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Top 10 Southern Maryland Attractions

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Southern Maryland is a breathtaking region boasting a thousand miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers and offers a diverse variety of attractions including state and national parks, sandy beaches, maritime museums, lighthouses, and much more. The region known as Southern Maryland includes Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's Counties. Just a short drive from Washington, DC, this area is a great one to explore. Here is a guide to the top attractions.

1. Historic St. Mary’s City

© Historic St. Mary's City

18751 Hogaboom Lane, St. Mary's City, Maryland. Southern Maryland’s most famous attraction, the outdoor living history museum is located on the site of Maryland`s first colony and first capital. Exhibit areas include a tall ship, a Woodland Indian Hamlet, a tobacco plantation with livestock and Town Center. Costumed interpreters provide visitors with hands-on activities about colonial life.

2. Calvert Cliffs State Park

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9500 H. G. Trueman Road, Lusby, Maryland. Located in Calvert County, Maryland, the park offers a sandy beach, freshwater and tidal marshland, hiking trails, picnic areas and a recycled tire playground. The massive cliffs were formed over 15 million years ago. Today, visitors explore the cliffs to search for unique fossils and the remains of prehistoric species including sharks, whales, rays, and seabirds.  

3. Calvert Marine Museum

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14200 Solomons Island Road, Solomons, Maryland. The museum interprets the cultural and natural history of Southern Maryland with three themes: regional paleontology, estuarine life of the tidal Patuxent River and adjacent Chesapeake Bay, and maritime history of the region. Indoor exhibits feature models, paintings, woodcarvings, aquariums, fossils and boats. Outdoor exhibits include a boat basin, river otter habitat and a recreated salt marsh. The museum is home to the Drum Point Lighthouse, a beautifully restored landmark, complete with furnishings of the early 20th century.

4. Annmarie Garden Sculpture Park and Arts Center

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13480 Dowell Road, Dowell, Maryland. Located in Solomons Island, the 30-acre sculpture garden features a 1/4 mile walking path featuring over thirty works on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.  The arts building includes rotating exhibitions, a gift shop, and café.  A variety of annual festivals, family activities, and public programs are available.

5. Point Lookout State Park

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11175 Point Lookout Road, Scotland, Maryland. With its location along the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, the park offers recreational opportunities including swimming, fishing, boating and camping. The Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center offer seasonal public programs and demonstrations highlighting the history of Point Lookout and the natural environment.

6. Patuxent River Naval Air Museum

© St. Mary's County Division of Tourism

22156 Three Notch Road, Lexington Park, Maryland. The Navy`s aircraft and flight systems have been evaluated and refined here since World War II. The museum is the nation`s only official Navy Museum dedicated to naval aviation research, development, testing and evaluation. Exhibits include a propulsion display, unmanned aerial vehicles, crew system artifacts, ejection seats, radars, and test instrumentation. An outdoor aircraft park displays 21 naval aircraft, including the X-32B and X-35C Joint Strike Fighter concept demonstrators.

7. Sotterly Plantation

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44300 Sotterley Lane, Hollywood, Maryland. Sotterley Plantation is the sole surviving Tidewater plantation in Maryland that is fully interpreted and open to the public. It overlooks the scenic Patuxent River and includes nearly 100 acres of open fields, gardens, and shoreline. The site includes more than 20 outbuildings including a Customs Warehouse, Smoke House, and an original Slave Cabin dating to the 1830s.

8. Flag Ponds Nature Park

© Calvert County Department of Economic Development
Calvert Beach/Ball Rd. Prince Frederick, Maryland. The park was once a pound-net fishing station on the Chesapeake Bay. Today, it offers a half-mile hike down to view the Calvert Cliffs, one of the top ten shelling beaches in the United States. There are observation platforms at two ponds and a Visitors Center with wildlife displays.

9. Piney Point Lighthouse

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44720 Lighthouse Road, Piney Point, Maryland. The oldest lighthouse on the Potomac River, constructed in 1836, is today set on a 6-acre park with a picnic area, kayak launch, a boardwalk, pier and sandy beach. The museum features artifacts from the WW 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 of historic wooden boats that once plied the waters of the Chesapeake Bay is housed in a separate building.

10. Maryland International Raceway

© Maryland International Raceway
27861 Budds Creek Road, Mechanicsville, Maryland. The facility is the largest motorsports raceway in the state of Maryland and hosts more than 100 events throughout the year. See exciting machines including Pro Stocks, Pro Mods, Funny Cars, Jet Cars and more.

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