11 Fantastic Beaches near Annapolis, MD

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Whether you’re visiting America’s Sailing Capital for the season or a salty Naptown native, you will want to check out these 11 beaches near Annapolis for surf, sun, and fun this summer. 

Stay close to town and soak up the sun at Sandy Point, or try out your sea legs with a sailboat rental at Fenwick Island. Take the family for a spin at Rehoboth, or take a trip back in time at Calvert Cliffs. 

These beaches in the Annapolis area will surely have something for everyone to enjoy this summer.

Beaches near Annapolis:

  1. Sandy Point State Park
  2. Mayo Beach Park
  3. Triton Beach
  4. Downs Park
  5. Matapeake Clubhouse and Beach
  6. Terrapin Nature Park
  7. Calvert Cliffs State Park
  8. Rehoboth Beach
  9. Delaware Seashore State Park
  10. Fenwick Island State Park
  11. Quiet Waters Dog Beach

1. Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis Maryland
Source: depositphotos
  • Distance from Annapolis: 9 miles (15 min)
  • Activities: Swimming, Boating, Camping, Fishing, Hunting
  • Amenities: Restrooms, Showers, Lifeguards, Marina & Launch, Visitors Center, Bait & Tackle

Sandy Point’s golden sands, variety of activities, and proximity to the city make it the most popular beach on this list. 

The park boasts some of the best views on the Chesapeake Bay, including Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse and a 19th-century mansion, open to the public on special occasions. 

In addition to the aquatic and historic interests, the park houses the Corcoran Environmental Study Area, over 200 acres of carefully tended forest with a few miles of shaded trails.

2. Mayo Beach Park

Seaglass on the beach at Chesapeake Bay Maryland
Source: pixabay
  • Distance from Annapolis: 13 miles (30 minutes)
  • Activities: Swimming, Kayaking, Events
  • Amenities: Restrooms, Potable Water, Cartop Boat Launch

Mayo Beach is probably the smallest beach on our list, but it makes up for the lack of size with the ability to rent the space as a private outdoor venue. 

The lush green surroundings, gentle sandy beach, and clear view of the unique Thomas Point Lighthouse make this an ideal spot for a romantic outdoor wedding or reception close to Annapolis. 

Open to the public for swimming after labor day, the park is also popular among local kayakers needing a sheltered launch from which to paddle up the South River.

3. Triton Beach

Sea kayaking fishing
Source: pixabay
  • Distance from Annapolis: 12 miles (30 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Kayaking, Walking, Kiteboarding
  • Amenities: Restrooms, Fishing Pier, Cartop Boat Launch, Playground

Beverly Triton Nature Park, including Triton Beach, will reopen in November 2022 after a 13-month-long renovation. 

With an updated children’s wetland play area, the ability to view a historic farmstead, and several recently blazed nature trails through the pristine coastal woodland, this park has plenty of activities on offer.

For anglers, the park offers multiple fishing spots on the ponds and kayakers and kiteboarders can launch right into the warm Chesapeake waters.

4. Downs Park

Dachshund Dogs running on a beach
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Annapolis: 18 miles (40 minutes)
  • Activities: Dog Walking, Nature Walking, Kayaking, Fishing, Camping, Events, Sports
  • Amenities: Venue Pavilions, Dog Beach, Kayak Launch, Youth Group Campsites

The popular dog beach is just one of a wide array of features that draw locals and visitors to this wonderful Chesapeake Bay park. 

This beach makes up for its lack of swim facilities with a productive fishing pier and a kayak launch on the Chesapeake bay, in addition to basketball and handball courts and several miles of nature trails. 

Additionally, youth groups can reserve one of the park’s campsites, and there are several outdoor pavilions for events. 

A working aviary and nature preserve make this park a must-see for a summer day trip on the Bay.

5. Matapeake Clubhouse and Beach

Matapeake Clubhouse and Beach near Annapolis Maryland
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Distance from Annapolis: 17 miles (30 minutes)
  • Activities: Swimming, Dog Walking, Trail-Running, Picnicking
  • Amenities: Picnic Area, Amphitheatre, Clubhouse

This dog lover’s delight provides a beautiful place to exercise with your four-legged friend. 

Whether taking a brisk jog around the park’s one-mile trail or enjoying a refreshing dip in the serene Chesapeake waters at the park’s designated dog beach, you will be sure to love this quiet spot on the bay. 

With picturesque views of the Bay Bridge, this park makes an excellent family picnic destination. 

In the off-season, you can contact the park authorities to rent the outdoor amphitheater or clubhouse for your special event in this bayshore oasis.

6. Terrapin Nature Park

Terrapin Nature Park Beach near Annapolis Maryland
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Distance from Annapolis: 16 miles (25 minutes)
  • Activities: Swimming, Biking, Hiking, Wildlife Viewing, Kiteboarding
  • Amenities: Semi-paved trails, swimming beach

Possibly Maryland’s best-kept secret, Terrapin Nature Park is a dream for those wanting a quiet place to enjoy the outdoors close to home. 

Its 3.25 miles of semi-paved trails meander through several different biomes where bikers and hikers can view all the flora and fauna the Chesapeake region has to offer, including several species of native birds. 

For the more adventurous folks, this spot is an excellent beach to launch a kiteboard. 

History buffs will love wandering through the spooky late 18th-century cemetery on the site or combing the beach for sea glass and the shards of antique pottery that often wash ashore.

7. Calvert Cliffs State Park

Calvert Cliffs State Park in Maryland
Source: depositphotos
  • Distance from Annapolis: 50 miles (80 minutes)
  • Activities: Fossil Hunting, Swimming, Fishing, Hunting, Group Camping
  • Amenities: Group Campsites, Events Venue

This unique stretch of coast is home to some of the most splendid geological formations in the state of Maryland. 

The ancient sea cliffs contain millions of Miocene Era fossils, many of which have washed up on the nearby sandy beach. 

While the area immediately surrounding the cliffs is off limits for safety reasons, the park encourages amateur paleontologists to break out their shovels and sieves to comb the beach for parts of the area’s prehistoric megafauna. 

For those who prefer live quarry, the park has a small fishing pond where anglers can practice, and its 550 acres of open space are home to deer, turkey and other game species.

8. Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach in Delaware
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Annapolis: 92 miles (2 hours)
  • Activities: Swimming, Surfing, Sunbathing
  • Amenities: Boardwalk, Amusement Park

Rehoboth Beach is a well-known local spot for Delaware residents to enjoy the surf and sun on the Atlantic coast, but its pristine beach and cool waters are not its only attraction. 

Just on the other side of the one-mile boardwalk is Funland, a coastal amusement park where the whole family can enjoy carnival rides, games, and fine dining. 

A short walk north from Rehoboth is Cape Henlopen State Park, which in addition to stunning views of the coastline, offers travelers a trip to the past with tours of the park’s historic coastal defense site. It also has a free bicycle lending station to help you explore the several miles of trails winding through the dunes. 

9. Delaware Seashore State Park

Delaware Seashore State Park
Source: depositphotos
  • Distance from Annapolis: 99 miles (2 hours)
  • Activities: Swimming, Fishing, Surfing, Boating, Camping, Biking
  • Amenities: Boat Launch, Paved Paths, Restrooms

Comprising over 26 miles of shoreline, Delaware Seashore State Park is well worth the trip from Annapolis. 

This park truly has something for everyone. Catch some waves on the Atlantic side, or launch a kayak into the calmer Bay side waters at Savage Ditch and paddle around the barrier island all the way up to Towers Beach, all the while viewing several species of marine birds and, if you’re lucky, a few terrapins. 

Bring your bicycle and explore the more inland parts of the park on one of the 6 trails winding through the coastal forest, or lounge on one of the sandy beaches, where a sandcastle competition is held every July. 

This beach park has the size and variety to keep you coming back year after year. 

10. Fenwick Island State Park

Fenwick Island State Park
Source: flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Distance from Annapolis: 102 miles (2 hours)
  • Activities: Swimming, Surfing, Surf Fishing, Sailing
  • Amenities: Bathhouse, Showers, Beach Chair Rental, Sailboat and Kayak Rental

Separated into several beaches, namely James Street, Lewes Street, and York Beaches, Fenwick Island is the beachcomber’s paradise of Delaware. 

As the barrier beach to Assawoman Bay and its wildlife reserves, the park is home to a wide variety of coastal birds and other wildlife species, and licensed surf casters can try their luck on several types of sea fish on miles of ocean beach.

History buffs and metal detectors will love combing this beach for artifacts, particularly around the WWII-era observation tower, which still stands watch over this beautiful stretch of coastline.

11. Quiet Waters Dog Beach

Dog Beach with two happy pups
Source: pixabay
  • Distance from Annapolis: 4 miles (15 minutes)
  • Activities: Dog Walking, Dog Swimming
  • Amenities: Picnic Tables

Just on the edge of Annapolis lies this beloved gem of a dog park. Local dog owners adore this beach as it is one of the few spots near the city to let their four-legged friends play off-leash. 

While human swimming is discouraged, pups who enjoy water will love frolicking in the cool Bay waters in this cozy local beach park. 

Do your dog a favor and take them for a walk down to their new favorite place at Quiet Waters.