United States Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C. Guide Things To Do Essentials Restaurants Nightlife Where to Stay Neighborhoods Events Getaways All Washington, D.C. 16 Top Things to Do in Southern Maryland By Rachel Cooper Rachel Cooper Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Rachel Cooper is a travel writer who has lived in the Washington, D.C., area for more than 25 years. She is also the author of several books covering the capital and mid-Atlantic regions. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 10/01/21 Share Pin Email MikeBagley64 / Getty Images Southern Maryland—just a short drive from Washington, D.C.—is a breathtaking region boasting 1,000 miles of shoreline along the Patuxent and Potomac rivers and Chesapeake Bay, the country's largest estuary. The area known as Southern Maryland includes Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's counties and offers a diversity of attractions with a fascinating past, including shipwrecks from World War I, prehistoric animal fossils, and a plantation listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You'll also find beautiful state and national parks, sandy beaches, maritime museums, lighthouses, and much more to explore. 01 of 16 Go Crabbing in the Seafood Capital of the World Karen Kasmauski / Getty Images View Map Address Crisfield, MD 21817, USA Get directions Web Visit website Crisfield, which is Maryland's southernmost town and sits right on the Chesapeake Bay, has a long history with fishing. The city was founded as a fishing community in the 19th century and still claims to be the Seafood Capital of the World. You can go out hunting for oysters and rockfish, but the most important animal to Marylanders is, hands down, the blue crab. The recreational crabbing season beings in April and typically lasts until December, but you'll have to apply for a license and learn the regulations before you head out to the waters. Blue crabs are a delicacy in Maryland and crab-catching is a treasured activity for the locals, so grab your net or your line to take part in this favorite pastime. Continue to 2 of 16 below. 02 of 16 Imagine the Past at Historic St. Mary's City Historic St. Mary's City View Map Address 18751 Hogaboom Ln, St Marys City, MD 20686, USA Get directions Phone +1 240-895-4990 Web Visit website Southern Maryland's most famous attraction, Historic St. Mary's City outdoor living history museum, is located on the site of the state's first colony and original capital. Exhibit areas include a tall ship; a Woodland Indian Hamlet that shows how the Yaocomaco people lived; a tobacco plantation with livestock; and the Town Center where visitors can see a recreated inn, store, and other structures. Costumed interpreters provide visitors with hands-on activities about colonial life and a variety of guided tours can be reserved. Continue to 3 of 16 below. 03 of 16 Go Tasting Along Patuxent Wine Trail BackyardProduction / Getty Images Maryland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of wine country, but the wineries along the left and right banks of the Patuxent River are producing some of the best wines on the Eastern Seaboard. They're mostly concentrated in Calvert and St. Mary's counties, where the climate and soil composition has been compared to Tuscany. Many of the wineries have even been designed to evoke a Tuscan villa, with breathtaking views of the vineyards and nearby Chesapeake Bay. The region specializes in Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, and Cabernet Franc grapes, but you can try all types of wine in the area's top wineries. Some of the highest-rated ones on the Patuxent Wine Trail include Cove Point Winery in Lusby or Running Hare Vineyard outside of Prince Frederick. Continue to 4 of 16 below. 04 of 16 Follow the Escape Route of Lincoln's Assassin Raymond Boyd / Getty Images View Map Address 9118 Brandywine Rd, Clinton, MD 20735, USA Get directions Phone +1 301-868-1121 Web Visit website You probably know that John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at the Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., but it may come as a surprise that Booth escaped the theater and was on the lamb in southern Maryland for two weeks before being captured and killed. He first went to the home of Mary Surratt, a Confederate sympathizer who harbored Booth in the days after the assassination. Her house is now the Surratt House Museum, where you can learn all about the first woman to be executed by the U.S. government and this tumultuous period in the nation's history. Continue to 5 of 16 below. 05 of 16 Look for Fossils at Calvert Cliffs State Park TripSavvy / Rachel Cooper View Map Address 10540 H G Trueman Rd, Lusby, MD 20657, USA Get directions Phone +1 443-975-4360 Web Visit website The huge cliffs at Calvert Cliffs State Park in Lusby came about over 10 million years ago and are a prominent part of the Chesapeake Bay shoreline for about 24 miles in Calvert County. Visitors explore the cliffs to search for unique fossils and the remains of prehistoric species including whales, sharks, rays, and seabirds. The park also offers a sandy beach, more than 10 miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and a recycled tire playground. Continue to 6 of 16 below. 06 of 16 Learn at Calvert Marine Museum TripSavvy / Rachel Cooper View Map Address 14200 Solomons Island Rd S, Solomons, MD 20688, USA Get directions Phone +1 410-326-2042 Web Visit website Families 4.2 The family-centric museum in Solomons Island interprets the cultural and natural history of Southern Maryland with three themes: regional paleontology, the estuarine life of the tidal Patuxent River and the adjacent Chesapeake Bay, and the maritime history of the region. Indoor exhibits feature models, paintings, woodcarvings by skilled artisans, aquariums, fossils, and boats. A boat basin, a river otter habitat, and a recreated salt marsh make up the outdoor exhibits. The museum is home to the Drum Point Lighthouse, a beautifully restored landmark, complete with furnishings of the early 20th century and guided tours all year long. Continue to 7 of 16 below. 07 of 16 Tour the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum St. Mary's County Division of Tourism View Map Address 22156 Three Notch Rd, Lexington Park, MD 20653-2008, USA Get directions Phone +1 301-863-1900 Web Visit website The Navy's aircraft and flight systems have been evaluated and refined at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station since World War II. Located in Lexington Park in the heart of Southern Maryland, the museum is dedicated to naval aviation research, development, testing, and evaluation. Enjoy flight simulators and exhibits that include an engine and propulsion display, an art and photography gallery, weapons systems, naval aviation in space, and more. An outdoor aircraft park displays more than 20 naval aircraft. Check out the Flightline Gift Shop for aviation and military-themed merchandise. Continue to 8 of 16 below. 08 of 16 See Shipwrecks at Mallows Bay Park Charles County Tourism View Map Address 1440 Wilson Landing Rd, Nanjemoy, MD 20662, USA Get directions Located in Nanjemoy, Mallows Bay Park is an archaeological wonder and a National Marine Sanctuary that's a unique destination for fishing, wildlife viewing, and hiking. The waters of the Potomac River along Mallows Bay are home to the World War I Ghost Fleet, the biggest ship graveyard in the Northern Hemisphere. This diverse collection of shipwrecks totals more than 200 known vessels dating back to the Revolutionary War and World War I. Kayak tours of the wreckage can be arranged through Atlantic Canoe & Kayak. Continue to 9 of 16 below. 09 of 16 Visit Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center TripSavvy / Rachel Cooper View Map Address 13470 Dowell Rd, Solomons, MD 20688, USA Get directions Phone +1 410-326-4640 Web Visit website Located in Solomons Island, the 30-acre sculpture garden has a quarter-mile walking path featuring over 30 works from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art. The Arts Building includes a variety of exhibitions, such as "When Darkness Falls: Night Explorations" and an Ornament Show & Sale with hand-crafted ornaments by over 20 regional artists. Visitors will also find a gift shop and café. A variety of annual festivals, family activities, and public programs are available. Continue to 10 of 16 below. 10 of 16 View a Former Plantation TripSavvy / Rachel Cooper View Map Address 44300 Sotterley Ln, Hollywood, MD 20636, USA Get directions Phone +1 301-373-2280 Web Visit website Historic Sotterley, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the sole surviving Tidewater plantation in Maryland that is fully interpreted and open to the public. Located in Hollywood, the property overlooks the scenic Patuxent River and includes nearly 100 acres of open fields, gardens, and shoreline. The site includes several outbuildings, including a 19th-century schoolhouse, a smokehouse, and an original slave cabin dating to the 1830s. Guided tours of the 1703 Manor House and specialty tours are available. Continue to 11 of 16 below. 11 of 16 Swim at Point Lookout State Park TripSavvy / Rachel Cooper View Map Address 11175 Point Lookout Rd, Scotland, MD 20687, USA Get directions Phone +1 301-872-5688 Web Visit website With its location along the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, the park in Scotland offers recreational opportunities including swimming, fishing, boating, and camping at the 143 wooded campsites or six cabins available. The onsite Civil War Museum andMarshland Nature Center offer seasonal public programs and demonstrations highlighting the natural environment and history of Point Lookout, where more than 52,000 Confederate soldiers were imprisoned during the Civil War. Continue to 12 of 16 below. 12 of 16 Check Out an 1836 Lighthouse TripSavvy / Rachel Cooper View Map Address 44720 Lighthouse Rd, Piney Point, MD 20674, USA Get directions Phone +1 301-994-1471 Web Visit website Constructed in 1836, the Piney Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on the Potomac River. The six-acre Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park has a pier, kayak launch, boardwalk, picnic area, and sandy beach (not for swimming or fishing). The museum features artifacts from the World War II U-1105 Black Panther German submarine, which lies just offshore in an area designated as the state's first Historic Shipwreck Dive Preserve. A maritime exhibit displays historic wooden boats that once floated in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Continue to 13 of 16 below. 13 of 16 Get Away to Chesapeake Beach flownaksala / Getty Images View Map Address Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732, USA Get directions Web Visit website The historic town of Chesapeake Beach, located in Calvert County, offers tranquil secluded beaches, restaurants by the shore, fun family events, and the Chesapeake Beach Water Park—featuring waterfalls, water slides, a lazy river, and additional activities. The Rod 'N' Reel Resort is a prime getaway destination that features numerous guest rooms, two restaurants, a full-service spa with everything from facials to acupuncture, an indoor heated swimming pool, a fitness center, and more. Continue to 14 of 16 below. 14 of 16 Canoe and Hike in the American Chestnut Land Trust Renee Sklarew / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 View Map Address Double Oak Road Double Oak Rd, Prince Frederick, MD 20678, USA Get directions Phone +1 410-414-3400 Web Visit website Outdoor Enthusiasts 4.1 The American Chestnut Land Trust, established in 1986, protects approximately 3,000 acres of wetlands, forest, and farmland in Calvert County. You can canoe over 1.5 miles through salt marshes and wooded freshwater wetlands and observe minimal signs of human impact. The trust maintains 22 miles of self-guided hiking trails. Guided hikes and canoe trips are offered seasonally. Continue to 15 of 16 below. 15 of 16 Head to Maryland International Raceway Maryland International Raceway View Map Address 27861 Budds Creek Rd, Mechanicsville, MD 20659-2961, USA Get directions Phone +1 301-884-9833 Web Visit website The Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville is the largest motorsports raceway in the state, fitting 10,000 enthusiasts into its seats. The facility hosts more than 100 events, typically from March through November. Visitors can check out drag racing machines including Pro Stocks, Pro Mods, Funny Cars, Jet Cars, and others. Continue to 16 of 16 below. 16 of 16 Hike and Bike at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum Reed Wiedower / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 View Map Address 10515 Mackall Rd, St Leonard, MD 20685, USA Get directions Phone +1 410-586-8501 Web Visit website History Buffs 4.2 Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum is a 560-acre property located in Southern Maryland that features a Visitor Center with interactive exhibits that share the archaeological history of Calvert County and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory (MAC Lab) houses over 8 million artifacts, and the property has more than 65 identified archaeological sites. The park also offers picnic areas, hiking and biking trails, canoeing, and kayaking. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit The Top 20 Historic Attractions in Maryland Fun Things to Do in Klamath Falls, Oregon Explore the Outdoors: Recreational Activities Near Washington, D.C. The Best Beach in Every State 16 Things to Do in South Carolina 10 Things to Do on the Capitol Riverfront in Washington DC Virginia Beach: Planning Your Trip The Top 12 Things to Do in Greenville, South Carolina See Maps of the Chesapeake Bay: Rivers and Access Points The Best State Park in Every State The Top 15 Things to Do in Pennsylvania Best Places to Visit Near Washington, D.C. Sandy Point State Park: The Complete Guide 15 Great Places to Visit in Western Maryland Kayaking in Washington, D.C.: On the Potomac River & Beyond 20 Great Small Towns Near Washington, D.C.