Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Pasadena, MD

  • Published 2023/02/07

The census-designated place of Pasadena stands in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

According to residents, Pasadena also includes two more areas, Lake Shore and Riviera Beach.

All three places fall under the control of Anne Arundel County, too.

The same fire department, police, and public schools serve all three zones.

While Pasadena might be mostly residential, the community still offers plenty of attractions to satisfy all manner of tourists.

You can find it on the Chesapeake Bay, and it brims with beaches, green open spaces, and parks.

Today, the community draws young professionals and families.

Besides going outdoors, Pasadena also offers its top pastime: golf.

The place has many top-notch golf courses, including Compass Point and the Pasadena Golf Center.

Both of these courses are open to the public, too.

You don’t need a membership to play.

Do you want to know more about Pasadena, MD?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in town:

Step Back in Time at Fort Smallwood Park

A squirrel at Fort Smallwood Park

Shiva Photo /

From the late 1880s to the early 1900s, Fort Smallwood wasn’t a park but a coastal defense site.

The site protected the coast from 1890 until 1927. Today, though, the park has become one of Pasadena’s top recreational areas.

It offers great fishing, a fun children’s playground, and several historic sites.

Bring your rod and bait and head to the 380-foot “Bill Burton Fishing Pier.”

A deer at Fort Smallwood Park

Shiva Photo /

Besides fishing, this pier also gives you the chance to spot interesting birds.

You can also observe the gorgeous scenery while waiting for a nibble.

History buffs will also enjoy walking around the park to check out its vintage gun battery and barracks.

You can also rent the historic Cedar Pavilion for important gatherings.

Gorge on Crabs at Fifer’s Seafood

You’ll miss out on a complete Maryland vacation if you skip their specialty seafood, especially crabs.

If you ever find yourself in Pasadena, head to Fifer’s Seafood and dine on crabs to your hearts’ content.

Moreover, Fifer’s also offers delicious steamed crabs all year.

They also offer cooked-to-order crabs in their All You Can Eat special.

This special course gives you platefuls of seafood, from Dungeness crabs, snow crabs, steamed shrimp, blue crabs, clams, mussels, and more.

You can even grab some wings if you want. With places like Fifer’s, you’ll never go hungry in Pasadena.

Practice Your Swing at the Pasadena Golf Center

Bring your family to the Pasadena Golf Center for an exciting day, even if only one of you actually plays golf.

You can swing away at the driving range while your kids play miniature golf.

The covered range has 34 stations, where you can practice before taking on your buds on the greens.

Otherwise, you can bring your kids to the batting cages and let them swing away.

The Pasadena Golf Center is also available for parties and events at its 1,600-square-foot party patio.

The best part about these amenities is that you don’t have to empty your wallet to afford them.

Practice Teamwork at Escape Proving Ground

Get in on the newest trend in American recreation!

If you ever go to Pasadena, check out Escape Proving Ground and deepen your bond with your family, friends, or coworkers.

Are you planning a corporate team-building activity?

What better way to build teamwork than trying to escape a locked room together?

To win the game, you just need to gather clues, solve puzzles, and crack codes within 60 minutes to win the game.

The games offered here are The Lost City of Atlantis and the Pasadena Wizarding Academy.

Step Up Your Game at Compass Pointe Golf Course

Prepare to beat your friends up and down the course by taking lessons at the Compass Pointe Golf Course in Pasadena.

You’ll learn firsthand golf tips from a PGA instructor.

Besides total beginners, golf pros can also join these lessons.

Even professionals need refreshers from time to time.

The course also offers excellent learning facilities, such as 36 holes of championship golf and a grass teeing area.

They also use cutting-edge tech, like high-speed video and the Trackman 4.

Spend the Day at the Lake Waterford Park

Sky reflecting on Lake Waterford Park's water

Shiva Photo /

You can find this park on the corner of Pasadena Road and Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard.

The Lake Waterford Park and Adaptive Recreation Complex spans 108 acres filled with natural zones and outdoor activities.

Likewise, the lake itself covers 12 acres, where waterfowl dance on its surface and where you can do some shoreline fishing.

If you stay on land, you can visit the park’s three pavilions that are available for advance group reservations.

Bring your kids to the “Boundless” playground in the picnic area, while you fish, go hiking on the nature trails, or play tennis or basketball.

Roll a Strike at the AMF Southdale Lanes

This time, bring your friends to the AMF Southdale Lanes for a thrilling round of bowling.

If you’re not with friends, you’d still have a wonderful time.

This bowling alley is terrific for family nights, dates, birthday parties, and even corporate outings.

When you finish bowling, you can grab some drinks or get a filling meal.

You can also play some games at the arcade.

The bowling lanes themselves are on the bleeding edge, with video walls, modern scoring systems, comfy laneside seats, and lanes fit for champions.

Likewise, the bar offers plenty of beer and cocktails to pair with unique hearty meals.

Bring Your Pups to the Downs Memorial Park Dog Beach

If you bring your dogs on your Pasadena trip, reward them by leading them to the Downs Memorial Park Dog Beach.

This dog-designated spot is just a few minutes off the park’s perimeter trail, so you’ll reach it quickly.

Why should you bring your doggos here?

Dogs love to splash around, and they’ll have more than enough water to do that here.

New puppers can learn how to swim while experienced swimmers get their exercise.

After you’re done playing in the water, leash up your dog and walk the water off along the trails crossing the park.

Grab Unique Items at Antiques on the Go

This antique mall should scratch your itch for quirky, interesting souvenir items to bring home.

Every day, new stock gets displayed on the shelves, so you never know what you’ll see.

Likewise, the mall sells various items, from furniture, vintage toys, old clocks, and other historical memorabilia.

Feel free to look through the shelves for gifts to bring home to your friends, family, or coworkers.

If you’re just curious, the store can also help you get a picture of the classic American way of life.

Bring Your Kids to Artsy Partsy

Help your kids learn to express themselves by bringing them to Artsy Partsy, an art studio in Pasadena catering to the little ones.

You can enroll your kids in various art classes, which help your child connect to the wider world through art.

Likewise, the studio also provides DIY Art Kits that you can paint together with your kids.

During the summer, your kids can also join the eight-week art camp where they can learn how to create art using different mediums.

You can also enjoy Family Paint Night, open to both children and adults.

Just choose the painting you’d like to do, and the studio will help you finish it.

Take a Scenic Stroll at Weinberg Park

Located along River View Road, Weinberg Park is a hidden gem in Pasadena that’s an excellent place to relax and stroll around.

Brimming with lush greenery, Weinberg Park has a serene ambiance, perfect for couples and families who want to enjoy the natural beauty of Pasadena.

It has a pond and access to the Patapsco River, making this place also a nice area to spot a bit of wildlife.

You can also find sea glass at Weinberg Park—a great couple or family friendly bonding activity.

One of the best times to visit Weinberg Park is during autumn, but it also has a unique charm when it’s snow-clad during the winter months.

Spend a Day Fishing at Green Haven Wharf

Green Haven Wharf is a fishing and boating area situated along Stoney Creek, right in the heart of Pasadena’s boat launch zones along Outing Avenue.

Fishing is one of the best activities here, as the scenic creek is brimming with aquatic life.

With the beautiful neighborhoods that surround you, Green Haven Wharf is guaranteed to give you a memorable experience, especially when visiting with friends and family.

If you’re not into fishing, tons of locals launch their kayaks here—a perfect spot to do some boating.

Because it’s right in a coastal neighborhood, Green Haven Wharf is also a great place to just enjoy a laid-back afternoon as you take on the views of Pasadena.

Trek the Woodlands of Beachwood Park

Beachwood Park is a hidden gem in Pasadena, sprawling with dense woodlands that feature several nature trails for you to explore.

The park is along Magothy River near its namesake road, so you can also find a lot of marshlands here that add variety to the experience of your trek.

A couple of wildlife can be spotted here, such as aquatic birds and a few woodland mammals.

Beachwood Park is also a famous spot to launch your kayak or paddle boards, so bring them with you if you’re visiting this area.

Still, simply getting lost in its woodlands is an experience on its own, one that you must try when visiting Pasadena.

Get Some Exercise at Bodkin Park

Bodkin Park is a community park in Pasadena that’s a great addition to your itinerary if you want to break a sweat near the heart of the community.

It’s best known for its softball fields, a perfect place if you’re an avid fan of the sport.

Another great thing about Bodkin Park is that despite being a community park, there’s a lot of woodlands here as well.

This makes it a great spot to do some jogging while you take in the beautiful and rustic scenery that surrounds Bodkin Park.

Plenty of locals play sports and do exercise here, so if you’re the type of traveler who likes immersion, this place is a great stopover during your visit.

Go on a Picnic at Tick Neck Park

Tick Neck Park is another community park that’s a great all-rounder for families.

They have picnic tables, playgrounds, and sprawling walking trails found in this park.

The playgrounds are particularly great, as they offer more than the usual you’ll find in other parks—a great consolation for younger kids.

While Tick Neck Park isn’t surrounded with lush nature, it’s conveniently located along Edwin Raynor Boulevard in the urban districts of Pasadena.

This makes the park a great place for relaxation or some recreational bonding activity if you don’t want to venture far from Pasadena.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Bring Your Binoculars to Fort Carroll

Aerial view of Fort Carroll

tokar /

You can find this abandoned Civil War-era fort in the middle of the Patapsco River, just south of Baltimore, Maryland.

This historic structure stands on a 3.4-acre artificial island in the shadow of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Back then, it would have served to defend Baltimore from the water.

Robert E. Lee designed the fort, and he also supervised the 1848 construction by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

However, they did not finish the fort; it remained unused until its shutdown.

The hexagonal building boasts stylish architecture, with brick archways and curved granite stairs.

Fort Carroll surrounded by waters

Pocord14, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Originally, the fort also had 350 cannon ports, a caretaker’s house, plus a blacksmith and carpentry shop.

The US government abandoned the fort in 1920 after salvaging most of its steel for its World War I effort.

Today, several species of birds and wildlife have turned the fort into their new home.

If you want to check it out, you’ll need to ask permission from the landowner.

Even then, the place is only accessible by kayak or canoe.

Otherwise, just bring a pair of binoculars and try to get a good view from the bridge or a boat.

Explore the Woods at the Severn Run Natural Environment Area

Drive 14 minutes away from Pasadena to reach the community of Severn, Maryland.

You can find the 1,600-acre Severn Run Natural Environment Area here, with plenty of hiking and fishing spots.

It’s also readily accessible from 1-97 and Veterans Highway.

If you want to chill in the woods for a day, head to this place to enjoy some peace.

The hiking trails here are also quite difficult, so you can also challenge yourself as a change of pace.

Fishing takes place on the Severn Run, a river that crosses the park.

Learn Local History at the Rising Sun Inn

This time, go another 14 minutes away from Pasadena to the community of Crownsville, where you can find the historic Rising Sun Inn, Tavern, and Museum.

Visitors have stopped by this place since 1753, even as it underwent constant transformations.

Since its construction, the building has become a farmhouse, then an inn, and a tavern. It’s also become a stagecoach stop.

You can visit the inn on second Sundays from March to November.

The resident ghosts, Randolph and Abigail, might even do an appearance just for you.

The Rising Sun Inn Museum also features arts and crafts made and used in the United States before 1859.

From silverware, glass, ceramics, and furniture, these pieces were key to maintaining the tavern and household.

There are also family documents and inventories available for you.

Learn How Airports Work at the Observation Gallery

This observation gallery sits inside the BWI Marshall Airport in Baltimore, Maryland, just 23 minutes away from Pasadena.

It contains various aviation memorabilia, and it’s also open to the public.

Among these objects is a NASA-provided sounding rocket that stands 28 feet tall and a half-sized model of the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft from Johns Hopkins University.

If you want to see what a pilot sees upon landing at the airport, check out the photo mural near the aircraft cockpit display.

You can also see airport operations for yourself through the binocular viewers there.

Likewise, your kids will love the children’s play area and the Maryland Youth Gallery.

Enter a Historic Building at the Benson-Hammond House

Thomas Benson bought 7.5-acres of land called “Addition to Timber Ridge” and built a log cabin for his family in 1809.

Benson descended from the line of Benson immigrants to America. In 1824, he expanded the property with 273 acres of “Addition to Timber Ridge.”

Then, he built a brick house with two stories, four rooms, and a central hallway, which became the original Benson-Hammond House.

The Bensons became prosperous until Joseph, the younger Benson son, fell deep in debt.

Upon his death in 1882, he instructed his wife, Mary Susannah, to sell the house to pay off the debts.

Thomas and Rezin Howard Hammond bought the farm in 1887.

The Hammonds would live in the house until 1947 when they sold the farm to make way for the Friendship Airport.

Today, the Ann Arundel County Historical Society operates the Benson-Hammond House to showcase the industry of truck farming.

This industry used to be a thriving business in Northern Ann Arundel County.

During your visit, you’ll find artifacts like antique furniture or textiles dating to the Victorian era.

Climb to the third floor and check out farm implements used in the late 19thcentury.

Likewise, you’ll find the Society’s collection of vintage dolls there.

The house’s second floor features collections of clothes, cooking utensils, and quilts.

Go down to the first floor for the museum shop, where you can buy books on local history, along with crafts and other antiques.

Final Thoughts

Pasadena offers plenty of destinations to fill the itinerary of any serious tourist.

You’ll have your fill of outdoor attractions, recreational activities, and historical sites.

Likewise, you can visit other nearby communities to round out your trip.

Book your Pasadena getaway today!

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