Watkins Park is an 850-acre park, located on the Patuxent River, offering a wide range of amenities that are suitable for visitors of all ages, and provides a nice backdrop for outdoor photo sessions.
The park is a part of the Prince George’s County Parks System and was opened in 1963. It is named after Charles Watkins, a former county commissioner, and was originally part of a plantation owned by the Watkins family. Today, the park is a popular destination for families and visitors and is home to a range of attractions, including a carousel, miniature train, miniature golf course, playground, picnic area, camping area, nature center, boat launch, fishing pier, hiking trail, and biking trail.
One of the most popular features of the park is the Chesapeake Carousel, which is one of the few remaining Dentzel carousels in the United States. With 36 hand-carved horses, two chariots, and a Wurlitzer organ, the carousel provides a beautiful and unique backdrop for portrait photography. The park’s miniature train is also a great option for photography sessions, taking visitors on a 1.5-mile loop through the park. It should be noted that both the train and the carousel require paid admission and are not open at all times. Visitors interested in using these features in portraits should check ahead of time for hours of operation details.
For those who enjoy the great outdoors, the park’s hiking trail and biking trail are superb, though do not provide significant portrait opportunities. Visitors can also launch their boats from the park’s boat launch or fish from the park’s fishing pier, which offers the chance to catch bass, catfish, and sunfish. With the right nautical equipment, this can provide a viable opportunity to include a country-style boating aesthetic into a portrait session.
The park’s nature center offers educational programs for children and adults and has exhibits on local wildlife and plants. The playground is also one of the largest in the county and provides a fun and playful setting for portrait photography. Meanwhile, the camping area at the park offers 30 campsites and three group campsites that are open from April to October and offer water, electricity, and sewer hookups.
Despite its many benefits, Watkins Regional Park can present some challenges for portrait photography. As a popular spot for families and visitors, it can be difficult to find a quiet and secluded spot for portraits. The park’s many distractions, such as children playing and people walking their dogs, can also make it challenging to capture the perfect shot. Additionally, the park is not well-lit and the sometimes densely packed tree canopy can make it difficult to nice natural light portraits. However, with some planning and preparation, visitors can take great advantage of the park’s many benefits to capture beautiful and memorable portraits.