The Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Maryland
From exploring Maryland’s maritime history at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to bay cruises to a beach-lined coast, water has been a major part of Maryland, and your pet will soon be able to experience it.
Maryland has 3,100 miles of shoreline, and paw prints can be found on a lot of it. One of the main waterways, Chesapeake Bay, is North America’s largest estuary, with shores barking with pet excitement. Alternatively, let the ocean waves of the Atlantic delight you and your pet with water fun.
Experience the stunning Maryland coastline with your furry beach pawtner at these amazing dog-friendly beaches.
And remember, whenever your dog is participating in a water activity, be sure to keep them safe with a dog life jacket or other flotation device.
Downs Memorial Park Dog Beach
Not long after you set off on the 3.5-mile loop trail at Downs Memorial Park, you’ll encounter its dog beach. The metal gate opening up to the beach is the start point for unhooking your pet’s leash and letting them explore the beach with their own four legs.
Signs direct walkers to the shore, where views of the Chesapeake Bay meet you. Your dog’s animal instincts kick in as it wanders the beach led by its curious nose or makes its way into the bay to swim. You’ll likely stumble upon other friendly pets for yours to be beach pals with.
One of the dominating features of the dog beach is the pier. Stroll onto the wooden pier and pass by anglers casting their lines into the fish-filled waters. In addition to the beach, you’ll have a chance to spend the day with your pet in the rest of the park. Continue along the loop trail to reach overlooks and explore the woodlands (dogs on the trails must stay on their leash). It also has an outdoor pavilion for hosting park picnics.
Address: 8311 John Downs Loop Pasadena, MD 21122
Ocean City Beach
Cruise down Coastal Highway with your dog’s tongue hanging out the window, and it will soon taste the salty ocean air while arriving at Ocean City Beach. However, the beach excitement won’t be a tease for them since pets are welcome to get out of the car and enjoy the shores, too!
Ocean City Beach is one of the most popular in Maryland, with more than eight million visitors yearly. Although it spans for 10-miles, you’ll be surprised how crowded the Ocean City Beach and the boardwalk get. And while many of these visitors come during the peak beach season in the summer, there’s a different kind of beachgoer you’ll need to account for in the off-season.
When the beach isn’t occupied by events like beach movie screenings, music concerts, and aerial drone shows, pets can enjoy one of the state’s best coastlines. Go swimming in the Atlantic Ocean to accompany the surfers awaiting the next wave or let them play on soft sand. Dry off with a run around the Ocean City Dog Park. At night, cozy up with your pet warmed by a beach bonfire.
Address: 4001 Coastal Highway Ocean City, MD 21842
Matapeake Park Dog Beach
The light at the end of the forest trail shines from the clearing at Matapeake Park Dog Beach. Celebrate the completion of you and your dog’s hike by playing on the shoreline that happily welcomes pets off-leash!
Matapeake Park Dog Beach was once used as a landing for the Chesapeake Bay Ferry System, although now the only boats you’ll see are those leisurely cruising the bay. The powdery sand feels lovely as you take your pet for a walk on the beach. If their energy is high, run around with them while tossing a frisbee or toss their ball in the shallow bay in a game of water fetch. When they’re tired, the tranquil beach setting makes it the perfect environment for a doggy nap.
Check out the rest of Matapeake State Park’s recreational area for end-of-day outdoor fun. The beach closes at sunset, so you’ll get a last view of the bayside sunset before leaving.
Address: 1112 Romancoke Rd, Stevensville, MD 21666
Terrapin Nature Park & Beach
Pets will fit right in at Terrapin Nature Park since it’s already populated with lots of wildlife. Dogs are just another one of the many species, although you’ll likely see these four-legged animals sticking around the beach.
Terrapin Nature Park covers 276 acres of diverse landscape. While meandering through the meadows and birdwatching for waterfowls in the wetlands, the sounds of Chesapeake Bay will call you to its bayside. The picturesque beach lets you enjoy the setting of blue waters, tan sand, and views of Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the distance.
The award-winning Terrapin Nature Park offers a large area for beach recreation. Go for a dog walk, practice its doggy paddle or lounge like beach bums. Don’t be surprised if the quiet beach lulls you into a nap while sunbathing. During the low tide, walk past the tide pools as your pet sniffs out marine life living in them.
Pets are permitted on the trails extending from the beach. Take a dog walk on the oyster chaff walking trail, where you’ll see wildflowers and other plants lining the path.
Address: 191 Log Canoe Circle. Stevensville, MD 21666
Quiet Waters Dog Beach
Ironically, you’ll hear a lot of barking at Quiet Waters Dog Beach! This is because canines populate the shoreline with their owners for a proper beach day in Annapolis.
Quiet Waters Dog Beach is ideal for enjoying water activities with your pet. The calm waters of Chesapeake Bay have a shallow area near the coast and a gentle-slopping floor for swimming. Step into the bay to play a game of water polo with your pet or see who has the best paw stroke when paddling across the water. They’ll meet other local and visiting dogs, instantly making you friends with other pet owners at the beach.
Even large dogs will have fun at the small beach. The narrow stretch of land sits between the bay and the woodlands. However, most visitors prefer to splash around in the bay while at the beach and relax in the grassy fields or picnic tables in other areas of the 340-acre park.
Quiet Waters Park attracts nearly three-quarter million visitors every year. It has a nearby dog park for giving your pet some on-land exercise. Also, pets are welcome to attend the park’s concerts, festivals, and other events if they stay on a leash.
Address: 600 Quiet Waters Park Rd, Annapolis, MD 21403
Assateague National Seashore
Your pet won’t be the only animal standing on all fours while on the Assateague National Seashore beach. Wild horses are frequently spotted along the coast, making this beach all the more majestic.
Assateague National Seashore is a part of Assateague Island, which straddles Maryland and Virginia. Pets are only permitted on the Maryland side. However, it’s a nice portion of the island’s 37-mile shoreline.
Gusts from the Atlantic Ocean sculpt the light sand. Cover the beach with your pet’s pawprints as you go for a walk, following horseshoe prints in the sand. The salty ocean waters keep you afloat while doggy paddling to your limits as friendly waves motion you back towards shore.
Dry off by hiking the Life of the Forest Trail to explore other natural wonders of the island. The landscape of Assateague National Seashore is untouched by development, leaving its natural state to marvel you with forests, marshes, and bays. Visitors can help preserve the environment on the island by cleaning up after their pets.
Address: 7206 National Seashore Lane Berlin, MD 21811
North Point State Park
Wrapped around North Point Peninsula is one of Maryland’s top dog beaches. North Point State Park covers the peninsula with areas extending to the coast. A wagging tail means your dog is ready for the recreational park that welcomes pets to join in the outdoor fun.
It’s hard to get distracted en route to the coast by exciting attractions like a vintage amusement park from the early 1900s and the expansive Black Marsh. Families will be having picnics in the historic trolley station that was once used to transport beachgoers to and from Baltimore.
With the anticipation built, make your pet’s time on the beach worthwhile. The cream-colored sand is perfect for making sandcastles for your dog to pounce on or burying yourself for them to dig you out.
The cool waters of Chesapeake Bay wash on the shore. Slip on your water shoes and accompany your pet for a swim or simply splash around the shallow regions.
Address: 8400 North Point Road. Edgemere, MD 21219
Calvert Cliffs State Park
Regardless of what species your dog is, the fossils discovered in Calvert Cliffs State Park reveal that its sandy shores were long accepting of animals. But, with 600 different kinds of species already found, it’s time for your pet to leave its paw mark on the beach.
Calvert Cliffs State Park beach feels secluded since it’s only reached by a 1.9-mile hike. But, for the adventurous pets and pet parents, you’ll reach the gorgeous shoreline dominated by 15-million-year-old sandstone cliffs.
Your pet is free to roam the entire quarter-mile-long beach, so long as it stays on a leash. Let it sniff its way along the base of the dusty cliffs, or take a beachfront dog walk along the rugged coves. The gentle waves of the Chesapeake Bay wash their paws as your pet makes its first steps into the water.
For the early birds, take your morning dog walk at the beach for sunrise. The shore looks east, giving you a view of the day’s first light.
Address: 9500 HG Trueman Rd, Lusby, MD 20657
North East Beach (Elk Neck State Park)
Broad leaves on the coastal trees shade the tan sand at Elk Neck State Park for the perfect sunny afternoon. Sand, chilled by the shade, makes for the ideal spot to lay out your towel and enjoy the laid-back North East beach that’s even more laxed on its pet allowance.
The Elk River flows into the Chesapeake Bay to form North East Bay. Elk Neck State Park is a favorite for campers able to plan a full itinerary for their pet beach day. A dozen miles of pet-friendly trails offer routes for all hikers. Explore the forested landscape and the Susquehanna Flats before reaching the sandy shores of the bay.
Dogs will enjoy jumping over wave ripples rolling over the surface. The shallow water means they can splash around until tired. Before leaving the beach, take a walk down the coast to see the historic Turkey Point Lighthouse. Detour to the trails back to the Elk Loop campground—a pet-friendly campground near the beach—for an overnight stay and early rise to another day of beach fun.
Address: 4395 Turkey Point Road, North East, Maryland, United States 21901
Flags Pond Nature Park
With wind constantly reshaping the sandy shores of the Flags Pond Nature Park, one thing that remains consistent is that your pet will have a blast. Good weather days fill the wooden walkway with pet owners sheading out with their canines.
Flags Pond Nature Park expands 545 acres total, reaching the Maryland shore. Pass through the wooded areas on one of the three miles of Trailways to reach the public beach on the Chesapeake Bay. As long as you keep your dog on a leash, they can play along the shores.
Jog next to your pet as they race up the shore. Dog walks can get very interesting when your pet sniffs out an ancient fossil buried on the beach amidst the seashells. Go for a swim in the Chesapeake Bay to cool off on a hot day.
Air dry while lying on the beach. Enjoy scenic views of the beach pier with its wooden stilts driving into the bay. Alternatively, trek together to the nearby observation platforms for views overlooking the landscape.
Address: Address: 1525 Flag Ponds Parkway. Lusby, MD 20657