Canton Waterfront Park (Canton / Baltimore)
3001 Boston Street, Baltimore, MD 21224
Canton Waterfront Park is an urban waterfront park that overlooks Baltimore’s harbor. It is also commonly referred to as simply “the Korean War Memorial,” however, the memorial is located within Canton Waterfront Park. The park is a short, straight drive from I95 and I895 along Boston Street. It is located just two blocks down from Canton Square – a popular bar and restaurant destination. (Check out Nacho Mama’s while you are there, it is my favorite mexican joint!) There is also a newly developed shopping center nearby (The Shops at Canton Crossing) down the street that offers more dining and retail options.
The park has a paved parking lot, which has seen better days. I have to be careful driving my car, which is quite low, due to pot holes in the parking lot. The lot is typically large enough to accomidate visitors and boat trailers, however, the area is known for having limited on street parking, and so the lot may fill up during events or weekends. There are often special events or free concerts held at the park, which can block both parking and launching.
There is a large boat ramp, as well as a pier that extends out into the harbor, which are the only safe places to launch within the park. You can easily spot large tankers, coast guard ships, and other commercial vessels from the park. They are quite common within the harbor, and although they move at a slow pace, they can cause major wakes. Always be aware of your surroundings and respectful of other boaters in the harbor. You can check out my footage from the Baltimore Floatilla to get an idea of the course and views that can be seen along the Baltimore Inner Harbor and Canton Waterfront.
The harbor has the unfortunate reputation for being quite polluted. The harbor’s reputation is accurate, and it is quite visible when paddling within the Inner Harbor. You will see your fair share of debris and trash floating in the water, but it is the unseen pollutation that causes the most concern. Baltimore City’s aging infrastructure contributes to high levels of sewage and fecal contamination in the water. There is a large environmental movement that is raising awareness of the pollution, and the city’s desire for a clean harbor. You can support this movement, and all of the benefits it brings, by checking out The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Blue Water Baltimore, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. There have been signs of improvement, despite the harbor’s failing report card. There have been a large number of cownose ray sightings in the harbor lately, and the water clarity has been very good!
I would not let the pollution dissude you from an otherwise enjoyable paddle. I would, however, highly recommend rinsing off your hands and feet after your paddle. I would also advise against falling in!!! The view of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is fantastic from the water. You can also easily paddle around all of the major attractions, including the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, the Pavillions, and Pier 6 Pavilion. Pier 6 hosts lots of great concerts, and paddlers can get close enough to enjoy the ambiance and music from the water.
If you’d like to get involved and rally with your fellow paddlers, in support of a healthy Baltimore harbor, I would highly recommend signing up for 2017’s Baltimore Floatilla for a Healthy Harbor. I participated in the 1st Annual Baltimore Floatilla in 2016, and it was an excellent event with a great turn out. Keep an eye on The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and the Baltimore Floatilla’s webpages for information on next year’s Floatilla. I will also post more information about it, here, on my blog, when it becomes available.