Food, Travel, United States

Hipmunk Hotels: Maryland Food Festivals in Annapolis, Baltimore, Ocean City, and More

Washington, DC may impress with its wide variety of international cuisine. It’s easy to eat from a hodgepodge of everything from Malaysian to Russian, Ethiopian, and whatever you can think of in between. One thing always seems to be missing though – authenticity. Sure, those restaurants may be owned and operated by immigrants who’ve made a new home in Washington, DC, but they’re cooking what worked well in their home region and not taking advantage of indigenous ingredients.

The best way to learn Maryland cuisine is to step away from the big cities and travel to some of the smaller towns where residents can often trace their roots back generations. Here, you’ll sample some of the finest and freshest seafood found almost anywhere else in the United States, and, if you look hard enough, a touch of Southern BBQ. A great introduction is through one of the Maryland food festivals listed below.


A list of Must Visit Maryland Food Festivals

Photo by Chelsea McQuaid via


The Maryland Seafood Festival in Annapolis

So maybe the Maryland Seafood Festival isn’t exactly in Annapolis, but it’s close enough to still count. Besides, you’re going to need something to do outside of the festival, and Annapolis’s quaint bayfront downtown has an awesome culinary and nightlife scene that is worth exploring. The Historic Inns of Annapolis provides a unique stay that will put you within walking distance to the best of Annapolis.

Back to the festival though… The festival takes place on September 10 – 11. A variety of local restaurants serve up their take on regional seafood. Additional food fun includes a crab soup competition, beer and oyster tasting, chef demonstrations, and cooking classes. There are plenty of activities to help work off the calories between snacks like stand-up-paddle boarding on the bay, human foosball, corn hole, and zip lining over the bay.


Chesapeake Crab and Beer Fest in Baltimore

Nothing defines Maryland cuisine better than Chesapeake crabs. The Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival, which takes place at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on June 25, is the perfect celebration of the seasonal treat. The all you can eat festival boasts over 30,000 crabs paired alongside a selection of 50 craft beers. As an added bonus, all beer is served in 14-ounce mugs so you can stay seated while you eat the labor-intensive seafood. Book a room at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore so you can stumble to bed after you’re done eating and drinking.


White Marlin Festival and Crab Soup Cook-off in Ocean City

Why not enjoy a little cooking competition with that summer beach resort in Ocean City? Ocean City kicks off the summer with the White Marlin Festival and Crab Soup Cook-off on May 14. Unlike most cooking competitions, festivalgoers get to be the judges, voting on their favorite soups. It’s a great way to break up a lazy day at the beach.


Pork in the Park in Salisbury

For a departure from Maryland seafood, be sure to check out Pork in the Park on April 23 and 24 in laid-back Salisbury. The festival not only highlights regional BBQ, but also includes a chicken wing competition. The non-food highlight of the event (if there needs to be one), is Balloonville, which offers hot air balloon demonstrations and rides.


Which of these Maryland food festivals do you want to attend?

This article is part of the Hipmunk Hotels series.