Brownie Beach is a truly beautiful, tiny stretch of sand that stretches from just south of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland toward Calvert Cliffs. The beach itself is sandy, but lined with bits of clay and rock. Swoop a handful of that rock into the palm of your hand, and you are likely to find all sorts of pre-historic fossils, especially shark teeth. The inlet itself is quite shallow and calm, so even toddlers can wade out 25-30 feet. Views extend across the Chesapeake Bay and south toward Solomon’s Island and coastal Calvert County.
I particularly love Brownie Beach because it is a great place for educational learning, all out playing or romantic views of dusk and starlight (after the kids go home!).
For its proximity to civilization as well as for its sense of primordial privacy, for the safe, shallow water and for the thousands of ancient shark teeth, Brownie Beach is one of our favorite nearby beaches.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- Brownie Beach is easily accessed via Route 2. From points north (Baltimore/Annapolis) travel Route 2/Solomon’s Island Road south then turn left onto Route 4 toward Chesapeake Beach. This road ends at the Chesapeake Bay. Turn right and travel past Chesapeake Beach Resort and the Chesapeake Beach Waterpark, heading out of town. Look for BayFront Park about ½ mile out of town, on the left. You can park here or at Beach Elementary School, which you will see on the right. If you get to the Naval Research Station (did you ever see a spookier spot???) you went too far.
- From Points South, follow Route 4 or 5 to Route 2 toward Annapolis. Turn Right on Route 4 toward Chesapeake Beach, then follow the directions above.
Parking can be tight in the tiny Bay Front Park. Overflow can use Beach Elementary School. You can also park in town near the McDonald’s and walk down the boardwalk to the beach. This would be a long walk if you have a ton of gear, but a pleasant one with just a bucket and lunch.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- The town of Chesapeake Beach relies on tourism income. Ergo, this park has an admission fee Memorial Day through Labor Day. The fee is waived for active duty military on major holidays. Since it would cost $50 for our family to spend a simple, low key day at the beach, we typically visit on warm spring or fall days. The bonus for this plan is that the beach is usually empty.
|2015 RATES FOR BAYFRONT PARK|
|Town Residents and Guests||Free|
|Calvert County Residents|
|Age 2 & under||Free|
|Age 55 & over||$5|
|Out of Calvert County Residents|
|Age 2 & under||Free|
|Age 55 & over||$9|
- Once you park, walk down the paved path a hundred yards or so to the beach. NOTE: the path is lined with Poison Ivy. STAY ON THE PATH
The Fossils: We found a ton of shark teeth and other fossils at this beach, as well as several nice shells. They come from the cliffs that characterize the geography, and are not deposits from the beach.
To find the fossils, wander south down the beach away from the crowds toward the signs that say CAUTION DO NOT GO BEYOND HERE. Most people sort of read those signs but keep walking.
Gather a palm-full of rocky sand and slowly sift through it. Our trick is to tell your mind that you are looking for dark black to grey triangular shapes. Then the rocks and detritus begin to separate from each other and inevitably you will find the little treasures.
- About those cliffs: there are signs everywhere that advise caution. This is because the cliffs are composed mainly of clay and can collapse at any time, even when it’s a beautiful day and you would never expect it. Extreme caution is advised if you plan to move south, where the beach hugs the cliff. The signs are also in place to remind folks to respect Mother Nature in the sense that if the cliffs are trompled on, the delicate plants and trees that struggle to survive there can be destroyed.
- The tide: if you do go to the farther stretches of beach, beware of the tide. You can certainly get back since the shore is so shallow, but you will definitely be wading knee or hip deep.
- Facilities: there is no lifeguard and I have never seen a port-a-potty. There are garbage cans though.
- Bugs and other creatures: there are a lovely variety of bugs and other animals on the beach, which my kids find so exciting. We’ve found lizards hiding in logs, beautiful beetles with jewel-toned shells, eels, fish, horseshoe crabs, swallows flitting in and out of the nests they’ve hollowed from the cliffs and more. Nothing too harmful, though I would do a tick check when you get home.
- Not allowed: camping, drugs, alcohol or glass containers (posted all in the same sentence ??!!), fishing or crabbing from the boardwalk, fires. If ever there was a perfect spot for a small evening campfire, this is it, so that is a bummer. I have seen a lot of ashes and charcoal at this beach, so it seems there are still rebels in this county, but I would watch your P’s and Q’s in the summer months.
- Food: there are no concessions. BYO. You are very close to town though, so if you think the kiddos can handle it, stroll down the boardwalk for a nice lunch at the Chesapeake Resort and Spa or at any of the other fast-casual places in town. It’s a tiny town, so you won’t have far to look.