Maryland parks offer endless opportunities to enjoy recreational activities. Within a short distance from Washington, DC, visitors and residents can enjoy walking, picnicking, relaxing and participating in all kinds of sports activities. This guide to Maryland parks includes national, state, regional and large local parks arranged by county.
Parks in Montgomery County, Maryland
Black Hill Regional Park
20030 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds, Maryland.
This large regional park, located just north of Germantown, offers a variety of outdoor activities. Amenities include playgrounds, volleyball courts, a fitness course, hiking trails and a 505-acre lake. Rental rowboats, canoes, kayaks and the Osprey pontoon boat are available on Little Seneca Lake. At the Black Hill Visitor Center, you can explore nature exhibits and participate in nature programs led by a park naturalist.
Cabin John Regional Park
7410 Tuckerman Lane, Rockville, Maryland.
This huge park has lots of climbing structures, slides, mazes, playhouses, swings, a Cinderella's pumpkin carriage, airplane, and cars to climb on. Other features include miniature train, snack bar, hiking trails, picnic areas, indoor/outdoor tennis courts, an ice skating rink, Locust Grove Nature Center and lighted athletic fields.
Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Boulevard, Glen Echo, Maryland.
Glen Echo Park is a national park with year-round activities in dance, theater, and the arts for the adults and children.
The parkland and historic buildings provide a unique venue for concerts, demonstrations, workshops, and festivals. There is an antique Dentzel carousel, a puppet theater, a children’s theater and a nature museum. The grounds also have a playground and picnic area.
Little Bennett Regional Park
23701 Frederick Road Clarksburg, Maryland.
Just 30 miles north of Washington, DC, Little Bennett offers wooded campsites and miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. A variety of special events are held throughout the year including campfire programs, nature crafts, outdoor movies, Friday night dances and more.
Rock Creek Regional Park - Lake Needwood
15700 Needwood Lake Circle, Rockville, Maryland.
Lake Needwood is a part of Rock Creek Regional Park, which extends into Washington, DC. The 75-acre lake is a beautiful place to spend a day and visitors can rent rowboats, canoes, and pedal boats. Fishing is permitted. The park has a visitors center with a snack bar (open seasonally), picnic areas, hiking and bicycling trails, playgrounds, an archery range, and golf course. Meadowside Nature Center, also a part of Rock Creek Park, features a nature museum and hiking trails.
Seneca Creek State Park
11950 Clopper Road Gaithersburg, Maryland.
The beautiful park has a lake, boating, fishing, hiking tails, a disc golf course, pavilions, and a creatively designed playground made with recycled tires. During the holiday season, this park hosts Winter Lights, a 3.5-mile Christmas light display.
South Germantown Recreational Park
14501 Schaeffer Road in Germantown, Maryland.
This is a 736-acre park with hiking trails, picnic facilities, an indoor sports complex, 22 soccer fields with a lighted stadium, baseball and softball fields, a playground, archery range, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, a splash playground, model boating lake, a tot lot, and an indoor aquatic center.
7901 Comus Rd. Dickerson, Maryland.
This small mountain with hiking trails and scenic views is a registered natural landmark. It is reasonably close to Washington, DC and offers three different trails.
Wheaton Regional Park
2000 Shorefield Road, Wheaton, Maryland.
This park has a tremendous amount of play equipment including climbing structures, swings, giant slides, a sand castle and much more. There is an old fashioned carousel and a train ride that goes through the park (only open in the summer).
Other amenities include picnic areas, Brookside Nature Center, Brookside Gardens, a lake, ice rink, indoor/outdoor tennis courts, lighted ball fields, trails, and Wheaton Stables.
Frederick County Parks
Second St. & Carroll Pkwy, Frederick, Maryland.
The 44-acre park is located in Downtown Frederick and features a carillon, a lake, a public swimming pool, tennis courts, athletic fields and several playgrounds. The park serves as a venue for summer concerts, a children’s theater and many other outdoor events.
Catoctin Mountain Park
6602 Foxville Road. Thurmont, Maryland.
With 25 miles of hiking trails and scenic mountain vistas, this recreational area offers camping, picnicking, wildlife viewing, fly-fishing, and cross country skiing.
Cabins are available to rent.
Cunningham Falls State Park
14039 Catoctin Hollow Road. Thurmont, Maryland.
The main attraction of this park is the beautiful 78-foot cascading waterfalls. There is also a lake with swimming, boating and fishing, campgrounds, playgrounds, picnic areas and hiking trails.
Gambrill State Park
Gambrill Park Road, Frederick, Maryland.
The park features hiking trails, campgrounds, and a nature lodge with scheduled nature walks and evening campfire programs. There are three overlooks with beautiful views.
Gathland State Park
Route 17, Burkittsville, Maryland.
This 140-acre park, located in Washington and Frederick counties, features hiking trails and a museum and monument to George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist. Interpretive programs are held throughout the summer featuring Civil War re-enactors.
Greenbrier State Park
21843 National Pike, Boonsboro, Maryland.
Greenbrier, located in the Appalachian Mountains, has a 42-acre man-made freshwater lake and beach. Visitors enjoy swimming, boating, hiking, picnicking, fishing and hunting.
Picnic tables and grills and playgrounds are available. This park also has campgrounds and a camp store. Washington Monument State Park is located nearby.
Monocacy National Battlefield
5201 Urbana Pike. Frederick, Maryland.
This was the site of the Battle of Monocacy Junction in the American Civil War fought on July 9, 1864. The battle, labeled "The Battle That Saved Washington," was one of the last that the Confederates would carry out in Union territory. This historic site offers walking trails, guided tours, an electric map orientation program, interpretive displays and artifacts.
Prince George's County Parks
Cedarville State Forest
Route 301 & Cedarville Road. Brandywine, Maryland.
This state forest features more than 15 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. Cedarville Pond offers freshwater fishing. Campgrounds are available for families and groups.
Cosca Regional Park
11000 Thrift Road, Clinton, Maryland.
The 690-acre park has picnic areas and shelters, a tram train, tennis courts, a lake with boating and fishing, a boathouse, playgrounds, an equestrian trail, hiking trails, 25 campsites, athletic fields, the Cosca Tennis Bubble (with four lighted tennis courts) and Clearwater Nature Center, which offers a variety of interpretive programs and special events.
Fairland Regional Park in Laurel
13950 Old Gunpowder Road Laurel, Maryland.
With 150 acres of parkland surrounding the recreational facilities, the Fairland Sports and Aquatics Complex includes a gymnastics center, racquetball courts, a weight training center, the Fairland Tennis Bubble, outdoor tennis courts, volleyball courts, and a 50-meter indoor swimming pool. Also on the property is the Gardens Ice House, an indoor skating rink.
Fort Washington National Park
13551 Fort Washington Road. Fort Washington, Maryland.
This 341-acre national park located on the Potomac River contains a fort that was built in 1809, destroyed during the War of 1812 and rebuilt in 1824. There's also a visitor's center, auditorium, trails and picnic facilities. Interpretive history tours are available.
6565 Greenbelt Road. Greenbelt, Maryland.
This 1100-acre park is located just 13 miles from the heart of Washington, DC and has the closest campgrounds to the nation’s capital. There are 10 miles of hiking trails and three picnic areas.
Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary and Visitor's Center
11704 Fenno Road. Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Almost 2,000 acres of land serves as a wildlife sanctuary providing habitats for a variety of birds and mammals. This is a wintering ground for thousands of Canada geese. The Visitor Center features exhibits on native wildlife, with emphasis on the history and management of Canadian geese. The park also has eight miles of trails for hiking and bird watching and a four-mile self-guided driving tour.
National Colonial Farm - Piscataway National Park
3400 Bryan Point Rd.
This is a National Park Service site that features seven miles of riverfront across the Potomac River from Mount Vernon. The property was bought to protect the view from Mount Vernon. It serves as an 18th century living-history museum with interpretative programs, nature trails and other research projects. Other features include a public fishing pier, hiking trails, and Indian burial grounds.
National Wildlife Visitor Center
10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop. Laurel, Maryland.
The national science and environmental education center offers educational programs, guided tours and opportunities for wildlife observation.
Special programs include children’s games, crafts, trail walks, wildlife demonstrations and more.
Oxon Cove Park/Oxon Hill Farm
Oxon Hill Road (MD 414), Oxon Hill, Maryland.
The national park was a plantation home during the War of 1812 and is part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Through hands-on activities and living history programs, visitors learn about early 19th-century farm life. You can explore on your own and see farm equipment, historic structures, and a barnyard or participate in special activities and demonstrations.
Patuxent River Park
16000 Croom Airport Road. Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
The park offers a wide range of recreation facilities for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, boating, and camping. There are seven historic buildings on site that make up the Patuxent Rural Life Museums: The Duvall Tool Museum, the Blacksmith Shop, the Farrier and Tack Shop, a Tobacco Farming Museum, and the 1880 Duckett Log Cabin. Visitors can explore the rural heritage of southern Prince George's County through the exhibits and special programs.
Walker Mill Regional Park
8840 Walker Mill Road. District Heights, Maryland.
Much of this 470-acre park is undeveloped parkland. The recreational facilities include athletic fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground, picnic area, and a walking trail.
Watkins Regional Park
301 Watkins Park Drive. Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Park with playgrounds, picnic areas, hiking and biking trails, Watkins Nature Center, the Chesapeake Carousel, Old Maryland Farm, the Watkins Regional Park miniature train, Watkins Miniature Golf Course, softball, football and soccer fields, basketball courts, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and 34 campsites.