A Fresh Take: Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

October 10, 2022

By Riley Hoaglin

Jug Bay Map Pho

Just 20 miles outside of Annapolis is a natural oasis. This hidden gem invites you to take a step outside of your everyday life, and enjoy everything nature has to offer! Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary was established in 1985 and is located within the tidal reaches of the Patuxent River. Encompassing 1,700 acres of protected land, Jug Bay offers freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, creeks and so much more. Due to its vast ecosystems, you will find a wide diversity of animals, including mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, and many others.

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When arriving at Jug Bay you will follow a gravel road that leads to their main parking lot. From there you will see the different trails as well as the front office. Be sure to go into the office to check in and grab a map! There are several different trails to explore, my two favorites were the Yellow Loop and the Marsh.

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The Yellow Loop begins right outside of the office. As you begin your adventure you will see the first overlook of the marsh. AND — just WOW! I used the binoculars provided to see some fun critters, such as birds and if you’re lucky a fish or two. My next favorite part is the Nature Play Park. A great place for kids, and adults, to play in the forest. Continuing on the 2-mile path, there are massive trees and other plant life, most labeled with plaques to identify species. My personal favorite trees here are the Oaks. It is amazing how many different types of Oak trees there are!

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In my opinion, the absolute best, most breathtaking experience is the marsh. Right next to the parking lot is a short trail down to the marsh. I was amazed, you are IN the marsh! Entering the dock you are surrounded by tall grass. It feels as if you are in the jungle, exploring a new land. I did not see any creatures up close, but the views were amazing so it made it worth it! I have never seen or been in the marsh that up close and it is a must-do!

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Overall during my time visiting Jug Bay, I was mesmerized by the beauty. The encapsulating feeling of being somewhere completely different was like no other, a tranquil place filled with greenery, charming animals, and friendly staff. I could not think of a better place to spend my time.

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If you are planning a visit, be sure to take a look at their website. There is a vehicle fee of $6 and dogs are NOT allowed in most areas of the Sanctuary; however, some of their property does allow pets. I hope you consider a trip to Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, you will not be disappointed!