Greetings! Perhaps you are new to the area, or maybe you have lived in Charles County your entire life. You have friends or family coming to visit, and you find yourself wondering, “What’s there to do around here?” Of course, there is Washington, but maybe you are looking for something a little closer to home. Keep reading to find information on historical places of interest, as well as parks and trails for hiking, biking, or paddling.

Southern Maryland’s Historic Landmarks (Images of America) by Christopher Eck

This book provides pictures and a thumbnail sketch of places of historical interest in Charles, St. Mary’s, and Calvert Counties.  It does not give information on hours or addresses but is a great way to find places to look up online.

You can also check out the National Register of Historic sites in Charles county or other sites about places of cultural and historical interest in the county.

If you’re in the mood for a ghost story, the most famous Charles County ghost story is that of the Blue Dog.  Check it out at the library or online:

Speaking of Ghosts, for a true story of hundreds of ghosts, turn the pages of Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay.

Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay by Donald G. Shomette

If you are interested in history and kayaking or canoeing, part three of this book talks about the wooden steamships built during WWI to protect the US coast from German submarines.  Much of the fleet now lies at the bottom of Mallows Bay and can be toured by personal kayaks or canoes.

In July 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) designated Mallows Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary.  Kayak tours and rentals can also be purchased. Check out the following websites for more information:

For other places to paddle in the greater Charles County area, try:

Paddle Maryland: a guide to Rivers, Creeks and Water Trails by Bryan McKay

A guide for kayakers and canoers through the rivers, creeks, marshes, and waterways across the state of Maryland, Paddle Maryland is the book designed for recreational paddlers interested in scenery, wildlife, flora, and fauna. The nearly two dozen water trails Bryan MacKay details in this book cover both tidal and non-tidal paddling trips. All of them feature a particular aspect of Maryland wildlife and environmental conservation.

If you’d rather stay on solid ground and enjoy hiking, here are some resources to keep you on the right path:

Hike Maryland: A Guide to the Scenic Trails of the Free State by Bryan Mackay

Maryland offers its residents and tourists a wealth of natural settings across the Chesapeake basin, through expansive farmland, and to the edge of the Allegheny mountains. Lifelong Marylander, naturalist, and avid hiker Bryan MacKay takes you on 25 hikes through the best and most serene settings across the Free State in Hike Maryland. Each guided trail includes a map, background on the natural history and ecology of the park, forest, or preserve, and a brief essay featuring a local plant, animal, or environmental issue of special interest. Take this book with you as you hike the Appalachian Trail, through Patapsco Valley State Park, along Assateague Island, and across many more settings representing Maryland’s natural heritage.

50 Hikes In Maryland: Walks, Hikes, & Backpacks From The Allegheny Plateau To The Atlantic Ocean by Leonard Atkins

For shorter walks that will keep you in Charles County, try the Charles County Parks and Recreation website for a list of county parks with walking trails:

Perhaps neither boats or boots are your favorite ways to see the sites. Why not try cycling?

Cycle Maryland: A Guide to Bike Paths and Rail Trails by Brian Mackay

As cities across America improve bicycle lanes and infrastructure for two-wheel commuters, Bryan MacKay wants to take Marylanders and visitors to the Free State along recreational trails that provide a way to enjoy varied natural beauty while exercising. MacKay, an ecologist and avid cyclist, illuminates plants, animals, and environmental facts that fellow cyclists will encounter on paved and unpaved paths through the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and stretching further out into less populated regions. While you will likely rely on a GPS tracker to keep you on route, this slim volume will fit easily into a pannier. Pull Cycle Maryland out on a break and use the maps, trail descriptions, and short nature essays as a reference to these 23 trails suitable for road and mountain bikes alike.

Indian Head Rail Trail | Facility Directory Table List | Charles County, MD

The Indian Head Rail Trail is a 13-mile trail from Indian Head to Crain Highway in White Plains.

Playgrounds | Charles County Rec & Parks

And who doesn’t like to play?  Whether you are young in age, young in spirit, or counting your age in dog years, Charles County Parks has something for you.  Frisbee golf, fishing, ball fields, dog parks, and playgrounds can all be found nearby.  Check out the Charles County Parks and Recreation site for playgrounds, pavilions, and places for kids (and dogs) of all ages.

Charles County Tourism

Finally, everyone needs to know about places to eat, and not everyone is ready for hours of outdoor fun, so the Charles County tourism site is the perfect place for you!

Whatever your adventure, grab a friend, family member, dog, or just a good book and get out and explore the attractions around us.  Have fun!