Visit St. Mary's County Maryland

Where the Potomac & the Chesapeake meet

Point Lookout State Park, Civil War Museum & Lighthouse

Visitor Favorite

Located at the tip of St. Mary's County, Point Lookout combines a rich history with recreation options. This is one of the state's most popular parks. Campsites & cabins. 710 ft. fishing pier and surf fishing areas. A valid fishing license and appropriate stamps required. Swimming beach open Memorial Day to Labor Day. Beach area has grills, picnic tables, playground, showers, and restrooms. Boat launch facility, fish cleaning station, boat rentals, camp store. Open from sunrise to sunset year round. Open for active night fishing after sunset.

Camping: 143 wooded campsites available; 26 of these have full hook-ups, 33 of these have electric. One campsite for youth groups is also available. Reservations can be made by calling 1-888-432-2267. Campers may check in no later than 10:00 p.m. If the camp office is not staffed, campers may be required to use the self-registration system to check in. A full hook-up loop (Tulip) remains open year round for self-contained campers (no restrooms available). There is a self-registration/self-check-in system (cash and checks accepted). Please contact the park for hours and closures in advance of your visit.

Hunting: Approximately 240 acres set aside for deer hunting (bow, muzzleloader (no early seasons) and shotgun). Three blind sites available for waterfowl. Reduced office hours Nov. - March and some facilities closed. Some facilities limited operations prior to Memorial Day weekend and after Labor Day weekend.

Lighthouse, Fort Lincoln & Museum: Point Lookout Lighthouse is located at the southern tip of the park. The point's rich Civil War history is found at Fort Lincoln and at the Point Lookout Civil War Museum. The museum is open May through October, on Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM - 5 PM.

Occasionally fills to capacity on summer and holiday weekends. Call 301-872-5688 to check visitation volume.

Info & Reservations: Please call or see website.

African-American Heritage

National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site. During the Civil War Era, Point Lookout was first a hospital for wounded Union soldiers and then a Civil War prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers.  The hospital staff is known to have assisted with the escape of several Maryland slaves while United States Colored Troops served as guards at the prison camp.  Outside of Point Lookout stood a “contraband camp” where runaway slaves who crossed the Potomac River from Virginia, took refuge under the protection of federal authorities.  Now a state park, the site includes a Civil War museum.

Birding

Point Lookout is the Southern Maryland equivalent of Cape May. With proper weather conditions, this site is a migrant concentration point, especially in the autumn. Look for shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds. With good luck, almost anything may "fall out". Great Cormorants are often in view during the winter months from late November on. Be sure to check out the jetties where an occasional purple sandpiper may appear. At low tide, the sand bar at Tanner's Creek can have a variety of shorebirds or terns in-season. Brown-headed nuthatches nest in the park and can be found near the visitor center or in the campgrounds. Take Rt. 5 south to the end and park in any of the many parking lots. You will have the Bay to your east and the Potomac River to your south. Lots of marshes and bays to your west. Many drives, trails, and walks.

Civil War History

Uncover the poignant Civil War history of this recreational mecca.  In 1862, the federal government erected Hammond Hospital at the tip of the Point. After General George B. McClellan's unsuccessful raid on Richmond, wounded and sick soldiers began pouring in for treatment.  The following year, after the Battle of Gettysburg, Union authorities started sending Confederate prisoners to Point Lookout for incarceration.  Of the 50,000 men held at the Point between 1863 and 1865, nearly 4,000 died.

Civil War Museum
The museum tells the story of Point Lookout during its time as a prisoner of war camp for captured confederate soldiers through panel displays and artifacts found at Point Lookout Prison Camp. Make it your first stop as you explore the park’s Civil War history. The museum shares the same building with the Marshland Nature Center. It is open May - October, Saturday and Sunday from 9 Am  - 5 PM.  Learn More.

Fort Lincoln and other sites                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The earth works of Fort Lincoln, a Civil War fortification, still exist on the river shore near Cornfield Harbor. Visit the recreated barracks, and officer quarters of the Fort. A second Civil War redoubt is still represented by a large depression in the middle of the Point northeast of Fort Lincoln. Open graves from which the Confederate dead were removed a century ago are still discernible near the Bay Shore. Most of the prison pen site is under the bay waters now, but a section of the wall has been recreated. Several wayside interpretive markers mark points of interest and near the tip of the point is the only surviving building of the prison camp. Learn More.

Lighthouse

Built In 1830 by John Donahoo, Point Lookout stands at the north entrance to the Potomac River. It is considered the oldest of its type in the United States.  Called an integral lighthouse, the light is built ito the keeper’s quarters. It was enlarged in 1880 and never automated. It was deactivated 1965. The light is now part of Point Lookout State Park. The lighthouse is said to be one of the most haunted in America. The light is located at Point Lookout State Park.

St. Mary's County Division of Tourism
23115 Leonard Hall Dr.
P.O. Box 653
Leonardtown, MD 20650

main1-800-327-9023

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