The Scoop on the Beach at North Beach

North Beach feels like a small Delaware or New Jersey beach town that has been transplanted on the Chesapeake Bay’s western shore. It has a boardwalk, beach shops, tiny summer cottages and high-rise condos facing the shore.

9023 Bay Ave, North Beach, MD 20714


About the Beach at North Beach

North Beach has a big beautiful sandy beach on the Chesapeake Bay lined by a seven block-long boardwalk and separate bike path.

It’s just off the town’s business district where Rt. 261/Bay Avenue follows the scenic Chesapeake Bay shoreline.

Unlike many Chesapeake Bay beaches, this one is groomed. Critters and other stuff that normally wash up are removed.

The long beach is divided in two by a fishing pier.

North Beach fishing pier at sunrise

The south side beach is about two blocks long, and the north side beach is about a block long. The south side is meant for kids; it has a playground ship with a slide.

The beach is city-owned and you must pay a fee. It can be pricy for a family ($25/adult, $10/child in 2021) unless you have a Calvert County resident pass, but at least parking is free. You can pay and reserve ahead by scanning a QR code like restaurants used during the pandemic.

The beach does not have lifeguards. Pets are allowed on the boardwalk, but not on the beach. And be aware, there are rules against wearing certain kinds of (revealing) swimwear.

North Beach limits the number of people on the beach so it’s best to pay your admittance early. But it’s a big beach divided into several sections.

Be aware that there’s no grilling allowed and coolers, bags and carry-ins are limited.

North Beach Pier and Boardwalk

North Beach, MD, city pier
North Beach, MD, fishing pier

A boardwalk follows the shoreline for about four-and-a-half blocks with benches at regular intervals along the entire walk. At the end of each street, the boardwalk juts into the bay for prime photo opportunities. The boardwalk is relatively new, replacing the one destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

The Visitors Center, rental shop and restrooms are located on the boardwalk at the entrance to the Fishing Pier.

Welcome Center at North Beach, MD
North Beach Welcome Center. You can rent chairs & other beach items here.

You can rent floats, chairs and umbrellas at a shop located at the pier, next to the Visitors Center. Also nearby, rentals for kayaks and bicycles.

The beach has full facilities next to the visitors center, including a bathhouse and beach-supplies.

Fishing is allowed on the pier, but there’s a charge for up to two poles.

Off the Beach

There are several restaurants and shops near the beach. The beach-type shops are just north of the beach in a block-long shopping district.

Restaurants and boutiques are scattered around the parking lot and nearby neighborhoods.

North Beach Parking & Getting Around Town

Parking is plentiful. As long as you get there early on hot weekends and holidays.

There’s a large (free) lot at the end of 5th Street near the Visitors Center, and when that’s full, parking overflows onto nearby grassy areas.

There’s diagonal parking along the pier. Be aware that parking time is limited once you get into the nearby neighborhoods.

Keep an eye out for the one-way streets paralleling the waterfront, aimed at moving traffic at a more steady pace.

Nearby Chesapeake Beach

North Beach and Chesapeake Beach are two separate back-to-back towns. Both were big beach-front destinations for Washington, DC and Baltimore residents escaping the hot cities back in the Victorian-era.

Historic Chesapeake City, MD
Chesapeake City boardwalk. It’s no longer there. The only public beach in the area is now in North Beach. (Photo co.urtesy Chesapeake Beach railroad museum)

Chesapeake Beach no longer has a public beach. That beach is now a private resort, and private homes take up the rest of the town’s waterfront.

There is a park with a small, natural beach where a marsh flows into the Bay south of town, but Bayfront Park is currently reserved for residents only.

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