Gardens, Montgomery County, Playgrounds

Seneca Creek State Park

Seneca Creek State Park
11950 Clopper Rd.
Gaithersburg, MD

I’d had Seneca Creek State Park on my list to visit for a while, but when I read that there was a peony garden there, I knew we had to get there while they were in bloom! This state park also features 90-acre Clopper Lake, boat rentals, a recycled tire playground, and over 50 miles of trails – including the Lake Shore Trail which is a 3.7 mile natural surface trail surrounding the lake. 

We arrived around 9 am on a Tuesday – it took us about 45 minutes to get here, but taking rt. 200 (the ICC) makes this an easy drive from the Bowie area. There is no entrance fee during the week. There is a $3/person entrance fee April-October on weekends and holidays (military members/families are free and I *think* any child bucked in a safety seat is free as well.) To get to the peony fields you turn left just after the gate house and follow the signs for peonies. To get to the playground and lake, turn right after the gatehouse and follow signs for Clopper Lake.

There are several shaded picnic areas and a small natural playspace near the Oriole picnic area – we stopped to look but there wasn’t much to it so we headed straight to the tire playground. 

We LOVE the tire playgrounds that are in many Maryland State Parks! This one has views of the lake and featured a giant tire snake (similar to one at Tuckahoe state park) a zipline, a wooden play structure with several bumpy bridges and several other tire climbers and swings. The bathrooms next to the playground were open and clean!

A short walk from the playground is Clopper Lake. There is no swimming here but it was beautiful and great spot to picnic. We walked on the Lake Shore trail a short distance but this trail is not paved and I had my stroller – next time we’ll come without the stroller and explore a little bit more!

After lunch we headed over to see the peonies (you could probably walk? But we chose to drive). There is a small garden area with rows of densely packed peonies in white and different shades of pink. Some were at their peak, some just past, and some had yet to bloom – definitely come in the next week or so if you want to check it out! There are also several huge peony fields next to the garden where you can walk around and the plants are more spread out. The flowers were beautiful and this is a great spot for pictures – I even got a few shots with both twins smiling (after bribing them with candy of course) 🤪🤦🏻‍♀️

🚽 Bathrooms 🚽: next to playground – open and clean!
👩‍👧‍👦Solo w/ kids?👩‍👧‍👦: yes
🛒 Stroller friendly?🛒: I used mine at the playground, but none of the trails here appeared to be stroller friendly so you’ll definitely want a carrier as well.
😷Covid😷: not busy at all, had the playground to ourselves from 9-11 on a weekday
🅿️Parking🅿️: parking lot near playground and grass parking near peonies
⏰ Timing ⏰: 3+ hours 
🧺 Picnic Tables: many shaded picnic areas, only saw benches near the lake though
🐶 Dog friendly – no dogs allows on playground, but the rest of the park is dog friendly

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