Gunpowder Falls State Park’s beach is at the northern tip of the Chesapeake Bay, down twisting rural highways through Maryland forests. At the end is a large, beautifully maintained grassy park with lots of picnic areas, playgrounds and a wide open 1,500-foot beach on the Gunpowder River.
Directions: Hammerman Area (beach) – From I-95 take exit 67A for Route 43 east (White Marsh Boulevard). Follow 43 to Route 40 east. Turn right at the first light onto Ebenezer Road and follow it for 4.5 miles. The park entrance will be on your left. The physical address is 7200 Graces Quarters, Chase, MD 21027.
The state park has several different areas, nowhere near each other, so make sure you head to the Hammerman Area if you want the beach.
Because the beach is on the Gunpowder River, the water is fresher than the Bay and has fewer jelly-fish/nettles in the hot summer months. But it’s on a wide expanse of the river where it enters the Bay providing you with a panoramic view.
In the grassy areas, just off the beach, you’ll find picnic tables and grills under every available tree. Picnic tables are on a first-come, first-served basis. There are a number of picnic areas above the hill from the beach, with small playgrounds and restrooms scattered throughout. It can be a bit of a walk to the beach from the upper picnic areas, but doable even with kids.
Here’s a map of the park.
The Hammerman Area of the park has food concessions, four picnic pavilions, short hiking trails and two short water trails. The pavilions can be rented by calling the park.
It also has a full-service bath house. The showers & changing rooms are on the ground-floor of the building. Lifeguards and the concessions are upstairs, on the parking lot level (on the other side of the building). Lifeguards are on duty Tuesday through Sunday during the summer, 8am-8pm. You can swim without a lifeguard, but it’s at your own risk.
The concession is also closed on Mondays.
Pets are allowed on leashes, but they must be kept off the sandy beach areas, beach house, restrooms or playgrounds.
Down the beach, you’ll find canoe/kayak and sailboat rentals. It’s one of the rare beach areas on the Chesapeake Bay with sail- and paddle-board rentals.
It costs $3 per person to enter the park. You must pay again to re-enter the park.
This is a popular place; the park fills to capacity on summer weekends and especially on holidays, and you will be turned away if it’s full. Arrive early.
There’s a lot of parking, but that fills up too. You may have to park in one of the picnic pavilion lots and walk to the beach. It can be a 5-10 minute walk to the beach.
But this is a great beach-park for families, and especially families with small children.