In this post I’ll try to include EVERYTHING you need to know about visiting Quiet Waters Park!
600 Quiet Waters Park Road
Annapolis, MD 21403
The cost to enter Quiet Waters Park is $6 per vehicle. Admission is free for military members, veterans and their families. You can also purchase an annual pass for access to all four Anne Arundel County regional parks for $40 (well worth it, in my opinion).
Entering the park:
Once you pass through the gate house, you will approach a V in the road – keep right here (there is a one way sign so it should be pretty clear 🙂 Keep driving down this road and eventually you will pass another V in the road. If you go RIGHT, it will take you to the parking lot for the entrance to Harness Creek trail which will take you down to the kayak/boat launch – this is a nice place to walk! If you go LEFT at the V, you will pass a gazebo and pond on your right. You can either park in the parking lot just past the pond on your right (this is lot J) OR if you turn right around the pond you can keep going past this lot and go straight back to the South River Overlook and park there. (you will pass the visitor center and amphitheater on this drive – if you don’t pass these things you are going the wrong direction and will eventually hit the exit for the park – lol!)
Alternatively, you can go LEFT after you pass the gazebo/pond and park in the parking lot for the playground. This all depends on what your plans are for the day. We park in Lot J most often, but we do frequently walk Harness Creek trail down to the kayak launch as well.
It’s easy once you’ve been here a few times, but the park can be confusing to navigate at first so I hope this helps!
What to do while you’re here:
Quiet waters is one of my favorite local places for long stroller walks. There is a 5.1 mile paved loop trail surrounding the park. This takes you through the woods and along the water in some sections. The trail is well maintained year round (even in fall they are constantly clearing the leaves off to keep it clean and safe!). There are also two side paved trails. Harness creek trail takes you to the kayak/boat launch area and is a nice place to walk (maybe about a mile? out and back with views of the water at the end. There is also Wildwood Trail, which looks to be about the same length as Harness Creek trail, but we haven’t walked this one yet! There are also several natural surface trails throughout the park, if you prefer more of a hiking feel.
Pond, Bridge, Gazebo and Reflecting Pool:
We like to start by visiting the pond. My girls love playing on the bridge, feeding the fish and turtles and running around the gazebo. There are benches near the gazebo that make a great spot for a snack break. Right next to the post is the huge reflecting pool that turns into an ice rink in the winter. There is also a small native plant garden where my girls love to walk around the curvy paths. Up the stairs from the reflecting pond is another garden in front of the visitor center, that feature beautiful peonies in the spring!
The main playground here is really nice, and we find it’s less busy than the other county regional parks. It is tucked away in the trees and is fairly well shaded in the summer. There are 2 main play structures (one toddler area and the other is good for all ages) and swings for all abilities. There are portapotties nearby (at the top of the hill) and picnic tables and open fields above and below the playground if you want to bring a lunch and have a picnic.
There are also two “hidden” play areas in the park! These two additional playgrounds are located near pavilions and and are probably primarily used by people renting the pavilions for parties. You can access these by parking in the lots near the pavilions or by walking on the paved trail. The first “hidden” playground is located between the Red Maple and Sassafras Pavilions. There were bathrooms here but the sign on the door said they are closed seasonally – so hopefully those will re-open soon! It had one big climbing structure good for all ages – it had 2 slides and a climbing wall. There were also 2 baby swings and 2 regular. This is tucked back into the trees so I imagine it is nice and shady in the summer! The second play area we found is super small but still a fun place to stop if you’re kiddo needs a break from riding in the stroller. Its has one small modern climbing structure and 3 spinny seats. This is located by the Sycamore Pavilion.
South River Overlook
The overlook is located all the way at the back of the park, past the amphitheater. The road dead-ends at a parking lot and there are clean permanent bathrooms there as well. From the parking lot, there is a flat paved trail that takes you to the overlook (less than 5 minutes walking) The overlook has beautiful views of the South River with several benches and 2 gazebos for shade. There is an upper section with stairs leading down to the lower level (in the spring/summer you can often find lizards all over the stairs!)
At the bottom of the South River overlook you will find a Dog beach! This is unfortunately the only real beach at Quiet Waters. Its great for dogs to play but not great for kids, especially if its busy. We’ve been a few times to play in the sand when its not in use, but usually there are a decent amount of dogs there and it’s not really meant for kids to play at. Just FYI in case you’ve thought about checking it out!
We love grabbing food from Grump’s Cafe, located directly across the street from the main entrance of the park. They offer curbside pick up, carryout and dine-in. I love to use their curbside to grab coffee for me and beignets as a treat for the girls. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and have TONS of delicious options on their menu.
Hopefully you’ve found this post helpful and feel a little more confident about visiting if you haven’t been before. Quiet Waters is one of our absolute FAVORITES in the area and was truly a lifesaver for us during quarantine times. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!