Are you looking for a great beach to take the family to this summer? Then, check out our list of the best beaches in Maryland.
Located on the East Coast, Maryland is a great place to explore, with lively cities and historical sites.
Maryland is also full of family-friendly and pet-friendly beaches, ranging from the most popular ones like Ocean City to smaller quiet options.
With over 3000 miles of coastline, Maryland has plenty of incredible beaches to soak in the sun.
Our top picks for the best beaches in Maryland are Assateague Island National Seashore and secluded Janes Island State Park.
Best Beaches in Maryland
If it’s the beach and water you are looking for, Maryland is where you should head. So whether you’re looking for a quiet beach to relax on or want to explore the waves, we’ve got you covered.
So pack up the sunscreen and head to one of Maryland’s beautiful beaches!
1. Ocean City Beach
One of the most popular and best beaches in Maryland for families is Ocean City Beach. The beach also has lifeguards on duty throughout the season. With a long boardwalk, rides, restaurants, and plenty of shops, this beach can be enjoyed by everyone.
The beach is also dog friendly, so you can bring your furry friends along for the fun. Besides the beach, there are a ton of other fun things to do in Ocean City with your kids.
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2. Assateague Island National Seashore
This island is perfect if you love the outdoors and serenity. With miles of hiking trails and plenty of wildlife, Assateague Island beach is one of the best beaches in Maryland to explore.
Assateague Island is also known for wild horses, which roam freely around the island, making this place even more magical. You can enjoy swimming, birdwatching, and kayaking here or simply relax on Assateague’s vast unspoiled beaches.
On top of that, Assateague island has some of the best waves for surfing on the East Coast.
There is also a possibility to organize camping on the island through National Park Services.
Needless to say, Assateague Island National Seashore should definitely be on your bucket list of beaches to visit in Maryland.
3. North Beach
North Beach is a shore town with a lovely coastline, boardwalk, fishing pier, cute shops, restaurants, and plenty of summer rentals. And with its proximity to Washington, D.C., it’s the perfect place to escape the city for a day or two.
The number of people that can visit the beach is limited, so it doesn’t get too crowded. You’ll need to buy a beach pass if you’re not a local.
Besides the usual beach activities, you can enjoy a walk or bike ride on the boardwalk overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.
If you happen to be in town on a Friday night from May to October, visit the popular Friday Night Farmer’s Market.
4. Calvert Cliffs State Park Beach
Located in Calvert county, this is a unique beach scenery and one of the prime recreation attractions in the area.
Picture massive Calvert cliffs dating back 10-20 million years ago, sandy beach, and 13 miles of hiking trails. A day-use park, it’s perfect for a family picnic or hike.
The main highlight of Calvert Cliffs State Park is fossil hunting along the beach. Many fossilized remains of oyster shells, sharks, stingrays, and fish can be found on the cliffs.
If you want to cool off, there is a beach area at the end of the Red Trail where you can swim, sunbathe, and relax.
5. Sandy Point State Park Beach
Open year-round from 7 am to dusk, you can enjoy a clean and well-maintained beach here at Sandy Point State Park.
Many hiking and biking trails go through the park as well.
If you’re looking for a place to have a family reunion or wedding, this is the perfect spot, as they offer pavilions that can be rented.
Sandy Point State Park offers a wide sandy beach, picnic areas, fishing, boating, and stunning views of the Chesapeake Bay.
6. Breezy Point Beach
This seasonal public beach offers a campground, a fishing pier, swimming, a playground, and picnic areas. You can find this beach located on the Chesapeake Bay.
If you’re looking for a place to go crabbing and a wide-open swimming beach, this is it!
Breezy Point Marina provides rentals for boats, kayaks, or jet skis so that you can explore all the bay offers.
7. Fort Smallwood Park
Fort Smallwood Park park was originally built as part of the coastal fort system. It offers many activities, such as fishing, kayaking, playground, swimming, picnicking, grills, basketball court, and more.
You can even bring your dog as long as they are on a leash no longer than six feet. Some pavilions can be rented for parties and events.
8. Hammerman Beach, Gunpowder Falls State Park
A day-use park that features a wide, sandy beach on the Gunpowder River. The river is shallow and great for wading and swimming. There are also picnic pavilions, grills, a playground, and volleyball courts.
Dogs are allowed in all areas of Gunpowder Falls State Park except Hammerman Beach from Memorial Day to Labor day.
9. Elk Neck State Park
The beach at Elk Neck State Park is called North East Beach. The shallow waters are ideal for kids. However, the waters have lots of rocks, so swimming shoes are advisable.
The park is perfect for camping, swimming, fishing, picnicking, or just chilling. The campground is nice, with easy access to the bathrooms and showers.
The park also has three main walking trails: the White Banks Trail, Beaver Marsh Loop, and Turkey Point Lighthouse Trail.
The most popular is a walking trail leading up to the Turkey Point lighthouse, where you can get beautiful views of Chesapeake Bay and climb up to the top of the lighthouse if it’s open.
10. Cherry Beach Park
Cherry Beach Park has a perfect little beach if you’re looking to enjoy some boating and fishing. It is also a pet-friendly park, so bring your furry friends along to enjoy the day.
Cherry Beach Park has a fishing pier, a big picnic pavilion area with lots of benches and tables, a boat ramp, and even a playground area for kids.
11. Deep Creek Lake
Deep creek lake is a popular vacation spot in Maryland. It offers about 3,900 acres of lake and about 65 miles of shoreline. It’s a perfect beach for every season as you can do a variety of sports here all year round.
Families can enjoy rafting, fishing, canoeing, and more.
There is also the Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center, where kids can explore the exhibits and learn about the wildlife in the area. The lake also has a nature center and playgrounds for kids to have fun.
12. Hart-Miller Island State Park
One thing to note is that Hartmiller Island state park is only accessible by boat, making it less popular and less crowded. Therefore, it’s one of the best quiet beaches in Maryland.
However, it’s worth it if you can make your way down there. The Island has about 8 miles of trails for walking or hiking, bike rentals, and camping sites. Kids can enjoy exploring the beach and bird watching as well.
13. Cunningham Falls State Park
Located in Catoctin Mountain and close to DC, Cunningham Falls has a small but nice lake with a beach and great hiking trails. You can also enjoy kayaking on the lake or hanging out on the campgrounds. This state park also has remarkable waterfalls, which are the largest in Maryland.
You can get to the waterfall using the Upper Falls trail, which is the easy route and is about a mile walk round trip on gravel ground.
You can also take a more challenging route, the Cliff trail, which is very popular but contains a lot of uneven hills and rocky surfaces to walk on. For younger kids, be careful as the rocky surfaces are slippery when wet.
14. Betterton Beach
This is another great family-friendly beach located in Eastern shore Maryland. It started as a fishing village and then became a beach resort.
It has a bathhouse where guests can get changed and wash off the sand from the beach before heading out. It also has several restrooms, about 500 feet of boardwalk, and more. If your family loves fishing, the beach also allows fishing and boating.
One great thing about this Maryland beach, which is perfect for little kids, is that the water is not deep, and they can easily enjoy the calm waters.
15. Matapeake Beach on Kent Island
Another great beach in Maryland is Matapeake Beach, located on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay on Kent Island.
There is ample opportunity to enjoy swimming at the beach, a family picnic, and hiking around the woods. This is also a dog-friendly beach as it has a dog beach where you can take your dogs to enjoy their private swim.
Although not a large beach, it has an outdoor amphitheater to enjoy shows. One thing to be careful about, the beach sometimes has a lot of jellyfish around.
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16. Rocky Point Park and Beach
Rocky point beach is close to Hartmiller Island State Park, which is only accessible by boat, but it is possible to kayak to Hartmiller from Rocky point beach.
Due to its proximity to Hartmiller, you get a nice view of all the boats sailing through. The beach also has a lot of picnic areas, a volleyball court, a sailing center, a fishing pier, and a boat ramp.
If you have kids, they are not left out, as the beach has many playgrounds to keep them entertained.
17. Rocky Gap State Park Beach
If you’re looking for a nice quiet beach with lots to do, check out Rocky Gap State Park beach. It has a beautiful lake with sandy beaches, bathhouses to wash off the sand, boat rentals, lots of space for picnics, and more. In addition, the beach here is dog friendly.
To top it off, there is also a golf course and a resort town with a casino with a variety of bars and restaurants to explore. On New Year’s Eve, the casino does some fireworks.
18. Point Lookout State Park Beach
Point Lookout State Park beach is located between the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River in St. Mary’s County.
Like most beaches, families can enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, hunting, grills, picnic tables, and more. They also have playgrounds to entertain kids.
This beach holds a ton of festivities annually. In October, the Invasion of Point Lookout tells stories about Point Lookout in relation to the Civil war of 1812.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, it is said that there have been numerous reports of supernatural occurrences at the park, with visitors claiming to experience encounters with “ghosts” of soldiers. The most haunted stories are centered around the lighthouse, which is no longer in use.
19. Bayfront Park in Chesapeake Beach
If you’re looking for a more laid-back beach experience, Chesapeake Beach is the perfect spot. Bayfront Park has a quiet little Brownie’s beach with lots of shells and spectacular views. It’s a great place to go for a swim with family, fish, or just enjoy a pleasant walk and relax in the sun.
However, Bayfront Park might only be open to local residents, so double-check the latest information from Chesapeake Beach’s official website.
If the park is closed to tourists, you can go to Chesapeake Beach Water Park instead or North Beach.
20. Mayo Beach Park
Mayo Beach Park is another lovely beach. The park is open on scheduled days, and in order to access it, you need to reserve a park pass. You can print your pass and place it on your windshield.
It’s a quaint and peaceful little beach, ideal for a family picnic or beach stroll on the sands.
The water is shallow, perfect for kids.
21. Miami Beach Park
Miami Beach Park is a great destination for spending your summer vacation.
The park offers a wide range of activities to keep you entertained – from swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboard rentals to nature trails, playgrounds, and grills.
Swimming is allowed when lifeguards are on duty.
22. Herrington Manor State Park
Herrington Manor State Park is a public recreation area with lovely cabins and a lake in a beautiful mountain setting.
There is a small man-made sandy beach for swimming, many picnic tables, and places to fish.
You can rent kayaks and canoes. The bathrooms include hot and cold showers. You can buy food and souvenirs.
23. Matoaka Beach
Matoaka beach is one of those lesser-known beaches in Maryland, making it a prime hidden gem and one of the top beaches in Maryland.
You can camp here overlooking the Chesapeake Bay or stay in one of the beach cabins.
Similar to Calvert Cliffs, this beach is a paradise for fossil hunting, so bring a bag with you to pack all the treasures.
It can be a little bit tricky to find, and the road leading to the beach is bumpy, but it’s worth the effort.
It’s an ideal beach to unwind and recharge your batteries.
Best Maryland Beaches by County
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
- Beverly Triton Nature Park(no swimming allowed)
- Downs Park (no swimming allowed)
- Fort Smallwood
- Mayo Beach Park (access requires a permit)
- Sandy Point State Park
- Gunpowder Falls State Park
- Hart-Miller Island State Park (beaches are accessible only by boat)
- Miami Beach Park
- Oregon Ridge Park
- Rocky Point Park
- Matoaka Beach
- Bay Front Park
- Breezy Point Beach
- Calvert Cliffs State Park
- Flag Ponds Nature Park
- North Beach Public Beach
- Crystal Beach
- Elk Neck State Park
QUEEN ANNE’S COUNTY
ST. MARY’S COUNTY
- Elms Beach Park
- Greenwell State Park
- Myrtle Point Park
- Point Lookout State Park
- Newtowne Neck State Park
- Strand Beach (Oxford)
Get Ready To Explore the Best Beaches in Maryland
Any Maryland beaches mentioned above will be perfect for family time or alone time. Enjoy walking, hiking, swimming, playing in the sand, a picnic, camping, boating, or fishing.
With more than 3100 miles of shoreline, there is plenty of opportunity to dip your toes in the sand.
What beach has the clearest water in Maryland?
The beaches in Maryland with the clearest water are Greenbrier State Park, Rocky Gap State Park Beach, Assateague Island National Seashore, Hammerman Beach at Gunpowder Falls State Park, Newtowne Neck State Park, and Matapeake Beach.
What are the best beach towns in Maryland?
The best beach towns in Maryland are Ocean City, Chesapeake Beach, Annapolis, Solomons, Oxford, North Beach, and Betterton. They have a great laid-back atmosphere with plenty of beach restaurants and shops.
What is the famous beach in Maryland?
The most famous beach in Maryland is Assateague Island National Seashore. This island is a paradise on the East Coast, with wild ponies roaming around on the white sandy beaches. You can also camp on the island to make the most of your visit.
Are Maryland beaches warm?
The waters in Maryland are warm during the summer, with the average water temperatures above 70 °F (21 °C). You can find some of the warmest water at Solomons Island in Maryland. The warmest month in Maryland is July.
Does Maryland have any natural swimming holes?
Kilgore Falls in Pylesville is one of the best natural swimming holes in Maryland. Kilgore Falls is located in Rock State Park. To get to the swimming hole, you’ll need to walk a 0.5-mile hiking trail leading to the waterfall.