Less than an hour from our nation’s capital lies Charles County, Maryland, which hugs the Potomac and Wicomico Rivers near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Most known for its scenic backroads, bald eagle nesting areas and convenient access to waterfront activities, Charles County brings families closer together with unique and engaging group activities, like baseball games, fishing, wildlife spotting and more. Charles County puts Southern Maryland on the map as one of the most family-friendly destinations along the Chesapeake.
See the Blue Crabs in Action
Home to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, families can catch a baseball game at the Regency Furniture Stadium. The Blue Crabs are a part of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and have had 92 Major League Baseball veterans on the team since 2008. Plan for an end-of-week game to take part in “Foodie Fry-Days” to receive a limited-edition Blue Crabs bucket filled with a different type of French fry every week. Check the schedule for post-game fireworks, giveaways and other special events and activities.
Experience Riverside History
Located in Nanjemoy, Maryland, Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary contains the remnants of more than 100 WW1-era wooden steamships and artifacts from as far back as 12,000 years ago. Take a guided tour of the hulls or visit one of the sanctuaries wildlife viewing areas and fishing spots to see osprey, beavers, blue herons and bald eagles. Along with its rich marine history, the sanctuary is also a part of the traditional homeland and cultural landscape for Piscataway Conoy Confederacy and Sun-Tribes, Piscataway Indian Nation of Maryland and Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia.
Explore Charles County Trails
Home to 16 regional and state parks, Charles County is also ideal for active and outdoorsy families. Gilbert Run Park in Charlotte Hall, Maryland, is home to Wheatley Lake, a 60-acre freshwater lake equipped with fishing piers. Visitors can catch bass, bluegill, trout and catfish along the edge of the water. Also available on the water are pedal boating, row boating and canoeing. For families that prefer to stay dry, the park also has a volleyball court, a 2-mile wooded trail and amenities for lunch breaks and picnics.
Like Gilbert Run Park, Smallwood State Park in Marbury, Maryland also has fishing and hiking opportunities. Fish from the piers or take your family on a charter boat on the Potomac where you can catch largemouth bass, catfish, perch and carp. Explore trails like the Generals Walk Trail that takes visitors on a 2-mile loop through wetlands and forestland. Take the Bluebird Trail, a flat path that leads to a large meadow, the perfect destination for birdwatching.
Fresh Seafood and Gorgeous Views
With over 300 miles of shoreline, it’s no wonder Charles County is known as a culinary destination for seafood. Twenty-five seafood restaurants make up the Crabs and Oysters Trail, eight of which sit directly on the water, overlooking the Potomac or Patuxent Rivers. Make a reservation with your family at places like Captain Charles Seafood House to enjoy fresh catches, live music, an oyster bar and rental boats; or Gilligan’s Pier to sit beside palm trees and indulge in some island cuisine.
Save Room for Sweet Treats
Charles County is also a part of Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail, a guide to the most delectable dessert destinations in the state. Landon’s Ice Cream in La Plata crafts its homemade sweet treats on-premises with high-quality, recognizable ingredients. Choose from local flavors like Old Bay Caramel or Charles Street Crunch. For family members with food sensitivities, Landon’s also offers dairy-free selections.
For families that prefer more natural sources for sweets, Charles County also has several “You Pick Farms” where you can fill your baskets with locally grown berries. Head to Shlagel Farms in Waldorf, Maryland, a third-generation family farm, best known for its strawberry season from May until early October.