Family and Horses on the Beach

Great Maryland Beaches

Family and Horses on the Beach

With more than 3,100 miles of shoreline, Maryland has plenty of great places to sink your toes into the sand. From the Atlantic Coast beaches of Ocean City and Assateague, to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and her tributaries, to spring-fed swimming holes and mountain lakes, Maryland’s sun, surf and sand are waiting for you! Learn more about all of the beaches in Maryland below!

Ocean City
Ocean City Beach
Instagram @lauraseigelpowell

A week in Ocean City is a longtime summer tradition. For a lot of Marylanders, summer means driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and going “downy ocean, hon.” Ocean City offers amusement park rides at Trimper’s, tons of fun at Marty’s Playland and delectable beach treats like Thrasher’s fries and steamed crabs—truly the essence of summer. Ocean City is also home to Ocean Bowl Skate Park, a mini-golf course and plenty of other non-ocean entertainment.

Assateague Island National Seashore
Family at the Beach Watching Wild Horses

Those looking to leave civilization behind can plan a great getaway to Assateague, an undeveloped strip of land crisscrossed by wildlife trails. It’s the ideal spot for beach camping, made extraordinary by the presence of the famous wild horses roaming the park. Home to bald eagles, island foxes, dolphins, whales and, of course, the beautiful horses, it’s no wonder National Geographic Traveler named it one of the 10 best U.S. state parks.

Sandy Point State Park
Enjoy the amazing sunrises on Maryland's coast from Sandy Point State Park.
Maryland Office of Tourism

This state park in Annapolis offers stunning bay views, swimming, fishing and hiking. Sandy Point is home to Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB, naturally), an organization that works to make boating accessible to disabled people, and all the facilities in the park are accessible. It’s also home to the Maryland Seafood Festival in September 2021. Just minutes from downtown Annapolis, Sandy Point’s location on the Atlantic Flyway makes it an ideal spot for bird-watchers and wildlife seekers.

North Beach and Chesapeake Beach
Sunrise over the water at North Beach

These twin beaches are just an hour away from Washington, D.C., making North Beach and Chesapeake Beach an easy weekend trip for city folks. There’s plenty to do, and the Rod N' Reel Resort offers upscale digs if you’re looking to get away from it all.

Gunpowder Falls State Park, Hammerman Beach
Gunpowder Falls  State Park Hammerman Park Beach
Ultimate Water Sports

The Hammerman area in this large park has a popular beach and swimming area—get there early to make sure you get a great spot. There’s a concession stand, small boat launch and a place to rent kayaks and paddleboards. Like we said, it’s a very large park—call ahead for directions to the Hammerman area so you can make the most of your time without too much unintentional wandering.

Deep Creek Lake
People Jumping in to Deep Creek Lake

With 69 miles of shoreline, Deep Creek is the state’s largest man-made lake, with a swimming beach and boat rentals plus a host of events and nearby restaurants. For a dose of exhilaration, head to Adventure Sports Center International, where manmade white-water courses offer a perfect place for new paddlers to get their feet wet—literally—or to challenge the most advanced pro.

Cunningham Falls State Park Swimming Area
People relax at the Cunningham Lake
C. Kurt Holter/Visit Frederick

In the Catoctin Mountains near Thurmont, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources set aside three designated swimming areas at Hunting Creek Lake. Each summer, visitors flock there for picnics or to camp overnight. Stop by the 78-foot waterfall for which the park is named; it’s spectacular.

Calvert Cliffs State Park Beach

This is a grand, natural bay beach for swimming, hiking and just being in the great outdoors. The big draw, though, is to find fossils along the quarter-mile stretch of sandy beach. More than 600 types of fossils, including massive megalodon shark teeth dating back 10 million to 20 million years, have been found. It’s an astounding destination to take shark-obsessed youngsters and budding fossil-hunters.

Breezy Point Beach
beach at sunrise
James M @Yelp

A half-mile of sandy shoreline, a netted swimming area and a 200-foot pier for crabbing and fishing make Breezy Point an ideal getaway spot in Calvert County. Families will love staying at the attached campground and searching the beach for prehistoric shark teeth.

Rocky Point and Hart-Miller Island
Hart-Miller Island State Park

This park fills up on summer days with families looking to escape to bayfront relaxation. A short boat ride off the point, Hawk Cove and Pleasure Island at Hart-Miller Island State Park offer beach camping for those who want to get off the beaten path. And if you’re looking for a way to enjoy a different type of sand, Rocky Point Golf Course is not far away—it’s the only waterfront golf course on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay.

Rocky Gap State Park Beach
Rocky Gap Casino

Rocky Gap offers great beach fun in the mountains and everything you want in a lakefront getaway—public beaches, biking and hiking trails, championship golf, fishing and boating. After playing at the beaches, climb to the top of Evitts Mountain for spectacular views, then hike back to Lake Habeeb to cool down and camp out. For indoor fun, Rocky Gap has a resort and casino on the lake.

Matapeake Beach
Matapeake Park and Beach
Queen Anne's County Tourism

Visit this dog-friendly beach with your four-legged friends! Just across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the Eastern Shore, Matapeake provides beautiful views, trails, a public beach and a separate dog beach. While in the area, visit Matapeake Beach & Club House, a restored 1930s ferry terminal which is now a popular event space, and nearby Stevensville Crab Shack.

Point Lookout State Park Beach
Point Lookout State Park beach
Maryland Office of Tourism

The beach and fishing pier at this picturesque peninsula formed by the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River belie its history. This was once the site of a Confederate prison camp during the Civil War. A museum, monuments and tales of mysterious hauntings recall its past.