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Recreation and Parks - Paddling Scenic Waterways

Public Canoe/Kayak Launch Areas

St. Mary’s County has fifteen County owned and operated public landings. Some have piers, boat ramps for motorized boats, and some are only suitable for canoe and kayak launching (see below). Download Guide to Public Boating Access brochure for additional information.

New Water Trail Guide

The guide, titled Water Trails in Western St. Mary's County: Explore the Trails of the Tidal Potomac, includes maps and information detailing paddling routes along several water trails in the western part of the county.

View a complete listing of public water access points by downloading our Guide to Public Boating Access brochure.

The landings listed below are soft launch sites, suitable for canoe and kayak launching.

 Camp Calvert Landing MD 5, end of Camp Calvert Road, on Breton Bay, Leonardtown

• Great Mills Canoe/Kayak Launch MD 5, Great Mills; St. Mary’s River Water Trail; pull out at end of Adkins Road or MD 5 in St. Mary’s City

• Paul Ellis Landing MD 242, end of Paul Ellis Road, White’s Neck Creek, Avenue

 St. George’s Island Landing MD 5, Thomas Road, St. George Creek, St. George Island

Tall Timbers Landing MD 5 to MD 249, end of Tall Timbers Road, Herring Creek, Tall Timbers

Town of Leonardtown Sites

 McIntosh Run Canoe/Kayak Launch MD 5 in Leonardtown, next to KFC & Exxon; pull out at Camp Calvert Landing

• Leonardtown Wharf Park Rt. 5 to end of Washington Street, Leonardtown

County and State Waterfront Parks for Launching and / or Rest Stops



Elms Beach Park
MD 235, Bay Forest Road; open water of Chesapeake Bay, Dameron. Launch or visit by water.

Myrtle Point Park
MD 4, Patuxent Boulevard; paddle Mill Creek or Patuxent River; California. Launch or visit by water.

Piney Point Lighthouse, Museum and Park
MD 5 to MD 249 Lighthouse Road, Piney Point. No launch area; paddlers may visit by water.

County operated public landings are closed between sunset and sunrise.
No overnight parking, camping, or open fires at public landings.
No glass bottles or containers and no littering at landings; paddlers are encouraged to adopt the “carry-in, carry-out policy.”
Always leave word with someone about your paddling plans.
Always check the weather forecast before paddling; weather can change suddenly and create dangerous conditions. Calm conditions in sheltered areas can easily disguise more hazardous conditions offshore.
Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket.
Carrying a cellular phone is a good idea, though some areas may have weak coverage.
Please be aware that most of the shoreline in St. Mary’s County is privately owned and trespassing is unlawful.

St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation & Parks is interested in promoting canoe/kayaking opportunities in local waterways. Please contact Ken Spring with the Calvert Marine Museum Canoe and Kayak Club if you would like to join the club and participate in activities.

For more information on the PaddleQuest group, please visit the PaddleQuest website. PaddleQuest is a working guide to canoe and kayak trails of Southern Maryland. This site contains trip descriptions for bodies of water in St. Mary’s, Charles, and Calvert counties.

Kayak handling classes are periodically offered at the Great Mills Swimming Pool. Please call Bill Gallagher at (301) 373-5279, or the pool at (301) 866-6560, for more information. For questions regarding operations or maintenance at public landings, please call the Parks Division at (301) 863-6068.