Maryland’s beaches are a treasure trove of summer fun, offering a mix of waterfront real estate along the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay. The state is renowned for its popular beach towns, with many families making annual trips to destinations like Ocean City for extended summer weekends.
The best beaches in Maryland are more than just scenic stretches of coastline. They offer a plethora of activities, including boardwalk strolls, kayaking, surfing, paddleboarding, and more. Whether you’re looking for sandy dunes or picturesque lighthouses, these beaches provide Instagram-worthy views.
If you’re planning a coastal getaway in Maryland, consider visiting one of these 16 standout destinations:
Assateague Island National Seashore: This uninhabited 48,000-acre land is famous for its incredible wildlife, particularly the hundreds of wild horses that roam the beaches. Visitors can bring their own horses for a beachfront stroll, watch dolphins, fish, or go clamming. The Maryland section of Assateague Island offers camping among wild horses under a starry sky.
Calvert Cliffs State Park: Although technically a natural bay, Calvert Cliffs is considered one of Maryland’s top beaches due to its stunning views and unique history. The beach, surrounded by sandy cliffs, is ideal for swimming and fishing. The real attraction, however, is the over 600 species of fossils found here, some dating back 20 million years.
Ocean City Beach: Widely regarded as Maryland’s best beach, Ocean City Beach attracts locals and tourists alike with its steamed crab and numerous attractions. The resort town hosts eight million tourists annually, mostly during the summer. The beach offers both a quiet getaway and an action-packed family vacation, with the north end providing a relaxed atmosphere and the south end featuring the famous Thrasher’s French Fries and Ocean City Boardwalk.
North Beach: Located about a mile from Chesapeake Beach, North Beach extends along the bay’s western shore. Visitors can stroll or cycle along the boardwalk, fish off the pier, or spot bald eagles and Canadian geese. Nearby Chesapeake Beach offers a water park, dining options, and the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum.
Sandy Point State Park: This beach offers stunning views over Chesapeake Bay to the Bay Bridge and beyond. Lifeguard-staffed in the summer, it’s a safe option for young swimmers. Sandy Point is also popular among anglers, with boat rentals and a marina store available. The state park features hiking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds.
Breezy Point Beach & Campground: Located north of Plum Point on the Chesapeake Bay’s western shore, Breezy Point Beach offers classic beach activities such as camping, swimming, fishing, and picnicking. Visitors can also search for fossils, shark teeth, and sea glass or go crabbing.
Deep Creek Lake: This 1,800-acre state park features an artificial lake surrounded by sandy shores and forest. With swimming beaches, hiking and biking trails, a campground, and a Discovery Center, it’s suitable for all beachgoers. Deep Creek is Maryland’s largest lake, nestled among mountains in the western part of the state.
Rocky Point Beach and Park: Situated at the mouths of the Back and Middle rivers, this 33-acre park has 300 feet of beach. It offers a stunning view of the Chesapeake Bay and Hart-Miller Island, a popular destination for boaters and birders. The park features a sailing center, volleyball court, fishing pier, and picnic tables.
Cunningham Falls: This lakeside beach-inclusive state park is home to Maryland’s tallest cascading waterfall, Cunningham Falls. The park is part of the larger Blue Ridge Mountains and features the 75-acre artificial Hunting Creek Lake, ideal for swimming, boating, and fishing.
Matapeake Clubhouse and Beach: Located on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay, this public swimming beach features a colonial-style clubhouse, restroom facilities, an outdoor amphitheater, hiking trail, picnic area, and a separate dog beach.
Rocky Gap State Park Beach: Surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, Lake Habeeb is known for its “bluest water in the state.” The park offers swimming, camping, and hiking in its distinctively clean water.
Point Lookout State Park: Situated on the piece of Maryland separating the Chesapeake Bay from the Potomac River, this park is home to historical attractions, a lifeguarded beach, public barbecues, and opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, and boating.
Hammerman Beach: Located in Gunpowder Falls State Park, this beach offers concessions, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, and canoe and kayak rentals. Visitors can swim in the Gunpowder River and hike local trails.
Hart-Miller Island: Accessible only by private boat, this 1,100-acre state park offers swimming, fishing, hiking, camping, and free bicycle rentals.
Betterton Beach: Located at the mouth of a pastoral peninsula, this north-facing beach offers a quiet patch of sand, volleyball nets, and picnic areas.
North East Beach: Part of Elk Neck State Park, this beach offers swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and picnicking. The park also features marshland, forest, white-clay cliffs, a supplies store, beach showers, and a playground.
Maryland’s beaches offer a diverse range of activities and scenic views, making them a perfect destination for summer fun on the shore.