Kent Island has two of the most beautiful public beaches on the Chesapeake Bay. They both have great views of the Bay Bridge, and one has a dog beach separate from the public beach.
191 Log Canoe Circle, Cross Island Trail, Stevensville, MD 21666
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
This beautiful 276-acre park is on the north side of Kent Island’s west side on the Chesapeake Bay facing Annapolis. It has a long, narrow beach from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for the full length of the park shore.
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.
Queen Anne’s County does not consider this a swimming beach, so there are no lifeguards or rescue equipment on the beach. And, it’s carry-in, carry-out. Although there are trash and recycle bins just off the beach.
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) 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. The parking lot starts refilling about an hour before sunset.
A white path made of crushed 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.
You’ll find Terrapin Nature Park behind the Chesapeake Bay Business Park. Go through the business park (on Log Cabin Circle) to get there.
The park has a portable toilet, but no permanent facilities. The parking lot is small. Because cyclists share it with beach-goers, the lot fills quickly. Parking is available along the circular road in the business park. There’s also free parking at Old Love Point Park, a bit of a walk along the Cross Island Trail.
Queen’s Anne County no longer requires a beach permit for parking in the lots.
The park is open dawn to dusk.
Pets are allowed on the beach but they must be on a lease at this park.
305 Marine Academy, Stevensville, MD 21666
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
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, with it’s grass-covered lawn cascading toward the sandy beach.
The beach is short, but wide and scenic.
One end of the park is set aside for a dog beach. Pets are kept separate from the public beach. You’ll see a sign pointing the direction of the trail just outside the park gate. Follow the gate to the path through the woods that takes you past the human beach to the dog beach.
Pets are not allowed at the clubhouse, its lawn, or the public beach. There are 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 continue past an office park. Keep going. The road ends at the park’s parking lot.
9700 Romancoke Road, Stevensville, MD 21666
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset, 7 days a week
Romancoke Pier is basically a 600-foot fishing pier with a large parking lot and a restroom. That’s all there is to it. However, it also has a kayak launch off a sandy beach (no swimming) and a beautiful view with picnic tables. So, we include it here.
The pier is also the northern trail head of the South Island Trail, part of a series cycling/walking trails that go from one end of Kent Island to the other, about 28 mile one way.
Be aware that there is no street parking outside the lot, and you need a fishing & crabbing license from the state.