Sandy Point State Park Beach is an easy day trip away from Washington, DC, and Baltimore whenever you need a beach fix — year-round. The mile-long sand beach has gorgeous views of the bay, and is designed to be a family destination with swimming, fishing, picnicking and boating rentals.
Address: 1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis MD 21409
- 7am to dusk, year-round
- Mid-Nov. to Jan. 2: 7am to 4pm, during the Holiday Lights on the Bay
SANDY POINT BEACH HIGHLIGHTS
- Public beach
- Full facilities (bathhouse, restrooms, showers)
- Food concession (during summer)
- Picnic facilities & playground
- Marina store for picnic provisions
- Boat rentals
- Fee to enter park
The 786-acre Sandy Point State Park is centered around its wide-open beach on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The beach borders the end of a peninsula. South Beach faces the Bay Bridge, while the other side — East Beach — provides a wide-open view toward the Eastern Shore.
The beach is famous for the view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and for being close to the shipping channel with the amazing site of huge international cargo ships slipping by.
Yes, the Sandy Point Beach sand really is orange-ish. The color comes iron ore rock that’s natural to this area of Maryland. The sand is colorful, but not considered dangerous. The shade of orange changes with the light.
Beaches on the Chesapeake Bay are gentle compared to ocean-side beaches. Waves don’t get big unless there’s a lot of wind or a storm coming through. The Sandy Point Beach bottom is a gradual slope and generally clear of debris and grasses.
But there are still critters in the water than go scuttling by, like crabs. And some sections, especially the fishing areas, collect shells and small rocks. It’s a good idea to wear water shoes.
Sandy Point Beach: What’s There & How to Experience It
South Beach is the main swimming beach in the park. It has volleyball nets up year-round. This is where the bathhouse, concessions, and playground are located.
This swimming beach area has lifeguards, but only during the summer season. Lifeguards are on duty from 10 am to 6 pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day, all other times are “swim at your own risk.”
The bathhouse has changing areas, restrooms, and showers for a rinse-off before heading home.
The concession stand sells drinks and snacks. The Beach Shoppe next door sells beach and picnic supplies. That’s where you’ll find beach chairs and umbrella rentals
Off-season, you can find some of these items at the marina store.
This section is reserved for swimming and sunbathing. No fishing is allowed here.
This section is also closest to the large parking lot. Picnic tables with grills are a short walk from the car. Another large picnic area is set aside in a grassy area not far away, however no grills there.
If you want a little more natural, not-as-crowded experience, walk a little farther to Eastern Beach with its beautiful grassy picnic areas, and shade-covered benches to watch the activity on the bay.
The section where the beach turns from south to east is reserved for fishing. Swimming is not allowed. However, you can spread out a towel behind the fishing to enjoy the sun and the breeze.
East Beach does have its own swimming beach and bathhouse farther down, but it’s set aside for private functions. You can reserve the area through the park office.
The same Sandy Point Shoal that’s great for swimming is dangerous for boats. A lighthouse was built off this section of the peninsula in 1883 and features a 37-foot Empire-style, eight-sided red brick tower with a white roof and black lantern.
What Else to Know About Sandy Point Beach?
JELLYFISH – Sandy Point Beach may have jellyfish in mid-to-late summer. It depends on how briny the area is, based each year on rain and river flows.
PARKING – Sandy Point is a big beach and has a big parking lot to go with it, with an overflow area. But, even those big lots fill up during hot weekends and holidays.
Get there early because once it’s full, park staff will close the park and turn visitors away at the park entrance. No additional vehicles or visitors will be allowed in even if your friends and family are already here. Park officials suggest that everyone arrive at the same time. And be aware that if you leave during a park closure, they will not let you back in until the park re-opens.
PETS – Dogs are not allowed on the beach from May 1 through September 30. You’re welcome to throw a frisbee on the sand and let your dog take a swim from October 1 through April 30th.
RESTRICTIONS TO KNOW ABOUT – While sunshades (umbrellas) are allowed, tents and lean-to set-ups are prohibited on the sandy portion of the beach. Alcohol and glass containers are not allowed in the park. Grills and fires are not allowed on the beach. There are other restrictions. Park officials ask that you take all your trash with you when you leave.
FEES – There is a per-vehicle fee. It’s highest on weekends and holidays. During the off-season, there’s an automatic toll machine that accepts exact change only in the form of $1 bills or quarters. It also accepts MasterCard and VISA credit cards.
PAVILIONS – The picnic tables are first come, first served. Groups usually send a family member or friend to table-sit as soon as the park opens. Picnicking in the East Beach area is by reservation only. This section has 12 rental pavilions.