At Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary, the synergy of history and nature provide a truly unique experience. There’s something for everyone, whether you prefer to walk the shore, view wildlife, fish, or paddle the waters. The ships emerge at low tide and provide habitat important to osprey, bald eagles, herons, and an array of fish, plants, and animals.

3 adults and a child stand in native dress looking out over a river

Trail Signs

Through a series of trail signs, discover how Mallows Bay – Potomac River National Marine and the area that surrounds it connects to the indigenous people that call it home.

a group of children hudle around a park ranger

Photo: Nick Zachar/NOAA

Parks Providing Access

Learn how to access the sanctuary through different parks.

A kayaker paddles around shipwrecks

Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

Know Before You Go

Get tips to experience Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary at its best.

an osprey perched on a shipwreck

Wildlife Viewing Guidelines

Encountering wildlife can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Follow wildlife viewing guidelines to make the most of the experience for both you and the wildlife.

A group of Kayakers flaot on a river

Tour the Sanctuary

Learn how to make the most of your experience to the sanctuary.

A woman helps a child launch their kayak on the bank of a river


Due to the size of the water access area at Mallows Bay Park, groups of 10 or more should pre-register their paddle trip. This process helps minimize congestion and conflict in the boat ramp area. To pre-register your group, please contact at least two weeks prior to the requested date.