The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center opened on the Maryland Eastern Shore just south of Cambridge on March 10, 2017. Tubman was born and raised in Dorchester County and for generations, the local stories of this brave woman's journey to freedom have hardly been told. A new state park, visitor center and national monument will commemorate the life and legacy of the legendary abolitionist through state-of-the-art exhibits and educational programming. Visitors will learn about Tubman's early years in Maryland, about the Underground Railroad resistance movement and her work as a freedom fighter, liberator, leader and humanitarian.
The main building also features a gift shop, information desk, research library and a temporary exhibit space. The 17-acre park is located adjacent to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and within an easy driving distance to many key sites along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.
Local, state and federal governments have worked together for more than a decade to acquire property and develop interpretive experiences that highlight the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman. The Visitor Center is also a key destination for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and the headquarters for the Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park and the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.
Getting to the Park:
Address: 4068 Golden Hill Road Church Creek, MD. The park is located 97 miles (2 hours) from Baltimore and Washington DC, 69 miles (1.5 hours) from Annapolis, and 66 miles (1.25 hours) from Ocean City. The town of Cambridge is approximately 12 miles away and offers dining, shopping and overnight accommodations.
Directions from Washington, DC, Virginia, Baltimore, and Points West: Take Route 50 East, pass over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, continue on Route 50 towards the Town of Cambridge. Turn right on Woods Road. Turn right on Route 16. Turn left onto Route 335 (Golden Hill Road), drive for 4.5 miles and the Visitor Center will be on your right. See a map of the Maryland Eastern Shore
When the exhibits in the Visitor Center are completed in March 2017, the park will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
Highlights of the State Park and Visitor Center
- The new facility includes a 16,000 square feet LEED Silver rated Visitor Center/Exhibit Hall and Administrative Building
- Museum quality exhibits showcase how the landscape of the Choptank River region shaped Tubman's early years and the importance of her faith, family and community. The displays also feature information about her role as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and her work as a freedom fighter.
- The interpretive video “The Life and Legacy of Harriet Tubman” will compliment the exhibits by providing an overview about the history of the Underground Railroad and Tubman’s connections to it.
- A Legacy Garden provides an open quiet space bounded by a network of paths that provide opportunities for more interpretation and reflection
- A Picnic Pavilion with a stone fireplace provides amenities for groups and can be reserved in advance for a fee.
For more information, visit dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/eastern/tubman.aspx
About the National Park and Monument
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument is a new park on land that was the site of the home of Jacob Jackson, a free black farmer and veterinarian who was Harriet Tubman’s friend and confidante. There are no planned national park facilities on this site. The National Park Service will provide educational programs and services to help visitors explore the region's landmarks related to the Underground Railroad. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/hatu
About the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway
The Byway includes 30+ key sites in Dorchester and Caroline counties in Maryland that are associated with Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. The Byway is 125 miles long and at least six hours are suggested to explore the sites. Visitors can explore the region with opportunities to hike, bike, paddle, shop, and dine along the way. For more information, visit harriettubmanbyway.org.
More about Nearby Sightseeing
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is located adjacent to the Visitor Center and is a great place for birding, photography, bicycling, and paddling. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Blackwater is a waterfowl sanctuary for birds that is comprised of over 25,000 acres of tidal wetlands, open fields, and deciduous forests. The refuge is home to 250 species of birds, 35 species of reptiles and amphibians, 165 species of threatened and endangered plants, and numerous mammals.
Cambridge is the nearest town, located about 12 miles away along the Choptank River, a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The historic district features brick paved streets with parks, a marina, museums, and a lighthouse on the water. For more information, see a Visitor’s Guide to Cambridge, Maryland.
The resort communities along the Eastern Shore offer a wide range of recreational activities and host annual events such as seafood festivals, boating regattas and races, boat shows, arts and crafts shows, and more. Read more about Visiting the Maryland Eastern Shore.