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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Lake Needwood Boats

On weekends from May to September, enjoy the beautiful 75-acre Lake Needwood in rental kayaks, rowboats, canoes, or pedal boats, or tour the lake aboard the Needwood Queen pontoon boat. Private boats can also be launched with permits.

Fishing is permitted at both lakes in Rock Creek Regional Park: Lake Needwood and Lake Frank (just 10 minutes away).

Visit the Boat House for boat rentals and boating permits; fishing equipment, including bamboo fishing poles, hooks, bobbers, bait, and bottled water for sale. The new accessible/ADA compliant dock and launch system makes it possible for people with limited mobility to launch both canoes and kayaks. And your canine friends are welcome aboard our boats too!

Boat Rentals: Hours of Operation: 10a – 6p*

  • Open Saturdays and Sundays from May 25 – September 1
  • Open Monday, September 2

*Last rentals begin at 4:30 pm and must be returned to the Boathouse at 6 pm.

Boat Rental Fees

  • $15.00 per / hour for Kayaks, Canoes, and Rowboats
  • $12.00 per /half-hour for Pedal Boats
  • $55.00 for a full day’s rental for any boat (except Pedal Boats)

Boat rentals are available as weather permits. Each boat rental requires a picture ID as a security deposit. All patrons must wear a life jacket at all times. All Rules and Regulations apply when renting all types of boats. A $10 late fee will be charged for any boats returned after Boat House closing times. Cash, all major credit cards are accepted at the Boat House. Fee Reduction Coupons may be used toward boat rentals.

*Last rentals begin at 4:30 pm, and must be returned to the Boathouse at 6 pm. Boathouse staff tries to remind boaters who are still on the lake at 5:30 pm to head for shore before 6 pm. Rental boats returned after 6 pm will incur a late fee of $10 per boat. 


Kayaking is a very different and wonderful boating experience! Because the boats sit so low in the water, kayakers feel very connected to the lake and the life in and around it. Most everyone can learn to paddle a kayak in a short period of time.  Both one-person and tandem (two-person) kayaks are available. Kayak rentals include a kayak paddle and life jacket. For the safety of all, do not place children on your lap–they must be seated in their own seat in the kayak. The new accessible/ADA compliant dock and launch system makes it easier for people with limited mobility to launch both canoes and kayaks.

Passenger capacity:1 person for single kayaks, 2 people for tandem kayaks


Great for individuals and families who want to spend time on the water but are not experienced with boating. Rowboats may also be used for fishing. Each rented rowboat includes a pair of oars, a life jacket for each person, and a seat flotation device. Some boats can accommodate an electric trolling motor, which must be provided by the renter. Anyone born after July 1, 1972 must possess a certificate of boating safety education in order to operate a trolling motor on a Parks rowboat. Anchors are available upon request.

Passenger capacity: 5 person/800 pound maximum; 5th passenger must be 44” or shorter


A good choice for people with some boating experience. Canoes move faster, but they are less stable than rowboats and require some skill to maneuver. Canoe rental includes a paddle, a life jacket for each person and a seat flotation device. The new accessible/ADA compliant dock and launch system makes it easier for people with limited mobility to launch both canoes and kayaks.

Passenger capacity:3 person maximum; 3rd passenger must be 44” or shorter

Pedal Boats

Great for people of all ages with little or no boating experience. Pedal boats are stable and easy to maneuver, and very popular for families with young children. Each rental includes life jackets for each person, and a seat flotation device.

Passenger capacity: 4 person maximum

Pontoon ToursCurrently Unavailable

Tour the lake on the Needwood Queen, a pontoon boat operating on weekends and holidays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The 20-minute boat tours allow you to see turtles, birds and other wildlife on the lake. The Needwood Queen is accessible for people using wheelchairs.

Passenger capacity: 12 people per trip
Tour departures: N/A
Cost: $5.00 per person, tickets are available for purchase the day of. Call 301-563-7540 for group availability.

Private Boats & Mooring Area

Private boats that can be hand launched are permitted on Lake Needwood from March 1– December 15 with the purchase of a daily or seasonal permit. Boaters must adhere to Regulations for Private Boats. Seasonal permits also provide access to Little Seneca Lake at Black Hill Regional Park.

Schedule and Hours:

  • From March 1 – December 15: 6:00 am to Official Sunset

Daily Permits: Must be purchased online on THE DAY OF your trip. An electronic or print copy of your receipt will serve as your permit. Permits may also be purchased at the boathouse during normal operating hours.

Seasonal Permits: Seasonal permits can be purchased for $75.00. The permit is good from March 1 to December 15 at both Lake Needwood and Little Seneca Lake. Permits can be purchased at the Boathouse. Also available at ActiveMONTGOMERY.com. Beginning August 1 Seasonal Boat Permits are prorated to $37.50.

Mooring Sites:

Mooring sites can be purchased for an additional $50.00. Beginning February 15. All boats must be removed by December 15, annually. For more information about mooring sites contact facility manager Brian Borge.


Largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie, and trout are only a few of the fish species found in Lake Needwood and Lake Frank. Fishing is permitted from the rental boats during the operational season at Lake Needwood, and from private boats during the private boat permit season. Year-round fishing is permitted from the shoreline of both lakes. Fishing licenses and live bait are not available at the Boathouse.  We do have bamboo cane poles, fishing line, floats, sinkers and hooks. For complete details, visit Fishing in Montgomery Parks.