The most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman was born and lived in Dorchester County, Maryland, for her first 27 years or so. After she escaped slavery, she returned to the area, risking her life again and again, to lead dozens of friends and family out of slavery to freedom. With the possibility of placing likeness of Harriet Tubman on the U.S. $20 bill and movies about her life in the works, interest in this American hero has never been greater.
Experience her story at more than 30 sites along the scenic, self-guided driving tour known as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, which winds for 125 miles through Dorchester and Caroline Counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore before continuing into Delaware and on to Philadelphia.
The Byway includes the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, which opened its doors to the public in 2017. In its first year, it drew nearly 100,000 visitors from every U.S. state and more than 70 countries, exceeding all expectations. This 17-acre park and visitor center is operated jointly by the Maryland Park Service and the National Park Service. The visitor center includes 10,000 square feet of exhibit space that shares Tubman’s story in compelling and interactive ways. There is also a nature trail and a large outdoor pavilion.
The Tubman Byway also includes the area where Tubman lived as a child, the place where she was almost killed as a young girl, stops that were part of the Underground Railroad, the Harriet Tubman Mural (which was completed in 2019 and immediately became a viral sensation), and more.
Find out more about exploring Underground Railroad history on Maryland’s Eastern Shore at the Tubman Byway website. There you can download or order a hardcopy Tubman Byway Map & Guide, download the Audio Guide, find out about guided tours, and more.
find local visitor information
From lodging to dining to history, you’ll find visitor information about Dorchester County on this website. You’re also welcome to stop by the Dorchester County Visitor Center, located at 2 Rose Hill Place in Cambridge, MD. The visitor center is open daily, 8:30am-5pm, with brochures, maps, and exhibits about the area; restrooms; friendly staff members who can help answer your questions; a short riverfront boardwalk; and a playground. You can also find visitor information about Caroline County, Maryland.