20 Best Things to Do in Cumberland, MD

Cumberland, MD skyline
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Nestled at the base of the Appalachian Mountains and on the banks of the charismatic Potomac River, Cumberland is a perfect travel destination for you to plan your next vacation.

It is known for its rich history and astounding natural beauty.

It provides outdoor activities like hiking, biking, camping, boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Explore the region on a scenic train journey, tour the numerous fascinating museums and historic buildings, appreciate art at the remarkable galleries, and escape into nature at the picturesque parks.

Visit this city to relax and take a break from everyday life.

To jumpstart your planning, here's a list of the best things to do in Cumberland, Maryland:

Take a Train Journey on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

Train passing along the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
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Enjoy a scenic 3.5-hour journey aboard a vintage railcar.

The excursion winds along majestic mountains, offering breathtaking views of the region's wilderness.

Feast your eyes on gorgeous views of the Cumberland Narrows, dense foliage, towering mountains, picturesque bridges, and Brush Tunnel.

The train stops at Frostburg, where passengers enjoy a 90-minute layover to explore the town.

Train passing through beautiful scenery at Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
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Meals are served on the train for dining class passengers.

A snack bar is also available for all guests.

Western Maryland Railroad also offers themed journeys, such as their Murder Mystery Dinner, Polar Express, Moonshine Dinner, and Easter Trains.

Enjoy the thrilling experience of traveling on a train and appreciate nature's astounding beauty.

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad at Cumberland
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Explore History at George Washington's Headquarters

Front view of the brown and white building of George Washington's Headquarters
Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Constructed in 1755, this historic cabin was originally a part of Fort Cumberland.

First US President George Washington resided here multiple times in the 18th century while serving the US Army during the French and Indian War and the Whiskey Rebellion.  

The log cabin was moved two blocks away from its original site after the fort's destruction.

Side view of George Washington's Headquarters with a bench on the side
Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is the only surviving building of Fort Cumberland.

The cabin is closed to the public, but visitors can explore the grounds and view it from outside.

It houses several historical artifacts, including weapons, furniture, flags, and more.

Visit the Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Gothic architecture of Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Farragutful, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Founded in the mid-19th century, this church is located on the site of the former Fort Cumberland.

It boasts Gothic Revival-style architecture, while the interiors feature beautiful stained glass windows.

You can also view the remains of the ancient earthwork tunnels of the fort.

Visit the church, appreciate its aesthetically pleasing architecture, and spend some peaceful moments here praying.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Cumberland
Farragutful, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tour the Gordon-Roberts House

Built in the 19th century, this historic mansion was home to a prominent judge and president of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, Josiah Gordon.

He lived here for two decades, after which W. Milnor Roberts and his family moved in.

The house has been maintained to look just as it did when the families still resided there.

It is now a museum that displays the families' original furniture, china, paintings, home décor, chandeliers, and photographs.

The museum's exhibits include a day nursery, drawing room, parlor, sitting room, kitchen, guest bedroom, and servant's room.

The mansion is also a popular venue for weddings, conferences, and other social gatherings.

Tour the house and learn about the lifestyle of the elite of this region during the 1800s.

Experience Nature at Great Allegheny Passage

Narrow bridge at Great Allegheny Passage
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This is a scenic trail extending from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C., covering over 300 miles.

It follows a historic railroad route and is very popular among hikers, bikers, and cross-country skiers.

It features majestic mountains, sprawling greenery, mesmerizing rivers, a scenic railroad, numerous tunnels, picturesque bridges, a horseshoe curve, and outrageously colored wildflowers.

Nature trail at Great Allegheny Passage
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This trail is a nature lover's paradise and offers spectacular views in all four seasons.

It also provides you the opportunity to explore the enchanting cities of Cumberland and Frostburg.

Enjoy an invigorating hike on this trail and appreciate the region's captivating natural beauty.

Narrow path covered with yellow fall leaves at Great Allegheny Passage
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Admire Thought-Provoking Art at Allegany Arts Council

The Allegany Arts Council operates two art galleries that highlight artistic works by local, regional, and national artists.

Exhibitions are organized at the Saville Gallery every three to four weeks.

It is also host to numerous events, such as photography competitions, plein air competitions, and fine art exhibitions.

The Mountain Maryland Schwab Gallery showcases works by upcoming artists and art students.

Tour the galleries and check out the inspiring artistic creations.

Enjoy a Riverside Hike at C&O Canal National Historical Park

Canal passing through the C&O Canal National Historical Park
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal runs parallel to the mesmerizing Potomac River and extends from Georgetown in Washington, D.C., to Cumberland.

The canal's towpath is frequented by hikers and bikers.

Water slowly flowing at C&O Canal National Historical Park
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The trail offers spectacular views of sprawling greenery, the scenic river, historic buildings, majestic mountains, and dense foliage.

It provides opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, biking, birding, wildlife viewing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and camping.

Stand up paddle boarding at C&O Canal National Historical Park
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This park is a nature lover's paradise.

Explore the region's wilderness and appreciate nature's incredible beauty by hiking or cycling on the verdant trails.

Boating at C&O Canal National Historical Park
Guillermo Olaizola / Shutterstock.com

Visit the Cumberland Visitor Center

This museum emphasizes the history of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and Cumberland.

It is located in the historic Western Maryland Railroad Station and features numerous interactive and educational exhibits.

The displays include a model of Paw Paw Tunnel, a boat building, a replica canal boat, mules, the entrance of a coal mine, and more.

The area outside the museum features a playground and scenic walking trails along the C&O Canal.

Tour the museum and learn about the region's fascinating history.

Explore Cumberland Historic City Center

Aerial view of Cumberland Visitor Center
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Located in downtown Cumberland, this historic district features many restaurants, cafes, antique shops, art galleries, boutiques, and more.

Explore the area and check out the aesthetically pleasing architecture.

Shops and Restaurants at Cumberland Historic City Center
RandyMower, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The buildings here date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries and were formerly banks, department stores, and hotels.

Some of the area's prominent buildings are City Hall, Fort Cumberland Hotel, Second National Bank, Embassy Theatre, and Rosenbaum's Department store.

Sample Exquisite Wines at Charis Winery

Charis Winery is the first winery in the county and is renowned for its award-winning wines.

It produces a wide variety of grape, white, and fruit wines, including pinot noir, vidal blanc, and more.

You can sit at their outdoor patio and try out their wines while enjoying the views.

In addition to wine, they also produce olive oils, soaps, pomace brandy, and balsamic vinegar.  

They also host a variety of events throughout the year.

Tour the winery, taste exquisite wines, and spend a wonderful evening here.

View the Exhibits at the Allegany Museum

This museum highlights the cultural history, geography, and history of trade and commerce of Allegany County.

It is housed in a historic 20th-century building that was formerly a courthouse and post office.

Located in downtown Cumberland, it has over 50,000 exhibits, including historical artifacts and local memorabilia dating back to pre-Columbian times.

The displays include pictures, dioramas, sculptures, glassware, toys, tires, paintings, and more.

Go Picnicking at Constitution Park

This popular park features sports fields, multiple playgrounds, a swimming pool, a scenic overlook, an amphitheater, basketball courts, a pond, tennis courts, picnic areas, and a museum area.

The museum area includes a vintage railcar, a fire engine, a war tank, and an aircraft.

The park hosts musical concerts, Halloween parties, Fourth of July fireworks, and more.

You can sit on one of the benches or under the shade of a tree and watch the sunset.

Beat the summer's heat by swimming in the pool, indulge in a game of tennis or basketball, watch the beautiful ducks, and relish a lovely picnic by the pond.

During summers, myriads of music enthusiasts flock here to attend the concerts.

Visit this park to take a break from your everyday routine.

Travel Back in Time at LaVale Toll Gate House

Signboard in front of LaVale Toll Gate House
Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dating back to the early 19th century, this is the first-ever and last remaining toll gatehouse on the National Road.

It is a historical site and also features a plaque enlisting the toll rates from the period that it was operational.

Check out this historic house and relish a nice meal on the picnic grounds located here.

Watch a Show at the Cumberland Theatre

This award-winning performing arts theater in Cumberland presents numerous plays all year round.

They also host comedies, musicals, thrillers, and other live performances.

It dates back to 1987 and attracts thousands of theater lovers every year.

The Cumberland Theatre is the only professional theater in the Western Maryland region.

Get tickets and enjoy a live performance here.

It is an excellent place for a wonderful evening's entertainment.

Tour the Union Grove One Room School House

Union Grove One Room School House during autumn
Cecouchman, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This building was formerly a school in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

It was sold and converted into a clubhouse in 1946.

After remaining vacant for many years, the building was donated to the Allegany County Historical Society in 2007.

Today, the schoolhouse has been restored and is a museum that attracts many visitors.

It is also a popular venue for social gatherings.

Tour this one-story historic building and explore its fascinating history.

See the Art of Western Maryland at C. William Gilchrist

Buil in 1845, the C. William Gilchrist Gallery and Museum is a lovely Federal-Greek Revival architectural house in one of the most peaceful neighborhoods in Cumberland.

The mansion has six galleries (the ones on the ground floor, which make up the actual gallery), a costume collection, an art library, making this a perfect place to keep all of your collectible artwork.

The grounds are also stunning because they open up to outdoor gardens that really complement your artistic pursuits.

The Western Maryland Watercolor Society hosts monthly art exhibits  during the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

Their objective is to bring light to various historical timelines and inspire people with unexplored ideas by highlighting different modes of art, including various mediums such as painting, photography, sculpture, and more.

Bring Down Al Capone and Escape Wonderland at Exit Strategy

The live-action escape rooms in downtown Cumberland are the newest craze to hit the region.

The one you'll want to make sure you check out is Exit Strategy.

You can challenge yourself with their "The Untouchables," where you'd help Eliot Ness bring down the biggest crime boss Al Capone.

They also offer "Through the Looking Glass," where you have to follow a white rabbit and solve the mystery in an hour.

Each scenario will include your group of friends trying to complete a mission before time runs out by putting clues together and escaping successfully.

Camp at Evitts Creek Campsites and Sleep under the Stars

Evitts Creek Campsites is just what you need for your next camping vacation in Western Maryland.

This is a glorious campsite brimming with beautiful views and waterfalls, including notable landmarks, like the North Branch Potomac River, which are guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.

Even though it's very convenient to reach from Baltimore, this campsite provides plenty of seclusion with so many unique spots and scenic vistas of nature’s beauty.

Evitts Creek Campground is an Allegany County accommodation, just off the east of Greater Cumberland Regional Airport and highway southwest of Nicholas Mountain.

This location has both trees for hammocks and open spaces for perching tents and doing some grilling on some flat grassy expanse dotted with trees.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Camping at Rocky Gap State Park

Scenic view of Rocky Gap State Park
Tara Ballard / Shutterstock.com

Encompassing over 3,000 acres, this park features a picturesque gorge, majestic mountains, an enchanting lake, scenic overlooks, nature trails, playground, picnic areas, dense foliage, multiple pavilions, an amphitheater, and a resort.

Explore the tranquil waters of Lake Habeeb by kayaking and fishing in the lake.

You can find numerous catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, and panfish in the waters.

Sunrise at Rocky Gap State Park
Jarvin Hernandez / Shutterstock.com

Beat the heat by diving in for a swim at the beaches at this park.

Enjoy an invigorating hike on the verdant trails and feast your eyes on panoramic views from the scenic overlooks.

Make some delicious burgers on the grills and relish a nice picnic against the stunning backdrops.

People boating in a lake at Rocky Gap State Park
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The park has close to 300 campsites that allow you to explore the wilderness and stargaze.

Owing to the scenic vistas and tranquil atmosphere, this site is a popular venue for weddings, reunions, and other social gatherings.  

Located on the grounds of this park, the Rocky Gap Casino Resort provides lodging and features excellent restaurants, a popular casino, spa, and golf courses.

Landscape of Rocky Gap State Park
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Go Hiking at Paw Paw Tunnel

View of Paw Paw Tunnel
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Located on the banks of the mesmerizing Potomac River, this 3,000-foot long tunnel dates back to the 19th century.

You can explore the tunnel and enjoy the gorgeous river and mountain views.

The area near the tunnel features a picturesque park ideal for admiring nature's captivating beauty and setting up picnics.

Scenic front view of Paw Paw Tunnel
ForestSeasons / Shutterstock.com

The site attracts myriads of hikers and mountain bikers.

You can also camp at the Paw Paw Tunnel Campground to explore the wilderness and go stargazing at night.

The best time to visit is in the autumn so that you can feast your eyes on spectacular views of fall foliage.

Final Thoughts

Those who love surrounding themselves with nature and learning about a place's history and culture will surely enjoy touring this city.

Visitors will enjoy an endless amount of scenic views, visit fascinating museums, and experience the local culture at various unique attractions.

Bookmark this list of things to do in Cumberland to guide you on your visit!