Tag Archives: Paddling in Maryland

Nature & Recreation in Annapolis at Quiet Waters Park

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We discovered Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis by accident — literally, you might say. On our way out to the Eastern Shore for a Mother’s Day hike, we got word of a wreck on the Bay Bridge that brought traffic to a stand still. Our destination, which was still a 30-minute drive from where we were, would now take over three hours to reach, according to Waze.

Luckily, we realized this before getting stuck in the snarl and got off Rt. 50 at the next exit to do some revamping of our day. After a quick study of the map and a simple Google search, we were on our way to Quiet Waters, a nearby park that sounded like it would be a good substitute for our original plan.

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The last minute change turned out to be a seredipitous one. Quiet Waters Park is 340-acres of recreational bliss. There are hiking and biking trails that wind through the woods and paved paths that stretch along large grassy fields and other areas of the park. There’s plenty of room for picnics and pick-up games, a garden adorned with sculptures, a Visitor Center with art galleries, scenic views of the water, and perhaps best of all, paddling opportunities on the South River.

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We didn’t cover nearly all of the grounds while we were there, but we did view works by local artists, got in some nice hiking, and enjoyed a kayaking excursion on the river. Along our hiking route, we saw old farm equipment and a composting exhibit with different kinds of equipment and processes on display. We also saw lizards, deer, picturesque river views, and a woodpecker merely a few feet away.

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After our walk in the woods, we headed for the dock, just a short way down a paved path from the parking lot. Kayaks, canoes, paddle and row boats, and stand up paddleboards are available for hourly or daily use. The kayaks worked best for our crew of two families, and getting set up with our vessels was quick and easy. Within no time, we were all paddling and basking in the beautiful day. (Remember that one nice day amid a stretch of lousy ones? It was like a gift for all us mamas.)

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Our venture on the water capped off our great time at Quiet Waters Park, but we’ll be going back. Not only was it a fantastic day, it was also a nice reminder to go with the flow (see what I did there?) when plans don’t pan out as expected. You never know, things may just end up working out even better.

Quiet Waters Park is located at 600 Quiet Waters Road in Annapolis, MD. Hours are 7am – dusk daily, except for Tuesdays when the park is closed. Admission is $6/car.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Weekdays, Weekend

Riverside Recreation at Bladensburg Waterfront Park

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On the recommendations of a couple of friends, our family visited Bladensburg Waterfront Park this past weekend. We didn’t know much about the park, except that it was located — as its name indicates — in Bladensburg, Md, on the Anacostia River. So, we packed some lunch and planned to picnic and do some hiking.

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I probably should have done a little more research before heading over because we realized upon our arrival that it’s not much of a hiking kind of place. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just not what we expected. Bladensburg Waterfront Park is actually about a quarter-mile stretch of paved area along the river with a few grassy sections, a small playground, a couple of gazebos, a picnic pavilion, some opportunities to learn about the history of the area, and a dock for a pontoon and rowboats and paddling vessels.

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You can rent boats there to explore the river, and apparently you can paddle to the National Arboretum. There was a rowing event going on while we were there, and it was somewhat busy around the boating area, so we kept our visit on land. Bikes are also available for rent, and the Anacostia River Trail runs right through the park for a pretty and easy cycling route alongside the water.

They also offer pontoon boat tours to visitors both during the week and on weekends, though times are limited. From April through October, 45-minute rides start at 12pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and on Saturdays and Sundays at 5pm. Cost is $2 for PG County residents and $3 for non-residents.

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After taking a short walk across the steel bridge spanning the river, we picnicked in a gazebo, and the kids enjoyed the playground for awhile. Then we checked out the rest of the park, reading about the Battle of Bladensburg and the former dueling grounds, a 19th century army encampment, and the region’s prehistoric past within Dinosaur Alley.

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We also took a walk out on the small dock before heading over to an old train caboose that is open to climb aboard and explore. There’s also a Visitor Center with exhibits about the Battle of Bladensburg, but that was closed during our visit. Something to do next time along with some fun on the river.

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Bladensburg Waterfront Park is located at 4601 Annapolis Road in Bladensburg, Md. It’s open sunrise to sunset, and the Visitor Center is open 10am – 4pm. Admission is free.

Boat and bike rentals are by the day, both starting at $10. Visit the website for a complete list of rates.


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