By Krista Pfunder
The State of Maryland wants you to travel the open road—and make it an overnight trip.
Sharing new road trip itineraries, the Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism has launched the Open Road campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage road trips throughout the state, exploring scenic and historic routes, with overnight stays to help boost tourism. “Working with health officials, the tourism industry has implemented protocols so they can be open for guests safely and comfortably,” says Kelly Schulz, Maryland commerce secretary.
The department is partnering with destination marketing organizations to get travelers to visit the newly designed website featuring 18 scenic byways. The byways are scenic routes with multiple points of interest that allow travelers to customize the pace, geography and activities they want to experience.
“Fall is a beautiful time to explore Maryland and support the accommodations, attractions, restaurants along the way,” says Schulz.
The new itineraries highlight byway themes such as Horses and Hounds, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, Along the C&O Canal, and Stop, Shop and Stroll the Old Main Streets.
The Along Roots & Tides route, for example, stretches from Annapolis to Prince Frederick and begins with a colonial-era walking tour of Annapolis followed by a cruise from City Dock. Other stops include a vineyard and a lunch spot on the water. The itinerary encourages travelers to explore some of the 22 miles of hiking trails at the American Chestnut Land Trust in Prince Frederick. The ACLT welcomes travelers wishing to stretch their legs.
“We have had a huge spike in our number of hikers,” says Greg Bowen, executive director of the American Chestnut Land Trust. “We kept our trails open throughout the pandemic, even during the lockdown since the governor still allowed (and encouraged) outdoor exercise.”
Travelers out and about on the roads will find Maryland’s eight welcome centers have reopened. The centers comply with safety guidelines and are open 9am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday.
To view the itineraries, visit www.visitmaryland.org.