North Beach is like an oceanside beach town plunked down on the Chesapeake Bay. It has a big beautiful beach, a boardwalk, beachy shops, and summer rentals. Because it’s on the Western Shore, this is a way to hit a beach for the weekend without dealing with Bay Bridge traffic.
Address: 9023 Bay Ave, North Beach, MD
Hours: 8am to dusk
About North Beach Boardwalk/Beach
NORTH BEACH HIGHLIGHTS
- Public beach
- Facilities: changing rooms, restrooms, public showers
- Beach rentals: umbrellas, chairs & inner tubes
- NO lifeguards
- Netted swimming section to keep out jellyfish
- Fee to use beach
- Dogs not allowed on the beach
What’s At North Beach?
Two small towns form the full beach experience in this little haven of the Chesapeake Bay. North Beach has a public beach, shops, and summer rentals. Chesapeake Beach next door to the south has restaurants, spas, a waterpark, and gambling but no beach. The symbiosis works well.
The town of North Beach has a big, sandy beach with a boardwalk and even a pink, high-rise condo. You’ll also find the typical beach shops. But North Beach is so small there aren’t many of them.
The beach at North Beach is seven blocks long with a boardwalk lining the entire beach. There’s also a bike trail along the way. It’s a short ride with a lovely view. Just be aware that the boardwalk gets busy with walkers, especially in the early morning and evening.
Nearly everything in North Beach is within walking distance of the beach, and Chesapeake Beach is within easy cycling distance.
‘Need to Know’ About North Beach
The beach at North Beach is divided into several sections. While the overall beach seems big, the town limits the number of people on the beach to 400 out-of-towners and 400 residents. And to make room for all those people, they limit coolers and other carry-alongs.
The upside about North Beach during the summer is that it caters to families with a beach playground and beach toy rentals.
Bonus: there’s a swimming section that’s netted to keep jellyfish out.
PARKING IN NORTH BEACH
The town has two town-owned gravel parking lots close to the beach where the parking is free. There is also a privately-owned lot where you can pay to park.
You can park on the street, but read the parking signs carefully. Parking may be limited to 15-minutes, 30-minutes, or two hours.
Parking west of Chesapeake Avenue is limited to residents only.
A long fishing pier splits the public beach in half. That’s where the Visitors Center, bathhouse, and beach rentals are located, at the entrance to the pier. It’s worth a stroll to see the view. You do need a fishing pass to cast a line off the pier.
BEACH SHOPS & RESTAURANTS
You won’t find a typical downtown at North Beach.
There is a small business district on the road that goes past the beach, to the north. The area has a couple of small markets, alongside beach shops, a large antique store, and several restaurants.
They’re within easy walking distance from the beach.
A few boutiques and restaurants are scattered in the neighborhoods surrounding the parking log a block or two from the beach.
North Beach is a small town and they have a lot of restrictions on beach use. Those rules cover what you can wear on the beach, bring on the beach, and beach conduct, among other things.
Read the rules before going if you don’t want to walk back to the car for carrying too much on the beach, bringing a grill, or wearing a thong.
The North Beach waterfront faces east. If you’re a morning person you’ll love the sunrises. But here’s an interesting thing about the Chesapeake Bay — if there are any clouds, the sunset reflects off those clouds and can give you a beautiful sunset facing east.
The image below is early morning over North Beach.