Best Beaches in Maryland

Heading to the shore for a day, a weekend or even a week is a fun, relaxing option for travelers of all ages. For many who live in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, the Maryland beaches are easiest to get to and full of activities to enjoy. To determine the best beaches in Maryland, U.S. News considered scenic beauty, location and amenities, in addition to weighing traveler sentiment and expert opinions. Read on to get inspired for your next Maryland beach getaway, and don't forget to vote for your favorite shores to help influence next year's list. (Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before traveling.)

SUMMARY

Best Beaches in Maryland

  • Ocean City, MD
  • Assateague Island
  • Calvert Cliffs State Park
  • Gunpowder Falls State Park
  • Sandy Point State Park
  • Kent Island
  • North Beach
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    Ocean City, MD

    #1 in Best Beaches in Maryland

    With 10 miles of lifeguard-patrolled sands overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, ample bars and restaurants, and plenty of rental condos, beach houses and hotels for accommodations, Ocean City makes for an excellent getaway. Summer is the most popular time to visit this town on Maryland's Eastern Shore thanks to daily highs hovering in the 70s and 80s. When it comes to activities, travelers can mini-golf or head to the boardwalk to shop, play games and enjoy amusement rides. No trip here would be complete without sampling steamed Maryland crabs, Thrasher's french fries and Dumser's Dairyland ice cream.

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    Assateague Island

    #2 in Best Beaches in Maryland

    Assateague Island – which sits about 10 miles south of Ocean City – stands out for a few reasons: It's home to herds of beautiful wild horses, and it offers numerous ways to see the shoreline, whether that's by hiking, canoeing, kayaking or simply walking along the beach. Camping in trailers, recreational vehicles or tents is also popular at Assateague Island National Seashore. Many of the campsite areas offer picnic tables and fire pits, perfect for roasting s'mores with the family. Adventurers looking for family-friendly outdoor activities in addition to a wide beach will no doubt appreciate this Maryland vacation destination.

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    Calvert Cliffs State Park

    #3 in Best Beaches in Maryland

    Characterized by imposing cliffs that were formed about 10 to 20 million years ago and occupy about 25 miles of shoreline, Calvert Cliffs State Park overlooks the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County. The sandy beach here is small, but visitors have access to a playground and 13 miles of hiking trails. What's more, Calvert Cliffs State Park is home to 600-some species of fossils, so kids will have ample opportunities to go fossil scavenger hunting when they're not building sandcastles or splashing in the water.

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    Gunpowder Falls State Park

    #4 in Best Beaches in Maryland

    An excellent spot for a quick daytrip from Baltimore or other northern Maryland towns, Gunpowder Falls State Park features many amenities and activities for beachgoers to enjoy. The Hammerman Area beach is on the smaller side at 1,500 feet but allows for sunbathing and swimming. For travelers who don't want to bring their own food, a small concession stand and grills are available on-site. This state park also allows fishing and offers kayak, canoe and sailboat rentals – perfect for active adventurers. What's more, there are several short hiking trails for those who want to explore more of the park.

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    Sandy Point State Park

    #5 in Best Beaches in Maryland

    This 786-acre state park in Anne Arundel County features golden sands and impressive views of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Travelers can fish and swim in the Chesapeake Bay (which is typically warm from June to September) and pack a picnic to eat on the shore or under a pavilion. Additional amenities here include concession stands and bathrooms. You'll also find a marina and boat rentals available at Sandy Point State Park.

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    Kent Island

    #6 in Best Beaches in Maryland

    Located approximately 20 miles east of Annapolis, about 40 miles southeast of Baltimore and roughly 50 miles east of Washington, Kent Island boasts a few top-notch beach areas. Terrapin Nature Park stretches across 276 acres and includes a scenic trail that winds through wildflowers, wetlands, woodlands and sandy beach. Matapeake Beach offers more space to spread out and sunbathe in addition to a picnic area, an outdoor amphitheater and several hiking trails. Dogs are also welcome on a portion of Matapeake Beach. When you work up an appetite, head to a bayfront eatery to savor delicious seafood like Maryland crabcakes.

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    North Beach

    #7 in Best Beaches in Maryland

    North Beach makes for an easy getaway from Washington or northern Virginia: It's situated in Calvert County along the Chesapeake Bay. The beach is on the smaller side but open for lounging and swimming, plus rentals for umbrellas, chairs, kayaks and paddleboards are available here. On-site facilities include a boardwalk visitors can stroll or bike along and a fishing pier for those who have a fishing license. In town, vacationers will find an array of novelty shops, antiques stores and art galleries worth exploring, as well as casual and upscale dining options and a history museum.

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