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A beautiful dog on one of the best dog beaches in Maryland
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In this article, we’re looking at some of the best dog beaches in Maryland.

There are some truly fantastic dog friendly beaches in Maryland.

This beautiful mid-Atlantic US state is famed for its plentiful waterways and coastlines on both Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

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From Ocean City to Assateague Island, the Calvert Cliffs to Kent Island, and Downs Memorial Park to Quiet Waters Park, this unassuming state has plenty of places where your furball can enjoy splashing around in the waves!

So come and join us on an adventure to visit some of the best beaches in Maryland that allow dogs!

Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

Dogs swimming at Downs Park Dog Beach, Pasadena, Maryland, MD 21122

#1 Downs Park Dog Beach

Also known as Downs Memorial Park Dog Beach, this fabulous dog friendly beach on the east coast is located less than 10 miles from the Baltimore suburb of Pasadena, Maryland.

Situated in Anne Arundel County, you and your pooch can enjoy incredible panoramic views of Chesapeake Bay from this popular dog beach.

You’ll find Downs Park Dog Beach at the northeast corner of Downs Memorial Park, just off the park perimeter trail.

There are some restrooms close by and the two closest car parks are Fernwood Parking and Downs Park Parking.

Downs Park Public Pier is literally minutes away from the dog park.

A Great Place For Dogs To Learn To Swim!

This pet friendly stretch of beach is a great place for dogs to learn to swim, due to the calm waters of the bay.

And once your pup has finished frolicking in the water, put her on a leash and take her for a walk around the park trails. There are more than 5 miles of them for you both to enjoy!

The dog beach can be accessed from 7am to dusk, 7 days a week.

And there’s a park entrance fee of $6 per car.

Park address: 8311 John Downs Loop, Pasadena, MD 21122

Park website: Downs Memorial Park Dog Beach

Hero the Labrador loves swimming at Quiet Waters Park Dog Beach, Annapolis, Maryland, MD 21403

#2 Quiet Waters Dog Beach

Also called Quiet Waters Park Dog Beach, this small and welcoming beach is perfect for dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes.

Located just 5 miles south of the Maryland state capital, Annapolis, Quiet Waters Dog Beach is at the southern tip of Quiet Waters Park.

Due to its proximity to the state capital, it’s also commonly known as Annapolis Dog Beach.

This east coast dog friendly beach is 33 miles south of Baltimore and 34 miles east of Washington, D.C.

Quiet Waters Park enjoys a fantastic location, situated between Harness Creek and the South River. In all, it takes in 340 acres of beautiful parkland.

This fantastic park also has picnic areas, a children’s playground and 6 miles of paved trails to enjoy and explore!

One great feature of this park is a dog washing station, which is located in the rest area near one of the parking lots. Perfect for hosing down your dog after a swim at the beach!

A Very Good Dog Park in Maryland

And as well as the dog beach, there is also a very good dog park. It’s a large enclosed area where your pooch can run around to its heart’s content, leash-free. Fantastic!

Quiet Waters Park is open from 7am to dusk, 7 days a week.

The excellent park Visitor Center is open from 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday and from 10am to 4pm on weekends.

Entry to the park costs $6 per vehicle for a Daily Pass.

Park address: 600 Quiet Waters Park Road, Annapolis, MD 21403

Park website: Quiet Waters Park

Calvert Cliffs State Park - one of the best dog friendly beaches in Maryland
Calvert Cliffs at Calvert Cliffs State Park, Calvert County, Maryland (photo courtesy of Bohemian Baltimore on Wikimedia Commons)

#3 Calvert Cliffs State Park

Calvert Cliffs State Park is one of the many fabulous Maryland State Parks (incredibly, there are 53 general State Parks in Maryland!)

The park is situated close to the community of Lusby, on the southernmost part of the Calvert County peninsula.

Calvert Cliffs State Park is approximately 1 hour 20 minutes from Washington, D.C. and about 1 hour 35 minutes from Baltimore.

This is a dog friendly state park and you’re free to take your pup all around this gorgeous park. Just make sure that your dog is always on a leash.

The park has a small, sandy swimming beach that faces east across the Chesapeake Bay.

There’s no “dog beach” as such in the park, but leashed dogs are allowed on the swimming beach, known as Calvert Cliffs State Park Beach.

Dogs are also allowed to splash about in the sea there as well – great fun!

Cove Point Lighthouse

Cove Point Lighthouse is a historical landmark close by. Sitting on 7 acres of rugged Chesapeake Bay coast, this lighthouse has been beautifully restored and is still active today.

Calvert Cliffs State Park is open from sunrise to sunset, daily, year round.

Park address: 10540 H. G. Trueman Road, Lusby, MD 20657

Park website: Calvert Cliffs State Park

Matapeake State Park, Kent Island, Maryland, MD 21666 (photo courtesy of Michael Tomaszewski on Unsplash)

#4 Matapeake State Park

Matapeake State Park, also known simply as Matapeake Park, is on Kent Island, in Chesapeake Bay.

It’s approximately an hour from downtown Baltimore and it’s also an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C.

So it’s a great place to visit if you’re staying in either of those two cities.

The park occupies the site of a former ferry landing. Before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge opened in 1964, the ferry landing served the Chesapeake Bay Ferry System.

Matapeake Dog Beach

Matapeake Dog Beach itself is located at the end of a beautiful winding trail through the woods.

Matapeake Park Dog Beach is set on the sandy banks of Chesapeake Bay.

Parking for the dog beach is at the Matapeake Clubhouse and Public Beach parking lot.

Parking at Matapeake is currently free.

However, please note that dogs are not allowed at the clubhouse itself. Nor is your pooch permitted to go on the clubhouse lawn or the public beach.

To enjoy the dog beach and the sea with your pup, simply take the delightful winding trail through the woods.

You can’t miss the pet trail. Head to the rear of the clubhouse and the trail begins at the border fence.

Unless otherwise signposted, your furball must be leashed on the park trails.

As always, be sure to take along doggy bags and clean up after your pet.

Matapeake Park Opening Hours

Along with the dog beach and the public swimming beach, the grounds of Matapeake State Park also include an outdoor amphitheater and a family picnic area.

The park grounds and beaches are open daily, from sunrise to sunset. And parking is free.

Park address: 1112 Romancoke Rd, Stevensville, MD 21666

Park website: Matapeake Clubhouse & Beach

Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Maryland (photo courtesy of Max Shein on Unsplash)

#5 Terrapin Nature Park

Covering 276 acres, Terrapin Nature Park is located on Kent Island, the largest island in the Chesapeake Bay.

This beautiful, award-winning park is in Stevensville, just 45 minutes south of Baltimore. It’s also less than an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C., heading east on Route 50.

To get to the Terrapin Nature Park dog beach, follow the trail from the parking lot. Not far along the trail, you’ll see some side trails off to your left.

Take one of these side trails down to the beach. The dog beach runs along the shore of Chesapeake Bay.

This pretty Kent Island dog beach is an on-leash one, so please be sure to keep your furry companion on a leash at all times.

If you’re into photography, then Terrapin Beach Park is just the place for you! From the trails, the views of the bay are simply breathtaking.

The trail itself takes you through wildflower meadows, tidal ponds, wetlands and woodlands.

Consequently, you’ll find a fabulous variety of plant and animal species in the park, as well as many species of waterfowl.

Gorgeous Views of Chesapeake Bay Bridge

And when you’re down on the beach with your pup, you’ll have lots of gorgeous views of Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The bridge is over 4.3 miles in length and the original span opened in 1952. It really is stunning!

Facilities in the park are very good, with picnic areas, picnic tables and restrooms. There are also several park benches located along the trail.

The park is open from dawn to dusk and admission is free.

You’ll be sure to have lots of fun with your pooch in Terrapin Nature Park.

It’s a true nature-lovers paradise!

And due to its fantastic location, many people consider it to be one of the best dog beaches in all of Maryland.

Park address: 191 Log Canoe Circle, Stevensville, MD 21666

Park website: Terrapin Nature Park

Assateague Island National Seashore - one of the best dog beaches in Maryland
Assateague Island looking north in the early morning, Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland, USA (photo courtesy of Acroterion on Wikimedia Commons)

#6 Assateague Island National Seashore

Looking out over Chincoteague Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Assateague Island is a 37-mile long barrier island.

The island is split between the states of Maryland and Virginia. It sits off the eastern coast of the Delmarva Peninsula.

Incredibly, even at its widest point, the island is no more than a mile wide!

Assateague National Seashore is just south of both Ocean City and Berlin. It’s around a 3-hour drive from both Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

To get to the Maryland part of the National Seashore, you have to cross over the Verrazano Bridge on Maryland Route 611.

This takes you to Assateague State Park, which you must drive through to get to the National Seashore itself.

There are 2 beach options for you and your dog at Assateague.

North Ocean Beach and Bayside Beach MD

North Ocean Beach allows dogs, but be prepared for waves.

If your pup is not confident around water, then Bayside Beach might be a better, more dog friendly option.

The beach area itself is fairly small, but the water here is calm and shallow. And there’s plenty of room in the water for your furball to splash around and have fun!

The Maryland District section of Assateague National Seashore is open 24 hours a day, all year round.

There is also an excellent visitor center in the park. Assateague Island Visitor Center is open daily, from 9am to 4pm.

It’s located in Marsh View Lane, directly off Route 611. Coming from the mainland, you’ll find the visitor center just after the National Park Service Headquarters, and just before the Verrazano Bridge park entrance.

A 7-day vehicle pass into Assateague Island National Seashore costs $25.

Fee-Free Dates in 2022 – September and November

However, there are some fee-free dates in 2022. As of early September 2022, there are 2 fee-free dates left in the year.

The next one is on Saturday September 24th, which is National Public Lands Day.

The last one of the year is on Friday November 11th, which is Veterans Day.

Please note that dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and the leash must be no longer than 6 feet.

Your pooch is permitted on all the beach areas in the Maryland section of Assateague National Seashore, but not anywhere in the entire Virginia section of Assateague Island.

Pets are also prohibited on the nature trails and in all the backcountry campsites.

Despite the restrictions, the National Seashore is still a great place to enjoy some fun time with your pup in the great outdoors!

Park address: 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811

Park website: Assateague Island National Seashore

Elk Neck State Park - a beautiful dog beach and one of the best dog beaches in Maryland
Elk Neck State Park – The Chesapeake Bay overlooking the point near North East, Maryland, on a beautiful fall day (photo courtesy of Steve Adams on Unsplash)

#7 Elk Neck State Park

Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Maryland, just 16 miles from the state border with Delaware, lies the beautiful Elk Neck State Park.

Less than 80 minutes from both Philadelphia and Baltimore, this huge 2,370-acre park has plenty to offer.

The park is located on a peninsula, with Chesapeake Bay to the west and the Elk River to the east.

This fabulous state park contains a variety of landscapes, including sandy shorelines, wooded areas, marshlands and gorgeous white clay cliffs.

Turkey Point Lighthouse

At the very southern tip of the Elk Neck Peninsula is the Turkey Point Lighthouse.

The 35-foot lighthouse tower sits on top of a 100-foot bluff. Opened in 1833 and automated in 1947, the lighthouse attracts around 40,000 visitors a year.

The Turkey Point Lighthouse Area is open every day, from sunrise to sunset. The whole area commands stunning views of the Upper Chesapeake Bay.

For beach-loving pooches (and their owners!), the best part of Elk Neck State Park is the North East Beach Area, one of the 4 main areas of the park.

Leashed dogs are welcome all year round in the North East Beach Area.

The only exception to this is the sandy part of the swimming beach area, where pets are not permitted in the summer months.

Specifically, dogs (and other pets) are not allowed in that section of the park, from Memorial Day Weekend until after Labor Day.

The water there is shallow, so it’s safe for your furball to splash around in.

Facilities include grills, picnic tables and a restroom with cold showers.

Elk Neck State Park Admission Costs

For visitors in Maryland-tagged vehicles, day passes cost $3 per vehicle during the week. At weekends and on national holidays, that fee increases to $3 per person.

However, the fee is waived for young children in car seats and booster seats.

For vehicles that are tagged with out-of-state plates, day passes cost $5 per vehicle during the week. That fee rises to $5 per person at weekends and on national holidays.

Again, the fee is waived for young children in car seats and booster seats.

The North East Beach Area is open daily, from 9am until sunset.

Park address: 4395 Turkey Point Road, North East, MD 21901

Park website: Elk Neck State Park

A beautiful sunrise over Ocean City Beach in Maryland
A beautiful sunrise over Ocean City Beach in Maryland (photo courtesy of Jason Pischke on Unsplash)

#8 Ocean City MD

Well, the name kind of says it all really, doesn’t it?!

Ocean City in Maryland, not to be confused with its namesake in a few other US states, is a small resort town, with a population of around 7,000 people.

However, this number increases dramatically during the summer months, when it attracts thousands of tourists.

The beach in Ocean City, MD, is a gorgeous expanse of golden yellow sand that stretches, unbroken, for 10 miles.

In fact, Ocean City is split into 3 beach areas: Downtown, Midtown and North Ocean City.

The OCMD Boardwalk

The Ocean City Boardwalk, often referred to as the OCMD Boardwalk, stretches for 3 miles, and is dotted with shops, restaurants, hotels and bars.

This iconic East Coast landmark starts at the inlet and goes all the way up to 32nd Street.

The Ocean City Boardwalk itself is open 24/7. It’s free of charge to use the boardwalk.

Leashed dogs are allowed on the boardwalk at any time during the off-season. No pets are permitted on the boardwalk during the summer months.

All of the Ocean City beaches are open to the public daily, from 6am to 10pm. No beach tags are needed and use of the beach doesn’t cost a cent – it’s completely free of charge!

You’ll find parking lots and plenty of metered spaces downtown. Plentiful free street parking is available in the more northerly sections of the beach.

Berlin MD to Ocean City MD Takes Just 20 Minutes

Beach restrictions regarding pets are the same as for the boardwalk.

So you’re allowed to take your furry friend on to any of the Ocean City beaches during the quieter off-season. Please note that your dog must be leashed at all times.

Dogs are not permitted on the beaches from May 1 to September 30, inclusive.

Ocean City in Maryland is about a 3-hour drive from Baltimore. It lies just to the north of Assateague Island.

From Berlin MD to Ocean City MD takes just 20 minutes, via U.S. Route 50.

Beach address: 218 Baltimore Avenue, Ocean City, MD 21842

Beach website: Ocean City, MD

The best beaches in Maryland that allow dogs (photo courtesy of Andrew Pons on Unsplash)

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Dog Beaches In Maryland

What beaches are dogs allowed on in Maryland?

Maryland has some fabulous dog friendly beaches. Some of the beaches in Maryland that allow dogs include Downs Park Dog Beach, Quiet Waters Dog Beach, Terrapin Nature Park and Assateague Island National Seashore.

Is Ocean City MD dog friendly?

Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach and on the boardwalk in Ocean City MD at any time during the off-season. No pets are permitted on the beach or boardwalk during the summer months, from May 1 to September 30, inclusive.

Are dogs allowed at North Beach Maryland?

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the beach at North Beach Maryland. However, they ARE permitted on the boardwalk. And close to the Welcome Center water fountain, you’ll find doggie water bowls.

Are dogs allowed at Calvert Cliffs?

Calvert Cliffs State Park has a small, sandy swimming beach that faces east across the Chesapeake Bay. There’s no “dog beach” as such in the park, but leashed dogs are allowed on the swimming beach, known as Calvert Cliffs State Park Beach. Dogs are also allowed to splash about in the sea there as well – great fun!

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