Explore the C&O Canal Williamsport Visitors Center

View of the Cushwa Basin and Warehouse from Towpath
The Cushwa Basin with the Trolley Barn and Cushwa Brick building behind.

NPS | Monica Larcom


Duration will vary depending on how long you spend looking at the video, exhibits, displays, etc. Allow for approximately 20 minutes to an hour.

All ages, but minors must be with an adult parent or guardian

Pets are allowed on leash in the area surrounding the visitor center, however, only service animals are permitted inside the buildings.

Everything at the Williamsport Visitors Center is free, including the seasonal boat tours. 

Williamsport, MD is one of many charming Canal Towns situated at the confluence of the Conococheague Creek and the Potomac River. In the 1870’s, Victor Cushwa partnered with Charles Embrey & Son in the operations of Cushwa Basin Coal company. Cushwa later added brick manufacturing and dispersal to the productions of Cushwa Basin. Canal boats would load coal and bricks at the turning basin on their trips between Cumberland and Georgetown.

 Inside the Williamsport Visitor Center you will find an information desk, a gift shop, and several small exhibits. Displays include a topographical map of the canal, an antique deskused by Cushwa’s management while in operation, and two short films including a 1917 silent film set along the Canal produced by the Edison Company.

Through the Visitor Center, you can enter the old Cushwa warehouse. This large room provides a sweeping glance out from the coal portage onto the basin where coal would have been swept into waiting canal boats as they made their way to and from Georgetown. Many of the objects in this room were either left behind by the warehouse workers or fished out of the bottom of the turning Basin. These presence of these objects creates an immersive, rustic atmosphere.

No reservations required, but you may want to confirm the visitor center is open the day of your visit. 

The Williamsport Visitors Center is open seasonally, and isn't open during the winter and early spring months. 

The Visitors Center is usually open 9:00-4:30 Daily. 

Accessibility Information

The main room of the Visitor Center is wheelchair accessible, though the parking lot area is unpaved gravel. The back of the warehouse is currently not wheelchair accessible.

Videos are either silent, or have closed captioning.

Last updated: January 18, 2017