North Beach is like an ocean beach town plunked down on the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a way to hit the shore from Washington, DC or Baltimore without dealing with bay bridge traffic.
The town 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.
There are two separate towns that together form the full beachfront experience: North Beach and Chesapeake Beach.
These were Victorian resort towns that lost the ships and trains that imported city-dwellers, and downsized to modern beach towns.
North Beach has the beach. Chesapeake Beach does not have a public beach, instead it has the other beachy stuff-to-do, such as a waterpark and a selection of lively restaurants and bars.
North Beach revolves around the big beach during the summer. Nearly everything is within walking or cycling distance.
The Beach at North Beach
And to make room for people, they limit coolers and other carry-alongs.
That may seem like a lot of people, but this beach is several blocks long and has several sections.
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.
There are no life guards. No pets are allowed on the beach, nor is grilling allowed.
The beach and boardwalk are seven blocks long. The boardwalk is popular with walkers in the morning and evening. A bike lane next to the boardwalk keeps walkers separated from cyclists.
A fishing pier separates the beach into north and south sections. You need a wrist-band to show you’ve paid to be able to entire the pier or the beach sections during season and regulated times.
At the pier entrance is a shop for renting umbrellas, chairs and floats.
The beach is open from 8am to 8pm. There are bathrooms at the Welcome Center.
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.
Town of North Beach
There is small business district on the road that goes past the beach, to the north. There’s a couple small markets, alongside beach shops, a large antique store and several restaurants.
It’s within easy walking distance from the beach.
You won’t find a typical downtown. City hall is away from the beach on the main road through North Beach, Chesapeake Avenue.
There’s a number of boutiques scattered, and a few restaurants, in the neighborhoods surrounding the parking lot and down a block or two from the beach.
If you want a bit more of a nightlife, you have to go a mile or so south to Chesapeake Beach. That’s where you’ll also find a water park and nightclubs. But no public beach.
North Beach is getting popular as a getaway town and you’ll find cottages for weekend or summer rentals. There are a few inns nearby.
The normally sleepy town fills up during major summer and festival weekends. They have summer concerts; movies on the beach; annual wine, spririts and craft beer festival and many more special events.
Check out the town’s events page for dates and times for major events planned throughout the year.
The Bayside History Museum is a few blocks off the beach and focuses on the Victorian North Beach era, but also has exhibits about African-American life, Boy Scouts of America and town genealogy records.