Southern Maryland Region
The birthplace of religious freedom, the Southern region of Maryland is where settlers first stepped ashore in 1634 on land that has retained the charm of 300 years ago. Surrounded on three sides by water, this gorgeous area offers many miles of shoreline, rivers, and bays. The surrounding waters rule the lands and lives of those who live here. Long scenic drives will delight you with many wondrous creatures - bald eagles, blue heron, and barred owls to name a few. Fishing, canoeing, and fossil hunting are popular sports, and hiker-happy state parks offer thousands of acres of wilderness to explore. No matter what you choose to do, don’t leave the region before tasting its famous one-of-a-kind stuffed ham. But be careful - you may not want to leave this gentle land.
Select a Southern Maryland County to Explore
Welcome to Charles County, home of legends, lore, and room to explore!
History and heritage.
Home to what was once the largest seaport on the East Coast, in Historic Port Tobacco, some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence lived or passed through here. Founded in 1641, St. Ignatius is the oldest Catholic Parishes in continuous service in the United States. The story of John Wilkes Booth Escape crosses through the county, you too can "Chase Lincoln’s Assassin" traveling the scenic back roads of the county. Kayak the Ghost Fleet of Civil War and World War I ships at the newly designated Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary of Mallows Bay. Uncover the stories of the Underground Railroad and discover how Charles County is helping to shape Maryland as the most powerful Underground Railroad storytelling destination in the world.
Mallows Bay - Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary.
In September 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State of Maryland and Charles County announced the designation of Mallows Bay as the 14th national marine sanctuary in the nation. The purpose of the designation is to protect the remains of more than 100 abandoned steamships and vessels built as part of America’s engagement in World War I. This can’t miss destination is located along an 18-square mile stretch of Potomac River coast in Charles County. The new sanctuary boasts a collection of historic shipwrecks dating back to the Civil War, as well as archaeological artifacts nearly 12,000 years old. Its culturally rich landscape also includes sites that represent the history of Native American communities in the area, the once-booming Potomac River fishing industry, and the Civil War. Mallows Bay offers unique archaeological, recreational, historical, cultural, educational, and environmental opportunities for residents and tourists. The site hosts the remains of the largest ‘Ghost Fleet’ of the World War I steamships, wildlife viewing areas, fishing, boating access and a hiking trail.
Discover the quaint shops and unique antique stores that are all over Charles County. You should not miss Glory Day’s Antiques in Newburg, where the eclectic array of items will not disappoint. The charming shops that line the streets of La Plata offer visitors eccentric items to choose from that are one of a kind finds. Don’t forget to make one of the many Amish Markets a stop on your visit.
Saint Mary’s County
Welcome to St. Mary’s County! This Chesapeake Bay destination is brimming with history, outdoor fun, vibrant culture - and passionate people eager to share it all with you. Just a short drive from Washington, D.C., discover the mid-Atlantic’s best kept travel secret.
Find inspiration where the Potomac and Chesapeake meet.
Explore the past, savor the beauty. What’s there to do in St. Mary’s County? Plenty! If you’re into history, outdoor recreation, or love being on the water, we’ve got you covered. We’ve got some of the finest colonial sites in the nation, plus War of 1812 and Civil War sites, and a rich maritime history illuminated by our four lighthouses.
With over 500 miles of shoreline on the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, and Chesapeake Bay, plus countless other rivers, streams, tidal marshes, and inlets, St. Mary’s County is a water wonderland. Need a place to launch? We’ve got locations throughout the county to launch boats and kayaks. With over 500 miles of creeks, tidal inlets and open water, paddlers have lots of choices.
Food and drink.
St. Mary’s County has lots of great places to eat - from seafood dives to sidewalk cafes to white table cloth establishments. Our local hang-outs are authentically local and our waterfront eateries offer some amazing views!
Weekend cycling excursions.
Come cycle through Maryland’s best kept secret! Clean country air, beautiful vistas, and a diverse and welcoming community await you in St. Mary’s County … so, get on your bike and RIDE! Whether you’re an experienced solo cyclist or a member of a pedal-powered posse, St Mary’s County offers one of the safest trail networks in Southern Maryland. Our miles and miles of open roads wind through both farmlands and forests with historic landmarks and interesting stops around almost every bend. Whether you want to ride through time learning Maryland’s history from her birth, taste local wines and spirits as you meander along, or challenge yourself to a rigorous hundred-mile ride, St. Mary’s is truly a pedaler’s paradise!