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Make a Splash at These Great Family Beaches in Maryland

by Barbara Rogers

Jul 20, 2023

© Jon Bilous | Dreamstime.com


With the lion’s share of the Chesapeake Bay’s 11,684 miles of shoreline, plus more coast facing the Atlantic, Maryland is well-supplied with beaches. Families living in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area don’t need to travel far to find a long stretch of sand where children can swim and play in the water.


The best-known, of course, is the 10-mile stretch of white sand bordering the Atlantic at Ocean City. Three miles of the beach is backed by a lively boardwalk and, best of all, the entire beach is free. Families will all manner of activities and entertainment options day and night, including amusement parks and movies on the beach.


If you’re looking for a quieter spot to enjoy the sea and sand, and water with less wave action for young children, look for these family-friendly beaches on the calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay.


Sandy Point State Park
The mile-long sandy beach at Sandy Point State Park is in Annapolis on the northwestern shore of Chesapeake Bay, with lifeguards on duty throughout summer. Playgrounds, food concessions and picnic tables, all backed by green parkland, make Sandy Point a good choice for a family day out. Admission is $5 and $4 after Labor Day.


Matapeake Beach
On the opposite side of the long Bay Bridge is Kent Island, where the little-known Matapeake Beach is a long stretch of sand with a large picnic area and separate section where dogs are welcome. Both beaches are free.


North Beach
On the Chesapeake Bay south of Annapolis, North Beach combines some of the activity of Ocean City — a boardwalk, summer evening movies on the beach — with a long, sandy beach, and gentle kid-friendly riffles instead of ocean surf. The one drawback: If you’re not a local resident, the day-use fee is a steep $25.


Breezy Point Beach

The half-mile of sandy beach at Breezy Point is washed by the gentle waves of the Chesapeake Bay, where you can also fish from the 200-foot-long pier. The playground and netted swimming area for small children make it a popular choice for parents. Bonus: Kids get to keep any fossils or sharks’ teeth they find on the beach. Get there early on weekends or holidays as the beach has a capacity limit. Better yet, go on a weekday, when it’s less crowded and admission is $12 instead of the weekend rate of $20.



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