7 Best Beaches in Maryland for Families

Beach and cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay at Calvert Cliffs State Park, Maryland.
Beach and cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay at Calvert Cliffs State Park, Maryland.
  1. Ocean City
  2. Assateague Island National Seashore
  3. Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis
  4. Calvert Cliffs State Park
  5. Hammerman Area Beach, Gunpowder Falls State Park
  6. Deep Creek Lake Beach, Swanton
  7. Matapeake State Park Beach, Kent Island

With lakes, rivers, oceanfront and the Chesapeake Bay all in one state, Maryland beaches offer something for every family. Whether you are into long boardwalks, family events, hikes in the woods, or water sports, your family can have the perfect beach vacation at these spots below. 

Ocean City, Maryland

Several of the amusement rides are popular attractions in the summer on the Ocean City boardwalk.
Several of the amusement rides are popular attractions in the summer on the Ocean City boardwalk. Editorial credit: George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

If your idea of an ideal beach vacation is an ocean beach with soft sand, a long boardwalk, and lots of events and activities, Ocean City is the place for you. Ten miles of beach and three miles of boardwalk are yours to explore. 

If you are into watersports, Ocean City offers surfing, paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.  

Booking.com

If you have kids of multiple ages, everyone can find something to do. And there’s plenty for the grown-ups too, including lots of great restaurants (don’t forget to have your Maryland crab dinner!).

The boardwalk offers games and amusements, fun snacks to nosh, and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Ocean City is also the place for family-friendly festivals during the summer, movies on the beach, concerts, and dance contests! 

With plenty of rental options in town, Ocean City is perfect for a vacation getaway or for just a day trip. 

Assateague Island National Seashore

feral horses on the beach of Assateague early morning.
feral horses on the beach of Assateague early morning.

For a more serene experience on the ocean side, Assateague Island is a very special destination on the Atlantic coast. Located on a barrier island, Assateague is the place to go to see wildlife, including the island’s famous wild horses.

If you want to wake up to the sound of the waves, Assateague allows camping at the beach with a permit. This is a popular activity, so make sure to make a reservation as soon as possible. Don’t forget your bug spray!

Other beach activities include crabbing, fishing, and horseback riding. Keep in mind strong currents may exist and lifeguards are on duty from June through September. 

If you want to take a break from the beach, the island offers many hiking and biking trails through the marsh and forest, as well as ranger-guided programs to learn about this unique ecosystem. 

Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis

The red sandy beach of Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis, Maryland.
The red sandy beach of Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis, Maryland.

If you want to visit a bay side beach instead, check out Sandy Point. The bay offers calm water perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking, as well as taking in a glorious sunset. 

In addition to a great swimming beach, Sandy Point offers a picnic area, boat rental, playground, food concessions, bathrooms, and chair/umbrella rental, making a beach visit easy and enjoyable. Group picnic shelters are available by reservation. 

Due to its location, Sandy Point tends to have fewer jellyfish during the summer months.

Kids will love the new bay-inspired playground. Or if you want to go to town, the nearby city of Annapolis offers many events and activities.

Calvert Cliffs State Park

Beach and cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay at Calvert Cliffs State Park, Maryland.
Beach and cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay at Calvert Cliffs State Park, Maryland.

For a bayside beach with a totally different look, Calvert Cliffs is a unique option. Made up of ancient cliffs formed by the receding sea, the park is a perfect place to enjoy striking scenery and find prehistoric fossils like sharks’ teeth.

In addition to fossil-hunting, the park offers a recycled-tire playground, 13 miles of hiking trails, and fishing. 

Be advised there are no lifeguards at Calvert Cliffs beach and dogs must remain on-leash.

Hammerman Area Beach at Gunpowder Falls State Park

Hammerman Area Beach at Gunpowder Falls State Park
Hammerman Area Beach at Gunpowder Falls State Park

A great option in Northern Maryland, Hammerman Area Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Maryland. 

Want to try kite-surfing? This is the place to go. The beach also offers family activities like sailing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can rent equipment and take lessons at the park. 

There are also several picnic areas, bathrooms, and food concessions. Gunpowder Falls State Park also includes hiking trails.

Deep Creek Lake Beach, Swanton

Deep Creek Lake Region, Maryland
Deep Creek Lake Region, Maryland

If you prefer a lake beach, check out Maryland’s largest freshwater lake at Deep Creek. You can relax on the beach or rent a kayak or paddleboard. There is also a boat launch, trails, and playgrounds.

Fishing is a popular activity at Deep Creek, which supports a bass fishery with large and smallmouth bass. Other species include walleye, perch, trout, and chain pickerel. Maybe try your hand at fly fishing! You can check out fishing regulations here

On a rainy day, visit the nearby Discovery Center, where kids learn about the ecology of the lake at hand-on exhibits. The center also includes an aviary that houses rescued birds of prey.

The Deep Creek area includes many lodging options and restaurants if you want to make it a family getaway. 

Matapeake State Park Beach, Kent Island

Matapeake State Park Beach
Matapeake State Park Beach

If you have young kids and are looking to let them play in very calm water, or if you just want to get away from crowded summer beaches, Matapeake might be the choice for you. 

Matapeake Beach is located on Kent Island on the eastern side of the Chesapeake. The area has limited concessions and amenities, but is not as busy as other beaches, many of which fill to capacity in the summer. 

Matapeake also tends to have fewer jellyfish than other Maryland beaches. 

The area boasts some of the best views of the bay and the Bay Bridge. Or if you want to relax in nature and feel away from it all, you can hike well-maintained trails in the Terrapin Nature Park. Keep your eye out for birds and wildlife, or check out the tidal ponds. 

The park also includes a designated dog beach area if you want to take your furry friend along on your beach vacation!

Conclusion

Maryland beaches are popular in the summer! Check before you go to make sure parks aren’t filled to capacity. State park information can be found here

With so many different options, there is definitely a Maryland beach option that is right for your family. Try one out, or try them all!

See Also

US Beaches

7 Best Beaches in Maryland for Families

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!