Havre de Grace

Havre de Grace Maryland is a quaint town that you can visit on the Chesapeake Bay. Found where the Susquehanna River meets the head of the bay, this coastal town offers charming shopping opportunities, a renowned and beautiful lighthouse, and plenty more to tempt visitors. Baltimore is just 28 miles away, making Havre de Grace a popular side trip destination for visitors to Maryland's largest city, and if nothing else, you might drop by for lunch and enjoy the scenic water views. Since there are lots of fun things to do in Havre de Grace, staying longer than a few hours can be an enticing proposition, especially if you prefer less in the way of urban distractions.

Havre de Grace is named after La Havre France, thanks to French soldiers who visited the town after the Revolutionary War ended. Since Colonial times, the town has managed to attract all kinds of visitors, though it went through some tumultuous times in the 1800s. During the War of 1812, it was sacked and burned by the British. The town was rebuilt and became a city in 1878, and as the 1900s neared, it started welcoming visitors in good number.

The Havre de Grace Racetrack, which operated between the years of 1912 and 1950, was largely responsible for the increase in tourism in the twentieth century. Some of the most legendary horses of the past century, including Seabiscuit, ran races at the city's famed track. The Havre de Grace attractions no longer include the racetrack, though a new one has been proposed, and all in all, the atmosphere is much quieter these days. The relatively relaxed nature of the place is what many visitors find so appealing.

The list of things to do in Havre de Grace Maryland offers something to suit most tastes and preferences. The sturdy Concord Point Lighthouse is one of the top Havre de Grace attractions, and it doesn't cost anything to go inside for a look. For anglers, fishing in the river and the bay can fill hours on end, while those who are interested in general boating excursions can take advantage of the city's marinas and boat ramps. Should you get the shopping bug while in the Chesapeake Bay area, the town's quaint shops can more than justify a visit, and it should be noted that a number of excellent restaurants also figure among the top Havre de Grace attractions. The waterfront eateries are especially popular during the busier summer months.

When looking for things to do in Havre de Grace, enjoying a walking tour can be very rewarding. Hurricane Isabel may have destroyed the old boardwalk, but a new one was rebuilt, and it can be a joy to stroll. The full waterfront promenade is comprised of a boardwalk and a nature walk section that starts at Tydings Park. Should you hop on the nature walk section, you can get to the Maritime Museum and the Concord Point Lighthouse. Walking tour guides can be picked up at the city's tourism commission, which is located at 450 Pennington Avenue.

When you're not learning about the maritime history of the region at the Maritime Museum or checking out the historic Concord Point Lighthouse, other Havre de Grace attractions that might suit your fancy include the Steppingstone Farm Museum and the Susquehanna Museum of HdG Lock House. The former is a great place to learn about rural life in the region between the years of 1880 and 1920, while the latter revolves around the history of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, as well as the general history of Havre de Grace.

Various parks and museums are among the Havre de Grace attractions, and for fans of farmer's markets, the city offers a good one on Saturday mornings between the months of May and October. Enjoying a festival can also be added to your list of things to do in Havre de Grace should you plan your visit at the right time. The most renowned local festival is the Havre de Grace Seafood Festival, which is held at Tydings Park in mid-August. The Seafood Festival is the longest running festival of its kind in the state, and thanks largely in part to all the seafood delicacies that are on offer, the Havre de Grace hotels fill up fast when it's in full swing.

Image: rpertiet (flickr)

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