Landmarks and historic sites, which invite visitors to learn about early times dating to prehistory, are commonplace in the three counties comprising Maryland's southern region. These counties are situated in the Atlantic Coastal Plain and are readily accessible by water. Many residents harvest shellfish and fish from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac and Patuxent rivers. Others farm wheat, corn, soybeans and tobacco. There also are preserved environmental features such as beaches, ponds, swamps, fields and woods.
On the beach at Calvert Cliffs in Calvert County, visitors can discover prehistoric sharks' teeth and other fossils deposited along the shoreline. The Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons preserves fossilized remains of the prehistoric creatures found at the cliffs. In addition, there are exhibits on important county industries, including oyster packing and boat building.
Charles County is a trove of early Maryland history. The Maryland Indian Cultural Center in Waldorf documents the lifeways of Native Americans before European contact, in particular the Piscataway nation. La Plata is home to the Afro-American Heritage Society, which houses artifacts that depict the life and history of African Americans in Charles County.
St. Mary's County and St. Mary's City, the county seat, were named after Mary, mother of Jesus. In 1710, the county seat was moved to more central Leonardtown. The Old Jail Museum and St. Mary's County Historical Society in Leonardtown are in a lockup that was used from 1868 until 1942.