Picnicking is a great way to enjoy the canal. Picnic tables can be found throughout the park near visitor centers and launch ramp areas. For a complete list of picnic locations please view the Recreation Guide by Milepost.
The picnic pavilion at the Carderock Recreation Area is a large covered pavilion, open on three sides, that accommodates a maximum of 200 people. Convenient and ample parking is available for all attending your event.
There are 30 picnic tables in or around the pavilion and electricity, in the form of 4 110-volt outlets, is available for your use. There are 2 large grills outside the pavilion and a large fireplace within the pavilion. Water and comfort stations are located nearby.
There is a softball field and an area for volleyball or relay games. Horseshoe pits are near the front of the pavilion. All are for your use during your event. You must provide the sports equipment, though poles are provided for volleyball or badminton.
The Carderock Picnic Pavilion is available by PERMIT ONLY from April 1st through October 31st. Reservations will be accepted by telephone beginning on the 1st working day of the new calendar year, for the current year only. To obtain a permit call the C&O Canal NHP Permit Office at (301) 767-3731.
The cost for the permit is $150.00 for Monday - Thursday and $250.00 for Friday - Sunday, and on federal holidays. This fee also entitles the applicant, if requested, to an alcohol permit. ONLY beer and/or wine may be served and the beer or wine MUST be served in paper or plastic cups and no open containers may be carried outside the pavilion area at any time.
Payment MUST be received at the time the reservation is made. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards are accepted. Payments made in cash or by check must be paid in person at the C&O Canal NHP Permit Office - 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854. Holding dates without payment is not permitted. Once payment has been received, cancellations and refunds must be requested in writing at least 10 days prior to the event. NO RAIN DATES or PARTIAL REFUNDS are given.
Here is a partial listing of general rules and regulations for use of the Carderock Picnic Pavilion. A more complete listing of park rules and regulations is available.
- The permit allows use of the pavilion between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and sunset only. The park closes at dark, which is one half-hour after sunset.
- Alcohol is PROHIBITED in the Carderock Recreation Area; this includes the picnic pavilion. Pavilion users are only permitted to possess alcohol if their permit designates an alcohol waiver and ONLY beer and/or wine are to be served.
- Permission is required to have catering or special entertainment at the pavilion and caterers MUST have a valid Commercial Use Authorization.
- Permission is required to post signs or banners at the pavilion or on the roadways.
- The park is a "Trash Free Park" and trashcans are not provided. Trash must be picked up and the area left in a clean condition before departure.
- Fires may be built in established or portable grills only. ALL fires must be extinguished before leaving the park.
- Parking or driving on the grass is not permitted and PARKING AT THE PAVILION IS PROHIBITED. Parking is restricted to designated parking lots and parking may not be reserved. Car pooling and/or charted buses should be considered for groups of 100 or more.
- No live bands, disc jockeys, etc. are permitted. Any volume amplification must be at a sound level that does not carry beyond the pavilion or interfere with the use of the area by other park visitors.
- No vending, gambling, raffles or collection of fees of any kind are allowed on park property.
- No amusement type rides and/or generators are permitted. (i.e. Moon Bounce, pony rides, dunk tanks, etc.)
For further information, directions or reservations please call the C&O Canal NHP Permit Office at (301) 767-3731. Calls are usually returned within 48 hours.