afford a week away at the beach this summer? Not to worry-Southern
Maryland has a number of sandy beaches that will make you feel as though
you've escaped to paradise.
Whether your ideal beach day includes swimming, picnicking or fishing,
our top picks for a day by the water include several local spots. While
some beaches offer a wide variety of amenities, others are completely
unimproved and natural-but all are beautiful.
If sand is what you're fond of, Breezy Point Beach and Campground in
Calvert County offers perhaps the widest public beach in Southern
Maryland. The park provides a netted swimming area-critical in Southern
Maryland waters in late summer once sea nettles (jelly fish) invade the
Breezy Point is also a very family-oriented beach with shaded picnic
areas, grills, volleyball, a playground, bathhouses, and a 300-foot
fishing and crabbing pier. A campground offers seasonal, monthly and
daily camping. Tents, pop-ups, RVs and trailers can all be accommodated
on a daily basis. There's literally something for everyone.
Flag Ponds Nature Park, another broad, sandy beach in Calvert, is a park
where the whole family will enjoy either swimming or hunting for shark's
teeth that are regularly washed up on the shore. Named after the
plentiful Blue Flag iris, this parkland was set aside to preserve the
area's natural beauty.
There are a variety of trails through Flag Ponds; a half-mile trail
leads to the beach and a fishing pier, while longer trails lead to two
freshwater ponds. The area was once a sheltered harbor, supporting a
fishery. A fisherman's shanty still remains, housing an exhibit on the
Chesapeake's old-time fishing industry. The half-mile walk to the beach
takes you past relics of a pound net fishery operation from the early
1950s. Other park features include beach handicapped parking, picnic
tables, a pavilion, bird watching, kayaking and fishing.
Over in Charles County, a short hike down a wooded trail leads to a
breathtaking view of Purse State Park, an unimproved 90-acre waterside
reserve, which is a perfect site for fossil hunters. The park lies in a
remote area, which includes rolling hills, wooded countryside and
marshlands. Fossilized sharks teeth, bones and shell fragments are often
found at low tide in the rocks and sand along the water's edge. Be sure
to check on the low tide at Purse, because at high tide there is very
Another undeveloped beach area in Charles is Chapel Point State Park on
the Port Tobacco River. While the beach is nearly non-existent at high
tide, at low tide, a pretty stretch of carmel-colored sand stretches
around two coves. Primarily used for fishing and bird watching, the park
is a pretty spot for a picnic. An additional bonus-the park is just down
the steep hill from historic St. Ignatius Church, which has a fantastic
view of the river from its hilltop location.
At the southern-most tip of St. Mary's County lies Point Lookout State
Park, where a complete day at the beach is possible. The park is
literally surrounded on all sides by water at this peninsula formed by
confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River. A beautiful long
beach allows for swimming and picnicking and the area includes a
playground, grills, picnic tables, showers and restrooms.
Well-known due to its history as the location of a Civil War prison
camp, imprisoning as many as 52,264 Confederate soldiers, Point Lookout
also includes a museum on site recounting this history, and a Marshland
This scenic location at Point Lookout also includes a boat launch, boat
rental, camp fire programs, camp sites, cabins, camp store, dump
station, fishing, flat water canoeing, hiking trails, hunting, hook ups,
pet trail, pavilion and cottage rental.
Surrounded by water, Southern Marylanders are fortunate to have numerous
sandy beaches to enjoy, including those listed below.
Bay Front Park (Brownies beach)*
Route 261, Chesapeake Beach
Breezy Point Beach and Campground*
Breezy Point Rd., Chesapeake Beach, 410-535-0259. Entry fee.
Calvert Cliffs State Park*
Route 765, Lusby,
Flag Ponds Nature Park*
Flag Ponds Parkway, Lusby
www.calvertparks.org Entry fee.
North Beach Public Beach
5th Street & Bay Ave., North Beach
410-257-9618 o 301-855-6681;
www.nbeachmd.com. Entry fee.
Chapel Point State Park
Chapel Point Road off Route 6 in Port Tobacco, 301-743-7613
Purse State Park*
Route 224, Nanjemoy
St. Mary's County
Elms Beach Park
49300 St. James Church Road, Lexington Park, 301-475-4200, ext.
Greenwell State Park
25420 Rosedale Manor Lane, Hollywood, 301-872-5389;
Myrtle Point Park
24032 N. Patuxent Beach Road, California, 301-475-4200, ext. 1800;
PINEY POINT LIGHTHOUSE Museum & Park
44701 Lighthouse Road,
Piney Point, 301-769-2222;
Point Lookout State Park
11175 Point Lookout Road, Scotland, 301-872-5688;
http://reservations.dnr.state.md.us for rental reservations. Entry
St. Clement's Island State Park
38370 Point Breeze Road, Colton's Point, 301-872-5688;
Regular cliff collapses make cliff digging unsafe and it is not
recommended, nor is it allowed at most county or state parks.
*Noted as one of the best fossil collecting beaches in Southern