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Historic St. Mary’s City

Step into history

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In St. Mary’s City, the very earth beneath your feet holds a story and every corner you turn will open a new chapter. 

1
Visit Maryland’s first capital and birthplace of American religious tolerance
St. Mary's City Historic District Catholic Church
Historic St. Mary's City

Historic St. Mary’s City is an idyllic, waterfront hamlet, and not just because of its location between the farms of Southern Maryland and the beautiful St. Mary’s River. Founded in 1634, the Maryland colony was founded as a place where English Catholics could escape religious persecution. Tour the reconstructed buildings, including the gorgeous, brick statehouse that once served as the capital of the colony.

2
Climb aboard the tall-ship Dove
Step onboard the Maryland Dove in Historic St. Mary's City.

See Historic St. Mary’s City and a replica of The Dove, a ship which carried Maryland’s first permanent settlers from England across the Atlantic Ocean.

Gazing at the Dove from the riverfront cliffs above, it’s hard to imagine climbing aboard and setting sail for an unknown new world. Walking the decks of the Dove, a reconstruction of the original which, along with a larger ship, the Arc, brought the first Marylanders to nearly 400 years ago, brings a new appreciation for the courage of those brave colonists. A tour of this proud little ship is a true window through time, and your kids will think it’s a pirate ship. 

3
Explore active archeological sites
archaeology site
Historic St. Mary's City

In Historic St. Mary’s City, the ground beneath your feet is a treasure trove; and neighboring St. Mary’s College of Maryland is a leader in colonial archeology. A tour of St. Mary’s City isn’t just a way to learn about our history, it’s also a fascinating window into the science we use to uncover that history. 

4
Experience the past with living historians
Historic St. Mary's City State House Garden with Interpreters
Historic St. Mary's City

Mingle with traditional farmers and merchants, meet heirloom farm animals, and experience what life was like on a plantation in 1635. The living historians of St. Mary’s bring a level of realism to this reconstructed village unmatched anywhere in the colonial world. 

 

5
Find a stretch of beach and cast your worries to the river
group looking at ship

Once you set foot in St. Mary’s, you’ll understand why the colonists chose this place to make a home. Beyond the history, St. Mary’s is a place of unparalleled beauty. Gaze out from the cliffs over Church Point at the Dove below, floating on the idyllic waters of the St. Mary’s river, wander through lush forests and the secret Valley of the Daffodils, and find a spot on a sandy beach. You’ll never want to leave.