Historic St. Mary’s City is an outdoor museum located on the site of Maryland’s first colony and first capital. The museum protects one of the nation’s finest colonial archaeology sites. Decades of research are the foundation of living history exhibits assembled across the landscape. Highlights include the Town Center, where visitors may tour Smith’s Ordinary, a 17th-century forbearer of the modern hotel, and the Print House, where they will hear the story of the first printer south of Boston. Nearby, the Woodland Indian Hamlet details the lives of the Yaocomaco Indians who assisted the first colonists. The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation is a working farm with first-person interpreters and heirloom livestock. The Maryland Dove, a working representation of the square-rigged vessel that carried Lord Baltimore’s original expedition to Maryland is moored on the St. Mary’s River, which appears much as it was 375 years ago. Discover Maryland’s legacy of liberty at the Brick Chapel, a symbol of the colony’s early practice of religious toleration, and the St. John’s Site Museum, which encloses the excavation of the house where the state’s first legislators met. There is also a Visitor Center with exhibits, a museum shop, and a network of trails. Accessible by water, call for information.
Open seasonally. Within this scenic wooded parkland are hiking and nature trails, picnic areas (grills and tables), picnic pavilions, playground areas, fishing piers, and a boat ramp (electric motors only, please). The main attraction is a 60 acre fresh water lake which affords fishing, pedal boating, rowboating and canoeing. Fishermen are able to catch bass, bluegill, trout and catfish. Fishing supplies, fishing licenses and concessions are available. Gilbert Run Park is located 8 miles east of La Plata on Route 6.
Tucked about midway on the Nanjemoy Creek, four miles from the main stem of the Potomac River, this ramp is ideal for power boaters seeking a sheltered launch site. It offers easy access to the river or the great fishing in a wonderful tidal creek where bass, white perch, yellow perch, and catfish abound. For the kayaker, canoeist or small boater this creek offers miles of scenic marshes which abound with wildlife. The winding creek has many high banks offering protection from strong winds and nesting sites for Bald Eagles. The ramp is adjacent to deep water and has a pier to aid in boarding. No launch fee, and the ramp and dock are also designed as a free fishing zone. No fishing license is required by shoreline and pier anglers. The paved parking area accommodates 14 vehicles and trailers, including handicap access. Because of the limited facilities, fishing tournaments of any kind are prohibited at this ramp. This is a trash free park, take out what you bring. Route 6 West from La Plata to Ironside. Turn left onto Route 425, to a left onto Friendship Landing Road. The road ends at the ramp.
4020 11th Street, North Beach
Phone: 410-357-9618 • 301-855-6681
The new Wetlands Overlook Park is a small nature park that will serve as an attraction for those interested in observing the wildlife inhabitants of the wetlands and the migratory fowl which rest there during the flights up and down the Atlantic Seaboard. The park includes a pier and two gazebos for visitors to sit and relax while viewing and photographing the wildlife and wetlands. The area has public restrooms and vending machine refreshments. This park was made possible by funding from the Town of North Beach and Program Open Space (Parks and Playground Grant).
Featured Image: Wetlands Overlook Park North Beach - Credit Clark Vandergrift, OTD
North Side Trail Head/Double Oak Farm: 676 Double Oak Rd, Prince Frederick, MD 20678
Mailing Address: PO Box 2363, Prince Frederick 20678
Phone: 410-414-3400 • Fax: 410-414-3402
Fifteen miles of self-guided serene public hiking trails in two locations. Guided hikes are available from spring through fall. Guided canoe trips are offered from spring through fall on beautiful Parkers Creek. Check the online calendar of events for annual family events. Limited access for wheelchairs – must be arranged prior to visit.
This 260-acre park on the Patuxent River offers pastures, woodlands and wetlands including picnic shelters, a boardwalk, fishing pier, launch area for canoes and kayaks, swimming pool, horse ring and a hall for indoor meetings and receptions.
Kings Landing is a 260-acre park on the Patuxent River and Cocktown Creek offers a variety of outdoor activities. A site for environmental education, the park features pastures, woodland and wetlands. Amenities include picnic shelters with tables and grills, wetlands boardwalk, fishing pier, launch area for canoes and kayaks, swimming pool, shoreline, horse ring and Tom Wisner Hall (for indoor meetings and receptions). Youth camping, horse ring, picnic shelters and hall require reservations. Wheelchair accessible.
10515 Mackall Rd., St. Leonard 20685
Phone: 410-586-8501 • Fax: 410-586-8503
Experience, discover, learn and have fun at JPPM! Over 70 archaeological sites have been identified on the property, reflecting over 12,000 years of human occupation. Tour exhibits in the visitor center and exhibit barn, browse the gift shop, hike miles of trails, discover the Indian Village, launch a canoe or kayak, rent the pavilion or just enjoy the beautiful views.
Also on the grounds is the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, a state-of-the-art archaeological research, conservation and curation facility. The lab also houses a number of major collections acquired through private donation to the Maryland Historical Trust. All of these collections are available for research, education, and exhibit purposes to students, scholars, museum curators, and educators.
Once a pound-net fishing station on the Chesapeake Bay, Flag Ponds Nature Park displays a remarkable variety of natural environments from sandy beaches to freshwater ponds and the forested heights of Calvert Cliffs. Hiking trails, fossil hunting, observation platforms, wetlands boardwalk, fishing pier, the beach and visitors center with wildlife exhibits. Picnic tables and grills are provided. No lifeguards or nettle nets. Swim at your own risk. Limited wheelchair access.
Visitors stopping to look at the swamp’s native plants and wildlife.
2880 Grays Rd., Prince Frederick 20678
Phone: 410-535-5327 • Fax 410-414-3473
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, a 100-acre ecological sanctuary, includes the northernmost naturally occurring stand of bald cypress trees in America. A nature trail features an elevated boardwalk. The Nature Center houses live animals and exhibits. Classes, demonstrations, field trips and special programs are offered throughout the year. Reservations required for groups of 10 or more.