Baltimore is located along the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, which offers more than 11,000 miles of coastline throughout all of its shores and tributaries. Visitors to the Baltimore region can enjoy convenient access to a number of lovely beach towns and natural sites along the Bay. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore
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Assateague Island National Seashore is a gorgeous natural refuge along the Maryland-Virginia border, preserving significant section of the dually-owned barrier island of the same name, which is also home to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague State Park. The seashore was originally developed in 1965, meant to protect the island from potential development of the Ocean Beach resort town, which was proposed following several major hurricanes in the area in the mid-20th century. Today, visitors can access more than 41,000 acres of shoreline at the seashore, which attracts over one million annual visitors and is open to the public 365 days a year. Two National Park Service visitor centers on the island offer exhibits and information, with ample space throughout the island's beachfront area available for watersports such as swimming, surfing, and kayaking.

7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811, Phone: 410-641-1441

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2.Breezy Point Beach

Breezy Point Beach
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Breezy Point Beach is home to more than half a mile of stunning Chesapeake Bay shorefront, overseen by the Calvert County Parks and Recreation Department since 1995. The beachfront, which is open to the public seasonally between May and October, offers a family-friendly netted swimming area for visitors of all ages, along with a 200-foot fishing pier and ample shoreline space for sunbathing and sand sports. Visitors can utilize day-use picnic sites with barbecue grills, including two rental picnic shelters that can accommodate up to 100 beachgoers at a time. Seasonal tent, trailer, pop-up, and RV campsites are available for overnight use for up to six campers, with water and sewage services available. Other beachfront amenities include bathhouses, a children's playground, and a concession stand.

5300 Breezy Point Rd, Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732, Phone: 410-535-0259

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3.Calvert Cliffs State Park

Calvert Cliffs State Park
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Calvert Cliffs State Park is a gorgeous shoreline state park in Calvert County, located along more than 24 miles of beachfront cliff terrain along the Chesapeake Bay. The cliffs, which were carved approximately 20 million years ago with the receding and erosion of the sea that once covered southern Maryland, showcase the remains of a wide variety of prehistoric species, including sharks, whales, and large seabirds. Day-use visitors can utilize the park's sandy beach seasonally, though beachgoers should note that no lifeguards are staffed on duty and that certain areas can be prone to dangerous cliff landslides. A one-acre fishing pond is also offered, along with more than 13 miles of hiking trails, an ADA-accessible playground, and a 1,079-acre designated natural area.

11704 Fenno Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772, Phone: 443-510-9920

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4.Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park
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Cunningham Falls State Park is a picturesque state recreation area within Maryland's Catoctin Mountain area, located near the town of Thurmont, located approximately an hour and 15 minutes from Baltimore's city center. The park takes its name from its spectacular Cunningham Falls, which is Maryland's largest cascading waterfall and tumbles from a drop of more than 78 feet. Visitors can enjoy recreational activities on the 43-acre manmade Hunting Creek Lake, including swimming, boating, and fishing. Additional fishing opportunities are offered at Big Hunting Creek, known as one of the state's best trout streams. Three designated beach areas are operated between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with lifeguards staffed on duty Tuesdays through Sundays during the afternoon hours. Overnight campsites are offered at the park's William Houck and Manor Areas, including rental camper cabins.

14039 Catoctin Hollow Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788, Phone: 301-271-7574

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5.Deep Creek State Park

Deep Creek State Park
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Deep Creek State Park is a lovely state-operated recreation area in western Maryland, located in Garrett County approximately three hours from downtown Baltimore. The delightful 1,800-acre park is anchored around the 3,900-acre manmade Deep Creek Lake, which was created in 1925 as a result of the construction of the Pennsylvania Electric Company's Deep Creek Dam. Two lifeguarded swimming beaches are offered on the lake's shores, open to the public between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Kayaking, water skiing, and motor boating are also popular activities at the lake, with fishing for bass, trout, walleye, Northern pike, and yellow perch allowed with valid permits. 112 electric and traditional campsites are available for overnight stay, with day-use picnic sites offering children's playgrounds and barbecue grills.

898 State Park Rd, Swanton, MD 21561, Phone: 301-387-5563

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6.Gunpowder Falls State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park
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Gunpowder Falls State Park is an expansive 18,000-acre public recreation area stretching across six separate day-use areas in Baltimore and Harford Counties, primarily anchored around the Gunpowder River and the stream beds of the beautiful Big and Little Gunpowder Falls. As one of Maryland's largest state parks, the park offers over 120 miles of hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding trails, along with ample opportunity for a wide variety of water sports. The park's primary swimming beach is offered at its Hammerman Area, which is operated between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Fishing, kayaking, and inner tubing are also offered at the 3,620-acre Hereford Area in northern Baltimore County, including a designated trout management area near the Prettyboy Reservoir. Other attractions include the historic Jerusalem Mill Village sites of the Central Area, the converted rail trail of the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail Area, and the boating resources of the Dundee Creek Marina.

7200 Graces Quarters Rd, Middle River, MD 21220, Phone: 410-592-2897

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7.Hart-Miller Island State Park

Hart-Miller Island State Park
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Hart-Miller Island State Park is the premiere day-use recreational area of Hart-Miller Island, a manmade island along the mouth of Maryland's Middle River that links the state's existing natural Hart, Miller, and Pleasure Islands. The park, which was developed in the 1980s by the state of Maryland, is only accessible via boat from the Baltimore County mainland via boat ride. Visitors can enjoy more than 3,000 feet of sandy beachfront shoreline, which offers swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing opportunities throughout the summer months. An observation platform on the shoreline is open between May and September, providing beautiful coastal views, and bicycle rentals are available for exploring the island's wilderness areas. Overnight campsites are offered, along with a concession stand and rental binoculars for birdwatching.

2813 Jerusalem Rd, P.O. Box 480, Kingsville, MD 21087, Phone: 410-592-2897

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8.Matapeake Park and Beach

Matapeake Park and Beach
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Matapeake Park and Beach is a popular county-operated park and visitor beachfront on Kent Island, accessible via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from the city of Annapolis. The park, which is located on grounds that were once used as a landing site for the Chesapeake Bay Ferry System prior to the bridge's construction, is open to the public 365 days a year between dawn and dusk. It serves as the northern terminus for the lovely Kent Island South Trail, which spans six miles throughout the island and provides walking access to a number of its historic attractions. Facilities connected to the former ferry landing have been converted into a public fishing pier and clubhouse, which offer unparalleled views of the Chesapeake Bay. A lovely public swimming beach allows dogs kept on short leashes, with day-use picnic sites available nearby. Other amenities include an outdoor amphitheater that hosts summer concerts and events.

2010 Sonny Schulz Blvd, Stevensville, MD 21666, Phone: 410-643-1060

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9.North Beach

North Beach
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North Beach is often referred to as the "Jewel of the Chesapeake Bay," located approximately one hour south of Baltimore's city center. The beautiful shoreline city is a great alternative for visitors looking for lower-key day trips along the Chesapeake than are offered at popular sites such as Chesapeake Beach, offering a beautiful flower-filled boardwalk and family-friendly attractions such as the local history-focused Bayside History Museum. Visitors of all ages and ability levels can swim and sunbathe at the town's public beachfront area, which is open year-round from dusk to dawn. Fishing is allowed on the beach's lower-level fishing deck with permit, with boat slips available for free visitor use at the beach's dock. A wide variety of public special events are hosted by the town throughout the year, including summer Movies on the Beach events and a New Year's Day Polar Plunge swim.

9023 Bay Avenue, North Beach, MD 20714, Phone: 410-286-3799

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10.Ocean City

Ocean City
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Ocean City is best known as one of America's most-renowned summer tourist destination boardwalks, stretching for more than three miles along Maryland's Atlantic Ocean waterfront. The beachfront city has been renowned as one of the United States' top family beaches for its unique family-friendly attractions, including children's tennis courts, playgrounds, and Family Beach Olympics contests held each week throughout the summer months. Ample summer amusements line the boardwalk area, including seaside roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and water rides at old-fashioned family fun parks. Visitors can also grab traditional ice cream or fair foods from a number of boardwalk vendors or peruse beachfront souvenir and retail stores. Special events offered at the beach throughout the summer months include free movie nights, fireworks shows, and Sundaes in the Park events.

4001 Coastal Highway Ocean City, Maryland 21842, Phone: 800-626-2326

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11.Point Lookout State Park

Point Lookout State Park
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Point Lookout State Park is a peaceful Maryland state park located at the southern tip of a peninsula separating the Potomac River from the Chesapeake Bay, preserving the site of a former Civil War-era prisoner camp. The park is the southernmost point of Maryland's western shoreline, which has been occupied by Europeans since its exploration in 1608 by Captain John Smith. Visitors can fish at the park's historic fishing pier or swim along its public swimming beach during the summer months, with lifeguards staffed on duty at peak times. A children's playground is also available at the beach, along with day-use picnic sites and barbecue grills. Other park attractions include the 1830 Point Lookout Light and the Civil War Museum and Marshland Nature Center, which preserves Civil War-era historical remains.

11175 Point Lookout Rd, Scotland, MD 20687, Phone: 301-872-5688

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12.Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park
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Rocky Gap State Park is a spacious and rugged public park in Maryland's Allegany County, offering more than 3,000 acres of developed and undeveloped park lands for Baltimore-area visitors to enjoy. The park's 243-acre manmade Lake Habeeb, which is acclaimed for having the state's bluest public waters, offers swimming areas and boat rentals for anglers looking to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, rainbow and brown trout, and channel catfish. Impressive Evitt's Mountain overlooks the park, which also offers 10 miles of hiking trails. Developed attractions within the park include the Rocky Gap Casino Resort, which offers 198 guest rooms and more than 665 slot machines, and the Jack Nicklaus-designed Rocky Gap Resort and Golf Course.

12900 Lake Shore Dr, Flintstone, MD 21530, Phone: 301-722-1480

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13.Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park
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Sandy Point State Park borders Matapeake Park and Beach in Anne Arundel County, accessible from downtown Annapolis via the renowned and massive Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The lovely state park, which is located on Sandy Point along the Chesapeake's western shores, is also a converted Chesapeake Bay Ferry System site, spanning 786 acres along the shoreline and attracting more than one million annual visitors. Spacious bay beaches are patrolled by lifeguards throughout the summer months, with opportunities also offered for fishing, boating, crabbing, and picnicking. Historic sites within the park include the 1883 Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse and the 1815 Sandy Point Farmhouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

1100 E College Pkwy, Annapolis, MD 21409, Phone: 410-974-2149

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12 Best Beaches Near Baltimore



More Ideas in MD: Smith Island

Located approximately 12 miles off the coast of Crisfield, Maryland, Smith Island is the only inhabited Maryland island within the Chesapeake Bay that can only be reached by boat, offering cultural attractions, overnight accommodations, and restaurants serving the island’s famous eponymous layer cake.

History

Smith Island was first charted by Captain John Smith in 1608, though it was named for Henry Smith of Jamestown in 1679, who was granted a large mass of land on the island. The island is one of the oldest English-speaking areas in the region and is known for its relic accent, which preserves original speech patterns of early British colonial settlers that are similar to the dialect of Cornwall, Wales. The island remains a traditional Chesapeake Bay community today, with most industry tied to the fishing and oystering industry. Due to erosion, the island has been gradually shrinking over the past several centuries, with more than 3,300 acres on the island lost within the past 150 years. Restoration efforts have been put into place to prevent the island from being lost to erosion, including the restoration of more than 1,900 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation.

The island is best known today for its unique Smith Island cake, which is similar in recipe to Prinzregententorte and features eight to 15 thin layers filled with cream or frosting and a chocolate outer frosting. The cakes gained popularity during the 19th century, when residents began sending cakes to area watermen during the autumn oyster harvest season. Cakes are most commonly made with yellow cake and chocolate icing, though variants such as strawberry, lemon, and coconut flavored cake are also common. In 2008, the cake was officially designated as the state cake of Maryland.

Attractions

Today, Smith Island is the only inhabited Maryland island within the Chesapeake Bay that is not connected to the mainland via bridge. The island is located approximately 12 miles off the coast of Crisfield, Maryland along the territorial water border between Maryland and Virginia, with a portion of the island’s uninhabited southern point located within Accomack County, Virginia. The island is accessible via ferry service from Crisfield, which also transports resident mail and supplies back and forth to the island daily. Passenger ferries may also be caught in Point Lookout, Maryland and Reedville, Virginia.

Three inhabited communities are located on the island, including Ewell, Rhodes Point, and Tylerton, comprising a total population of more than 275 residents. As the island is actually comprised of several small islands, each community is located on an individual island, with the communities of Ewell and Rhodes Point offering road travel between each other. The majority of the island’s attractions are located within Ewell, including the Smith Island Center visitor center, which offers walking tour maps for visitors. A short documentary film about the island’s history is shown periodically, and a display of historical items is showcased, with many items on loan from islander families. A large wraparound porch circles the visitor center, offering public access for island visitor relaxation.

Smith Island is home to the Smith Island Museum, which offers historical exhibits about the island’s history, along with displays of artifacts related to the island’s crabbing and oystering industries, including a full crabbing boat and skipjack models. Restaurants on the island include the Bayside Inn, which offers family-style luncheons and traditional American fare with a focus on seafood dishes. The Bayside Inn Carry Out and Ice Cream Shop is located at the back of the restaurant’s complex, offering hand-scooped ice cream, snow cones, and slices of Smith Island cake in a variety of flavors. Other restaurants include Ruke’s Store and Seafood Deck, which serves seafood dishes such as Maryland crab cakes and soft-shell crabs, and the Drum Point Market, which offers crab cakes and submarine sandwiches and sells groceries and convenience items. Crab meat and products are also sold at the Smith Island Crabmeat Co-Op in Tylerton, which offers tours of the factory’s crab picking area.

Island accommodations include the Chesapeake Fishing Adventures hunting and fishing lodge, the Chesapeake Sunrise Bed and Breakfast, and the Inn of Silent Music, which serves gourmet breakfasts and seafood dinners. Island transportation is generally accomplished by golf carts, which may be rented from the Bayside Inn restaurant. More than 4,000 acres of the island are protected as part of the Glenn Martin National Wildlife Refuge, which serves as a home for a wide variety of migrating waterfowl species. Other outdoor activities include kayaking opportunities and tours through the Smith Island Water Trails Paddling Guide service.

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More Ideas in MD: Kent Island

Located within the Chesapeake Bay along the Kent Narrows and Chester River, Kent Island is the largest island in the state of Maryland. Kent Island has been occupied by humans for at least 12,000 years, dating back to the Paleoindian era at the end of the last Ice Age.

History

Prior to European colonization, the island was the traditional home of the Matapeake indigenous tribe of the Algonquian Nation, as well as the Ozinie and Monoponson indigenous tribes, who called the island Monoponson. Though the island was sighted and charted by early European explorers such as Captain John Smith as early as the end of the 16th century, it was not settled by Europeans until 1631, when a trading settlement was established on the island by William Claiborne, who named the island after the city of Kent, England. The first settlement burned down during its first winter of operation and was immediately rebuilt to include a courthouse, gristmill, and trading post. Throughout the mid-17th century, several disputes were waged about whether the island belonged to the province of Maryland or the colony of Virginia, resulting in Claiborne’s eviction from the island in 1658, though territory disputes between Maryland and Virginia continued until the American Revolutionary War.

Kent Island’s early industry revolved around the production of tobacco and corn crops, but in the early 19th century, the island’s farming industry began to decline due to soil depletion. In 1850 the town of Stevensville was founded, which became a major hub for steamboat and railroad travel within the region. A resort was established in the late 19th century at Love Point, located north of Stevensville. Though the island’s farming industry recovered in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the rise of the fishing industry in the Chesapeake Bay region brought a large number of crabbing and oystering activity to the island as well. In 1952, the island was connected to mainland Maryland via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which was expanded and remodeled to accommodate the United States Route 50 freeway in the late 1980s. Following 2003’s Hurricane Isabel, many businesses and landmarks on the island were damaged, though most have been repaired and restored to their original condition.

Attractions

Today, Kent Island is included in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. Metropolitan Statistical Area and is home to several densely-populated unincorporated communities, including Stevensville, Chester, Grasonville, and Centreville. The island is located on the Chesapeake Bay along the Kent Narrows and Chester River waterways and is bordered by the Eastern Bay on its south side. The 31-square-mile island is home to more than 16,000 residents, making it the most densely-populated area within Queen Anne’s County.

A number of historic places on the island have been preserved as part of the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway and American Discovery Trail routes, including the 1809 Cray House, preserved as the most complete known example of the post-and-plank construction style. Other historic buildings include the 1870 Cockey House, the 1880 Christ Episcopal Church, the Stevensville Train Depot, the 1909 Stevensville Bank, and the old Stevensville Post Office building. Most structures are also preserved as part of the Stevensville Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Two walking and biking trails, the Cross Island Trail and the Kent Island South Trail, provide access to a number of historic attractions and offer opportunities for scenic exploration.

The Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center, located in Chester, offers visitor information on area attractions, dining, and accommodations. Tours of historic properties within the region are offered by the Kent Island Heritage Society, which maintains a number of properties within the Stevensville Historic District as living history museum facilities. Natural attractions on the island include Matapeake State Park, which offers a restored ferry house and landing, amphitheater, trail system, public swimming beach, and picnic area. A number of popular seafood restaurants are located throughout the island, including The Narrows Restaurant, The Fisherman’s Inn and Crab Deck, Annie’s Paramount Steak and Seafood House, the Bridges Restaurant and Bar, and the Stevensville Crab Shack.

The island is connected to the mainland on both sides by several bridges, including the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which joins the island with the city of Annapolis, and the Kent Narrows Bridge, which connects to the Delmarva Peninsula. Several MTA transit routes provide public transit to and from the island from Annapolis and Washington, D.C., and several local airports, including the Bay Bridge Airport, provide mainland service to Baltimore and Annapolis. Overnight accommodations are provided at several chain hotels, including the Hilton Garden Inn Kent Island and the Holiday Inn Express Kent Island. The historic Kent Manor Inn also offers 24 guest rooms and two outdoor wedding and event venues.

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More Ideas in MD: Saint Clement’s Island

Located half a mile southeast of Colton’s Point, Maryland along the Potomac River, Saint Clement’s Island is an uninhabited island protected as the 62-acre Saint Clement’s Island State Park, which preserves the site of the landing of Maryland’s first European colonists.

History

The land of the Potomac River islands, including the island that is now referred to as Saint Clemens Island, was traditionally the home of the Yaocomico indigenous tribe. The first European colonists arrived in what is now the state of Maryland on March 25, 1634, embarking from Cowes Point within England’s Isle of Wight four months prior. Following their arrival, Clemens Island served as a temporary base for the 150 colonists as they negotiated land space for a permanent settlement area with local indigenous people. The settlement and island were named in honor of Pope Saint Clement I, the patron saint of mariners, and served as the site of the first Roman Catholic Mass within the British colonies, led by Jesuit Father Andrew White. Today, March 25 is celebrated as Maryland Day in honor of the famed landing.

The island was included in the grant area of Saint Clemens Manor, which was granted to Thomas Gerard in 1639. Following the acquisition of the island by Gerard’s daughter Elizabeth and her husband Nehemiah Blackistone, the island became known as Blackistone Island. The island remained in the possession of the Blackistone family for more than 150 years, until it was taken over by the United States Navy in 1919. Following its acquisition of the island, the Navy cleared much of the island’s existing structures and trees to create a landing strip and piers. In 1962, the island was leased from the federal government for the creation of Saint Clement’s Island State Park, reverting to the island’s former name in a change declared official three years later by the Board of Geographic Names.

Attractions

Today, Saint Clement’s Island State Park is operated as a public historic preservation and recreational area, encompassing the entire 62-acre space of the island. The island is located half a mile southeast of Colton’s Point, Maryland within the waters of the Potomac River and is the central attraction of the Saint Clement’s Island Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The park is only accessible via private boat or seasonal water taxi, which departs from the Saint Clement’s Island Museum located in Colton’s Point.

The park’s central attraction is its 40-foot stone cross, erected in 1934 as part of the state’s 300th anniversary celebration. The memorial cross is dedicated to the colonists of the 1634 Maryland landing and is meant to symbolize the beginning of religious freedom within the United States. The park also features a reconstruction of the Blackistone Island Light, which was constructed by famed Chesapeake Bay lighthouse designer John Donahoo and operated on the island from 1851 through 1956. The original lighthouse featured a fourth-order Fresnel lens, installed in 1856, and was nearly destroyed by the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, but was spared due to the pregnancy of keeper Jerome McWilliams’ wife. It was decommissioned in 1932 and destroyed by fire in 1956 due to an exploding shell launched from the nearby Naval Proving Ground. The replica lighthouse, constructed in 2008 by the Saint Clement’s Hundred community organization, recreates the station’s 2 ½-story residence and short tower on its pitched roof. The replica is overseen by the Saint Clement’s Island Museum and the Blackistone Lighthouse Foundation and is open to the public by appointment.

The park is open from sunrise to sunset, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis for certain activities. Other natural activities offered on the island include hiking, fishing, hunting, and picnicking. Overnight camping is allowed on the island with a valid Maryland permit. Boat tours to the island are operated throughout the weekends from early June through the beginning of September aboard the 26-passenger Water Taxi II, a certified United States Coast Guard touring boat. The vessel may also be chartered for private tours and parties with special arrangement through the Saint Clement’s Island Museum.

Saint Clement’s Island Museum

The Saint Clement’s Island Museum, located in Colton’s Point, Maryland, is a nationally-accredited museum facility dedicated to Maryland’s first colonial landing in 1634 and the maritime and social history of the Potomac River region. Museum exhibits examining the history and figures of the first Maryland landing are offered, along with a 20-by-7-foot mural of the colonial arrival and exhibits dedicated to the region’s indigenous people. The museum operates several historic structures as living history exhibits, including the Blackistone Island Light, the Doris C. watercraft, and the 19th-century Little Red Schoolhouse one-room school building.

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