Kent Island has a couple beautiful — but small — public beaches. One has a dog beach. They both have great views of the Bay Bridge.
Terrapin Park191Log Canoe Circle, Cross Island Trail, Stevensville, MD 21666 (map)
Directions: Rt. 50/301 to North Rt. 8 to Log Canoe Circle, turn left, continue to parking area on left.
Terrapin Park is next to the Bay Bridge on the north side. It shows Kent Island in its natural state with one of the best beach views on the Bay.
You’ll find the park behind the Chesapeake Bay Business Park. Go through the business park (on Log Cabin Circle) to get there.
A 3/4 mile asphalt trail runs from the parking lot to the end of the park through forest. It’s the start of the Cross Island bike trial. Shooting off the bike trail, near the picnic grounds, is about a three-block (small town blocks) long gravel path through dunes to the narrow sand-beach.
On summer days, people wearing swimsuits carry their coolers for a day of sunning and swimming on the free, public beach. They return late afternoon to be replaced in the evening by a different crowd, wheeling coolers to watch the sun set behind the Bay Bridge.
A white path made of crush oyster shells parallels the beach. Stay to the wide path to get to the beach. A narrower path leads to a stroll through tidal wetland, crop fields and wildlife habitat for a 2.8 mile loop.
The park has a port-a-potty, but no permanent facilities. The parking lot is small and because cyclists share it with swimmers, the lot fills quickly. Parking is available along the circular road in the business park.
Queen’s Anne County no longer requires a beach permit for parking in the lots. It was dropped for the 2015 season.
Pets must be on a lease at this park.
Matapeake Park305 Marine Academy, Stevensville, MD 21666 (map)
Directions: Rt. 50/301 to South Rt. 8, turn right to Marine Academy Drive, take the first right to the parking on the left.
Matapeake State Park was a privately-owned ferry launch to the mainland. A regal house overlooks the beach and is now used for park functions.
The beach is short, but wide and scenic. One end is set aside for a dog beach. You’ll see a sign pointing the direction of the trail just outside the park gate. Pets are not allowed at the clubhouse, its lawn, or the public beach.
It has public restrooms, drinking water, and often a food stand set up near the entrance to the beach. The parking lot is small and there’s no parking outside the park’s gate. Get there early on prime summer days.
Be aware that the road to the park starts paved and looks like it ends at an empty turnaround, but keep going down the gravel road on the other side. The road ends at the park.
Romancoke Pier9700 Romancoke Road, Stevensville, MD 21666
Directions: MD Route 50/301 to exit 37, take MD Route 8 south (Romancoke Road), continue for about 8 miles and follow signs to Romancoke Pier.
Romancoke Pier is basically a long fishing pier with a large parking lot and a restroom. There is no swimming beach, but it does have a kayak launch area and a beautiful view. It’s one end of the Kent Island bike trail that goes from one end of the island to the other, about 28 miles.
Parking on the Pier lot is $10 for the day. There is no street parking outside the lot.