Located between Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and Delaware, Maryland seems to be the center of everything in the northeast. Along its eastern border are 3,100 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean with the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to the south. It is the eighth smallest state in the United States and the fifth most populated. Its largest city, Baltimore, is a historic town as well as the major seaport on the eastern coast.
The city boasts an average temperature in the mid-80s in the summer and 40s in the winter, so it is nice enough all year long for outdoor fun. Between the 54 state parks and over 100 city and county parks, you can find something for everyone in Maryland. And with over two dozen beaches, it is not hard to find a good one. To help you out, we found 17 sensational dog beaches in Maryland to enjoy with your pooch.
Big Run State Park
Located in Savage River State Forest in the northwestern corner of Maryland, Big Run State Park welcomes your furry friend as long as you keep him on a lead at all times. The 300-acre recreational area features a vast array of different activities for you and your pup to enjoy. First, if you are up for a challenge and have the skills, take a walk on the Monroe Run Trail, where you can hike between Big Savage and Meadow Mountains. It is five miles long and very challenging.
Afterward, rent a kayak or canoe and go floating and fishing (make sure you have a license) on the Savage River. Swimming is not allowed for pup parents, but Fido can cool off in the water while leashed. If you catch something, cook it up on one of the grills in the picnic area for lunch. Better yet, book one of the 29 campsites at Big Run Campground where you can cook and eat while you sit around the campfire.
Greenbriar State Park
If you head east about 100 miles, you will reach another fantastic dog-friendly park. Greenbriar State Park has over 1,400 acres along Greenbriar Lake on South Mountain in Washington County. Keep Spike on his leash and he can join you anywhere in the park, even swimming in the 42-acre man-made lake. The soft white sand beach is perfect for sunbathing or running around with your pooch. Or you can explore some of the 11 miles of trails, including part of the Appalachian Trail and Bartman’s Hill.
Numerous picnic areas with tables, grills, and restrooms are available all over the park, so you and your cuddly canine can chow down after you work up an appetite. Fishing, boating, and birding are popular here too. If you want to stay for a while, reserve one of the campsites in advance. They have over 100 dog-friendly campsites at Dogwood and Cedar Campgrounds, but they fill up fast.
Black Hill Regional Park
Black Hill Regional Park is about 35 miles to the southeast between Cabin Branch and Little Seneca Creeks and has about 2,000 acres to explore with your leashed pup. But the best part is that they also have an off-leash dog park where you can let your fur puppy run and play with the other fur puppies. The fenced park is just over a half acre and has tons of open space to play fetch, catch, or get rid of the zoomies.
After, you can both get a refreshing workout swimming or boating in one of the creeks. Then, take a relaxing stroll on one of the nature walks through the woods and around the waterfront before having a meal at one of the picnic tables. Just make sure you bring plenty of pup cleanup baggies to clean up after your pup while you are in the park.
Piscataway Park Beach
Located about one and a half hours from Black Hills Regional Park, Piscataway Park lies on the banks of the Potomac River across from the Virginia border. There are over 200 acres to explore with your dog, including the National Colonial Farm, Farmington Landing, Accokeek Boardwalk, and Marshall Hall. You can go fishing along the banks, on the pier, or rent a boat and get out on the water to catch the big ones! Remember, you need a fishing license if you plan to toss in a line.
Take a trip back in time with Fido at the National Colonial Farm where they have several old buildings and costumed historians to give you all the interesting details of life back in 1770. You can splash around in the Piscataway Creek as well. Your pup will enjoy Farmington Landing too. There are numerous eating establishments and shops that allow pets. But be sure to ask first.
Gilbert Run Park
Gilbert Run Park is fond of fur babies too and your cuddly compadre is welcome to play in and around Wheatley Lake as long as he is leashed. Just a half hour from Piscataway Park, this popular place boasts dozens of picnic tables with barbecue grills, pavilions, playgrounds for the little humans, a boat ramp, and several fishing piers where you can catch bass, catfish, trout, and crappie. If you would rather get out further on the water, rent a canoe, rowboat, or pedal boat.
If you have a large group of people with you, rent one of the pavilions. There are six different-sized pavilions that can hold between 50 and 400 people with tables, grills, restrooms, and other amenities. There are also horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, and lots of green space for playing fetch, catch, or frisbee. Gilbert Run Park also has several trails, from short and easy to long and challenging. Be sure to pack extra water and dog waste bags.
Newtowne Neck State Park
You can reach Newtown Neck State Park in about a half hour from Gilbert Run Park. This beautiful recreational space is located on a peninsula between Saint Clements Bay, the Potomac River, and Breton Bay and features all sorts of great activities for you and your leashed canine companion. Newtowne Neck was once owned by a man named William Bretton who sold it to the Society of Jesus for 40 thousand pounds of tobacco. Today it is owned by the Department of Natural Resources.
The park has almost 800 acres that includes miles of waterfront space for you and your pooch to play. If it is warm enough, you can even get in the water with him. If you want to do some fishing, be sure to get a Maryland fishing license and pack some gear. The park also offers seven different walking trails where you and your dog can see some of the local wildlife if you are quiet.
Flag Ponds Nature Park Beach
Only about 30 miles to the east, Flag Ponds Nature Park has 500 acres to explore with your doggo as long as he is on a leash the whole time you are there. To get to the sandy beach on the Chesapeake Bay, you can take the short and easy trail or one of the longer excursions where you get to see the area from viewing platforms on the two ponds. The small Richardson’s Pond is the furthest one to the north, and Duncan’s Pond is a bit larger.
You and your fur baby are welcome to swim, but be sure to check the water quality advisories online before diving in. One of the coolest things about the beach is that you can find all sorts of fossils and shark teeth. But don’t worry, and nobody has ever spotted any great white sharks here. Some lucky observant folks can even find whale and crocodile teeth. Keep your eyes peeled!
Kings Landing Park
Go north on highway four about 20 miles, and you will find Kings Landing Park in Calvert County on the banks of the Patuxent River between Cocktown Creek and Kings Landing Creek. With 260 acres lauding a boardwalk on the wetlands, a fishing pier, and a boat launch, you and your cuddly canine can enjoy the whole day here without getting bored. However, he has to stay on a leash the whole time, and you will need to pack doggie bags to clean up after him.
If you did not bring a boat, you can rent a kayak at the visitor center where they also have snacks, ice, fishing bait, and beverages. If you want to take a hike, you are in luck because there are nine different trails, from the short and easy Nuthatch Trail to the longer and more challenging Blue Heron Trail. You will also find picnic areas, a horse ring for equestrians, and a group camping site.
Quiet Waters Park Dog Beach
You will have to travel an hour to the northeast to get to Quiet Waters Park from Kings Landing Park. Surrounded by Loden Pond, Harness Creek, and the South River, you and your leashed pooch will have lots of sandy beach spots to choose from. And it is larger than it looks, with 340 acres. This includes some unique amenities like the visitor center’s two art galleries that display local talents, as well as the ice skating rink, cafe, Blue Heron Center, South River Overlook, and James Lighthizer Gazebo.
But your fur buddy will tell you the best parts of the park are the Quiet Waters Dog Park and Dog Beach. Located at the southern end of the park on the South River, there are two areas for dogs where you can release them from their restraints and let them run and play. The dog park is a fenced area with grassy space, fountains, and toys. And the dog beach is a large patch of soft sand where you can watch him or join him in the water.
Downs Park Dog Beach
Downs Park Dog Beach is another pup popular place to give your dog free reign of the water. It is only about 30 miles to the north on the Chesapeake Bay in Downs Park. Your fur puppy will not have to be on a leash at all at this beach in Downs Park unless you are worried about him going out too far into the bay. This is a swim-at-your-own-risk beach, so it is up to you to keep your furry friend safe.
After your swim, take Fi-fi on a walk through the woods on one of the trails that cover over five miles of the 236-acre park. He will need his leash back on once you leave the dog beach, though. The peacefulness you feel surrounded by the large oak and maple trees is very relaxing, and you might even see some of the native wildlife. Remember to bring your own dog cleanup bags to pick up whatever he drops.
Matapeake Park Beach
Hop over to Kent Island across the Chesapeake Bay from Downs Park over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It only takes about 45 minutes to get to Matapeake Park Beach, where leashed dogs are welcome every day. What’s more, you can take a walk to the dog beach where your fur puppy can play off the leash. The water here is calm and shallow, making it the perfect beach for both human kids and dogs.
You two can easily spend the whole day at the beach here, soaking up the sun and splashing in the water. Or you can also enjoy a meal in one of the picnic areas, where they have tables and barbecue grills. If you did not bring any food, that is okay because they have a concession stand. The clubhouse does not allow dogs but if you want to go in for a drink, drop your pooch at the Dogwood Acres Pet Spa, where he can be pampered too.
Martinak State Park
Martinak State Park is also a pup-friendly place where your pooch has full access to the beaches along Choptank River and Watts Creek. It is located approximately 45 minutes to the east on Route 101. Named after George Martinak, who donated the land to the state back in 1961 so it could be a recreational space for all. Besides having some awesome waterfront spots to swim, play, and soak up the sun, Martinak State Park is also a perfect place to do some fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, perch, and catfish.
You can also take your pooch for a walk on one of the many trails in the park, such as the mile-long Activity Trail and the quarter-mile Nature Trail. For those who plan to stay the night, make sure you reserve your spot way in advance because there are only 63 sites, and they fill up quickly. Each site has a fire ring, picnic table, and camping pad and there is a modern bathhouse in each of the camping loops.
Great Marsh Gerry Boyle Park
In Cambridge, about an hour to the south, Great Marsh Park in Great Marsh is also on the Choptank River. Dogs are welcome to join their pup parents in the park on a leash no longer than six feet, and you will need to bring plenty of canine cleanup bags to clean up after your pup. There is a point looking out between Hambrooks Bay and the river where you can spend the day swimming, playing in the sand, and relaxing in the sun.
At the end of the point is a boat launch where you can put in a kayak or canoe to get out on the water. The bay is calm enough to use a standup paddleboard too. Just make sure your pooch has an official dog life vest to keep him safe out there, no matter how good a swimmer he is! Bring along a cooler with some food and drinks for lunch on the sand or one of the picnic tables.
Vienna Waterfront Park
A half-hour to the southeast, the Vienna Waterfront Park can be found on the banks of the Nanticoke River, which was named after the Nanticoke Indians who lived there for so hundreds of years. The riverfront was given the name Emperor’s Landing in 2009 when the city began to restore the property after years of neglect. The old buildings and grounds were replaced with a new riverfront walk where you and Fido can stroll along the water and possibly see some cool creatures. Keep him on a short leash, though.
The landing also has floating docks for fishing or just hanging out gorgeous landscaped yards and a play area for the little humans. There is also a picnic area and a pavilion where you can have a meal or just relax and enjoy the view from the gazebo. The park is also the home of several events all year long, including the Music on the Nanticoke festival every May.
Salisbury City Park
To get to Salisbury City Park, you will need to go another 20 miles to the southeast, where there really is something for everyone to do. Listen to some music at the bandstand during the summer, let the human kiddos play on the playground equipment, or play a game of horseshoes or tennis. Take a walk over the arched bridge over Beaverdam Creek and get some unique selfies to share on your social media sites.
There is also a zoo in the park, but unfortunately, dogs are not permitted. But that is okay because there is a fenced dog park for pooches to play off the leash. It is about one acre in size and has a separate section for cuddly canines under 20 pounds. There is plenty of seating here too, with shade from the huge trees that surround the park. And there is a doggie ramp for climbing and a tunnel for running through that has all the pups playing together.
Assateague State Park
For a beach on the coast, Assateague State Park has you covered. It is less than an hour to the east of Salisbury City Park and it is the only state park in Maryland that is on the ocean. Sandwiched between Sinepuxent Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, there are two miles to explore and enjoy with your leashed dog. It is a very popular place because it is the only oceanfront beach, but with so much space, you will not feel crowded at all.
On the beach, the Pony Express Snack Bar will keep you from going hungry, and you can often see the wild ponies that live here. But stay at least 40 feet away and do not try to feed them. Fishing is popular here on both the ocean and bay side of the park, but remember you need a fishing license no matter which side you are on. If you want to camp, you are in luck because there are more than 340 campsites with fire rings and picnic tables. Reserve your spot early, starting in April.
Ocean City Beach
Up the coast, about 10 miles past the Jolly Roger at the Pier, Jolly Roger Amusement Park, and the Assawoman Bay Bridge, Ocean City Beach is the final stop on this dog-friendly journey. You can stretch out all you want here because there is 10 miles of sand to share with other beachgoers. This beach has been named one of the country’s top 10 beaches, and you will see why as soon as you get there. It is so full of family fun you would need over a week to do everything.
Being surrounded by water, there are tons of water activities, from zipping around on jet skis to kayaking or canoeing. They even have paddle boats that may be more your pup’s style for safety reasons. But you can also watch the locals hit the waves on surfboards too. Get a Maryland fishing license, and you can get out on the pier and catch a whopper for dinner. Or just hit up one of the seafood joints with pup-friendly patios.
The Final Woof
Take a tour on the bay in Annapolis at Watermark Journey Cruises on the Bay, where leashed pups are welcome on most cruises. And he can ride for free! If you would rather try something different, the Haunted Harbor Tours in Annapolis are also dog-friendly and you will learn all about the spooky history of the city. Afterward, you and your canine companion can enjoy a cold drink at 1623 Brewing Company in Eldersburg. They have all sorts of craft beers that you can try, and your pup will get a free treat. If you would rather have wine, take your cuddly canine to Antietam Creek Vineyards in Sharpsburg where they have 55 acres of dog-friendly space.