Charles County Attractions

attractionsJust an hour and a half drive south of Baltimore, and a short half hour drive south of Washington D.C. is the ever growing Charles County Maryland. 

Created in 1658, Charles County was named in honor of Charles Calvert, 3rd Lord Baltimore. It is one of Maryland’s oldest counties and has a rich history and plethora of attractions that aren’t well known to most tourists to the region.

Charles County attractions are numerous and varied. There is something for everyone, included are a few historic sites to visit for history buffs.

A major port on the Patuxent River, Benedict Maryland was one of the first ports ever established for 1683’s Act for Advancement of Trade. In 1814 it was the landing site for 4,500 British troops which marched to Washington D.C. captured the city and burned it. And during the Civil War, Camp Stanton was set up to recruit and train African-American infantry to serve in the Union Army.

The La Plata train station is a great place to visit if one is interested in railroad history. The historic two room station recalls the railroad’s impact on Charles County during the 1800’s growth of the county.

Visitors to the area can also follow the path of John Wilkes Booth after his assassination of Abraham Lincoln. East of Waldorf is Dr. Samuel Mudd’s house where Booth took refuge to get treatment for the broken ankle he suffered right after Lincoln's assassination.

Port Tobacco Historic District is a district that includes five surviving 18th and 19th century buildings. One of which is the Port Tobacco Courthouse Museum which has various exhibits throughout the year.

Not only are Charles County attractions historic but there are plenty of other activities to do as well.

Through a gift from the Department of Interior’s Federal Land to Parks program, Charles County has completed conversion of an abandoned railroad corridor into a bike trail 13 miles long. The trail connects Route 301 in White Plains to the town of Indian Head. Not only is it a wonderful ride through nature, but it is historic as well. Built in 1918 as a route for supplies for the Navy’s Indian Head Powder Factory the elevated rail passes through the Mattawoman Creek valley.

Eight miles east of La Plata is Gilbert Run Park. This parkland is full of hiking and nature trails, picnic and playground areas as well. The park also contains a 60 acre fresh water lake which is great for boaters and fishers alike. Gilbert Run Park is open from March to November.

Surrounded by the Chicamuxen, Mattawoman creeks and the Potomac River is the Chicamuxen Watchable Wildlife Center which is operated by the Naval Surface Warfare Center. This 30 acre facility is a wonderful wetland preserve where visitors can observe wildlife in an undisturbed natural habitat.

This is just a sample of what Charles County has to offer. The list of Charles County attractions is far and wide, from parks, historical landmarks to outdoor activities, it can give any trip to Washington D.C. a run for its money.

Bonnie Baldus Grier
Bonnie Baldus Grier
101 Charles St. La Plata MD 20646