From its source high in the Allegheny Mountains, the Potomac runs through many
diverse landscapes before reaching the Bay at Point Lookout. This is a waterway
steeped in history, from the settlement of historic St. Mary’s City in
1634 to the building of Washington, D.C. in 1800 to great Civil War battles
fought near its shores, at Manassas and Antietam.
Today, the Potomac is a key entry point to the Chesapeake Bay for millions
living in or visiting metropolitan Washington. Recreational opportunities abound
on the river. So do historical and natural attractions that reveal just how
strong the connections are between the stories of the Bay and the broader history
of the country.
Between Point Lookout, on the shores of the Bay, and inland Washington, D.C.,
a number of Gateways enable you to explore the heritage of the Potomac region.
These sites include picturesque lighthouses, colonial farms and settlements,
historic military installations, wildlife refuges, water trails, and more.