A lovely Howard County park built around a pristine lake offering running trails, boating, fishing, and more.
This park is home to a gorgeous 54-acre manmade lake that is stocked with fish and a 2.6-mile path around the lake for walking and biking. The pristine lake, fields, wooded areas, and wetlands in the park are home to abundant wildlife. Read on to learn more.
Sports & Recreation
Whether you are looking to play on the golf course or take in a live band, you can do it all at Howard County’s Centennial Park. Located in Ellicott City, this 337-acre park is built around a stocked lake and features numerous sports facilities, recreational areas, and paved trails.
The park’s pond, fields, wooded areas, and wetlands are home to many species of wildlife. A buoy line restricts entry to a portion of the lake designated as a Wildlife Area, ensuring that fish and birds can reproduce safely.
Throughout the year, visitors can stroll a 2.6-mile paved trail that circles the lake and enjoy picnics on tables and in pavilions near a playground. The South Area is also home to ball fields, sporting courts, and a large recreation center.
Hiking & Biking
Founded in 1907, Maryland’s first state park is a favorite among families from all over the region. Its 337 acres are centered around Centennial Lake, a man-made lake created by damming part of the Little Patuxent River. It is a hub for outdoor activities, including freshwater fishing and bird-watching.
A paved pathway encircles the lake and connects to a number of nearby trails. Pedestrians and cyclists can also take the B&O Ellicott City Station Museum, which is a National Historic Landmark and celebrates the country’s railroad history.
Another great option for families who want to get some exercise is the paved East Area Pathway, which extends from Pavilion H and across Woodland Road to Old Annapolis Road in about 0.4 miles. This trail passes through a pollinator meadow and floodplain deciduous woods, and is available year-round. A great place to also visit is Cabin John Regional Park.
Boating & Fishing
The 337-acre park’s centerpiece is the pristine 54-acre man-made lake that’s surrounded by a 2.6-mile paved walkway and over 7.3 miles of interconnecting paved paths. The lake, fields, wooded areas, and wetlands are home to abundant wildlife.
Boating and fishing are permitted at the lake, which is stocked by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. However, the west end of the lake is restricted as a wildlife sanctuary and off-limits to fishing.
The lake is a great place to find quality size bluegill, pumpkinseed, and redear sunfish, along with the occasional largemouth bass. Large tiger muskies are also stocked at the lake, providing exciting fishing and fighting for anglers who hook them. The pond also is an outstanding birding site, with virtually annual Cackling Geese and winter waterfowl such as American Wigeon and a variety of puddle ducks including Canvasback, Ring-Necked Duck, and Bufflehead.
Playgrounds & Picnic Areas
Tucked inside a sleepy suburban neighborhood, this park has an amazing playground and is close to the U.S. National Arboretum and the Maryland Zoo. Plus, the huge Long Gate shopping center is right nearby (think Kohl’s and Target), making it a convenient location for parents on the go.
Two of the four playgrounds have equipment that is accessible to special needs kids. Also, the surfaces of all the play areas are paved and wheelchair friendly. Many people love coming here right at dusk in the summertime to watch the incredible number of fireflies that illuminate the park.
Howard County has 27 picnic pavilions scattered throughout its parks. Centennial Park is home to one of these, and it’s a popular spot for families looking for the perfect place to have an impromptu picnic.
Events & Activities
In addition to the beautiful lake, Centennial Park offers a number of picnic areas and sports facilities. The South Area hosts the park’s most popular events, as well as a 2.6-mile paved path around the lake. The East Area houses ball fields, playgrounds, volleyball courts, tennis courts, and hiking trails.
The park’s trail system follows the old #9 trolley line and is a great choice for walking or jogging. The path is largely shaded, though some parts of the path may be a bit toasty on a hot day.
Clark’s Elioak Farm, open spring through fall, has a petting zoo and other kid-friendly activities, including the Enchanted Forest pine tree maze, which was relocated from the nearby Enchanted Forest storybook theme park, closed in the 1990s. Click here for the next blog post.
Driving directions from PowerWashCompany to Centennial Park
Driving directions from Centennial Park to Howard County Fairgrounds