Where to Find the 12 Most Beautiful Beaches in Maryland

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Sunrise over a beach
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With 3,190 miles of shoreline, Maryland is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast. Maryland beaches feature bustling boardwalks, hidden coves and pristine islands, appealing to all kinds of beachgoers.

Enjoy these beaches to the fullest and spend the day swimming, fishing, camping, kayaking or hiking. Take a break from sunbathing and go fossil hunting at Calvert Cliffs State Park. Or try fishing at Elk Neck State Park. Walk along Ocean City’s beach boardwalk or photograph the wild horses on Assateague Island’s beaches.

However you like to spend your beach days, Maryland has a destination for you. Plan your getaway now with our list of the 12 best beaches in the state.

1. Ocean City

With its modern boardwalk, powdery sand, tasty restaurants and vibrant shopping, Ocean City is a beloved beach destination for Marylanders and tourists alike. The beach stretches for 10 miles along the Atlantic Ocean and has a reputation for being one of the cleanest beaches in the US.

Ocean City Beach is famous for its amusement park rides, arcades, mini golf, bars and delicious seafood restaurants. Those looking to relax can lounge on the beach, go for a swim or walk along the shoreline.

2. Assateague Island National Seashore

Located just off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, Assateague Island National Seashore is a 37-mile-long long barrier island facing the Atlantic Ocean. The island is home to sandy beaches, hiking trails, marshland and lots of wildlife, but it is best known for its wild horses, which roam the island and can be observed and photographed from a distance.

There are no lifeguards on the island’s beaches, so use caution while swimming and be aware of rip currents. If you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a bite to eat at Pony Express Snack Bar located on the beach.

3. Calvert Cliffs State Park

Calvert Cliffs State Park is a stunning park on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The park is known for its breathtaking cliffs that overlook the beach. The cliffs are made of sedimentary rock that is millions of years old and are filled with fossils and other interesting geological features.

Take the family fossil hunting and see if you can find any fossil shark teeth. If that gets tiring, relax on the beach, go fishing, kayak or observe the wildlife while hiking along the shoreline.

4. Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park is a 786-acre park located on the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis. The popular state park boasts a mile-long swimming beach, where visitors can rent a beach chair and umbrella. The beach has all the amenities beach bums might need, including restrooms, food and beverage concessions, a boat ramp and a fishing area.

It is a great destination for water activities like boating, fishing, swimming, and crabbing. There are also plenty of hiking and biking trails, as well as a playground and picnic area with grills.

5. North Beach

North Beach is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of big cities and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of a small town. Located in Calvert County, this charming waterfront town is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway.

The area has lots of restaurants, bars, shops and a fishing pier. Visitors can take a stroll along the boardwalk, enjoy a picnic in the park, or rent a boat and explore the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. To access the beach’s swimming area, visitors must pay a small fee while locals enter for free.

6. Hart-Miller Island State Park

Big into boating? Then it’s time to check out Hart-Miller Island, located in Baltimore Country near the mouth of Middle River. With no public transportation, this 1,100-acre island is only accessible by private boat. It is possible to kayak or canoe to the island, but there are strong currents, so beginners are discouraged from making the trip.

The island is actually made up of two different islands that have been connected with a man-made dike. Hart-Miller Island is uninhabited and home to lots of wildlife, including rare birds.

The island features a 3,000-foot beach with hiking trails, a swimming area, an observation tower and a picnic area. The park also offers campsites, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

7. Point Lookout State Park

Point Lookout State Park is located at the tip of a peninsula formed by the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River. This park was once a prison camp for 52,000 Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. History buffs can learn more about the area’s history at the park’s Civil War Museum.

For the beach bums, the park has a tranquil swimming area open in the summer months. The beach area also has picnic tables, showers and a playground. There is a boat launch and boat rentals. Stay overnight and book one of the park’s 143 campsites.

8. Matapeake Beach

Located on Kent Island, Matapeake Beach is a public beach that occupies a former ferry landing. This popular beach features a large sandy shoreline and beautiful views of the Bay Bridge. There is a one-mile-long trail through the surrounding forest, and there are opportunities for swimming, fishing and boating.

There is an outdoor amphitheater, picnic tables and a public swimming beach. The area is also home to a number of bird species, making it a great place for birdwatching.

9. Hammerman Beach

Hammerman Beach spans 1,500 feet on the banks of the Gunpowder River in Gunpowder Falls State Park. It offers many recreational activities including swimming, fishing, bird watching, kayaking, and picnicking.

The beach has soft white sand, and there is a grassy lawn overlooking the beach. Kids can play on the playground and there are food concessions for anyone who gets hungry.

10. Breezy Point Beach

Breezy Point Beach stretches half a mile along the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert Country. It is a popular public beach perfect for swimming and sunbathing. With a 200-foot fishing pier, a playground, picnic areas, campsites and on-duty lifeguards, this beach is definitely a great family-friendly option.

The nearby town of Chesapeake Beach also has lots of attractions for the whole family. There is a water park, a railway museum, opportunities for water sports and lots of tasty restaurants.

11. Cunningham Falls State Park Beaches

Located in the breathtaking Catoctin Mountains, Cunningham Falls State Park is a Maryland must-see. This park boasts a 78-foot waterfall, a 43-acre man-made lake and lots of forested hiking trails.

The lake, called Hunting Creek Lake, is also home to three beach areas, perfect for cooling off after a day of hiking and exploring. During the summer months, this state park beach is equipped with lifeguards. Fishing is permitted in some parts of the park and there is also a boat launch with boat rentals.

12. Elk Neck State Park Beach

Elk Neck State Park is a public recreation area located on a peninsula in Cecil County. The park’s 2,370 acres include marshland, cliffs, wooden areas and sandy beaches. One of the most popular beach areas is the North East Beach Area, where visitors can swim and sunbathe, or enjoy a variety of water sports including canoeing and fishing. There is a boating area and a fishing pier.

The park also has cabins and campsites for those looking to stay overnight. There is also a nature center, a park store and a playground.

Adina Keeling is a freelance travel writer from San Diego, CA. She worked in local news for a year until her wanderlust drew her to Costa Rica, where she is now based while freelancing and traveling the world. She has lived in three different countries and traveled to 27. An avid solo traveler, Adina wants to empower other women to safely travel alone.
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