Bladensburg Waterfront Park: A Hidden Gem (With a Boat Tour!)

Bladensburg Waterfront Park recently popped up while searching for a local place in Prince George’s County to go kayaking.

The park was developed in 2000 and gives access to recreation along the shores of the Anacostia River. Anytime we can get near the water, we are happy people!

Our family ventured down to the park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The murky Anacostia changed our minds about renting boats but the park itself was a pleasant surprise.

Source: The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Located along a half mile stretch of the Anacostia’s headwaters, the Bladensburg Waterfront Park includes:

  • A playground
  • Covered picnic pavilion
  • Pedestrian bridge over the river
  • Hiker / biker trails on both banks of the Anacostia

On the day of our visit the park was not crowded but several families were enjoying fishing off of the pier, playing on the playground and picnicking in the pavilion.

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The B&O Caboose

Another high point for train lovers is an old B & O caboose car parked across the parking lot from the pier.

This little red caboose is open for playing inside which my two girls loved!

Not to be missed for adults are the interpretive plaques scattered throughout the park with interesting historical facts and anecdotes about the Bladensburg area dating back to Revolutionary War times.

Trail at Bladensburg Waterfront Park

The park has a lovely trail that doesn’t have many uphill areas and has a riverside path.

It is great to stroll with the kids and ride your bikes too.

Riding all the way to Indian Creek Trail, where there is a nice park and basketball courts, and back is about 11 miles.

It’s got a little hidden trail that stretches all the way in Anacostia. You will definitely enjoy nature and the serenity of the area. Very calm and peaceful and definitely a hidden gem.

Playground

There is a kids playground which my kids really enjoyed.

What’s fun is also taking the pedestrian bridge to the other side of the river, stopping to look over the side along the way.

bladensburg waterfront park
Photo by Kim Engstrom

Boat Tours

The highlight of a visit to this park is the 45-minute guided pontoon tour of the river (select days in April through October). Boats leave Tuesday through Friday at noon and Saturdays and Sundays at 5pm for a 40 minute trip on the water.

The Anacostia’s water is polluted and you will see some litter in the water but the wildlife that lives in and around the river helps to make this a serene experience in nature.

On our way up and back on the river we saw:

  • Many Turtles
  • Ospreys
  • Egrets
  • Kingfishers
  • Herons
  • A bald eagle

The wooded banks provide a glimpse into what this area looked like before development and on a beautiful afternoon gave a peaceful backdrop to this trip along the water.

The boat travels from Bladensburg to the National Arboretum in DC where it turns around to head back upriver.

The water ride along the Anacostia River is great and educative for the kids.

Tour Start Times

Boat tours on Thursdays and Fridays start at 12pm and they start at 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fees

It only costs $2 for residents and $3 for non-residents.

Boat, Bike & Tricycle Rental

Boats are available for rent 7 days a week from April to October depending on the weather. You can rent kayaks or rowboats per day or hourly. Bikes can also be rented from $10 per hour for residents and $13 per hour fo non-residents.

For can make online boat reservations here.

Fishing

Feel free to bring your own fishing rod and bait and go fishing on the pier or on the edge of the water.

Make sure to check the weather and the tides before going. Just a heads up too that Maryland Tidal Water Fishing License is required for ages 16 and older (licenses are not sold in the park).

Special Events

The Bladensburg Waterfront Park is host to many special events throughout the year including:

  • Family Discovery Walk
  • Anacostia River Clean up
  • Summer Movies and Concerts

Getting There

Bladensburg Waterfront Park is located at: 4601 Annapolis Rd, Bladensburg, MD 20710

Good to Know

  • Two sets of restrooms can be found in the park. One behind the Visitor’s Center (open daily 9am to 3pm) and another near the boat house.
  • Baby changing stations are found only in the Visitor’s Center facilities.
  • The park does not have much shade aside from the pavilion with picnic tables so may be best for a visit in spring or fall or on a cloudy summer day.
  • Bring a bottle water, flashlight and sun block bug repellent

Things to Do Near the Bladensburg Waterfront Park

  1. Go see the lily pads at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
  2. Visit the The United States National Arboretum
  3. Slide down a dragon slide and cross the moat at King And Queen Playground
  4. Enjoy the beach in Maryland at Sandy Point State Park
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OK Editorial Team

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