About Charles County Office of Tourism
- Charles County, Maryland the wild side of the Potomac Located twenty minutes south of Washington, D.C. and just under one hour from historic Annapolis, history buffs still find Charles Countyâ€™s vicinity as convenient to the nationâ€™s capitol as did other â€œvisitorsâ€ through many eras. The small town of Benedict is the site where British troops landed during the War of 1812, marched to Washington, D.C., and burned the city. Two of the wounded British soldiers died and were buried at Old Fields Chapel cemetery in Hughesville. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincolnâ€™s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, stopped at the home of a country doctor, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, to have his injured leg set before continuing his escape into Virginia. Had it not been for this unexpected visitor to Charles County, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd would have remained an anonymous figure in Americaâ€™s history. The Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Home is furnished with original pieces and is open to the public. Charles County is not only known for its infamous visitors, but has also had its share of memorable residents as well. General William Smallwood was a hero of the American Revolution and after the war, he was appointed Governor of Maryland. The Smallwood Retreat House is located within Smallwood State Park. Thomas Stone was a well-respected lawyer and politician remembered best as one of the four Maryland signers of the Declaration of Independence. The Thomas Stone National Historic Site is part of the National Park Service. One of the leading Civil War figures was Olivia Floyd of Rose Hill, an agent and messenger for the Confederacy. Matthew Henson, the first explorer to reach the North Pole, was also a Charles County native. The nationâ€™s oldest active parish with a continual pastorate, St. Ignatius Catholic Church was founded in 1641 by Reverend Andrew White, S.J. who accompanied Catholic settlers on the Ark and the Dove. The church and manor house, a residence for priests at Chapel Point for more than 300 years, are located on 120-foot bluff overlooking the mouth of the Port Tobacco River where it joins the Potomac. The lands have been precious even prior to European settlement. Today, the American Indian Cultural Center educates visitors on the art and culture of Marylandâ€™s indigenous people and hosts an annual Pow-Wow. From early history, Charles Countyâ€™s resources were recognized as diamonds in the rough. Even Captain John Smith, back in 1608, marveled about the huge size and vast numbers of striped bass, Marylandâ€™s state fish, locally known as Rockfish. Today, an even bigger lure to the county is the largemouth bass fishing known to be the best on the East Coast; the Potomac River has received national acclaim as a world-class fishery. Charles Countyâ€™s waters also offer a variety of other treasures. Purse State Park is situated in one of the best areas for fossil hunting. Many unpolished jewels such as sharks teeth, plant impressions, and animal relics have been found along the shoreline. Located on the western border of Charles County, in the Potomac River, lies a one-mile long natural embayment known as Mallows Bay. Within the confines of this forgotten corner of Maryland is one of the largest "graveyard of ships" in North America, with vessels dating from the period of the Revolution to World War I and after. Here, 235 wooden ships of the U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet, intended to carry troops and supplies to Europe during the Great War, were brought to be salvagedâ€“a task never completed. Many have literally become islands, with their own mini-ecosystem, converting the bay into one of the most unique nature areas in the state, and the best inland largemouth bass fishing waters on the eastern seaboard. Ten minutes from Sweden Point Marina by water. The supply of water sports, outdoor activities, and, of course, seafood is unending! A day of boating, canoeing, hiking, bird watching (especially for great blue herons and bald eagles), or golfing is guaranteed to work up an appetite. There isnâ€™t a better way to end the dayâ€“or begin the eveningâ€“than relaxing and enjoying the tastes that Southern Maryland has become famous for . . . hot, steamed crabs; oysters on the half shell; fresh, broiled fish! Close to the nationâ€™s capitol, Charles County is becoming known as a natural capital.