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Baltimore County Offers Beaches Without the Drive

You don't have to go to Ocean City to enjoy a family day at the beach.

Even with lower gas prices, a trip to an ocean resort can get expensive, with travel, housing, eating and shopping costs that pile up.

If you're looking for an alternative to trips to coastal resorts, you don't have to look beyond your own county.

Thanks to the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks and Maryland Park Service facilities, residents on the eastern side of the county have beaches practically in their back yards and residents on the western end of the county don't have far to travel to put their toes in the sand.

Beach-cations can be had at the following county swimming beaches:

Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks

Rocky Point Waterfront Park
2200 Rocky Point Road

This 375-acre waterfront park includes 300 feet of beach, a 20-foot-by-30 foot beachfront tent, pavilions, seven shaded picnic groves, a fishing pier, two boat ramps and a bathhouse with first aid station.

Oregon Ridge Beach

Also known as "the quarry," Oregon Ridge's beach area borders a spring-fed lake and puffer shallow and deep water for swimmers.

The beach also includes a concession stand, bathhouse, pavilion, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits and a playground area.

Admission rates for Baltimore County beaches:

Individual Rates

Weekend/Holidays

    Adults (12+) - $8
    Seniors (62+) - $5
    Children - Free

Weekdays

    Adults (12+) - $7
    Seniors (62+) - $5
    Children - Free

Twilight (4 p.m. - close)

    Adults (12+) - $4
    Seniors (62+) - $2.50
    Children - Free

Season passes

    Adults (12+) $95
    Seniors (62+) - $55
    Family (of 4)* - $180
    *Each additional person - $45

Maryland Park Service

Gunpowder State Park, Hammerman Area
7200 Graces Quarters Road, Chase

Park offers a swimming beach, picnic area, fishing areas, concession stand, boat rentals, a boat launch (water is shallow; launching only for unpowered boats such as canoes, kayaks and row boats) and hiking trails.

The Hammerman Area offers 1,500 feet of beach and swimming area on the banks of the Gunpowder River. Lifeguards are on duty at the swimming area from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Swimming is permitted at your own risk when lifeguards are not on duty.

Lifeguard hours are subject to change. Call 410-592-2897 to confirm.

North Point State Park
North Point Road, Edgemere

The park offers a pavilion at the site of the former trolley barn, many picnic areas, a visitor's center and a swimming beach.

State park admission fees:

Service charges are subject to change. Call 410-592-2897 to confirm.

Weekends and Holidays, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day:
There is a $5 per person service charge ($7 per-person for non-Maryland residents) for entrance into the Hammerman area.

Weekdays, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day:
There is a $3 per person service charge ($5 per-person for non-Maryland residents) for entrance into the Hammerman area.

Patrons who leave the park are required to pay again to re-enter.

The Hammerman area is known to fill to capacity on summer weekends and especially holidays. All visitors will be turned away if the park fills to capacity. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early. The beach parking lot also fills to capacity often. Alternative parking is usually available at the Dogwood parking lot, but be prepared to walk.

Baltimore County also has many waterfront parks in the Essex, Middle River and Dundalk areas, including Miami Beach, Cox's Point, Merritt Point, Chesterwood, and Fort Howard parks.

For more information, check the county's website.

Computer Techy July 11, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I agree with JD1. If you want to go to the beach, Oregon Ridge is ok, but the last few years lowlifes aregoing there too. I find driving to other State Parks like Rocks, Swallow, and others that have swimming holes with cooler, cleaner, fresh water, are far better and have less undesirables going to those places.
Red Dolphin July 11, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I like checking out different venues for picture taking, , esp., shore birds, any other aquatic life,one place I cleaned up on my own, many bottles, buckets, tires, scoocer balls , la crosse balls, baseballs, you get the idea.... this was a creek area in Balto co, near Towson,,,,,,,,,, Operation Clean Stream, does there thing and I give them big kudos, but I go where they dont go.......... thick wooded areas where I see animals not seen too often, e.g. Green Herons and I also see Otters . minks Glossy Ibis, Wood ducks , Bule winged teals, king fishers ,Great Egrets,Great blue Herons huge snapping turtles, black snakes, Northern water snakes ( got pics of all of them too) so these places listed here , have trashy people there huh? No respect for the environment huh? why would any decent self respecting folks wnat to go there? esp with family? its a shame, , not cynical here, just saying, find a trail, its good for your health, Conowingo is a nice clean place btw, nice pci taking for eagles , saw some beavers there last summer ( got pics).......
JD1 July 11, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Shhh - don't give away the secret!!
Red Dolphin July 11, 2012 at 08:02 PM
youre 100% correct JD1 funny my brothers Initials are JD is your middle name justin by any chance? btw the article makes a good point though,,save gas and check ou the local wild life ,beaches etc etc as kid m om amnd dad use to take us to Millers Island ( fishermens In) Long Bar Harbor
Red Dolphin July 11, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Otters right here in Lake Roland ! if you Kayak and north enough you may see them, I did,,,,,,,,,,and I met a nice Lady named Joanna in a kayak,,,,,,,, Im walk the shore lines myself with cam in hand

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