Patuxent River Park

Brown Trail Section Closure

Due to recent storm damage, the Brown Trail section between markers #3 – #4 is CLOSED until further notice.

download this documentPrintable Location Map
16000 Croom Airport Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Tel: (301) 627-6074
Email: patuxentriverpark@pgparks.com
Hours:
· Park Hours : Open daily from 8am until dusk with seasonal adjustments
· Visitors Center : Open daily 9am - 3pm
Size: 7800 Acres

Amenities

Rentals

<strong>Visit</strong>

About/Features

Established in 1962, Patuxent River Park comprises over 7,800 acres of riverside parkland in Prince George’s County that protects the land’s natural resources and preserves the scenic character of the park.

The different properties that comprise Patuxent River Park offer a variety of amenities and outdoor activities including:

  • Visitors Center
  • Birdwatching
  • Boat ramps
  • Campsites
  • Canoe & kayak rentals and launches
  • Fishing
  • Historic sites and museums
  • Hunting
  • Observation tower with elevator
  • Pavilion
  • Trails, and more.

Jug Bay Natural Area is the headquarters for Patuxent River Park. Programs for educators and the general public includes environmental and historical education programs, guided canoe and kayak trips, and pontoon boat tours.

Accessibility

The Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities. Contact the park at least a minimum of two weeks in advance of your program to request and receive a disability accommodation.

Call the office at (301) 627-6074 if you have specific questions.

Volunteer with us!

Are you interested in volunteering at Patuxent River Park? Please contact PatuxentRiverPark@pgparks.com or visit Volunteer Opportunities

Stay in touch!

Follow our PG Parks Nature Facebook for the latest news on events, programs, and activities across our sites.

<strong>Public Programs</strong>

How To Register

Program Registration

To guarantee your spot within a program, advance registration is required for all programs with a PARKS DIRECT number. Drop-in admission (no registration) for programs are accepted only as space permits. Space availability is never guaranteed for drop-ins. Programs may be canceled 24-48 hours prior to the start of the program due to insufficient registrations via Parks Direct.

If you already have a PARKS DIRECT account, please register for programs via Parks Direct. Most of our programs allow for “spots booked” where only one person in the family needs to have an account to register for the total number of desired spots. However, for programs that do not allow for spots booked, each person desiring to attend the program must have their own Parks Direct account and be registered individually.

Don’t have an account yet? Check out the Parks Direct page for information on how to set up an account for yourself and your family.

For programs or boat tours that do not have a Parks Direct course number, please call XXX AT XXX for information.

Program Requirements

Check the age requirements for each program before registering. All participants must meet the age requirement to attend a program. For some programs, children must be accompanied by a registered adult, who must participate in the program with the child. Unless a program says otherwise you may not drop your child off and leave.

Fees for programs are based on your residency.

Program Fees

Make sure that your email and other contact information is up-to-date on your Parks Direct account prior to registration. Staff may need to contact you if they have questions or in the event that a program must be canceled due to inclement weather or other reasons.

  • Residents (R): individuals who live within Prince George’s or Montgomery Counties
  • Non-Residents (NR): individuals who live in all other jurisdictions.

Signature Programs

Patuxent Rural Life Museums Tour

Guided tours of Patuxent Rural Life Museums are available year round. The tour guide tells the story of the six buildings as each one is visited. Recommended for adults and seniors.

Fees:

  • Resident: $3
  • Non-resident: $4
  • Please call Patuxent River Park at (301) 627-6074 for reservations.

Birding Trip

The Jug Bay area of the park provides for some of the most outstanding birding found anywhere in Maryland. Guided birding trips are available year round. Limited to 14 participants. Recommended for adults and seniors

Fees:

  • Resident: $5
  • Non-resident: $7
  • Please call Patuxent River Park at (301) 627-6074 for reservations.

The Traveling Naturalist

Do you need an interesting presentation for your group? Want to travel to exotic, faraway places? See interesting wildlife and spectacular scenery? Then, let our naturalist/photographer take you on a virtual slide tour of some of the most beautiful places on the planet without leaving your seat. These 90-minute presentations can be done at your facility. Natural and cultural history include Brazil, The Galapagos Islands, Iceland, South Africa, Australia, Yellowstone, Glacier parks and more! Call (301) 627-6074 for pricing and availability. Recommended for adults and seniors

<strong>School Programs</strong>

Patuxent River Park offers a variety of nature and historical interpretive programs and outdoor recreation activities for school children and the public. Our programs align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Some programs are offered year-round while others are seasonal. A reservation is required for all activities.

How to Schedule

Fill out this Patuxent River Park Field Trip Application.

Call Patuxent River Park at (301) 627-6074 for more information.

Programs for All Grades

Estuary Experience

This three-hour program package is a great way to experience our unique riverfront park. The package consists of a River Ecology Boat Tour, a Guided Wetland Hike, and Fish Seining (seining may be substituted based on the age of the participants). Specific subject matter can be tailored to what your students are learning in the classroom. Limited to 60 participants.

  • Available to book April – October
  • Fee: Resident $7, Non-resident $10

Guided Wetland Nature Hike

The Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area provides a unique opportunity to observe the tidal and non-tidal wetlands of the river. Boardwalks provide easy access to these valuable habitats.

  • Fee: Resident $3; Non-resident $4

River Ecology Boat Tour

A guided boat tour will give students the opportunity to learn about the river’s wetlands, wildlife, and history from the water. Students will learn the identification of common plants and animals, the current research being conducted by the park staff, and management issues needed to protect the ecosystem. April-October.

  • Fee: Resident $3; Non-resident $4

Programs for Preschool & Kindergarten

Nature Craft

This program, full of hands-on activities, has been developed to educate Pre-school and Kindergarten children about nature through an interactive craft, story, and game. The program lasts 30-45 minutes. Choose from: Bugs & Blooms or Tree Leaves. The program can be presented at your facility, or as part of a field trip to Patuxent River Park.

  • Fee: Resident $3; Non-resident $4
  • Offsite Fee: Resident $4; Non-resident $5

Sweet Pollinators

This program has students fly around like a bee to get sweet nectar from flowers and pass the pollen in an interactive game. Students will learn about different types of pollinators and their unique adaptations, and how pollination plays a role in the plant life cycle. This program can be presented at your facility or as part of a field trip to Patuxent River Park and lasts 45 minutes to one hour.

  • Fee: Resident $3; Non-resident $4
  • Offsite Fee: Resident $4; Non-resident $5

Tidal Treasures

This show-and-tell-like program is designed to introduce students to the Patuxent River, its wetlands, and what can be found in them. The presentation and hands-on activities last 45 minutes to one hour. This program can be presented at your facility, or as part of a field trip to Patuxent River Park.

  • Fee: Resident $3; Non-resident $4
  • Offsite Fee: Resident $4; Non-resident $5

Beaver Tales

Learn about beavers, how they affect their environment, and their specialized adaptations that enable them to live in the wetlands. Beaver Tales can last about 45 minutes to one hour and can be presented at your facility, or as part of a field trip package.

  • Fee: Resident $3; Non-resident $4
  • Offsite Fee: Resident $4; Non-resident $5

Programs for 6th – 12th Grade

Guided Canoe/Kayak Trip

Explore the natural beauty of the river on this 3-hour guided kayak trip. Kayaks, canoes, paddles, personal flotation devices (PFDs) and certified instructor provided.

  • Available to book April – October
  • Fee: Resident $30; Non-resident $39
  • Participant limitations apply – contact the Park at (301) 627-6074 for more information.

Watershed Connections

Let our staff introduce watershed function to your students. Participants will develop their scientific method skills, map out their watershed, and model how a watershed interacts with the Chesapeake Bay. This program can be presented at your facility, or as part of a field trip to Patuxent River Park

  • Fee: Resident $3; Non-resident $4
  • Offsite Fee: Resident $4; Non-resident $5

School Resources

Coming soon.

<strong>Boat Ramps</strong><br><strong>&</strong> <strong>Launches</strong>






Boat Ramps & Launches

Patuxent River Park manages three boat ramps and seven canoe/kayak launch sites along the Patuxent River. View the Patuxent Water Trail map for details. Refer to the 2024 Tide Table Chart to better prepare for your time on the water.

  • A special use permit is required for all vehicles towing boat trailers.
  • Permits are available on an annual or daily basis.
  • 2024 permits are now available. Boat trailer permits may be purchased online or in-person at the Visitor Center.
  • Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Once lots are filled, access will be denied until space becomes available.
  • No overnight use permitted.
  • Fuel facilities not available.
  • Personal watercraft are only permitted to launch at Clyde Watson Boating Area.

Boat Launch Locations

Jackson’s Landing
16000 Croom Airport Rd, Upper Marlboro MD, 20772
Located at Jug Bay Natural Area. Follow park road past Visitors’ Center to the bottom of the hell. Parking limitation – 10 vehicles with trailers; 8 additional vehicles. Personal watercraft (jet skis) are not permitted. Access to the launch is available during normal park hours, 8:00 am – close (seasonal).

Selby’s Landing
17272 Croom Airport Rd, Upper Marlboro MD, 20772
Located at Jug Bay Natural Area. Follow Croom Airport Road (past park entrance road) to a dead end, turn left and follow the road to the designated area. Parking limitation – 25 vehicles with trailers. Personal watercraft (jet skis) are not permitted. Access to the launch is available during normal park hours, 8:00 am – close (seasonal).

Clyde Watson Boating Area
17901 Magruder’s Ferry Road, Brandywine, MD 20613
Follow Croom Road about 10 miles south of Jug Bay and turn left on Magruder’s Ferry Road. Entrance is on the right. Parking limitation – 15 vehicles with trailers and 25 additional vehicles. Access to the launch is available during normal park hours, 7:00 am – close (seasonal).

Personal watercraft (jet skis) are permitted to launch with limitations
1.  Access limited to seven (7) at any time
2.  Access south of boat ramp only
3.  PWC’s prohibited along the shoreline in the posted area

Canoe & Kayak Launches

Patuxent River Park offers seven access points along the river for canoe and kayaking launching. Access and launch type varies. View the Patuxent Water Trail map for details and see site descriptions below:

Cedar Haven Fishing Area
18400 Phyllis Wheatley Boulevard, Eagle Harbor, MD 20608
This site has a soft boat launch and designated parking area. Visitors are encouraged to check river conditions and plan ahead. Access to the launch is available during normal park hours, 8:00 am – one half hour before sunset.

Clyde Watson Boating Area
17901 Magruder’s Ferry Road, Brandywine, MD 20613
This site has a soft boat launch and designated parking area. Visitors are encouraged to check river conditions and plan ahead. Access to the launch is available during normal park hours, 7:00 am – close (seasonal).

Governor Bridge Natural Area and Canoe Launch
7600 Governor Bridge Road, Bowie, MD 20716
This site has a floating launch pad and designated parking area. The river is susceptible to seasonal flooding. Visitors are encouraged to check river conditions and plan ahead. Access to the launch is restricted by gate. Call the park at 301-627-6074 to get the lock combination.

Jackson’s Landing at Jug Bay Natural Area
16000 Croom Airport Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
This site has a floating launch pad and designated parking area. Visitors are encouraged to check river conditions and plan ahead. Access to the launch is available during normal park hours, 8:00 am – close (seasonal).

Patuxent Riverkeeper Center in Nottingham
17412 Nottingham Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
This site is leased by the Patuxent River Keeper and has a floating launch pad and designated parking area. Visitors are encouraged to check river conditions and plan ahead. Access to the launch is available during normal park hours, 8:00 am – one half hour before sunset. There is a launch fee. Call 301-276-7913 for details.

Queen Anne Natural Area and Canoe Launch
18405 Queen Anne Road, Upper Marlboro, MD. 20774
This site has a floating launch pad and designated parking area. The river is susceptible to seasonal flooding. Visitors are encouraged to check river conditions and plan ahead. Access to the launch is restricted by gate. Call the park at 301-627-6074 to get the lock combination.

Selby’s Landing at Jug Bay Natural Area
16000 Croom Airport Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
This site has a soft boat launch and designated parking area. Visitors are encouraged to check river conditions and plan ahead. Access to the launch is available during normal park hours, 8:00 am – one half hour before sunset.

<strong>Rentals</strong>

Campsites

A Notice to Our Patrons

Campsites at Patuxent River Park will be closed from January 1st – March 31st, 2024.

Campsites A-D and Canoe Camp

The Jug Bay Natural Area offers primitive tent camping; no RVs or tent trailers. There are four small group sites (A-D) that accommodate up to 15 people each, and one site near the river (Canoe Camp), that can accommodate up to 25 people. These sites are open year-round. Each campsite offers picnic tables, a fire pit with a cooking grate, and a limited amount of firewood. These campsites are located near several hiking trails and within walking distance of the river.

The small group camp area (A-D) features accessible solar-powered indoor composting restroom facilities onsite. Canoe Camp has a portable toilet available. Running water is not available at these campsites. Campers are encouraged to bring their own drinking water.

To reserve one of these sites, please call the park office at 301-627-6074 or send an email to patuxentriverpark@pgparks.com for more information. You can also reserve a campsite and view a PARKS DIRECT map online.

Reservations made within 24 hours of the rental date must be made by phone or in person. At the time of reservation, staff will provide guests a combination to gain entrance through the campsite gates.

Patuxent Water Trail Campsites

Groups can enjoy our water-access only campsites located at various points along the river and are a part of the Patuxent Water Trail. These sites include #44A Iron Pot Landing, #40A White Oak Landing, # 35A Spice Creek, or #30 Milltown Landing and are available for rent April-October.

Each site includes a portable toilet, picnic table, and a fire ring. These sites do not include running water or firewood. Guests may only access these sites via canoe or kayak. You may bring your own canoe/kayak. Overnight parking is available at several park locations.

Please complete the rental application below or call the park office for reservations at 301-627-6074.

Please note: Completing the application below does NOT guarantee a rental. Staff will contact applicants to collect further information and make payment to complete the reservation.

View and download the Patuxent Water Trail-Mid River Map (PDF) and the 2024 Tide Table Chart to plan your trip.

Make a Water Trail Campsite Reservation

Fees

SitePrice per nightNumber of campers
Canoe Camp$25R/ $33NRUp to 25 People
Selby’s CampClosedClosed
Campsite A$15R/ $20NRUp to 15 People
Campsite B$15R/ $20NRUp to 15 People
Campsite C$15R/ $20NRUp to 15 People
Campsite D$15R/ $20NRUp to 15 People
Iron Pot Landing*$20R/ $26NRUp to 10 People
White Oak Landing*$20R/ $26NRUp to 25 People
Spice Creek Landing*$20R/ $26NRUp to 25 People
Milltown Landing*$20R/ $26NRUp to 25 People

R: Resident; NR: Non-resident
*Residents are those who reside in Prince George’s or Montgomery County. Proof of residency is required.

Pavilion Rentals

Patuxent River Park Pavilion with Rustic Barn in the background

The park offers a premier location for group picnics all year. The site includes a large pavilion with electrical outlets, 30 picnic tables, and a two-story barn with tables and benches.

The pavilion area features indoor, accessible restroom facilities. The onsite well house provides drinking water as well as a locked storage room containing sports equipment and lawn games. The pavilion is located near several park trails and is within walking distance of the river.

Make a Reservation

Pavilion rentals are by reservation only and payment is due at that time. A $100 security deposit is required. Permit holders will be issued the gate combination code at the completion of the reservation. A Day Use reservation is required for any overnight reservation.

To make a reservation, call the park office at (301) 627-6074 or submit an online application by clicking on the button below. Submitting an application does not guarantee a reservation.

View and download the Patuxent River Park Pavilion & Campsite Area (PDF) map.

PurposeFeeGroup sizeTimeframe
Day Use$400 Residents; $520 Non-ResidentsUp to 20010 am – 9 pm
Day Use$600 Residents; $780 Non-ResidentsOver 20010 am – 9 pm
Off-Season (Nov-Mar) Use$100 Residents; $130 Non-Residents10 am – 9 pm
Overnight$100 Residents; $130 Non-ResidentsUp to 2009 pm – 9 am
Overnight$200 Residents; $260 Non-ResidentsOver 2009 pm – 9 am
Off-Season (Nov-Mar) Overnight$50 Residents; $65 Non-Residents9 pm – 9 am
  • In order to reserve the pavilion for overnight use, a day-use rental for the day of and following day are both required.
  • Group size restrictions subject to change
  • $100 security deposit required
  • Residents are those who reside in Prince George’s or Montgomery County. Proof of residency is required.

Canoe & Kayak Rentals

Patuxent River Park offers weekend (Saturday-Sunday) and holiday (Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, and Labor Day) canoe and kayak rentals April through October at Jug Bay Natural Area. Rentals begin at 9:00 am and all boats must be returned by 3:00 pm. Most kayaks are sit-on-top kayaks. Renters should wear clothes and shoes that can get wet. Online reservations cannot be made within 24 hours of the rental date. Walk-up rentals are available if boats are available. Renters must check in at the Visitors Center upon arrival.

Canoe & Kayak Rentals

Rental OptionsResidentNon-Resident
Jug Bay, Kayak$25/ Boat$33/ Boat
Jug Bay, Canoe/ Tandem$30/ Boat$39/ Boat
Overnight, Kayak (currently unavailable)
Overnight, Canoe/ Tandem (currently unavailable)
Guided River Trip, Kayak$30/ Boat$39/ Boat
Guided River Trip, Canoe/ Tandem$35/ Boat$46/ Boat

Rental Requirements & Details

  • You must be at least 18 years of age to reserve a canoe or kayak
  • Persons 17 and under must have an adult (18 or older) on the water with them at all times
  • Kayakers must be 12 or older
  • A Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) is provided to all boaters and must be worn at all times while on the water
  • Renters are encouraged to create a float plan (PDF) and share with an emergency contact who is not a part of the trip.
  • Additional fees will apply to the following: late returns, lost and/or damaged equipment, or rental agreement violations


The Patuxent Water Trail offers paddlers access to much of the river to camp along its banks and visit its numerous parks, historic sites, sanctuaries, and wildlife areas. Upriver paddle access begins at Governor Bridge Natural Area (#58).

<strong>Events</strong>

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