Baltimore, Maryland 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.

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, couples and families with kids 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. More info

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

2. Breezy Point Beach Near Baltimore

Breezy Point Beach Near Baltimore
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Breezy Point Beach near Baltimore 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.

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

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.

Calvert Cliffs State Park, 11704 Fenno Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772, Phone: 443-510-9920

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.

Cunningham Falls State Park, 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.

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

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.

Gunpowder Falls State Park , 7200 Graces Quarters Rd, Middle River, MD 21220, Phone: 410-592-2897

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.

Hart-Miller Island State Park, 2813 Jerusalem Rd, P.O. Box 480, Kingsville, MD 21087, Phone: 410-592-2897

8. Matapeake Park and Beach Near Baltimore

Matapeake Park and Beach Near Baltimore
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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.

Matapeake Park and Beach, 2010 Sonny Schulz Blvd, Stevensville, MD 21666, Phone: 410-643-1060

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

12. Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park

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.

Rocky Gap State Park, 12900 Lake Shore Dr, Flintstone, MD 21530, Phone: 301-722-1480

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.

Sandy Point State Park, 1100 E College Pkwy, Annapolis, MD 21409, Phone: 410-974-2149

14. North Point State Park

North Point State Park
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Rich in history, North Point State Park is much more than a beautiful beach and dense forest. The 1,310-acre park off Chesapeake Bay was formerly a popular amusement park from the 1900s to 1940s. Over the years, nature reclaimed the land and it was eventually purchased by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to create a state park. Many structures from the amusement park are still standing today such as a restored fountain and an original trolley station, which now serves as a picnicking area. The park’s beach offers sweeping views of the Chesapeake Bay along with water-accessible areas and two fishing piers. Trails also wind through the park, allowing hikers to explore the protected Black Marsh Wildlands which make up more than half the park. More day trips from Baltimore

North Point State Park, 8400 North Point Road, Edgemere, Maryland 21219

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15. Betterton Beach Near Baltimore

Betterton Beach Near Baltimore
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Located by the top of Chesapeake Bay near the Sassafrass River, Betterton Beach has long been a popular spot amongst locals and visitors alike. In fact, the beach was a major Victorian resort from the 1800s to the 1940s. Sometimes referred to as the “Jewel of the Chesapeake,” Betterton offers beautiful scenery, ample facilities, and amazing fresh water from five rivers merging within the bay—making it a jellyfish-free beach. The town, which sits atop cliffs overlooking the beach, is also worth visiting for its remarking views. No fees are required for entry, and facilities include restrooms, showers, picnicking areas, and a volleyball net.

Betterton Beach, Maryland 21610

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