Anacostia Park | BOATING AND PADDLING

Boat ramp at Anacostia Park

Boat ramp at Anacostia Park


See the Park Map for boat ramp locations.


BOAT RAMPS

For those wishing to access the Anacostia River by watercraft, motorized or hand-paddled, Anacostia Park offers three options. There is a boat ramp located within the main section of the park across from the roller skating rink. Two ramps are available, and there is plenty of parking for boat trailers. Those with hand-paddled watercraft can unload at the ramp, so there is no need to lug equipment from the parking lot.

I was at the park in early June and the ramp area was a mess, so I’m assuming (and hoping) that the place is cleaned up once the main summer season kicks in. Though it may not be the prettiest boat ramp, it is definitely the easiest and most hassle-free option for paddlers and those with small fishing boats.

What most people do not realize is that much of the shoreline property on the west side of the Anacostia River is also part of Anacostia Park, and there are two marinas on this property. For those looking for a permanent place for their boat, directly across the river from the Anacostia Swimming Pool is the members-only District Yacht Club, which has been around since the early 1950s and was on the land prior to it becoming part of the park. It operates under its own management and is now technically a tenant of the National Park Service.

The James Creek Marina, which is located at the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, is also on National Park Property and is operated by a park concessionaire. This marina does allow transient boaters along with long term slip rentals.

PADDLING TRIP

For those wanting to paddle on the Anacostia River, the recommended trip is between Anacostia Park and Bladensburg Waterfront Park to the north (you can rent canoes and kayaks at Bladensburg during the summer season). The distance is about 7 miles one-way, a little longer if you paddle all the way to the Potomac River. The trip should take somewhere between 2-3 hours (double that if you must paddle back). The river is tidal, so plan accordingly. See the How Tides Affect Your Paddling article here on National Park Planner.

Paddling on the Anacostia River (photo by Chesapeake Bay Program)

Paddling on the Anacostia River (photo by Chesapeake Bay Program)

The river is calm for the length of the trip, so it is suitable for paddlers of all ages. The only thing to be aware of is that while you can enter the marsh at Kenilworth Park, you had better leave before the tide goes out, otherwise you’ll be stuck in deep mud for up to six hours.

For more information on what there is to see and do on the river, visit the Anacostia Water Trail web page.

Kenilworth Park marsh near low tide

Kenilworth Park marsh near low tide

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