Kayaking the Nanjemoy

Nanjemoy Creek flows just over 13 miles in Charles County, MD to the Potomac River. It comprises a some open water ways, as well as thick, marshy grassland, providing an ideal habitat for a variety of water fowel and other birds.

It is also an ideal habitat for kayakers.

Nanjemoy — the town and the creek — draw their names from a Native American subgroup of the Piscataway people, the Nanjemoy (also Nangemy, Nangemaick). Likewise, another subgroup gave their identity to another Charles County creek: the Mattawoman. Archaeological research indicates evidence of pre-Contact settlements dating back thousands of years. Groups comprising the Piscataway, by 1600, primarily inhabited the north bank of the Potomac River in what is now Charles, southern Prince George’s, and the more western part of St. Mary’s counties in southern Maryland.

We accessed the creek via Friendship Farm Park, a small, local Charles County park that overlooks Nanjemoy Creek. In addition to a boat ramp for motorized boats, it also offers an excellent kayaking launch. Good news: there’s ample free parking.

Once we launched, we first paddled to the right, up one of the branches of Nanjemoy Creek, until we beached ourselves on a hidden mud flat. After freeing ourselves, we paddled toward a deeper branch of the creek, although by then the tide was rolling in and we had no concerns about hidden mud flats.

We saw several osprey, including one that flew pretty low over our kayak carrying a fish. We also saw numerous hawks, although no bald eagles or heron, although both are common to the area. There were numerous smaller birds, including cheeky red-wing black birds in the grasses.

For the kayaker, canoeist or small boater this creek offers miles of scenic marshes which abound with wildlife. The winding creek has many high banks offering protection from strong winds and nesting sites for Bald Eagles.

Friendship Farm Park offers just over 7 miles of trails and these deserve to be explored — another article. Several loop around the creek, offering overlook points, places to enjoy the beautiful water view.

Know before you go: Because Nanjemoy Creek is a tidal creek, best to know what the tides are. You probably will want to go during high tide, because some of the upper creek channels are pretty shallow and it’s not hard to get stuck in the mud. Check out the tides here. Please note that there is no kayak rental at this location, so plan on bringing your own.

Getting there: 4705 Friendship Landing Rd, Nanjemoy, MD 20662

Hours: Dawn through dusk

Website: Find a trail map for Friendship Farm Park here.

For other great places to kayak in Maryland, check out the places below:
Blackwater River/Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Kayaking
Centennial Lake / Preparing for Kayaking Adventures
C&O Canal at Swain’s Lock
Daniels, MD
Lake Clopper / Seneca Creek State Park
Lake Elkhorn
Little Seneca Lake
Mallows Bay Shipwrecks
Patapsco River
Piney Run Park
Potomac River
Wetipquin Creek (Nanticoke River Water Trail)
Wicomico River

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