The Top Beaches in Maryland

These Maryland beaches make for perfect summer fun on the shore.

Calvert Cliffs State Park, Maryland
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Sharing a border with both the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Chesapeake Bay, the state of Maryland has plenty of waterfront real estate for a beach vacation. This Mid-Atlantic destination is well known for its popular beach towns, and many families make annual pilgrimages to places like Ocean City for long summer weekends.

The top beaches in Maryland stand out because they're so much more than attractive stretches of coastline. We looked at beach destinations that had fun things to do like boardwalks with shops and restaurants, excellent kayaking, surfing, or paddleboarding, or other unique diversions. Of course, the best beaches will always deliver an Instagram-worthy view, whether they're surrounded by sandy dunes or famous for their spectacular sunsets.

Related: The Best Beaches in New Jersey

If you're planning a getaway to Maryland, consider one of these 13 stand-out beaches.

Horses grazing, Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland, USA
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Assateague Island National Seashore

This uninhabited stretch of land (a whopping 48,000 acres) is best known for its incredible wildlife — specifically, the hundreds of wild horses that roam around the park's beaches. While you can ride them year-round on the Virginia side of Assateague, you can always see them on the Maryland side, too.

Visitors can also watch the dolphins plying the waves, or spend long summer days fishing or clamming. The plankton-rich waters are home to a number of species of fish, sea turtles, and even whales.

Visitors in the Maryland district of Assateague Island can even spend evenings camping out under the stars. Just be sure to stock up on firewood and long tent stakes (for staying firmly anchored in the sand and wind) before you arrive.

Calvert Cliffs State Park

Though technically a natural bay and not a beach, Calvert Cliffs still earns a spot as one of Maryland's top beaches due to its incredible views and unique history. Surrounded by picturesque sandy cliffs, this quarter-mile-long stretch of beach is perfect for swimming and fishing.

But the real draw is what you might find hidden on its sandy shores. Over 600 species of fossils have been found at this park — some dating back 20 million years — that will excite enthusiasts of paleontology (or really anyone who's watched "Jurassic Park").

Related: The Best Beaches on the Gulf Coast

Ocean City, Maryland
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Ocean City Beach

Whether you're filling up on plates of steamed Maryland crabs or you're leaving the beach to go play a round of mini-golf, Ocean City is the backdrop for many quintessential beach vacations. You'll want to park your flip-flops on the town's south end, home to the famous Thrasher's French Fries and the Ocean City Boardwalk. Stroll down the boardwalk and take a spin on the antique Trimper's Rides carousel.

North Beach

About a mile north of Chesapeake Beach, North Beach stretches across the bay's western shore. Stroll the boardwalk or cast a line off the pier. It's also a popular spot to look for bald eagles and Canadian geese.

After a day on the shore, head to the Shirt Shack for a souvenir to take home. Over at Chesapeake Beach, there are even more activities to enjoy, like a water park, dining options, and the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum.

Red Sand
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Sandy Point

The major draw of this Maryland state park's beach is its gorgeous Chesapeake Bay views. It's also a draw for local fishermen with boat rentals available and a marina store. There are also picnic areas and playgrounds for family-friendly fun year-round.

Breezy Point Beach & Campground

This charming stretch of sand offers all the classic beachy activities: camping, swimming, fishing, and picnicking. But, you can also comb the land for local fossils, shark teeth, and sea glass, or spend the day crabbing for dinner. The beach is seasonal and often hits capacity in the summer months (at which point visitors will be turned away), so if you're thinking of visiting, plan accordingly.

Vacation Resort Lake
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Deep Creek Lake

This 1,800-acre state park includes a man-made lake and its sandy shores. With swimming beaches, 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, a campground, and a hands-on Discovery Center that teaches visitors about the local history and natural resources, it's perfect for beachgoers of all kinds.

Rocky Point Beach and Park

Situated at the mouths of Back and Middle Rivers, this Maryland beach offers views of the bay and Hart-Miller Island, the 1,100-acre island that's a popular attraction for boaters and birders. With a sailing center, volleyball court, and fishing pier, Rocky Point is a popular summer destination for Marylanders.

Cunningham Falls, in the Fall
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Cunningham Falls

Home to the highest cascading waterfall in Maryland, this state park — and its lakeside beach — is worth the trip for the sightseeing alone.

When you're finished snapping pics of the waterfall and the surrounding Catoctin Mountains, head to its sandy shores for swimming, fishing, and canoeing.

Matapeake Clubhouse and Beach

Known for a public swimming beach and an outdoor amphitheater, this beach on the bay includes a historic clubhouse that can be rented out for special events during the summer months.

The clubhouse also includes a seasonal cafe, and visitors can glimpse the Bay Bridge from the beach.

Lake Shoreline autumn colors Rocky Gap State Park Flintstone Maryland
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Rocky Gap State Park Beach

Surrounded by mountains and featuring what's locally known as the "bluest water in the state," this state park puts all of Maryland's natural wonder on display. The gorgeous Lake Habeeb features shores that beckon campers and beachgoers alike where they can catch sight of the park's cliffs and the hemlock forest.

Point Lookout State Park

With historical ties and a unique geographical location, this beach has something for everyone.

Found on the peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, Point Lookout was the site of a Civil War camp, and visitors can now learn all about its history at the on-site museum. There are also camping, swimming, hiking, fishing, and boating opportunities, as well as a picnic pavilion.

Serene view of the Gunpowder Falls, in Baltimore County, Marylan
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Hammerman Beach

Nestled in Gunpowder Falls State Park, this beach offers concessions, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, and canoe, kayak, and sailboat rentals. Take a swim in the Gunpowder River or try hiking one of the local trails.

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