Did you know that millions of tourists visit Maryland every year? As a local, you might not always think about the cultural gems that you have access to, but there are many attractions perfect for both families and individuals right in your own backyard.
Southern Maryland in particular, which includes St. Mary’s County, Charles County, Calvert County, and parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties, has many towns full of rich history and some of the best tourist attractions in the region.
From the Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac River, the biggest cities in Southern Maryland have much to offer to both residents and tourists alike. Use this article as an introductory travel guide for your next big adventure!
Waldorf is the perfect destination for a day trip. Start your day off with a guided tour at the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum, the home of Dr. Mudd, who is famous for setting the leg of John Wilkes Booth. Spend the afternoon picking produce at Shlagel Farms or catch a game at the Regency Furniture Stadium. Finish the day off with a pint at Patuxent Brewing Company.
Waldorf is also a 20-minute drive away from Charlotte Hall, MD. If you’re interested in historic sites, you can check out the old campus of the Charlotte Hall Military Academy, as well as other historic architecture.
The town of Bowie, MD, has many outdoor entertainment options in addition to historic sites and museums. Prince George’s Stadium is an entertainment destination for baseball enthusiasts everywhere. The Belair Mansion, the former home of multiple governors of Maryland, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Stable Museum associated with the mansion commemorates a long, successful racing history as one of the premier stables in mid-20th century racing. Bowie is also home to a train station museum, as well as the only museum dedicated to broadcasting in the area.
3. FORT WASHINGTON
Named after the fort located near the Potomac River, this is one of the towns on this list that you don’t want to miss. Fort Washington was originally built in the early 1800’s as a line of defense for the nation’s capital, and it served that purpose through World War II. Although the historic fort site is no longer in service, it still exists and is part of a larger system of parks that’s open to the public daily. In addition to Fort Washington Park, the town also boasts a raceway and a golf club.
4. OXON HILL
Oxon Hill is a suburb in the greater Washington region, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of things to do. Among the most notable destination spots in this town is the MGM National Harbor. It’s a great place to stay to get away from it all while still staying in close distance to all the big city entertainment you love. The resort includes a theater, a casino, a hotel, and many bars and restaurants.
5. LEXINGTON PARK
Situated next to the Patuxent River and on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Lexington Park is located in one of the state’s southernmost counties. One of the town’s must-see attractions is the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. The museum is unique among other naval air museums, as much of its focus is on the research side of military aviation, as well as shedding light on how the work of the U. S. Navy at this base has impacted the residents of St. Mary’s county and the broader community.
For more things to do in the area, historic St. Mary’s City is only about a 15-minute drive away from Lexington Park. This living history museum is one of Southern Maryland’s premier tourist attractions. It memorializes the site of Maryland’s first capital (Annapolis didn’t become the capital until 1695) and educates the public on what life was like during colonial times. The grounds include reconstructions of the town center, a chapel, a tobacco plantation, a sailing vessel, and more.
Located in southern Prince Georges’s County, this town’s biggest claim to fame is the National Colonial Farm in Piscataway Park. This historic reenactment farm shows visitors what the lives of 18th-century farmers in the area were like, and it also serves as a site of historic architectural and plant preservation. The 200-acre grounds of Piscataway Park also feature many hiking trails, heritage livestock, and freshwater fishing on the Potomac River.
Located along Highways 4 and 301, Rosaryville is easy to get to and hard to leave. In keeping with the outdoorsy nature of most of these Southern Maryland towns, Rosaryville is home to a nearly 1,000-acre state park. The Mount Airy Mansion—once owned by the prestigious Calvert family and which historically has played host to wedding services, births, and other parties—is now a museum that’s open to the public. While you’re in town, make time to also stop by the Maryland Veterans Cemetery and the farmer’s market.
VISIT THESE SOUTHERN MARYLAND CITIES TODAY
Next time you’re planning a vacation, consider visiting one of these cities on the southern tip of Maryland. From the western shore of the Chesapeake to the eastern edge of the Potomac, you’re sure to find just the right holiday destination for you and your family.
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