Charles County, the gateway to historic Southern Maryland, is a treasure chest of the state’s early history. The Maryland Indian Cultural Center in Waldorf depicts the life of Native Americans, especially the Piscataways, before European settlers arrived. The Afro-American Heritage Society in LaPlata reveals the life and history of African Americans in Charles County.
Founded in 1658, the county was named for Charles Calvert, third Lord Baltimore. In Port Tobacco, one of the oldest communities on the East Coast and once, Maryland’s second largest seaport – it was settled in 1634 – you can see the home of Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
At the restored Port Tobacco Courthouse, which has exhibits on tobacco and local archaeology, costumed docents tell the story of the town. In Waldorf, stop by the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Home Museum. Dr. Mudd treated the fractured leg of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln.
Smallwood State Park is one of four state parks in the county. At the park is the Smallwood Retreat House, built around 1760. It was the home of General William Smallwood, a prominent veteran of the American Revolution who became one of Maryland’s early governors.
The county affords numerous options for fishing, canoeing, biking, hiking, birding and golf. You’ll also find a significant population of nesting Bald Eagles, a variety of wildlife and 300 miles of shoreline.
Visit the Charles County web site