Top Places For

Exploring Best-kept Secrets In Your Own Backyard


From suburban Baltimore and Washington to Richmond and Hampton Roads, many of the Chesapeake region’s scenic and historic sights are located just beyond our own backyards.

You may already be familiar with places like Great Falls, Rock Creek Park, and Patapsco Valley State Park. But how about Huntley Meadows Park, North Point State Park, or Chippokes Plantation State Park? There are dozens more hidden gems like these in our cities and suburbs, and some are only minutes away.

At these parks, museums, and historic places, you can experience the best of the Chesapeake without having to travel all the way to the mountains or the shore. Enjoy a leisurely morning walk at Piscataway Park, for instance, or a fascinating afternoon at the Mariners’ Museum. The best part? You can still be home in time for dinner!

  • Escape to nature a stone’s throw from the city at Patuxent Research Refuge, a 13,000-acre oasis for wildlife between Baltimore and Washington. Want to go camping? Pitch a tent at Greenbelt Park, a peaceful forest in urban Prince George’s County.
  • Retreat to the water for a day of fishing, canoeing, and nature exploration. At Fort Smallwood Park, you can fish and bird watch within sight of Baltimore city. Down on the James River in Virginia, spend the morning gently paddling down Powhatan Creek Blueway while you watch for wildlife along the muddy banks.
  • Discover the Chesapeake’s rich history at a military fort or an antebellum plantation. Explore 200-year-old Fort Washington, with its sweeping view of the Potomac River. Or enjoy a day on the farm at Oxon Hill, a 19th-century plantation nestled just inside the Capital Beltway. You can even help feed the farm animals!

So get out there and discover your special corner of the Chesapeake at the top places for exploring best-kept secrets in your own backyard -- there’s lots of surprises waiting for you!