St. Mary's County in Southern Maryland
Newtowne Neck State Park
c/o Point Lookout State Park11175 Point Lookout RoadScotland MD 20687
E-mail Newtowne Neck:
Take Route 5 towards Leonardtown. Turn right at the light at the intersection of Route 5 and MD-243 and follow the road for three miles.
Sunrise to Sunset
Pets are allowed in Newtowne Neck State Park.
Newtowne Neck State Park was purchased by the State of Maryland in 2009 and has quickly become a popular destination for community residents and visitors. The Park’s wealth of natural and cultural resources, its historic significance, and its geography and physical features make it ideal for a variety of nature and history oriented activities, as well as outdoor recreation. It provides opportunities for a variety of users with varying interests.
In 2016, the master plan for Newtowne Neck State Park was approved by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. The approach to planned improvements outlined in the master plan is to minimize alterations to the property, so that the appearance of the landscape will change very little when the plan is fully implemented. Most of the proposed amenities involve modifications to existing structures and facilities to accommodate increased access by the public. As detailed designs are developed, efforts will be directed to adapting existing structures and installing and constructing improvements so that they are not obtrusive and blend well with the rural character and farm vernacular. To the extent practicable, existing barns and buildings will be used, and parking and roads will involve modifications to existing farm roads and farm service areas.
The master plan identifies two primary activity areas, and these areas are already developed. The main activity area will be located at the Bretton Area (near the existing barn complex) and will include parking, a restroom, facilities for water access, and picnic areas. No new structures are proposed in this area, and existing buildings will be adapted for park buildings including a park office, nature center, and special events barn.
The secondary activity area will be located at the Lacey Beach at the southern end of the peninsula. At this location, there is easy access to approximately a mile of sandy beach. An existing dwelling was recently razed and a small pavilion is proposed to be constructed on the footprint. The pavilion will be used to provide a gathering area for school groups, public rental, and others conducting programs at the southern end of the Park. Existing informal parking and access to the area will be improved with a loop road and two small gravel parking areas. A restroom and picnic areas are also planned for this scenic spot.
The natural and cultural resources that characterize Newtowne Neck State Park make it the beautiful, interesting, and special place that made it a priority for acquisition by the State for use as a park. Protection and conservation of these resources were at the forefront of the master planning effort and will remain a priority as more specific site development and restoration plans are developed.
DNR’s internal review process will ensure that the MD Historical Trust, the Critical Area Commission, the Maryland Department of the Environment, and various DNR units are involved in the decision making process for future projects included in the master plan. DNR has created a robust internal review process that ensures that all improvements on State lands are thoughtfully considered and properly executed.
The next 15 years will be an exciting time at Newtown Neck. Successful implementation of the master plan will yield a landscape that looks very similar to the way the property appears today, but with the addition of carefully designed amenities that provide opportunities for visitors to fully experience the wonder of, and understand the many stories behind, this beautiful and special place.
As part of the master plan process, archaeological survey work was conducted by St. Mary’s College of Maryland in the two areas identified as the best location for public use and planned amenities. As part of the survey project, numerous prior survey efforts and studies were reviewed and various artifact collections were assembled and catalogued. St. Mary’s College staff, under the direction of Dr. Julie King, are preparing the final report on the survey effort, and it is anticipated that it will be completed in April 2017.
Following approval of the master plan in 2016, the Maryland Park Service has made only modest improvements to Newtowne Neck State Park.
Newtowne Neck State Park is a 776 acre peninsula surrounded by Breton Bay, St. Clements Bay, and the Potomac River. It has seven (7) miles of ecologically and recreationally important waterfront.
Newtowne Neck was home to the Piscataway Native American Tribe and their ancestors for many centuries before its settlement by the colonists. The property, Newtowne Neck, is the site of the first settlement in Maryland after the original settlement in Saint Mary’s City. The original colonists landed on St. Clement’s Island in 1634. In 1640, William Bretton was granted 750 acres from Cecelius Calvert for the Newtowne Neck tract. In 1668, the Society of Jesus acquired the property from William Bretton in exchange for 40,000 pounds of tobacco. William and his wife, Temperance, donated one and one-half acres of their property in 1661 to the Society of Jesus to establish a chapel and cemetery. The property was maintained by the Society of Jesus until they withdrew from the land in 1967 to work in other areas.
The Department of Natural Resources purchased Newtowne Neck in late April of 2009. The land was purchased to protect the waterfront from development. The purchase of Newtowne Neck, provides the ability to preserve diverse natural water and land areas, safeguard wildlife habitats, conserve sustainable forest lands, and protect the quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Newtowne Neck will provide public access to the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail and provide a lasting legacy to future generations of Marylanders.
Newtowne Neck is also designated as the first historic district in St. Mary’s County and is listed on the National Register of Historic places.
Park HoursNewtowne Neck State Park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. Maryland State Parks are “Trash Free”. Please practice “Leave No Trace” principles and take your trash with you when you leave. To view these principles visit www.lnt.org. Any questions or concerns, contact Point Lookout State Park at 301-872-5688.
Canoeing and KayakingNon-motorized crafts can be walked in and launched from the launch area during regular park hours. Canoes and kayakers can enjoy access to the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail. Also, for more locations to launch your vessel, visit: Scenic Waterways of St. Mary’s County. Know Before you Go!
FishingVisitors can fish from designated areas along the shoreline year round from sunrise to sunset. A Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing License is required for persons 16 and older.
HikingEnjoy the experience of exploring the natural environment, wildlife and different plant species while hiking and walking on the property. Please remember to be considerate of agricultural crops and naturally sensitive areas to avoid adverse impact to this unique area.
HuntingHunting is permitted for deer, upland game, and waterfowl from December 15, 2014 through February 4, 2015 in accordance with the conditions in the Newtowne Neck State Park – Interim Hunting Plan for the 2014 – 2015 Season. Contact Point Lookout State Park at 301-872-5688 for further details.
BirdingEnjoy the opportunities to visit some unique birding habitats including tidal shorelines, forest, hedgerows, meadows and agricultural fields. The Maryland Ornithological Birding checklist may help you document those birds you see at Newtowne Neck State Park.
PicnickingA limited number of picnic tables are available on a first come first served basis at the day use area.
This park is supported by Maryland’s Veterans Conservation Corps (VCC), a program modeled after the Maryland Conservation Corps. The VCC works with the Maryland Park Service and the Department of Natural Resources on conservation projects in areas such as recreation enhancement, park operations, wetland restoration, facility improvements, and trail maintenance and construction. Corps Members are trained in relevant, enriching, and marketable skills such as Emergency Medical Responder, chain saw safety, hazardous tree removal, Search and Rescue, trail construction, Environmental Education/Interpretation, and invasive species removal.
Maryland's Veterans Conservation Corps program helps empower veterans during their transition from military service to civilian life by leveraging their unique background and service ethic with the therapeutic value of the outdoors and professional skills development, while they address pressing conservation needs on public lands.
For more information about this program, contact the park: firstname.lastname@example.org
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401