Description - Southern Maryland Travel Region is comprised of three counties: Charles
on the west, St. Mary's on the south, and Calvert on the east. Charles
and St. Mary's share the southern border of the Potomac River, an
officially designated American Heritage River. Calvert County is
saddled by the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay. All three counties
are part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, which stretches from New Jersey
to Florida. The area has little elevation, sometimes reaching 400
feet. Much of the area is swampy, great for bald eagle habitat, but
miserably humid in summer. At one time, the dominant agricultural
product was tobacco. Farms still grow corn, hay, soybeans, while still
harvesting fish and shellfish from the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac
River. Today, the area is comprised of sprawling Washington, D.C.
suburbs with large tracts of nature preserves, historic sites, and state
parks protecting green space for both human and animal.
- Outdoor recreation is plentiful in Southern Maryland offering nine state parks, a number of public beaches, county parks, and nature preserves all with a unified objective, preserve and protect natural habitats for human enjoyment and animal survival.
Within 20 minutes of Washington, D.C., visitors are given the wonderful opportunity of viewing the American bald eagle, barred owls, and blue herons in historic Charles County. Where raptors and long-legged waders exist, fish exist also. One of the many popular fishing sights in Southern Maryland is Smallwood State Park, home to the Maryland Bassmasters Top 150 tournament. However, people come to this 630-acre park for more than just fishing. Picnicking and wildlife viewing across tidal creeks and wetlands provide sights of beaver, turtles, osprey, and a variety of waterfowl. In addition, folks come to pitch a tent at one of the 16 campsites or rent a rustic cabin overlooking the creek.
Paddlers can find quiet waters at Friendship Landing in Nanjemoy, a rural setting that has changed little over the past centuries. Nearby at Chapel Point State Park, a scenic overlook provides a panoramic view of the river and a view of St. Ignatius Church, site of a stop along the Underground Railroad.
If biking is your thing, you might want to consider following the escape route of John Wilkes Booth in the days following his assassination of President Lincoln. The 24-mile route begins at the historic home of Samuel Mudd, the doctor who set the leg Booth broke when jumping from the stage of Ford's Theater. Incidentally, Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, for a time served as a prison developing a reputation for relentless punishment. This remote site is where Dr. Mudd was sentenced as a result of aiding Booth. However, Dr. Samuel Mudd had his sentence revoked and was released in 1869 as a result of his heroic efforts in aiding victims of yellow fever.
If you're looking for history earlier than the Civil War-era then travel to Purse State Park, a 90-acre reserve where fossil hunters are permitted within designated areas. Moss-covered rocks and stunted trees characterize the beautiful park. Another park with roots from centuries past is Calvert Cliffs State Park where fossils have been discovered around majestic cliffs that cut into the Chesapeake Bay. The park permits fossil collecting and is also an excellent park for hiking, fishing, biking, and picnicking.
Hikers will find trails available throughout the region; one of the most popular hiking destinations is Greenwell State Park, one of four nearby parks offering nearly 4,000 combined acres of wilderness.
Museums and historic sites highlighting the Civil War and the Revolutionary War include notables such as Point Lookout State Park, which contains the Fort Lincoln structure erected by Confederate prisoners of war, more than 3,300 of whom died inside the camp. The park also contains the only federal monument honoring an enemy of war.
A variety of other recreations exist in Southern Maryland especially those centered on the water resources. Explore the quaint towns that follow the water's edge including favorites such as Chesapeake Beach, with its marinas, seafood restaurants, antique shops, and railway museum. Many of the waterside towns offer guided fishing services and charter cruises including the 1899 Wm. B. Tennison. With miles of shoreline and thousands of preserved low-lying land, outdoor enthusiasts are offered solitude and remoteness despite the nearby populace.
Recreation - Boating, fishing, windsurfing, jet skiing, paddling, hiking, wildlife viewing, biking, and touring historical sights are just some of the outdoor recreations available in Southern Maryland.
Climate - Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.
Southern Maryland is located below Washington, D.C. bordered by well-known bodies of water, the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River.