The Town of North Beach is like a New Jersey, or Delaware, shore town that somehow got lost and ended up on the Chesapeake Bay. It has a big beach, a boardwalk, beach shops, summer rentals, and even a pink condo building. But North Beach is so small that the next town over, Chesapeake Beach, handles the spas, nightlife, and gambling aspects of beach life.

North Beach and Chesapeake Beach were once competing Victorian resorts. But when the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was built, they lost the ships and trains that imported city-dwellers from the north. Both towns fell on hard times.

Chesapeake City focused on fishing and boating for revenue, and gave up its public beach, while North Beach stayed with beach life.

The Beach at North Beach

North Beach, Maryland

The beach at North Beach is seven blocks long. The town charges an entrance fee and limits the number of people on the beach: 400 out of towners and 400 residents.

And to make room for people, they limit coolers and other carry-alongs.

That may seem like a lot of people, but this beach 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 lifeguards. No pets are allowed on the beach, nor is grilling allowed.

The beach and boardwalk are popular with walkers in the morning and evening. A bike lane next to the boardwalk keeps walkers separated from cyclists.

The boardwalk is a little less than a third of a mile. 

A fishing pier separates the beach into north and south sections. You need a wristband to show you’ve paid to be able to enter the pier or the beach sections during the season and regulated times.

You can buy the pass online or at the Visitors Center located at the pier. Also at the entrance is a shop for renting umbrellas, chairs, and floats.

The beach is open from 8am to dusk. There are bathrooms in the bathhouse connected to 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

North Beach, MD, waterfront homes

You won’t find a typical downtown at North Beach. City hall is away from the beach on the main road through North Beach, Chesapeake Avenue.

But the small business district is on the road that goes past the beach, to the north. There are a couple of small markets, alongside beach shops, a large antique store, and several restaurants.

They’re within easy walking distance from the beach.

Boutiques, along with a few restaurants, are scattered in the neighborhoods surrounding the parking lot and down a block or two from the beach.

If you want a bit more 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 a 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, spirits, craft beer festivals, 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.

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.

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