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Sandy Point State Park Guide — Beach, Mansion, and More 

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Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

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Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
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Whether you enjoy hiking, fishing, picnicking, boating, or discovering historic sites, Sandy Point State Park has it all. With its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, it’s no surprise that the park draws in approximately 1.5 million visitors each year.

How To Get to Sandy Point State Park

Where Is Sandy Point State Park?

Sandy Point State Park is in Annapolis, Maryland, on the northwestern shore of Chesapeake Bay. This park covers 786 acres and boasts a beach, woods, and natural environmental areas.

Sandy Point State Park Opening Hours and Season

Sandy Point State Park is open every day of the year from 7 a.m. until sunset. Depending on the season, operating hours for some facilities and activities may vary. Fishing and boating are available year-round, 24 hours a day.

Nearest Airports to Sandy Point State Park

There are several airports near Sandy Point State Park, each with unique advantages.

Baltimore/Washington International Airport

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is in Baltimore, Maryland, and is approximately 25 miles away from Sandy Point State Park. It usually takes around 40 minutes to reach the park from the airport. This airport provides daily nonstop flights to over 650 domestic and international destinations on many well-known airlines, including Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit, and United.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is in Washington, D.C., which is around 42 miles away from Sandy Point State Park. It usually takes about an hour to reach the park from this airport, but the actual timing depends on traffic conditions. This airport provides nonstop services to over 100 domestic and international destinations. Airlines operating at this facility include Air Canada, Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and United.

Washington Dulles International Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is 70 miles away from the park in Dulles, Virginia. Due to heavy traffic, it can take over an hour and a half to reach the park from IAD, although the distance is not too far. The airport offers nonstop flights to over 140 domestic and international destinations. It’s served by many popular airlines, including Air Canada, Air France, Allegiant, American, British Airways, Delta, Sun Country, and United.

Driving to Sandy Point State Park

Driving to Sandy Point State Park
Image Credit: K.A via Adobe Stock

You can take various routes to reach the state park, depending on your location.

  • If you’re driving from Washington, D.C., you should take Route 50 East and exit at 32 to Sandy Point State Park.
  • Visitors coming from Baltimore should take I-695 to exit 4 and then follow Route 97 South towards Annapolis. From there, take Route 50 East and exit at 32 to reach the park’s entrance just before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
  • Those traveling from the Eastern Shore should take Route 301 South to Route 50 West, cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and then exit at 32 to reach the park’s entrance.

Taking the Train to Sandy Point State Park

There are no trains that go directly to Sandy Point State Park, but there is an alternative method that can get you very close. Amtrak provides service to Baltimore. From there, it is about a 40- to 60-minute drive, depending on the traffic at the time of day when you arrive. Arranging a ride-share service or rental car from the station is easy.

Taking the Bus to Sandy Point State Park

Taking the bus is an affordable and convenient mode of transportation. Greyhound offers service to the Annapolis, Maryland, station, which is approximately 9 miles from the park. Taking the bus is an excellent way to relax and enjoy the ride while someone else handles the stress of navigating an unfamiliar city.

Getting Around Sandy Point State Park

The best way to get around the park is a combination of driving and walking. Several parking areas throughout the park allow you to leave your car to explore on foot.

Hot Tip:

The park provides a printable map to help you plan your adventures.

What To See and Do in Sandy Point State Park

This state park offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors. You can fish, boat, sunbathe on the beautiful beach, and explore historic structures. There’s something for everyone to enjoy at this park.

Beaches

Sandy Point State Park Beach
Image Credit: Robert Laliberte via Flickr (license)

Sandy Point State Park boasts a magnificent 1-mile stretch of sandy beach, which is perfect for visitors to relax and enjoy. A section of this beach is supervised by lifeguards from Memorial Day to Labor Day, ensuring a safe and secure environment.

Boating

Sandy Point State Park is surrounded by water, making boating one of the most popular activities here. The park offers 22 launching ramps and 6 finger piers for day-use docking, which are all available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, a seasonal marina open from April to October provides boat fuel, snacks, drinks, ice, and fishing and crabbing supplies.

Bottom Line:

Whether you prefer small crafts like canoes, kayaks, and windsurfers or larger vessels, boating is an excellent way to enjoy the park’s views.

Fishing and Crabbing

This park is a great place for fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can fish from the shoreline and along the rock jetties all around the park, 24 hours a day. Anyone 16 years and up must have a Chesapeake Bay sport fishing license. Some of the commonly caught fish species in this park are bluefish, white perch, flounder, and striped bass. Those who love crabbing should visit the park between April 1 and December 15, which is the blue crab season.

Hiking Trails

Sandy Point State Park has numerous trails that meander through its natural surroundings, providing visitors with recreational walks and hikes. The Symbi Trail is among the first trails you will come across when you arrive at the park. It offers stunning views of an old-planted pine forest leading to nearby marshes. This trail is an excellent spot to observe wildlife and the park’s plant life.

Another popular trail is the Blue Crab Trail, which is a short hike that takes you through the woods and provides opportunities for birdwatching in a shaded environment.

Interpretive Programs

This state park offers a diverse range of interpretive programs throughout the year. Some of the most popular activities include birdhouse painting, fishing, and beach cleanups. These events take place at or near the nature center, making them easily accessible. The programs are designed for visitors of all ages and provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the park’s flora and fauna.

Nature Center

Sandy Point State Park Nature Center
Image Credit: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Sandy Point Nature Center is one of the newest facilities available at the park. It’s an ideal spot for visitors of all ages and offers interactive educational exhibits about the plants and animals of the Chesapeake Bay area.

The center features numerous exciting hands-on activities, an aquarium teeming with live sea life, a larger-than-life bird’s nest, and an exhibit showcasing the wingspan of various birds in the area. Additionally, a replica of a beaver dam and an “I Spy” game encourage visitors to search for animals hiding in their habitat displays.

Sandy Point Mansion

The Sandy Point Mansion is an amazing structure worth visiting while at Sandy Point State Park. From the mid-1600s to the early 1800s, the grounds were used to grow tobacco, which was later exported to foreign and domestic markets on the Chesapeake Bay.

The homestead is being restored to its 19th-century appearance. Although this beautiful mansion can be seen at the park, it’s not open to the public as it’s a private residence. You can view the home from the main park road.

Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse

One of the historic structures you should see when you visit is the Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1883 to replace an earlier structure that was on the shore. This structure is 37 feet tall and approximately 1,000 yards from the beach. In 1929, the lighthouse was powered by electricity and was fully automated in 1963. It’s a privately owned structure and is closed to the public.

Bottom Line:

While you can’t tour the lighthouse, it is a sight to behold and one of the park’s highlights.

Best Times To Visit Sandy Point State Park

This state park is open year-round and is an ideal vacation spot anytime. If you plan to participate in a specific activity or event, it’s better to plan your visit during certain times of the year.

Best Time To Visit Sandy Point State Park for Ideal Weather

Planning your vacation around typical weather trends is always a smart choice. The best time to visit this park for ideal weather conditions is in September. During this month, the temperatures range from the mid-60s to the upper 80s, which is perfect for outdoor activities. September is one of the less rainy times of the year but still has an average of 8 days of precipitation, so be prepared for the occasional rain shower.

Best Time To Visit Sandy Point State Park To Avoid the Crowds

Sandy Point State Park To Avoid the Crowds
Image Credit: Norm via Adobe Stock

Many travelers prefer a peaceful park experience. If this is what you’re looking for, consider visiting the park in October, which is the least busy time in the town of Annapolis. A trip in October will give you quiet moments, less traffic, and fewer crowded areas in the park.

Best Time To Visit Sandy Point State Park for Beach Activities

The beach is one of the park’s primary attractions. July is the ideal month to indulge in beach activities in this area. It’s the warmest month of the year, with temperatures ranging from the low 70s to the mid-80s, making it the perfect time to soak up the sun.

Annual Events in Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park regularly hosts a variety of events and programs, including several annual events that attract locals and visitors alike.

Annapolis Bay Grass Festival

The Annapolis Bay Grass Festival is an annual event held in September. This festival revolves around conservation and community themes, showcasing progressive bluegrass, jamgrass, and Americana music. Attendees can enjoy the festivities from the festival’s beautiful beach location. The event features specialty foods from local restaurants, a beer garden, games and activities on the beach, and musical and educational workshops.

Lights on the Bay

Lights on the Bay is an exciting annual event that takes place from the third week of November until the first week of January. It’s a great time to enjoy holiday festivities, and the park offers a variety of events, including a market day to buy holiday gifts, programs for dogs, and educational workshops. The biggest attraction of this event is the spectacular light displays that illuminate the park.

Where To Stay in Sandy Point State Park

Lodging is one of the first things to plan when visiting Sandy Point State Park, as there are abundant accommodations available.

Inside the Park

The only accommodation available within the park is the youth camping sites. These sites are intended for youth groups and can house up to 30 campers. If you prefer to sleep outside and enjoy the starry sky, there are other campgrounds nearby, but none are in the park.

Towns Near Sandy Point State Park

Several small towns and cities are near Sandy Point State Park, each with unique offerings. From charming historic towns to lively cities, there’s something perfect for every traveler.

Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis Maryland
Image Credit: m01229 via Flickr (license)

Sandy Point State Park is in Annapolis, home to numerous historic inns, hotels, and Airbnbs, along with countless restaurants. The town also boasts many historical landmarks, museums, and parks to discover.

Bottom Line:

Due to its proximity to the park and abundance of activities, Annapolis is an ideal place to stay when visiting this state park.

Millersville, Maryland

Millersville is just 19 miles from the park and offers a wide range of lodging, dining, and recreation. Various types of accommodations are available, including traditional hotels, budget-friendly motels, and private rentals. Most of the restaurants in the area are locally owned, but some chains are also available.

You can also find plenty of recreational opportunities and entertainment options, including science museums, unique shops, and many parks where you can hike, bike, and camp. Millersville is a quiet, small town ideal for escaping the daily hustle and bustle.

Where To Eat in Sandy Point State Park

There are plenty of dining options available in the nearby towns. Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a sit-down meal, there’s something for everyone just a few minutes from the park.

Concession Stand

There is only 1 dining option available within the park: grabbing a quick bite from the concession stand. This option is only available during the summer season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The concession stand is in the main beach area.

Carrol’s Creek Cafe

Carrol’s Creek Cafe is a waterfront fine-dining restaurant in Annapolis and is only 9 miles away from the park. This restaurant is known for its exceptional views and offers a variety of fresh seafood and steaks. What’s unique about this cafe is that it’s a 100% nut-free environment. The food served here is locally sourced and is presented in a way that looks like a piece of art.

McGarvey’s Saloon and Oyster Bar

McGarvey’s Saloon and Oyster Bar is in the heart of Annapolis, less than 10 miles from the park. This restaurant has been an Annapolis staple for almost half a century. One of the best parts of McGarvey’s is its raw bar that serves fresh mussels, oysters, shrimp, and clams. You can enjoy your meal either inside the restaurant or on the private mezzanine.

Sandy Point State Park Facts

Sandy Point State Park
Image Credit: Nathaniel Gonzales via Adobe Stock

1. It Was Established in 1952

Sandy Point State Park opened to the public on the Fourth of July weekend in 1952.

2. Sylvester Labrot Originally Owned the Parkland

The property that is now the park was originally owned by Sylvester Labrot. In the early 1900s, it was used as one of the most successful horse breeding farms in Maryland, and it was known as Holly Beach Farm. Sylvester’s son, William, who was a politician and sports enthusiast, ran the farm.

3. Sandy Point State Park Was Named Rattlesnake Point

Originally called Rattlesnake Point, Sandy Point State Park was renamed in the late 1700s, likely due to its sandy beach and offshore shoals.

4. The Area Was Explored by Captain John Smith

Captain John Smith explored the area in 1608 and observed that it was well-watered with high barren cliffs and fertile valleys. Many animals, like wolves and bears, inhabited the woods. At the mouth of the Severn River, an interpretive buoy tells the story of his exploration in this part of the Chesapeake Bay.

5. Sandy Point State Park Is on the National Register of Historic Places

In 2002, the Sandy Point Shoal Light Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places as an example of caisson-style lighthouses that were constructed throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. Another structure on this register is the Sandy Point Mansion. It was added to the register in 1972 as an example of an affluent Maryland farmer’s residence from the early nineteenth century.

Final Thoughts

Sandy Point State Park offers a wide range of activities that cater to varied interests. Whether you prefer hiking, wildlife watching, fishing, or simply lounging on the beach, you’ll find something appealing here. It’s not surprising how many visitors come to this park each year, given the abundance of things to see and do.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to visit Sandy Point State Park?

The park’s entrance fee is $4 to $5 per person from May to September. From October to April, the fee is $3 per vehicle.

How long should I plan to visit Sandy Point State Park?

Plan to spend between half a day and a full day at Sandy Point State Park. This will provide plenty of time to explore all of the park’s facilities, hike the trails, and enjoy the beach.

What nearby attractions should I check out at Sandy Point State Park?

Some popular nearby attractions to visit are the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Park, William Paca House and Garden, and the Colonial Annapolis Historic District.

Can I bring my dog to Sandy Point State Park?

Pets are welcome at Sandy Point State Park all year round, provided their owners follow the park’s rules and pet regulations. During the busy tourist season, dogs are not allowed on the beach or in the water. However, from October 1 to April 30, they are permitted to play on the beach and swim in the water.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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