Put-In: easy, sandy spot next to pier
Distance: 1 to 10 miles, depending on your inclinations to explore
Water Type: easy flat creek water
Cautions: powerboat traffic at marina openings and small channel crossing
Rt. 5 South – approximately 8 miles past Leonardtown
Right on Piney Point Rd/Rt. 249 – follow 5.5 miles
Right on Tall Timbers Rd – follow 1 mile
Right on Herring Creek Rd – drive until it ends – .75 miles
Park on right or left side of Herring Creek Rd at public pier area and launch from public pier right side shoreline
Herring Creek offers approximately 10 miles of shoreline including many finger creeks and tiny coves. After launching, head to the right and paddle into the large channel heading toward Rt. 249 (you will see the cars off in the distance). This area offers a spectacular view (past the houses along the creek) of many nesting herons. Look into the trees and along the shoreline along this remote section of Herring Creek. Paddle back into the still inlets behind Piney Point Elementary School and around this quiet stretch of water. Turtles, herons and much other wildlife are “a plenty” in this area. Follow along the shoreline to exit this branch of the creek and head up the creek along the shores and farmlands on the right. At the head of the creek is Cedar Cove Marina. Be cautious – there may be a bit of boat traffic entering and exiting the marina.
Continue along the miles of shoreline to the other finger creeks and inlets along the north side of Herring Creek. Make sure you see the incredible brick house under construction for the past 10 years, a giant structure yet to be completed. Continue along through the last finger creek and follow the shoreline to the very open side of Herring Creek. Enjoy the expansive beauty of Herring Creek, the view of Tall Timbers Marina and the jetties to the Potomac. Make your way along the shoreline to the barrier strand of beach and spit of land that separates Herring Creek from the Potomac River. Typically there are many nesting herons and wildlife along all the shoreline, the beaches and the flats area. Softcrabs hiding in the shoreline grass, herons, egrets, kingfishers and seahawks abound. If you are lucky you may even see one of the bald eagles hunting for prey. Meander through the flats along the creek side of the strand. There are a few good beach landing spots that are easy to see along the strand – a great place to rest and drink. If you are a bit adventurous and the wind is not too bad, paddle out of the channel into the Potomac and turn right to check out the strand beach. A good place to find some gifts from the river – including glass or shells and to view the beautiful and expansive Potomac River.
End your adventure where you began (cut across the channel but be mindful of boat traffic), and stop by the Tall Timbers Marina and The Reluctant Navigator Resturant – famous for its popular Bloody Marys. Check out the Marina Museum of nautical collectibles, art gallery, and history of the area.