15 Best Beaches in Maryland
When planning your next family vacation, consider going somewhere with nearly 3,200 miles of coastline: Maryland.
Many people have fond memories of childhood summer vacations going to the beach, swimming, and enjoying waterfront views.
Still, it can be difficult to plan that perfect vacation for your own family.
Situated on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland's coastline offers a variety of options for any Beachgoer, and is one of the best beach destinations in the Mid Atlantic.
With numerous beautiful beaches, coastal parks, and many wildlife attractions, the best beaches in Maryland offer the perfect summer destination for whatever fun you and your family are looking for.
1. Ocean City
Ocean City offers one of the best beaches in Maryland for visitors to enjoy all summer long!
One of the most popular beaches in Maryland, Ocean City is a must-visit for those that love the perfect mix of beach time and activities.
Spend a beautiful day soaking in the sun and swimming in the warm waters of the Atlantic.
Hit the waves for a full day of surfing, or take the whole family kayaking and fishing along the coastline.
Additionally, Ocean City offers numerous beach events all season long, such as concerts, movies, and family activities.
You can even test your skills at the regular Beach Olympics, held weekly all summer!
If spending all day in the water isn't your thing, you can take a stroll down the 3-mile long Ocean City Beach Boardwalk while taking in the natural beauty of the ocean waves, or sit down to a seafood meal at one of the many excellent beachfront restaurants.
No matter what you're looking for, Ocean City makes a great beach for families, as long as you don't mind the crowds.
2. Calvert Cliffs State Park
Taking the #2 spot on our list of the best beaches in Maryland is Calvert Cliffs State Park.
Calvert Cliffs State Park sits right on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and has miles of shoreline to access the warm, shallow sea.
The beaches are lined by impressive cliffs, offering a one of a kind view while relaxing in the sun.
The park also allows access to both freshwater and tidal marshlands, offering visitors glimpses of the wildlife and countless opportunities for that perfect sunset shot.
Perhaps one of Calvert Cliffs State Park's biggest attractions is the massive abundance of fossils throughout the park.
You are almost guaranteed to find a fossil that could be 10-20 million years old when you visit this beach!
If natural beaches and wildlife are your thing, look no further than Calvert Cliffs State Park.
3. Deep Creek Lake
Taking the #3 spot on our list of the top beaches in Maryland is Deep Creek Lake.
Deep Creek Lake is part of a 1,800-acre state park with miles of lakefront shoreline.
There are two public beaches in the park and 20 miles of hiking and biking trails through beautiful, wooded hills.
If your family needs a little break from all the fun at the beach, take them to the Discovery Center, where you can explore all of Deep Creek Lake's natural wonders and history.
4. Assateague Island National Seashore
Taking #4 on our list of the best Maryland beaches is Assateague Island National Seashore.
This large coastal island offers incredible scenery with numerous coastal bays, salt marshes, and maritime forests.
Spend the day on the island enjoying the beach and natural beauty, or find a secluded spot to camp for the whole weekend.
Most importantly, this national wildlife area is home to herds of wild horses, who roam throughout the island.
Chances are if you camp on Assateague Island, you're going to see a wild horse (or very likely, many of them!).
Just remember -- practice the usual precautions and don't feed the horses.
Human food can be quite detrimental to them.
You can take the family horseback riding on one side of the island or simply enjoy the view of the majestic wild horses while relaxing on the other side.
Hiking Trails in Assateague
For those that love to hike, Assateague Island is an excellent hiking destination as well, offering 37 miles of coastline for beach hikes.
Additionally, there's 3 hiking trails: Life of the Dunes Trail (.5 mi loop), Life of the Forest Trail (.5 mi loop), and Life of the Marsh Trail (.5 mi loop).
All three hiking trails are relatively short, so if you prefer a longer hike, walking the coastline is your best bet.
Assateague Island Accomodations
Tent camping in Assateague Island is a truly unique experience. If you're up for it, it's definitely worth doing at least once!
For those that prefer some amenities, Assateague Island makes for an excellent day trip. Stay at a local hotel at night and head to the beach during the day for the perfect mix.
5. Sandy Point State Park
Sandy Point State Park sits just outside of beautiful Annapolis, and takes #5 on our list of the best beaches in Maryland.
The scenic beach in Maryland overlooks the Chesapeake Bay and is outfitted for the perfect day at the beach with a playground, bathhouses, and concession stands.
One of Sandy Point Beach's main attractions is the boating opportunities, allowing you to explore the Chesapeake coastlines.
Bring your own boat or stop by the marina shop to rent a boat, kayak, or canoe, as well as to stock up on your fishing supplies for a full day on the water.
6. Cherry Beach
#6 on our list of the best beaches in Maryland is none other than Cherry Beach!
If you're just looking for a simple day on the beach, maybe even with a family picnic and a little fishing, Cherry Beach is the ideal spot.
This famous beach overlooks the Nanticoke River and is a popular summer destination for locals and visitors alike.
Cherry Beach is designated solely for public recreation and offers a large pavilion, grills, and several picnic areas.
Like the other beaches on this list, Cherry Beach is perfect for your favorite water activities such as fishing or boating.
If fishing and boating aren't your thing, Cherry Beach is great for spending the day building sandcastles and swimming in the river's fresh water.
7. Cunningham Falls State Park
Cunningham Falls State Park takes #7 on our list of the best beaches in Maryland.
This state park is home to Maryland's highest cascading waterfall and is a must-see summer destination.
This is another busy beach during the summer and holiday weekends, so it's recommended to get there early to ensure you'll be able to get in.
The park is also open throughout the year and offers visitors beautiful scenes of wildlife and natural beauty.
Cunningham Falls State Park is also home to the Scales and Tales wildlife program, which takes in birds and reptiles who cannot be released into the wild.
Visit the aviary or stop by the park for one of the many family programs it hosts!
8. Breezy Point Beach
Breezy Point Beach is a beloved Maryland beach that is only open from May 1st to October 31st.
This quiet destination takes #8 on our list of the best beaches in Maryland.
This is one of the best beaches in Maryland for families looking for a quiet, relaxing day at the beach, as there are no boats or jet skies allowed around the beach.
Camping is also available at campgrounds near the beach.
While you're soaking in the sun, the family can spend time swimming, fishing, or sitting down for a picnic.
Plus, there's no need to worry about bringing food and drinks along. The concession stands at Breezy Point Beach have everything you'll need!
9. Point Lookout State Park
Point Lookout State Park is part of the peninsula that divides the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River.
This state park itself offers numerous beaches, boating, and fishing opportunities, as well as campsites and cabins for a relaxing weekend away.
In addition to Point Lookout State Park's scenic beauty, it's also a historic Civil War site, and a must-visit for history buffs.
If you're looking for a little diversion from the beach, stop by the Civil War Museum or Marshland Nature Center to get a glimpse into the area's history.
10. Matapeake Beach
Matapeake Beach is a small, intimate beach that is home to a clubhouse and amphitheater.
It is the ultimate destination for both private beach events and a fun day at the beach!
The clubhouse is open to the public during the busier summer months, but it can also be reserved for weddings or other gatherings the rest of the year.
Matapeake is also a great place to bring your furry friends, as there's a separate dog beach reserved exclusively for visitors' pups to splash around!
11. Hart-Miller Island State Park
The Hart-Miller Island State Park was recently opened for public use in 2016 and has since become an ideal spot for vacationers and locals to enjoy a slightly more secluded beach experience.
Accessible only by boat, Hart-Miller Island State Park is 1,100 acres with over 3,000 feet of beach, wading pools, and safe mooring spots.
Take the family to the beautiful Hawk Cove, or explore Pleasure Island for a weekend camping trip.
Hart-Miller Island is also a prime spot for birders, as the area is home to numerous unique and beautiful bird species.
12. Chesapeake Beach
The coastal town of Chesapeake Beach is home to Bayfront Park and beach, a popular tourist destination all year long!
Whether you are more interested in exploring the Railway and Surfing Art Museums, walking along the beachfront trails, or spending the day with your family at the waterpark, Chesapeake Beach has plenty to offer.
The town is also home to a bustling charter fishing industry, where you can be taken out to prime fishing areas in the Chesapeake Bay and bring home a fresh seafood dinner or trophy for your wall.
13. Betterton Beach
Betterton Beach has over 5 acres of beachfront designed for every Beachgoer to enjoy.
The beach offers public volleyball courts, a large picnic pavilion, a pier, and a stone fishing jetty.
Betterton Beach is also at the Sassafras River's mouth, allowing you to choose between salt and freshwater activities.
14. Elk Neck State Park
On the peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and Elk River, Elk Neck River is a large state park with all of the amenities you'd expect from a beautiful wildlife park.
The numerous beaches are lined by white clay cliffs and marshlands, offering picturesque scenery for the perfect family vacation.
If you prefer exploring the wilderness of the park, there are miles of trails along the cliffs, beaches, marshlands, and through forested areas.
Be sure to stop by the Turkey Point Lighthouse, where you can get a view of both the mouth of the Elk River and Bay.
15. North Beach
North Beach is the quintessential beach town that offers visitors a scenic walking tour, while also providing a family vacation to remember.
North Beach also offers a dedicated fishing area to help keep swimmers safe and offer a better chance of a good catch.
And of course, North Beach wouldn't be a beach town without paddleboat and kayak rentals.
Right on North Beach's coastline are boat, kayak, and paddleboard rentals, ready for you to explore this amazing beach destination!
Chances are if you live on the East Coast, you've been to a few Maryland beaches - most likely Ocean City and Assateague - but Maryland has several more beaches to explore!
So get out there, grab some beach gear and stop by a few of Maryland's beaches.
You just might find your next favorite beach getaway.