Places to Go
Historic Churches: Beauty and Grace
If you would like to tour any of the churches, we recommend contacting their administrative offices before your visit.
25390 Maddox Road, Chaptico, MD 20621
Christ Episcopal Church was built in 1736 at the former port village of Chaptico near the Wicomico River, a tributary of the Potomac River. The church is noted for its unusual architectural features including the use of elaborately carved columns to express a nave and side aisles. This design feature is not found elsewhere except in great city churches such as Charleston, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The lovely stained glass windows were added in the late 19th and early 20th century by parishioners to honor their deceased loved ones.
8685 Ironsides Road, Nanjemoy, MD 20662
Old Durham Church was one of the original 30 Episcopal churches chartered in Maryland by the Colonial Assembly in 1692. Its history is tied to the establishment of the Episcopal Church as the official religion of the colony at the end of the 17th century. The church building dates to 1732.
5678 Mount Carmel Road, La Plata, MD 20646
The first Carmelite Monastery in the United States, Mount Carmel was established in 1790 by Mother Bernardina Matthews, her two nieces, Sister Mary Aloysia and Sister Mary Eleanora, and Sister Clare Joseph.
21370 Newtowne Neck Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650
Built in 1731, St. Francis Xavier features a rare barrel valut ceiling and two octagonal shaped brick ends. Also on site is Newtown Manor build in 1789. The church and manor house, formerly situated on over 700 acres, was an example of a self-contained Jesuit Community. In 2009, the church sold all but 7.5 acres to the State of Maryland to become Newtown Neck State Park.
8855 Chapel Point Road, Port Tobacco, MD 20677
St. Ignatius Church, one of the oldest continuously active Catholic Parishes in America, has one of the most spectacular views along the Byway. Francis Neal, a former pastor at St. Ignatius, is responsible for bringing the Carmelite Nuns to America in 1790.
47477 Trinity Church Road, St. Mary's City, MD 20686
Construction on the present Trinity Episcopal Church began in 1829 using bricks salvaged from the original 1676 State House, the seat of Maryland colonial government until 1694. From 1695 to 1829 the State House was used as a church for the Protestant faith. The church and surrounding graveyard is located on a scenic bluff overlooking the St. Mary's River.
Museums & Historic Sites: Stretch Your Mind
St. Clement's Island Museum and State Park
Piney Point Lighthouse, Museum and Historic Park
18751 Hogaboom Lane, St. Mary's City, MD 20686
Phone: 800-762-1634, 240-895-4990
Historic St. Mary's City is a museum of living history and archaeology located on the site of Maryland's first capital. Costumed interpreters, recreated colonial structures, and modern exhibits engage visitors in stories of the state's founding and its contribution to religious freedom.
44702 Lighthouse Road, Piney Point, MD 20674
The Piney Point Lighthouse was built in 1836 and retired by the U. S. Coast Guard in 1964. It was known as the "Lighthouse of Presidents" because several American presidents spent their summers on Piney Point. Today the museum chronicles the construction and operation of the lighthouse and documents the efforts of the U. S. Coast Guard to provide safe passage for boats on the Potomac River.
38370 Point Breeze Road, Coltons Point, MD 20626
Situated on Coltons Point across from St. Clement's Island State Park, the St. Clement's Island Museum tells the story of the English colonists who reached the Potomac River in their two small ships, the Ark and the Dove. Exhibits document Maryland's beginnings as a colony founded in the spirit of religious toleration and trace the region's rich river heritage, which featured crabbing, fishing, and oystering.
6655 Rose Hill Road, Port Tobacco, MD 20677
The Thomas Stone National Historic Site is a 322-acre site that tells the story of the relationship of Thomas Stone and his family in the social, political, and economic development of the region from early settlement through the Revolutionary War.
Recreational Sites: Stretch Your Legs
Situated on the Port Tobacco River, just south of Port Tobacco, Chapel Point State Park offers a variety of recreational opportunities amidst beautiful river views. The waterfront area has a small beach with a canoe/kayak launch and paddle-in campsite (permit only) making it an ideal fishing spot. Along the river, hunters can take advantage of four permanent blinds. Further inland, the 600 acre park is ideal hunting ground for squirrles, rabbits, deer, and wild turkey.
This site features the remains of the home of the Reverend William J. Chiles, a former pastor for Nanjemoy Baptist Church during the 1800's. Rev. Chiles is noted for helping the Nanjemoy Baptist Church flourish during the 19th century, his work in the local temperance movement, and his involvement with the African-American Baptist community in Newburg.
4705 Friendship Landing Road, Nanjemoy, MD 20662
Located in Charles County along Nanjemoy Creek, the park includes marshland rich with wildlife. These marshes are popular nesting sites for Bald Eagles, and consequently, are popular among birdwatchers as well. A county-owned boat ramp provides easy access to the Nanjemoy Creek for canoeists and kayakers to enjoy scenic views and the area's rich wildlife from the water. A fishing pier provides access to the water for those who prefer to stay grounded.
1440 Wilson Landing Road, Nanjemoy, MD 20622
Mallows Bay Park contains both natural and historical resources. The Bay is home to at least 152 wooden steamships built between 1917 and 1920, then abandoned in Charles County a few years later. Today, aquatic plants and animals have claimed the remains. Unique ecosystems thrive in the wreckage offering sanctuary to herons, osprey, and bald eagles. Kayakers and conoeists can explore this natural and man-made environment.
11175 Point Lookout Road, Scotland, MD 20687
Point Lookout State Park offers recreation amidst St. Mary's County's most beautiful water views. The park offers camping facilities, the Marshland Nature Center, the Point Lookout Lighthouse built in 1830, and the Civil War Museum which documents the park's history as a prison camp that held an estimated 52,264 Confederate Soldiers during the Civil War.
Purse State Park is located approximately 11 miles south of Smallwood State Park along the Byway, between MD 244 and Wades Bay on the Potomac River. The park is primarily forests and marshland. Forged by hunters; these trails are also enjoyed by birdwatchers and hikers. On the other side of the park, along the shore of the Potomac River, a different kind of hunter can search for fossilized sharks' teeth, bones and shell fragments; a popular activity at Purse State Park.