Directions and Maps

kayaks lined up along a river bank
Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

The sanctuary is near Washington, DC, and central to the Chesapeake Bay region. Mallows Bay Park is the primary access point to the sanctuary with additional nearby access available at Widewater State Park and Smallwood State Park.

Mallows Bay Park (Maryland)

1440 Wilson Landing Road
Nanjemoy, MD 20662
(301) 932-3470
Directions

The park is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to sunset.

Amenities include a boat ramp, soft launch, portable toilets, parking, walking trail, interpretive signs, and picnic area.

Widewater State Park (Virginia)

1440 Wilson Landing Road
Nanjemoy, MD 20662
(301) 932-3470
Directions

The park is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to sunset.

Amenities include a boat ramp, soft launch, portable toilets, parking, walking trail, interpretive signs, and picnic area.

Smallwood State Park (Maryland)

2750 Sweden Point Road
Marbury, MD 20658
(301) 743-7613
Directions

The park is open daily from 5 a.m. to sunset from April to October, and from 7 a.m. to sunset from November to March.

Amenities include the historic Smallwood’s Retreat, a marina, boat launching ramps, a picnic area, camping area, pavilions, a recycled tire playground, and nature trails.

Before You Go

Experience Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary at its best with the following tips:

  • For optimum viewing of the wrecks, schedule your visit to correspond with low tide.
  • Paddling is recommended between May and September to coincide with favorable weather and water conditions.
  • Real-time water quality conditions are available at eyesonthebay.net.
  • Check the National Weather Service report before departing.
  • Fishing is permitted within the Potomac River and Mallows Bay (fishing license is required).

Interpretative Maps

Visitors are encouraged to borrow the free interpretative maps provided at Mallows Bay Park. Whether you’re paddling or walking, always respect wildlife. Animals and birds should be viewed from a distance.

A Paddler’s Guide to Mallows Bay: The water trail guide offers three routes to explore the Ghost Fleet. The map identifies and explains 16 points of interest that are marked by small buoys. It also provides a brief history of the site and identifies plants and animals most commonly encountered.

Mallows Bay Hiking Guide: The hiking trail guide offers four walking trails throughout Mallows Bay Park. The map identifies points of interest and plants and animals most common to the park.

Guided (Interpretative) Tours

Several commercial vendors provide interpretative tours. These typically include 90-minute to three-hour sessions with an experienced tour guide. Kayaks and safety gear are provided on-site.