Smallwood State Park

Smallwood State Park was dedicated in September 1958, as a historic park. At the time, the park consisted of 30 acres of land which included the Retreat House (Smallwood’s Retreat) and the grave site of General William Smallwood. Smallwood State Park’s namesake, General William Smallwood, was a Revolutionary War officer, Governor of Maryland, and a member of the colonial tidewater aristocracy.

The area that is referred to as Grinder’s Wharf (all that remains today is a few exposed pilings) was built on a naturally deep water channel in the Mattawoman Creek. The Grinder family manufactured bricks and used Grinder’s wharf to ship the bricks out to wholesalers. In the mid-19th century Grinder’s Wharf was an active steamship port for the Washington Steamship Lines.

A restored 18th century tidewater plantation called Smallwood’s Retreat and 19th century tobacco barn are open to visitors seasonally between May and September. Besides the restored house, the 628 acre park offers boat launching ramps, a picnic area, camping area, pavilions, and nature trails. Two miles of trails meander through a hardwood forest past many natural and historical sites showcasing a diverse range of wildlife and ecosystems. Once known as Sweetman’s Landing, Sweden Point Marina sits within the park on Mattawoman Creek approximately one mile from the Potomac River.  

Location: Smallwood State Park is located in Charles County, Maryland. Smallwood State Park is 35 miles south of Washington, D.C. via the Route 210 corridor. From Route 210 south towards Indian Head, take a left on Route 225 to Route 224. At the light at Route 224 turn right. 

  • Field Studies available:  Watershed WatchdogsExotic InvadersDon’t Get SedimentalWater Canaries (on tributary of Mattawoman Creek), Talkin’ Trash
  • Habitat: Hardwood forest/ Mattawoman Creek/ shallow stream with low banks
  • Terrain: Sweden Point is located on the Mattawoman Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. The field study site for the Water Canaries module is a shallow stream with low banks. Accessing this stream is a short and easy hike from the parking lot.
  • Additional Info: Ideal group size is 40. The stream could accommodate larger groups if enough rangers/educators are able to participate.
  • Facilities: Sweden Point is a secured marina with restrooms 

For more information on Smallwood State Park, including directions, visitor information and hours of operation, visit their official website: