15 Best Maryland Beaches For Fun In The Sun

Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Maryland may be one of the smallest states on the East Coast, but its jagged coastline plays host to incredible beaches.

Many of them are on par with options in other East Coast states. The best part? Even the most beautiful Maryland beaches don’t get anywhere near as many tourists as those found on beaches further down the coast. You’ll still get that great beach experience, though.

Maryland has a lot of coastline. We know how tough it can be to find a great beach resort to head to. So, we figured we’d make your job easier.

We’ll look at all the beaches and come up with the best beaches in Maryland. So, whether you are after the most famous Maryland beaches or those hidden spectacles, you’re in the right place. This page has something for everybody.

15 Maryland Beaches

Are you excited? We certainly are! We’ve explored a lot of beaches in Maryland. We mean a lot of them. There are tons that we could have included on this list of the best Maryland beaches.

We’ve narrowed it down to 15, though. Whether you are looking for the best beaches in Maryland for families, the best Maryland beach vacations, or something where you can party the night away, we reckon we have something right for you here.

Best Beaches in Maryland

Table of Contents [Show]

Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link.

1: Ocean City Beach — Ocean City

Ocean City Beach — Ocean City
Dreamstime/Rzyotova

Oh, man! We're getting this list off to a great start. This is one of the most popular beaches in Maryland. Honestly, when somebody thinks, 'What beach should I head to in Maryland?', chances are that Ocean City Beach is going to be right at the top of their list. No surprise, really.

Ocean City Beach boasts 10 miles of pristine, white sand. This is coupled with gorgeous, crystal-blue waters. There is no shortage of activities to enjoy either.

If you can name a water sport, you’ll probably find somebody in Ocean City dabbling in it. Surfing. Parasailing. Swimming. Jet skiing. Paddleboarding. Everything. If you enjoy your water-based pastimes, then Ocean City Beach is where you can rock your skills (or pick up some new ones).

Of course, it isn’t just about the water here. The entire city has been built for tourism. You’ve got cracking shops, restaurants, and a ton of amusement park rides. This is a brilliant place to bring your family. It is the very definition of a resort town.

During the summer months, Ocean City really comes alive. There are fun events happening every single day. This includes regular movies on the beach, aquarium talks, and more. You’ll, honestly, have one of the best vacations of your life here.

While the main focus of Ocean City is drawing in those families, there is still plenty for students and couples to do. In fact, this is a prime Spring Break destination, with plenty of music-based events happening at the mid-point of the school year.

If you can only visit one beach in Maryland, it should probably be this one.

Address: Ocean City, Maryland

2: Cherry Beach — Sharptown

Cherry Beach — Sharptown

Moving swiftly along, Cherry Beach, near Sharptown, couldn’t be any more different from Ocean City Beach. We told you that Maryland beaches are varied!

Cherry Beach isn't somewhere where you can kick back and catch a few rays. There is sand, but it is barely enough to pull out a towel and snooze in the Maryland heat. This is a recreational park where you can explore gorgeous nature trails or perhaps dabble in a dash of fishing or boating.

Cherry Beach is where you go if you feel like a lazy day out there in nature. It is perfect for families that like to wander around and spot nature, and even couples. It is ideal for people who love to while away the hours and fish in the sea.

Cherry Beach has a relatively small amount of development. It has a few picnic tables, a small pavilion, a fishing pier, and a tiny child's playpark. Although, we really think this helps with the real natural beauty of the area.

If you head into Sharptown, you'll find…well, nothing. Sharptown is a sleepy Maryland town. It has barely cracked 700 residents. But, if you love that small town feel, wandering through the streets may be perfect.

If you head to Cherry Beach, you aren't getting that traditional 'beach resort' fun. This is a place where you will want to camp. Thankfully, there are tons of campsites surrounding Sharptown. Just make your pick. They'll book up early during the summer months.

Address: Sharptown, Maryland

3: Sandy Point State Park Beach — Annapolis

Sandy Point State Park Beach — Annapolis
Dreamstime/Ritu Jethani

Sandy Point State Park Beach is very similar to Cherry Beach in that this is a very 'natural' area, i.e., not your typical beach resort.

However, Sandy Point State Park Beach has received a lot more development over the years, and if you are looking for nice beaches in Maryland, you may want to get acquainted with it.

Sandy Point State Park Beach sits on 786 acres of land. The beach itself, which is white and sandy, overlooks the Chesapeake Bay. Of course, owing to the huge size of the State Park, you can explore a whole lot without even coming close to the beach. But let’s be honest. Do you really want to ignore one of the prettiest beaches in Maryland?

Sandy Point State Park Beach offers nature walks, fishing and crabbing opportunities, boating, and more. There is even a dash of hunting (although this is limited).

Sandy Point State Park Beach is incredibly popular but rarely feels crowded. We suppose it is because most people are there for boating, fishing, and hunting. They aren't lounging about on the beach.

Do bear in mind that there are very limited opening hours for the beach (unless you are actively fishing or boating), and there is a $5 daily entry fee to the park (plus a little bit extra for your vehicle). Still, it is worth the cost of admission, and this will fast become one of the places that you return to time and time again.

Address: 1100 E College Pkwy, Annapolis, MD 21409

Visit Website

4: Assateague State Park Beach — Berlin

Assateague State Park Beach — Berlin
Dreamstime/Scott Anderson

If you are looking for some real beachfront fun, then say hello to Assateague State Park Beach. It offers over 2 miles of coastline and mile-a-minute fun.

Well, it can provide mile-a-minute fun. We're sure most people will be perfectly content to just relax on one of the best beaches in Maryland.

Since Assateague State Park Beach is a state park, you can’t expect it to be overloaded with amenities, forced-fun attractions, etc.

Instead, you’re going to be right out there in nature. Relaxing on a beautiful, sandy beach. Beachcombing. Kayaking, fishing, and more.

If you do come to Assateague State Park, we recommend that you dabble in some kayaking. When you kayak around Assateague State Park, you’ll get access to some beautiful coves that can’t be accessed on foot. How is that for a relaxing beach adventure?

If you are getting bored of the whole 'being in nature' thing, you'll be pleased to know that Ocean Beach City is just 20 minutes away. So, you can get that nature beach vacation coupled with the big beach town vacation.

Basically, two beach vacations for the price of one! We've already told you about the excitement you can enjoy while staying at Ocean Beach City.

Address: 7307 Stephen Decatur Hwy, Berlin, MD 21811

Visit Website

5: Calvert Cliffs State Park Beach — Lusby

Calvert Cliffs State Park Beach — Lusby
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

By now, you may have noticed a theme. While there are some tremendous Maryland beach towns, almost all the fun at Maryland beaches is in the state parks. Not surprising, really. Maryland is a place known for its natural beauty.

There is a sandy beach that you can relax on at Calvert Cliffs State Park, but that isn’t the main attraction here. The main attraction at Calvert Cliffs is fossil hunting.

Without going into the exact history of the area (pick up a book on Maryland dinosaurs, it will be fun), almost all of Maryland used to be covered in a very warm sea. All sorts of prehistoric sea creatures swam around here.

One day (well, over the course of millions of years), that sea receded, exposing the cliffs. Many of the creatures that died when the sea was there ended up being preserved in the cliffs, and you can now hunt them down as fossils!

Honestly, fossils aren't too tricky to find here, either. It isn't uncommon for somebody to pick up a fossil, albeit a small one, in just a few hours.

So, if you have enthusiastic children or have always wanted to live out your fossil-hunting dream, head to Calvert Cliffs State Park. You could find an ancient shark tooth! (One of the more common finds).

Address: 10540 H G Trueman Rd, Lusby, MD 20657

Visit Website

6: Matapeake Beach — Stevensville

Matapeake Beach — Stevensville
Flickr/Forsaken Fotos

We’re moving away from the state park beaches for a little while, and we’re taking you on a trip to Matapeake Beach in Stevensville.

Don't think you're getting a bustling beach town here, though. Oh no. While Matapeake Beach is developed, it has an almost historic charm to it.

Matapeake Beach, like many of the beaches in Maryland, is located on the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately, there are only a few times per year when you can swim at Matapeake Beach.

This is because the water is usually packed with jellyfish. This probably isn't somewhere you will be making a beeline for if you're looking for a relaxing vacation in the sun. Matapeake Beach is more for those that want to explore nature trails.

Surrounding Matapeake Beach, you have a forested area. You can explore for hours before you end up on the beach for a dash of beach combing.

If you’re lucky enough to get to Matapeake Beach when the jellyfish aren't out in full force, you'll also get some great swimming in!

One of the great things about Matapeake Beach is that it rarely ever gets crowded, even during the height of the summer season.

So, if you're content with just relaxing on a white, sandy beach without swimming, then Matapeake Beach may be right up your street!

Address: 1112 Romancoke Rd, Stevensville, MD 21666

7: Deep Creek Lake State Park Beach — Swanton

Deep Creek Lake State Park Beach — Swanton

Our continued journey into the best beaches in Maryland takes us to Swanton and the Deep Creek Lake State Park Beach.

This isn’t your typical ocean-view beach, though. Deep Creek Lake is miles from the coast. Instead, there is a man-made beach around Deep Creek Lake.

Deep Creek Lake State Park is located on 1,800 acres of natural land. It sits right next to Deep Creek Lake (where the area gets its name), which is an almost 4000-acre manmade lake!

There are 2 miles of beach to relax on here, and they are beautiful, sandy beaches (as they are manmade). On top of this, you have over 20 miles of biking and hiking trails to explore, plus a Discovery Center where you and your children can get up close and personal with the history and wildlife found in Deep Creek Lake State Park.

The highlight of this area is the beach, and many people head to Deep Creek Lake State Park Beach purely for that. You shouldn’t expect any major amenities here (it is a state park, after all).

However, it does play host to a large campsite, just in case you want to stay here. Although do bear in mind that the campsite gets booked up incredibly quickly.

There’s plenty to do here on top of the beach. We’ve already spoken about the biking and hiking trails, but you can also enjoy boating, kayaking, and a dash of fishing. Perfect for a relaxing nature vacation, right?

Address: 898 State Park Rd, Swanton, MD 21561

8: Cunningham Falls State Park Beach — Thurmont

Cunningham Falls State Park Beach — Thurmont
Flickr/Fred Schroeder

When it comes to beautiful Maryland beaches, we don't think that you can ask for something that looks better than Cunningham Falls State Park. It is located within view of the Catoctin Mountain, which hosts the largest waterfall in Maryland.

Sadly, while this is one of many nice beaches in Maryland, you won't be able to swim after Labor Day. However, you can continue to do various beach-related activities, including fishing and boating.

So, if you want to relax on those pristine white sands, you'll want to ensure you arrive at Cunningham Falls State Park Beach before Labor Day.

If swimming isn't your thing (or you have missed swimming season), don't fret. The rest of Cunningham Falls State Park is stunning. We've already told you about the mountain and the waterfall. You also have great nature trails (for biking and walking), kayaking, and picnicking.

In our opinion, Cunningham Falls State Park Beach is one of the best places to head in Maryland if you’re after a nature vacation.

One where you can escape day-to-day life on a multi-day trip in the mountains of Maryland. Although, somewhat frustratingly, you’ll need to book early. This is one of the more crowded state parks in Maryland, and it is often full during the summer months.

Address: 14039 Catoctin Hollow Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788

9: Hart-Miller Island State Park — Kingsville

Hart-Miller Island State Park — Kingsville
Dreamstime/Steve Blandino

Looking for an adventure? Well, if you're trying to reach Hart-Miller Island State Park, you'll have one. This area is only accessible by boat.

So, yes. Getting there is a bit more challenging than some other good beaches in Maryland, but the limited access on those boat trips doesn't get quite as crowded.

This area is completely manmade and, oddly enough, located in a landfill. But don't worry! There isn't a stench there. This is just repurposed military land, which is still one of the top clear-water beaches in Maryland.

There is a 3,000-foot white sand beach here. It is perfect for lounging about on and, as we said, rarely gets crowded due to its location.

Once you have spent a few hours on the beach, you can walk around and explore some of the stunning natural scenery or climb up the observation tower to enjoy the bird life.

If you are going to Hart-Miller Island State Park, we suggest that you make an overnight trip out of it. There are camping facilities on the island and, if you want to explore the true beauty of the region, then you must see it at night.

This is a fairly new area. It only opened in 2006, so not many people will have headed here. So, why not go home and tell people about the fantastic trip that you had?

Address: Hart-Miller Island, Kingsville, MD 21087

10: Breezy Point Beach — Chesapeake Beach

Breezy Point Beach — Chesapeake Beach
Dreamstime/Rorem

Unfortunately, Breezy Point Beach is currently closed. You won't be heading there during the 2023 season. Although, it will be back up and running in 2024.

This is because the area is undergoing extensive restoration to fix weathering issues. When it opens again, it promises to offer all-new beachgoing adventures.

The beach is primarily for campground users. Although, anybody can waltz onto Breezy Point Beach. Here, you'll get to enjoy one of the best beaches in Maryland while swimming in some of the calmest waters on the Chesapeake Bay.

Activities here are your usual campground fare, including a huge fishing pier often packed with people fishing and crabbing. Don't know how to fish? Well, we're sure there will be people around there willing to teach you!

If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you can dabble in kayaking or fossil hunting.

Address: 5300 Breezy Point Rd, Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732

11: Betterton Beach — Betterton

Betterton Beach — Betterton

Betterton Beach is a 5.2-acre park on the waterfront. Because this is an unattended beach, i.e., no lifeguards, you will find Betterton Beach far less crowded than other beaches.

In fact, even during the height of the summer, you'll rarely see people here. It is a shame, really. This is one of the prettiest beaches in Maryland.

Betterton Beach offers beautiful white shores that you can relax on. You can even take a dip in calm and tranquil waters.

People who crave more adventure can dabble in some swimming and boating, although you'll need to bring your own boat. There are no rentals here.

Outside of this, there isn't much to do at Betterton Beach. Even if you head into Betterton, there are very few stores (the town just has 300 residents).

Betterton Beach in Maryland is more for those that want to quickly escape the hustle and bustle of life rather than as a real beach town trip. Lots of people love that, though. We certainly do.

Address: 100 Main St, Betterton, MD 21610

12: North East Beach at Elk Neck State Park — North East

North East Beach at Elk Neck State Park — North East
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

North East Beach at Elk Neck State Park is a small, sandy beach area in the middle of the wilderness. It provides swimming access to the Chesapeake Bay, but a lot of people are perfectly content to just lounge around on the lush sands.

Because North-East Beach at Elk Neck State Park is tiny, it doesn't get a massive influx of visitors. In fact, most of the people that head to North-East Beach will come from the nearby campground.

As this is yet another state park beach, you can't expect there to be a lot of amenities. This is more of an area where you can relax without a care in the world. Bring your family along. Even students on Spring Break may have some fun here. There is a dedicated picnic area with some grills.

Of course, if you want to head to this beach, we suggest you stay at the nearby campground. This will also give you ample opportunity to explore the stunning trails in the area.

Address: 4395 Turkey Point Rd, North East, MD 21901

Visit Website

13: Gunpowder Falls State Park (Hammerman Beach) — Middle River

Gunpowder Falls State Park (Hammerman Beach) — Middle River
Dreamstime/Angeles Medrano Zamora

If you want a state park that has a bit more to do than just lounging around on the beach, then Gunpowder Falls State Park may offer just that.

Of course, this is one of the most beautiful Maryland beaches. In fact, some would argue that it is one of the cleanest beaches in the state. Although almost every beach we have visited is relatively pristine, if Gunpowder Falls does win, it is only by a hair.

The beach is 1,500 feet long and provides swimming access to the Gunpowder River. There are a lot of amenities in the nearby area, particularly during the summer months.

While swimming is probably the main highlight of this beach, there are also boating and fishing options. If you are feeling more adventurous and want to step away from the water a bit, there is even an archery range.

Outside of this, it is just a relaxing beach vacation in the heart of nature, much like the other state parks on this list.

Address: 7200 Graces Quarters Rd, Middle River, MD 21220

Visit Website

14: Point Lookout State Park Beach — Scotland

Point Lookout State Park Beach — Scotland
Flickr/Elvert Barnes

Point Lookout State Park Beach is located in one of the more picturesque areas of Maryland. There is a lot of history behind this area too. Point Lookout State Park Beach was a military outpost during the Civil War.

It was used to house Confederate Prisoners of War, as well as act as a hospital for combatants. Now? It is one of the most beautiful state parks in Maryland.

As with all state parks, there isn't much to do here. The park store is open during the summer months (May - September), and you can head to the nearby lighthouse museum to see exhibits on the area's history.

Most of your time at Point Lookout State Park Beach will be spent just relaxing on the sandy shores. If you want to venture into the water, you’ll be pleased to know that it is incredibly calm. The area is well-sheltered.

There are numerous fishing options around Point Lookout State Park Beach. You can pick up bait and a few accessories from the store in the summer months. You can also head out onto the water in a boat.

As you can probably imagine, this beach is a great place to head if you are camping within Point Lookout State Park and want easy access to one of the white sand beaches in Maryland.

Address: 11175 Point Lookout Rd, Scotland, MD 20687

Visit Website

15: North Beach — North Beach

North Beach — North Beach
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

And we are going to wrap up our list of beautiful Maryland beaches with another beach town. North Beach is considerably smaller than Ocean City but still boasts a boardwalk, a nearby waterpark, and a fantastic beach.

It can be a great choice for those that really don't want to deal with the hustle and bustle of Ocean City.

There is a lengthy fishing pier, and you will almost always find people fishing in the waters around North Beach. You can even ask them for a bit of fishing advice. If you decide to venture into the waters, they are incredibly calm. Perfect for youngsters.

North Beach is very much a 'day trip' sort of place to head. Unfortunately, there is a rather hefty entry fee to get into the town. $25 per adult per day. Plus $10 for children.

These tickets do have to be bought in advance. So, yeah. It is one of the more expensive beaches in Maryland to access, but it does keep the crowds down.

So it may be worth heading here when it is incredibly hot, and you want something that is more beach-town-like than a state park but you don't want to venture into Ocean City.

Address: North Beach, Maryland

FAQs about Maryland Beaches

Which is the clearest water beach in Maryland?

Almost all the beaches in Maryland are clear water. Although highlights are the Gunpowder Falls and Assateague State Park Beach state parks.

What is the prettiest beach in Maryland?

Many people agree that Ocean City Beach is the best. It hosts many tourists, but the water is beautiful, as is the sand.

Does Maryland have white sand beaches?

Yes! Quite a few of the beaches around Maryland are white sand beaches. Ocean City Beach is said to be one of the more beautiful white sand beaches in the area.

What is the Cleanest beach in Maryland?

Any of the state park beaches, e.g., Gunpowder Falls and Assateague State Park Beach, are well known for their cleanliness.

What is the best time to visit Maryland beaches?

4th of July to Labor Day is when the beaches are most crowded. If you want cheap rates but still wish to enjoy the heat in Maryland, then we recommend traveling between May and September.

Final Thoughts about the Best Maryland Beaches

As you can see, when it comes to the best Maryland beaches, you have no shortage of options. While there are some great beach towns, almost everything related to beach life in Maryland will be in the state parks. Here, you can surround yourself with natural beauty (mountains, forests, etc.) while relaxing on some of the most beautiful beaches in Maryland.

If you’ve never experienced a Maryland beach before, then you’re going to have a lot of fun, we promise you. Especially if you are looking for family beaches or beaches for couples.

15 Most Beautiful National Parks In The USA You Need To Visit

Read Article