Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Waldorf, MD

  • Published 2023/03/06

Waldorf is a small unincorporated community in Charles County, located 45 minutes from Washington, D.C., and an hour from Baltimore.

From its small population of fewer than 5,000 residents in 1980, it now houses more than 77,700 people as per the 2020 census.

While Waldorf is known as a commuter town, there are still plenty of things to do here for a quick day trip or a longer weekend getaway from the city.

Interested? Here are the 15 best things to do in Waldorf, Maryland:

Visit Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum

Exterior of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum

Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum, also known as St. Catharine, is a historic house situated in a quiet area in Waldorf.

The farmhouse has two stories with a three-bay side-passage main house and a smaller porch added in 1928.

The house gained fame for being the site where Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House treated John Wilkes Booth after assassinating former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

Take a tour of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum on Dr. Samuel Mudd Road and learn more about Dr. Mudd and the Mudd family who once owned the property.

As you explore the rooms and halls, your guide will also let you in on more anecdotes and even theories on the assassination of Lincoln.

Explore Waldorf Wildlife Autonomy Zone

Waldorf Wildlife Autonomy Zone on Raby Road is the best place to visit in Waldorf for those looking for a change of scenery.

Tucked in a forested area near residential areas, the wildlife sanctuary is a safe haven for small mammals like deer, squirrels, birds, and other animals.

The tall trees and fields make it an ideal place to go on a small trek and take photos of the animals in their natural habitat.

Visitors can explore Waldorf Wildlife Autonomy Zone for free, but donations are accepted to help improve the sanctuary’s facilities.

Get a chance to spot the deer and squirrels exploring the forest, or just take a break from the fast-paced city life and go on a walk around the wildlife sanctuary.

Purchase Local Produce at Waldorf Farmers’ Market

Waldorf Farmers’ Market is a seasonal farmer’s market held at Festival Way, across Waldorf marketplace.

Shopping at farmers’ markets is a great way to access locally grown produce which is often free of harmful chemicals and pesticides.

Not only are you helping farmers and growers in Waldorf, but you’re also on your way toward a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Aside from fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and poultry, you can also find other food products like honey, freshly pressed juices, and olive oil.

Other products like handmade soaps, handmade bracelets, baked goods, gin, and ready-to-eat food are available.

The farmer’s market is a seasonal market, but it typically runs from June through November when most fruits and vegetables are in season.

Bring Out Your Competitive Spirit at AMF Waldorf Lanes

Challenge your friends or family to a few rounds of bowling at AMF Waldorf Lanes on Acton Lane, one of the area’s popular hangouts.

It offers state-of-the-art bowling lanes and equipment for bowlers of every skill level, from lightweight bowling balls for kids and beginner bowlers to equipment for professionals.

There’s also an arcade where you can play while waiting for your lanes to be available.

Best of all, you can join leagues and social clubs to hone your bowling skills while interacting with locals.

AMF Waldorf Lanes is also the ideal place to hold parties for kids, corporate or team-building events, and other social gatherings.

While playing, refuel with fries, wings, pizza, burgers, and other casual fare paired with a glass of beer or a cocktail.

Shop ’til You Drop at St. Charles Towne Center

Get all your daily essentials at St. Charles Towne Center, a two-level enclosed shopping center conveniently located along Highway 301.

It opened in 1990 and is the only regional mall in Southern Maryland, serving other suburbs in Washington D.C.

With over 100 stores, including clothing boutiques, sporting goods stores, jewelry shops, gift shops, and restaurants, St. Charles Towne Center is your all-in-one destination.

Shop for groceries and last-minute souvenirs and gifts, and take a break from exploring Waldorf and have a meal at one of the restaurants.

An indoor play area is available for kids to keep them busy while you shop.

The mall also has two nearby electric vehicle charging stations, perfect if you’re traveling by EVs.

Dine at Lucianna’s Steakhouse

Lucianna’s Steakhouse on Plaza Drive takes pride in being the first churrascaria in Southern Maryland, combining traditional Maryland flavors with the smoky flavors of churrasco-style cuisine.

The restaurant brings the flavors of Brazil, providing diners with a unique yet fulfilling dining experience without the need to actually travel miles down south.

From brunch to dinner, Lucianna’s Steakhouse offers unlimited portions of mouthwatering grilled meat like pork tenderloin, skirt steak, sausages, and more served in the traditional rodizio style.

Along with grilled meat, enjoy a fresh salad or your choice of side dishes, including caramelized bananas, mac and cheese, eggs, bacon, and rice & black beans.

Complete your dish with a glass of house wine or a cocktail, or satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of chocolate lava cake, cheesecake, and limoncello mascarpone.

You can also ask your server for additional dessert specials for a surprise!

Pick Strawberries and Pumpkins at Shlagel Farms

Shlagel Farms on Shlagel Road is a family-owned farm that specializes in producing and selling fruits, vegetables, and meat products like farm-raised beef, pork, chicken, and Thanksgiving turkeys.

The farm takes pride in its sustainable practices, working closely with local government units for the best approach to farming to guarantee the quality of its products without compromising other factors.

It is also a popular destination in May during strawberry picking season and in autumn when pumpkins are ready for picking.

During strawberry season, head to Shlagel Farms and get the chance to pick and harvest the ripest strawberries perfect for milkshakes, pancake toppings, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

On the other hand, go on a hayride and pick pumpkins with your children in the fall.

Hang Out at Patuxent Brewing Company

Enjoy delicious brews in a casual and relaxed setting at Patuxent Brewing Company, a nano-brewery located near St. Charles Towne Center.

Its strategic location makes it a frequented hangout for locals and tourists who want to unwind after work or after a busy day exploring Waldorf.

The brewery opened in 2019 and offers a variety of flavored and handcrafted beers created, manufactured, and distributed in-house.

Aside from offering flavorful and unique booze, Patuxent Brewing Company proudly helps raise funds for various charities through fundraising events to give back to those in need.

Head to the brewery and sip on beers on tap, including their best-selling Pale Ale, Hard Seltzer, and IPA.

They also have limited brews, so be sure to drop by and check out other products.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Pinefield Community Park

With its vast grassy area and facilities like a children’s playground, picnic tables, a baseball diamond, and a soccer field, Pinefield Community Park is an ideal hangout for families.

There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re looking to break a sweat or chill out under the trees while reading a book.

Lay down a picnic mat or use the tables for a picnic lunch while the kids play on the slides or swings.

Although there are no official trails at Pinefield Community Park, you can walk along the perimeter of the park.

On some days, you can join the locals for a friendly soccer or baseball game.

Satisfy Your Curiosity at James E. Richmond Science Center

James E. Richmond Science Center is a learning facility located within St. Charles High School in Waldorf.

The establishment aims to pique everyone’s curiosity and encourage a deeper appreciation of science and its related fields.

It features a 184-seat digital dome classroom and theater, an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Science on a Sphere, and other state-of-the-art equipment for learning and discovery.

Tour around James E. Richmond Science Center and learn more fascinating things about anything and everything under the sun and beyond.

See hands-on displays, life-size models or satellites, and other impressive 360° exhibits as you explore the science gallery and lobby and other facilities.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Tour of Chapman State Park

A house at Chapman State Park

Kenneth Gray, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From Waldorf, take a 20-minute drive to Indian Head and see the pristine surroundings of Chapman State Park, an 800-acre recreation area.

The park preserves Mount Aventine, a Greek Revival mansion that was once the home of the influential Chapman family from 1751 until 1916.

From the state park, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Potomac River and Virginia shoreline, arguably one of the best views in the region.

Explore Chapman State Park and tour Mount Aventine, including the 19th-century frame smokehouse, agricultural outbuildings, dairy barn complex, and more.

Outside the mansion, enjoy the vast greenery and sweeping views of the shoreline.

Go for a relaxing stroll across the trails and pass through old-growth forests, wetlands, and old burial sites.

Chill Out at Laurel Springs Regional Park

Spend quality time outdoors with your family at Laurel Springs Regional Park in La Plata, Maryland, a short 15-minute drive from Waldorf.

The park has several amenities, including a baseball field, soccer field, softball field, picnic tables, and a children’s playground.

Visitors can also relax and take a breather at the picnic tables and pavilion, although organized parties are not allowed in the pavilion area.

Additionally, fitness junkies can go on a run or jog across the trail that goes around the wooded area in the park.

Laurel Springs Regional Park is also one of the few parks in the area with a wheelchair swing, so those with limited mobility can still enjoy their time here.

See the Wildlife at Piscataway Park

Gorgeous sunset at Piscataway Park

Noah Urban /

Travel 13 minutes from Waldorf and immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings of Piscataway Park in Accokeek.

The park sits in front of the Potomac River and is also across George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation.

At Piscataway Park, go on a wildlife observation trek and be on the lookout for bald eagles, beavers, osprey, deer, and other wildlife.

Picnic tables at Piscataway Park

Azaelpitti07, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bring a few snacks and enjoy a picnic under the trees.

Other highlights of the park include Marshall Hall, formerly the site of the Marshall family mansion, and the National Colonial Farm, where you can learn about 18th-century farming and agricultural practices.

You can also follow the trails leading to the meadows, tidal wetlands, forests, and woodlands.

Spend Leisure Time at Smallwood State Park

Smallwood State Park is a 628-acre park in Marbury, located 30 minutes from Waldorf.

It’s named after General William Smallwood and houses his former plantation home, Smallwood’s Retreat.

The park also has a marina, boat launch ramp, camping area, picnic area, and pavilions where you can have a small picnic.

If you want to explore Smallwood State Park, follow the nature trails that will take you through hardwood forests and other places of interest.

But if you want to make the most of your visit to the park, stay overnight at the RV and tent campsites.

Follow the Trails at Cedarville State Forest

Signage of Cedarville State Forest

LibertyBell123, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Offering over 3,707​​ acres of land and over 19 miles of multi-use trails, Cedarville State Forest in Brandywine is an outdoor lover’s paradise.

The state park and protected area is only a 10-minute drive from Waldorf, so you can easily go here for a change of scenery.

Its mild climate and abundance of game made it a winter camping ground for the Piscataway Indian Tribe.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or someone looking for an easy trek, Cedarville State Forest has plenty of trails for you.

The Green Trail and Brown Trail are the shortest and easiest trails, while the Orange Trail is longer at seven miles.

Final Thoughts

For a commuter town, Waldorf offers plenty of things to do and places to see.

The city has historical houses, educational museums, and local restaurants worth visiting.

Since it’s located near big cities like Alexandria and Washington, D.C., you can visit Waldorf on a weekend getaway.

Let this guide on the best things to do in Waldorf, Maryland, help you plan a memorable vacation!

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