 3,360 feet above sea level.
That’s it for today! I sincerely hope you had a good time reading these fun facts about Maryland! Wanna help me out? Be sure to share this article on your social media. Oh, and if you know some fun Maryland facts, please drop them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!
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