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Lake Kittamaqundi, often referred to as Lake Kitt, is a 27-acre man-made lake located in the heart of Columbia, MD. This beautiful lake has been a centerpiece of Columbia since the community was established in 1967. In this definitive guide, we’ll provide everything you need to know to fully enjoy the history, recreation, dining, and natural beauty that Lake Kittamaqundi offers.


Lake Kittamaqundi was dug out as part of the initial development of Columbia by the Rouse Company. The name “Kittamaqundi” comes from the Piscataway language and means “meeting place.” The lake was designed to serve as a central gathering place for Columbia residents. Today, Lake Kittamaqundi remains a popular spot for walks, fishing, and community events.

Historically, Lake Kittamaqundi hosted several iconic events in Columbia, including the Columbia City Fair and the Wine in the Woods Festival. Although these major festivals have moved locations, the lake remains an anchoring point for civic life in Columbia.

A view of Lake Kittamaqundi from the pier and out to the trees in Columbia, Maryland

Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia, Maryland | Photo: Better Living

Lake Kittamaqundi Things to Do

There are endless options for fun at Lake Kittamaqundi, including:

  • Fishing from the dock
  • Paddling or rowing on the water
  • Circling the lake on the walking trail
  • Birdwatching for urban waterfowl
  • Attending a festival or community event
  • Grabbing dinner and a drink at a lakeside restaurant
  • Watching the sunset over the lake
  • Staying at The Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel located right on the lake

The beautiful scenery and central location of Lake Kittamaqundi make it a go-to spot year-round.

Lake Kittamaqundi Fishing

A fisherman casts a rod into Lake Kittamaqundi from the shoreline.

Fishing from the shore of Lake Kittamaqundi | Photo: Better Living

While Lake Kittamaqundi has a maximum depth of 7 feet, it’s stocked annually by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources with several fish species. Largemouth bass, carp, catfish, sunfish, bluegill, and trout can all be found in the lake. 

A Maryland freshwater fishing license is required for anyone 16 years or older to fish on Lake Kittamaqundi. Licenses can be obtained through the DNR website or at tackle shops around Columbia. There is a daily creel limit of two trout per person.

The dock area near the lakefront plaza is a popular fishing spot. Anglers also have success fishing from small boats and kayaks in the main part of the lake. Early mornings and evenings tend to be the best times to catch fish. Common baits and lures include worms, minnows, spinners, and crankbaits.

Lake Kittamaqundi Birding

A double-crested cormorant takes a swim in Lake Kittamaqundi

A double-crested cormorant takes a swim in Lake Kittamaqundi | Photo: Better Living

As an urban oasis, Lake Kittamaqundi attracts abundant bird life. Some species to watch for around the lakeshore include:

  • Mallards, geese, and swans
  • Great blue herons
  • Ospreys
  • Bald eagles
  • Belted kingfishers
  • Cormorants

The best vantage points for birdwatching are from the dock area or along the trail on the west shoreline. Early mornings tend to be the most active times to observe birds fishing and feeding. The Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel offers a special birding getaway for avid birdwatchers.

 💡 Tip: Check here for daily bird sightings at Lake Kittamaqundi

Lake Kittamaqundi Trails

A woman walks along the paved and wooded trails of Lake Kittamaqundi

Hiking along the paved and wooded trails of Lake Kittamaqundi | Photo: Better Living

A scenic 1.4 mile walking trail encircles Lake Kittamaqundi. This easy, paved trail offers beautiful views of the lake and a chance to spot local wildlife. Interpretive signs describe the history, ecology, and geology of the lake area.

The loop trail connects to the downtown Columbia lakefront neighborhood on the south side. Benches are provided along the path, making it an ideal walk for people of all ages and fitness levels. You can also extend your hike for a 4.6 mile trail loop that connects Lake Kittamaqundi to Wilde Lake. Dogs are welcome too, but must be on a leash. 

Lake Kittamaqundi is beautiful all year long, but the best time to hike these trails is March through October.

Lake Kittamaqundi Distance

From Distance
Washington DC 36 miles
Baltimore 10 miles
BWI Airport 45 minutes
Reagan National Airport 60 minutes
Dulles International Airport 90 minutes
Philadelphia 110 miles

Lake Kittamaqundi is conveniently located near both Baltimore and Washington DC. It sits approximately 36 miles northeast of Washington DC and 10 miles southwest of Baltimore.

The lake is roughly 45 minutes from BWI Airport, 60 minutes from Reagan National Airport, and 90 minutes from Dulles International Airport. It is also about 110 miles from Philadelphia.

Public transportation can make accessing Lake Kittamaqundi easy and affordable. The nearest Maryland Transit Administration station is the Columbia Town Center stop, just a short walk from the lakefront.

Lake Kittamaqundi Directions

To reach Lake Kittamaqundi by car, enter these addresses into your GPS:

10275 Wincopin Cir, Columbia, MD 21044

The lake is situated beside the Columbia Lakefront neighborhood and across the street from The Mall in Columbia. Access is available from Wincopin Circle or from the parking lots along Little Patuxent Parkway.

Lake Kittamaqundi Events

While large-scale festivals have moved away from Lake Kittamaqundi, it remains a wonderful spot for community happenings. Some annual events hosted here include:

  • A Fourth of July celebration with live music and fireworks
  • Fall and winter holiday festivals
  • Concerts at the Merriweather Post Pavilion amphitheater

Informal events like yoga meetups, music performances, and movie nights also take place at the lake amphitheater and dock regularly throughout warmer months.

Lake Kittamaqundi Restaurants

Many excellent dining options are within walking distance of Lake Kittamaqundi, perfect for meals before or after you enjoy the lake. Some top restaurants include:

  • Lak – upscale new American cuisine located right on the lake
  • Cured – artisanal charcuterie, cheeses, and sandwiches
  • The Melting Pot – fondue restaurant with unique dining experience
  • Bon Fresco – casual cafe with healthy Mediterranean fare
  • Kismet Cafe & Culture – global fusion cuisine and music venue
  • Manor Hill Brewing – popular brewpub with craft beers and pub grub

With options like sushi, ramen, Cuban, Indian, and more, there is diverse cuisine to suit any taste around the lake.

The front entrance view of The Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel in Columbia, MD

The Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel in Columbia, MD provides easy access to Lake Kittamaqundi | Photo: Better Living

Lake Kittamaqundi Where to Stay

Columbia delivers a variety of accommodation options near Lake Kittamaqundi, such as:

  • The Merriweather Lakehouse – a boutique hotel located right on Lake Kittamaqundi that offers birding, dining, and concert packages
  • Residence Inn Columbia – all-suite extended stay hotel
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbia – spacious suite accommodations
  • Vacation rentals through Airbnb and VRBO – apartments and houses for rent nearby

Hotels and vacation rentals around the Columbia Mall or Little Patuxent Parkway offer convenience to Lake Kittamaqundi within a 5-15 minute walk or very short drive.

Lake Kittamaqundi Parking

Parking at Lake Kittamaqundi is available in several public lots surrounding the lake. The main parking area is the South Lot located off Little Patuxent Parkway, which provides convenient access to the lakefront plaza, amphitheater, and walking trail. Additional parking can be found in the Park and Ride Lot off Wincopin Circle or the North Lot off Lakefront Drive. Parking is free and open to the public. Garage parking is also available in the nearby Mall in Columbia parking garage. Parking is typically easy and ample, except during major events when spots fill up quickly.

If you’re staying at the Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel or dining at Lak, there is free garage parking directly in front of the hotel. From there, it’s just a short walk down to the lake.

There’s also a free lot in the Whole Foods shopping center that will lead you right down to the pier. 


For over 50 years, Lake Kittamaqundi has served as a beautiful centerpiece of Columbia, MD. With so much history, recreation, dining, and community significance, it’s easy to see why locals lovingly call it “Lake Kitt.” This guide provides an overview of the best Lake Kittamaqundi has to offer visitors and residents. Plan a day enjoying the natural beauty and abundant activities at the lake soon!

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