Seneca Creek State Park is one of my favorite parks in Montgomery County Maryland. It’s a very scenic park with plenty of hiking trails for all ages, an awesome playground for kids, and boating rentals.
This park is huge, covering 6,300 acres of land! There are also 50 miles of trails for you and your family to explore. My favorite is Lake Shore Trail which takes you around Clopper Lake.
This park is open during Covid-19 and the playground just opened up after Governor Hogan’s update on 5/6 expanding outdoor activities.
Park Hours and Entrance Fees
This Maryland State Park is open from 8 am to Sunset from March through October and 10 am to sunset from November to February.
Last time I went there was a $3 per person entrance fee on weekends only. During the weekday there are no fees.
Schwartz Peony Garden at Seneca Creek State Park
One of my favorite things to do at Seneca Creek State Park is visiting their peony garden and field. Yes, there’s a field of wild peonies here AND the Schwartz Peony Garden. I’ve never seen anything like it in the Washington DC area.
Peonies are my absolute favorite flower and when they bloom here it smells absolutely amazing!
The peonies at Schwartz Peony Garden in Gaithersburg is inside Seneca Creek Park and go into bloom around early to mid-May. It doesn’t get really crowded because there is plenty of space and it’s quite the hidden gem.
I only know about the peonies at Seneca Creek because my neighbors told me. They knew I was obsessed with blooms and highly recommended it. If you love flowers then you might also want to check out these gardens in DC.
Location of Peony Field at Seneca Creek State Park
The peony field and garden are located next to each other inside the Park and there are signs to the field.
Directions: Enter the park through the Clopper road entrance, take the first left after the entrance booth, you will see the field and garden on your right. There is plenty of free parking on the grass across from the field on your left.
Why Seneca Creek State Park is Great for Families During Summer
This is such an amazing park for families during the summer. There’s always plenty of picnic tables to have an outdoor picnic. And you can even reserve an area for parties and get-togethers. One of my friends reserved a whole private area for his birthday a few years ago!
And they absolutely have the best playground made of recycled tires we have ever been to in this area. My daughter loved it so much she didn’t want to leave.
If you need to bring a stroller however, this park is not super stroller friendly. Most of the grassy areas and trails are not paved so getting a stroller through would be rather difficult.
Boating at Seneca Creek State Park
Did I mention the canoe and kayak rentals? There’s nothing better than renting a kayak or canoe and having a nice boating experience in the peaceful lake.
Also unlike Needwood Lake, the water here is not toxic. My daughter loved waving her hand through the water as we rowed the boat.
During the summer months, the boats get rented out rather quickly so go early!
Boating Rental Days and Hours
- Weekends and holidays only: May 2-June 14
- Wednesday-Sunday starting mid-June through Labor Day
- Last day of operation: Labor Day: Monday, September 7, 2020
- Weekend operating hours May 2nd -June 14th: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. All boats must be docked by 7 p.m.
- Weekdays June 17th- Labor Day: 12 noon – 6:30 p.m. All boats must be docked by 7:30 p.m.
- Weekends and Holidays June 20th- Labor Day 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. All boats must be docked by 7:30 p.m.
Boat Rental Prices
- Canoes and Rowboats: $12/hour or $42/4 hours
- Single Kayaks: $12/hour or $42/4 hours
- Tandem Kayaks: $13/hour or $46/4 hours
- 4 Person Pedal Boats: $12/hour
- Pontoon boat tours: Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.: $3 per person (private tours available by reservation on weekdays only)
Seneca Creek State Park During Fall
Fall is one of the best times to visit Seneca Creek State Park. This park offers some of the best trails for fall foliage near DC.
King Fisher is my favorite viewpoint for fall leaves in Maryland. There’s no hiking to get to this viewpoint, you can just drive to it and plenty of parking.