Anacostia Park | PARK AT A GLANCE

Anacostia River Trail

Anacostia River Trail


Located in Washington, D. C., Anacostia Park is an outdoor recreational park for biking, hiking, and picnicking, and it has fields and courts for most types of team and individual sports. There is even a roller skating rink, a swimming pool, a boat ramp, and a golf course. Fishing in the Anacostia River is also allowed from within the park.

Covering 1,200 acres, the park is a narrow stretch of land along both sides of the Anacostia River starting near its confluence with the Potomac River. The park boundary on the southern shore is the Frederick Douglass Bridge, and on the northern shore, the 11th Street Bridge. The park runs north for five miles, ending at the Washington-Maryland border. However, most of the facilities and sports fields are located at the southern end on the south side of the river. Enter via Howard Road, Good Hope Road, or Nicholson Road.

Farther north, but still on the south side of the river, is the River Terrace Park unit, and situated along the Washington-Maryland border, Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens (reviewed separately here on National Park Planner). River Terrace Park has tennis and basketball courts, a ball field, and a children’s playground. Access is along Anacostia Avenue from Benning Road to the East Capitol Street Bridge. Parking is on the street.

On the north side of the Anacostia River just north of RFK Stadium is Langston Golf Course, a course built in 1939 for black golfers, but open to everyone today. The rest of the park hosts nothing more than two private marinas and a paved, multi-use trail—the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail—that runs the length of the park’s shoreline on both sides of the river.

The Anacostia River was originally developed for commercial use, but by the late 1800s, silt had clogged the shipping lanes. In the early part of the 1900s, the river was dredged and the dirt was used to fill in the surrounding marsh to create a park. The project took over twenty years, but in 1933, Anacostia Park opened under the management of the National Park Service. It is now part of the National Capital Parks East unit of the National Park system. The park caters mainly to local residents, and in most cases, would be of no interest to tourists visiting Washington.

Note: You can pick up a park map at the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens Visitor Center. Kenilworth Park is part of Anacostia Park.


The public grounds of Anacostia Park are open daily from dawn to dusk. However, facilities such as the skating rink and swimming pool do have their own operating hours based on season. For the latest schedule, visit the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for Anacostia Park.


There is no fee to use the facilities and grounds at Anacostia Park, though permits are required for certain activities such as hosting an organized sports league or a large picnic (there is a fee for the permit, but technically not for hosting the event). For complete details, see the official Permits and Reservations web page for Anacostia Park.

Skating at the roller rink is free, and you can also borrow roller stakes at no charge when the rink is open. An ID is required to use the skates.

Back to the Top

With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on April 25, 2020
Share this article