Visit Hagerstown – Washington County, Maryland
Located in the crossroads of the Civil War, Hagerstown & Washington County, MD is known for its rich history with South Mountain State Battlefield, Antietam National Battlefield. And there’s a diverse cultural scene.
Hagerstown’s Arts & Entertainment District is home to the Maryland Theatre and Performing Arts Complex, offering year-round shows, concerts and events. The Maryland Symphony Orchestra makes its home at the theatre. Our Museum of Fine Arts, boasts an outstanding permanent collection with an active schedule of exhibitions. The urban Cultural Trail connects our A&E District with the Museum at City Park.
Outdoor recreation is one of the most popular reasons people love to come to Washington County. The majority of Maryland’s Appalachian Trail runs N/S along South Mountain in the county. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and the Potomac River create our Southern border. With FIVE National Parks, and EIGHT State Parks, there are an abundance of options for hiking, biking, kayaking, boating, birding, photography or whatever you like to do outdoors.
Our parks offer a range of amenities-everything from historic monuments and battlefields to waterways, with camping, trails, boat launches, and abundant educational opportunities. We also have three Canal Towns along the C&O Canal in Washington County: Hancock, Sharpsburg and Williamsport. They each offer everything needed for hikers and bikers of the Canal, from nutritious meals, bicycle repairs and bike-friendly places to lay your head.
Escape the highway and cruise in on our Hip & Historic Scenic Byways – for a delightful road trip to explore charming towns, the splendor of nature and to find hidden gems! Museums, Civil War history, pick-your-own orchards, country cooking and elegant dining, antiques, outlets, a cavern and 5 National Parks comprise just portions of our byways.
The Antietam Campaign Scenic Byway
This renowned battle with 23,000 casualties of the Civil War took place at Antietam, near Sharpsburg, and prompted President Lincoln to issue the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Learn about CivilWar medicine at the Pry House Museum. Annual events include the Antietam Memorial Illumination, with 23,110 lights placed along a five-mile driving route, each December.
The C&O Canal Scenic Byway
Originally built to move goods from Washington DC to the west, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal is now a hub of recreational activity, with hiking, biking, bird watching, horse-back riding and more. Williamsport, MD is its geographical center, and visitors here can experience the Canal first-hand with ranger-led boat rides and towpath tours. Stay at a Lock House to experience life as it was “back in the day” and scarf up a healthy lunch at Lotus Moon Café in Williamsport. In Hancock, MD, visitors can pick up theWestern Maryland Rail Trail, a paved portion that runs alongside the towpath, to Fort Frederick State Park. But first, grab some pie, snacks and more at the Blue Goose Fruit Market & Bakery!
The Maryland Historic National Road Scenic Byway
Here, the journey is the destination. Carved through forests, mountains and rivers, it was the marvel of its age. It stoked the dreams of untold thousands who followed this macadam and cobblestone ribbon into the American frontier. Begun in 1811 to carry settlers and trade from the great capital of Baltimore into the then-wilds of Illinois, drive along a bygone route once run by horse drawn wagons and coaches.
We invite you to come and see our role in the nation’s history and to soak in the breath-taking scenery. Discover YOUR America! The Best Views Are Yours here in Hagerstown-Washington County, MD.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.