We paddled Mattawoman Creek starting at Up The Creek Rentals at a place called “Slavin’s Launch“. I couldn’t tell from their website whether the put-in was private land or public land, but Google told me that the place is Mattingly Avenue Park which is a public park in Indian Head, Maryland.
We did not rent canoes or kayaks, but the place rents all of that. They have about 5 canoes to rent and more kayaks to rent. There are two port-a-potties, and up the road a little bit by the playground there might be real toilets, but we did not investigate. And they sell Hershey’s ice cream bars and some cold sodas. Those we did buy while we were there.
This is a tidal river that flows into the Potomac River. It is very popular for fishermen. It reminded me a lot of the Patuxent River at Jug Bay. There was a dock and boat ramp for trailered boats. This creek was very wide, so “creek” is a misnomer for me. There was lots of arrowroot growing in the river.
We went over Memorial Day weekend, 2014. There were quite a few boats out, lots of kayaks, some canoes, and some stand-up-paddleboards. Power boats are allowed here and there were a few; I think we saw 3-4 during our 3 hour stay. It was certainly not overrun with power boats and was pretty quiet. And according to my reading this is a speed restricted part of the creek, and we found there were no motor boats speeding along, they were all going very slowly.
Looking at the map, I thought it would be best to go upstream to where it gets narrower (that is left at the put-in). But we did not paddle long enough to get to where it narrows. We probably paddled up a half hour before stopping for lunch. The place we stopped was an island in the middle of the creek made mostly of stones that looked like they were dredged up and put there. There is a sign that says the Nature Conservancy has something to do with that island. It is not a flat island, like one would think, but a tall pile of rocks which once you climb to the top, gives a nice vista.
There was a nice pebble and shell beach which the kids played on for quite awhile. Our group consisted of 2 canoes, 1 kayak, 5 adults and 3 children, ages 6-8. This time for entertainment we brought our regular array of pool noodles, but I had bought three Super Soaker squirt guns with us. I was hoping the other family would bring some squirt guns too, but alas, I had to give my super soaker to one of the children, as there were not enough for the children and the adults.
The “pebble beach” went out about 5 feet and from there it got silty and muddy. The water is rather tan, which I think may be tannin in the water. It sort of looks like the color of water on the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania. The kids had fun attacking each other with the squirt guns and creating attach plans on the island as well as swimming out from the shore a bit, before it got too muddy.
On the way back we stopped on river left and found the remains of what looked like two barges. You can paddle around it, but I wouldn’t get out and walk on it as there are lots of huge nails and old wood and old metal structures lying around.
Even though we went upstream to get to the island, on the way back it felt like going upstream again. We were actually going downstream on the way back but between the tide and the wind, it felt even more “upstream” than when we were actually going upstream.
When we finally got back to the boat ramp, I noticed a “No Swimming” sign and no fishing from the pier sign. It didn’t say anything about no swimming in Mattawoman Creek, probably just at that dock and the surrounding area.
We saw some Great Blue Herons and some snakes in the water. There were quite a few fisherman and when we came back to the put-in (take-out), there was a fisherman there with several huge fish (gar fish, snakehead, and carp).
This was a nice family paddle. With the wind and not having paddled since last August, it was pretty tiring getting back against the wind. But it sure was nice to be able to buy some cold ice cream bars at the return. Next time I might wait until we get back to Accokeek and go to B&J Carryout for my ice cream.
My friend Mark lives in Southern Prince George’s County and he recommends these rib/chicken BBQ places. His review follows:
The rib/chicken BBQ places are “Dale’s Smokehouse” and “George’s Ribs”. They’re both on 210/Indian Head Highway Northbound, about 1 mile (Dale’s) and 1 1/2 mile (George’s) north of Mattingly Ave. (Both are south of the first traffic light.) The BBQ is great, and the servings are massive at both places.
Dale’s has a sign on the front, and is on a street corner just north of a small used-car dealership; George’s has a big sign with a “cute” pig on it on the side of the building, and sits pretty much by itself. George’s has about 60 seats; Dale’s has about 30 seats.
Dale once worked at George’s, but about ten years ago he started his own place.
4840 Strauss Ave
Indian Head, MD 20640
4645 Indian Head Hwy
Indian Head, MD 20640
These sound wonderful. Next time, I’ll be sure we paddle later so we can do dinner at one of these places.
And if you want your ice cream and burgers. It also has BBQ sandwiches, but I don’t remember thinking they were good enough to return for the BBQ. But it is a nice place to have ice cream after a day of paddling.
15805 Livingston Rd,
Accokeek, MD 20607
Next time I’m down this way, I want to try Nanjemoy Creek and one of these BBQ places.