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Recreation and Parks - Paddling Scenic Waterways


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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

COUNTY PARKS

    Stream In St. Mary's County 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.

    For additional information on County parks, please visit Parks and Facilities.

    STATE PARKS

    Point Lookout State ParkLady Paddling a canoe
    MD 5, Point Lookout; paddle Point Lookout Creek, Potomac River or Chesapeake Bay. Launch or visit by water.

    St. Clement’s Island State Park
    MD 242 to Colton’s Point; paddle St. Clement’s Bay or Potomac River. Paddlers may visit the park by water.

    St. Mary’s River State Park
    MD 5, Camp Cosoma Road, Leonardtown. Citizens are welcome to paddle the lake.

    Greenwell State Park
    MD 235 to Sotterley Road to Steer Horn Neck Road, Patuxent River, Hollywood. Launch or visit park by water.

    For more information on State parks, please visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.


Rules & Tips for Paddling Safely

Kayaks waiting for useCounty 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.

 

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