Point Lookout State Park is located on the point where the Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, and because the park is on a peninsula you feel like you’re really in the Chesapeake Bay, or as far out as you can get without a boat.11175 Point Lookout Road, Scotland, MD 20687
Directions: Once you find Rt. 4 south continue until you cross the Solomons Island Bridge. After the Solomons Island Bridge the first traffic light you come to will be Rt. 235. Turn left onto Rt. 235 south. Follow Rt. 235 south into a town called Ridge (there will be a blinking red light). Turn left onto Rt. 5 south. Follow Rt. 5 south as far as it will go (approximately 7 miles) and you will be in Point Lookout. After the entrance sign, the second road on the right will be the campground. When you arrive in the campground park at the left and register at the Ranger Station.
Point Lookout State Park is one of the most popular Maryland parks on the Chesapeake Bay. It has a swimming beach, dog beach, fishing pier and campground. It’s well used and can seem a bit rundown at times because of the volume, but the state workers try to keep up.
You can call 301-872-5688 to check visitation volume. Expect very busy on holiday weekends.
The beach is long and narrow and lifeguards are on duty during the summer season. There’s a bathhouse, snack stand and beach supplies for sale.The nearby picnic area is all along the beach; most tables are shaded and have grills nearby. It has a large parking lot with an overflow area, but it still fills up on nice summer days and earlier on holidays. And be aware that jelly fish may show up in the water during certain times of the year.
The dog beach is next to the fishing pier, not too far from the causeway connecting the mainland portion of the park with the peninsula. Here’s a map.
Fishing is hugely popular. The 710-foot fishing pier is in the middle of the park, but fishermen will line the causeway and every part of the peninsula that’s not reserved for swimming and camping.
Point Lookout was officially discovered by Captain John Smith in 1612. King Charles I gave the land to Lord Baltimore’s younger son, Leonard Calvert in 1634. The British raided it during the American Revolution and again during the War of 1812. It became part of the Civil War in 1862 when the land was used as a hospital for the North and then a Confederate Prisoner of War camp. There’s a Civil War museum at the park, open weekends only, May through October, from 9am to 5pm. Fort Lincoln is open year round and occasionally hosts Civil War re-enactments.
There’s also a lighthouse at Point Lookout State Park, no longer used as a lighthouse — and it’s supposedly haunted. It was built in 1876 to keep ships from bashing into the point. There have also been reports of ghosts of Civil War soldiers in other places in the park.
There is a charge per vehicle to get into the park: $5 per vehicle for Maryland residents, $7 for out-of-state visitors during the summer season. The price goes down by $2 during off-season. The park fills to capacity on summer weekends and park rangers will stop any more cars (or people) from entering the park.
On the way to the park, you’ll go by the Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery (1, St Inigoes, Maryland).
It’s maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There are no separate graves there. The state of Maryland moved the Civil War prisoners of war originally buried at Point Lookout to this gravesite, one mile inland, in 1870. The remains couldn’t be identified so they were interred in a common grave.
And for a little side adventure during your visit to Point Lookout, stop by Buzzy’s Country Store (12665 Point Lookout Road, Scotland, MD). It really is a country store. Buzzy’s bought it from his wife’s family in 1953. Buzzy’s since passed on, and his son, Scott, is running the store now.
You’ll likely be greeted as soon as you walk in and may interrupt a discussion by the constant rotation of locals hanging out in the store. It’s also where you’ll find fishing and hunting supplies. Actually, there’s more fishing and hunting stuff than food, but you can get a cold drink there. Scott also keeps a blog for those who can’t stop by so they can keep up with local events. The store was built in 1886 and hasn’t changed much since then.