SANDY POINT STATE PARK

​**Notice**The South Beach area grounds of Sandy Point State Park will be closed for construction beginning mid-September 2024 until Summer 2025 to facilitate a large scale restoration project. We apologize for the inconvenience but are excited to share the improvements!​ ​Click here ​for more information!​

​La zona de South Beach estará cerrada por construcción a partir de septiembre de 2024 hasta el verano de 2025.

​**Notice** ​7/18/24 - The A​nne Arundel County Department of Health has issued a water contact advisory for the East Beach area of Sandy Point State Park due to elevated bacteria levels. The area is open, but swimming and direct water contact are not advised. Other park beaches are not affected. Additional info: www.aahealth.org​ or 410-222-7999.

Highlights

​​​​​​​​​​​Playground outside of Sandy Point Nature Center

Park Reservations
410-974-2149 (Office)
En español

​​View of the park from a drone, beaches, wooded trails and marina

Sandy Point State Park
1100 East College Parkway
Annapolis,​ MD 21409​

View the DNR Ev​ents Ca​lendar

South Beach Restoration and Access Improvements​​


​​Lighthouse off Sandy Point with Bay Bridge in the background

​​Information: ​410-974-2149 (Office)
E-mail Sandy Point State Park
Hours: 7 a.m. to sunset​, year-round
(excluding Christmas Day)

7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mid-November - January 2
(due to "Lights on the Bay" program)

Section3

​​Welcome

Kites flying on the beach over the bay  

This 786-acre Maryland State Park is located along the northwestern shore of the majestic Chesapeake Bay. The park’s beaches and picnic areas are well known for their breathtaking scenic water views that overlook one of Maryland’s true treasures, the Chesapeake Bay. The park was first opened on June 25, 1952 and has provided its guests with various activities and services ever since. Sandy Point State Park offers accessible food and beverage at its Concession Stand and Marina Store, fishing, picnic areas, shelters, bathhouses and playgrounds. For additional accessible amenities in Maryland State Forests and Parks, visit the Accessibility for All section of this website. The park is open year round.​​

Picnics & Pavillions: Sandy Point State Park provides multiple picnic areas throughout the park: Tollgate Area, South Beach Area and East Beach Area.

For family reunions, group picnics and large group gatherings, a more sheltered outdoor picnic experience is available. The park has twelve rental pavilions located at the East Beach area of the park. Nine shelters accommodate up to 140 people, two shelters accommodate up to 180 people, and one shelter accommodates up to 300 people.

Beaches: The park’s one mile sandy beach provides plenty of room for enjoying a variety of beach activities. Swimming is permitted only in designated swimming areas. A bathhouse is located near the beach and provides park users with restrooms and showering facilities.

Boating: Sandy Point’s staff is very proud of the park’s marina facility, which includes 22 launching ramps and six finger piers for temporary day use docking on a first come first served basis. The marina’s boat pump-out station is available April through October. The facility is certified as a Clean Marina​.


Details about the Park

Admission & Passes

 

Hours of Operation

  • 7 a.m. to sunset, year-round (excluding Christmas Day)
  • 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mid-November - January 2 due to Lights on the Bay program
  • Fishing - 24 hr. access year-round; fishing requires that all persons must be actively fishing including children
  • Boating - 24 hr. access year-round

Certain activities are permitted outside of the regular park hours (e.g. fishing, boat launch, hunting where permitted). Please check with the park before your visit if you plan to engage in an activity which requires you to be in the park before or after the posted hours.​

Day-use Admission Fee

  • May 1- September 30 - Weekends and holidays: $5/person, Weekdays: $4/person
  • October 1 - April 30 - $3 per vehicle
  • Facility service charges are non-refundable. If you leave the park, you must re-pay to re-enter.

Park Passes

  • Where can I buy a season pass?
    ​Maryland Park Service Season Passport can be purchased at Sandy Point State Park headquarters or at the contact station when entering the Park. They can also be purchased online at https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/annualpass.aspx​.

  • ​​​ If I have a Season Pass, how do I get into Sandy Point State Park if there is no one at the tollgate?
    ​​If you have a Season Pass, stop by Park Headquarters to pick up a magnetic entry card that will allow you access to the Park when the contact station is not staffed. You may also email or mail a copy of your Season Pass and mailing address to Park Headquarters and a magnetic entry card will be mailed to you. In order to avoid having to pick up your magnetic access card separately, we encourage you to purchase your Season Pass at the Park, and your entry card will be issued with the Season Pass.

  • Can I show my auto toll swipe card if I forgot my Season Pass?
    Auto toll swipe cards are issued for a number of different park passes and cannot be shown to an attendant for entry without an accompanying pass. It is recommended that you keep your pass and swipe card together. The Concession Attendant must see a current physical pass to allow entry.

Service Charges

  • Do persons with disabilities get in free?
    ​There is no charge to persons with disabilities if they possess a Universal Disability Pass. The pass holder and one guest are admitted at no charge. Handicap tags on the vehicle or the rear view mirror do not gain free access to the Park. Applications for the Universal Disability Pass can be found at http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/parkpass.asp

  • Does Active Military get in free?
    All Active Military, as well as dependants, enter the park at no charge. Dependants are issued a “dependant” ID which needs to be presented for entry into the park at no charge. Anyone who does not hold an active military ID or a dependent ID must pay the prevailing service charge to enter the park.

  • Do you honor National Park Service Golden Eagle Passports?
    No, we do not accept the National Park Service Golden Eagle Passport for park entry into Maryland State Parks; however, the Maryland Park Service has an equivalent pass, the Golden Age Pass​, for visitors 62 years old or older. The Golden Age Pass is $10 and is a lifetime pass that entitles entry into all Maryland State Parks for the cardholder only, not the entire vehicle. If you would like to purchase a Maryland Park Service Golden Age Pass, stop by Park Headquarters with your identification and a pass can be issued to you. 

  • Do you honor AARP membership cards?
    No, AARP cards can be obtained at age 50. Our Golden Age pass is only valid for adults aged 62 and older.

  • Is there a special youth group rate?
    The youth group rate for entering the Park on Monday through Friday, non-holidays is $3.00 per person. This applies to organized youth groups only, i.e. Camps, Boy Scouts and Girl Scout troops, or church groups under the age of 18.

  • I’m coming to the Park on a bus with a group, is there a charge for a bus?
    There is no fee for a bus reservation. There is a maximum of 5 bus reservations per day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, and 10 bus reservations per day during the week.

Map​ & Directions

 

Features available include twenty two boat ramps, one mile of sandy beach front, two short hiking trails, picnic areas with grills, playgrounds, fishing and crabbing piers, small craft launch ramp, shelters ( by reservation only), and guarded swim areas available seasonally.

Directions to Park Facilities

  • How do I get to the South Beach area? Follow straight down the road to the end. Parking can be found on the right and left at South Beach. When parking is limited, Rangers will direct beach traffic to available lots.
  • How do I get to the East Beach area? Straight down the road, take the first left paved road after the Contact Station. This lot is restricted to visitors who have rented shelters. To learn more about renting a shelter, click here.
  • How do I get to the boat launch area? Take the first paved road on the right and follow the road around to the large Marina parking lot. Ramps are at the bottom of the lot in Mezick Pond.
  • How do I get to the small craft launching area? Take the first left after the large white house (Mansion) on the left. The launch area is beyond the parking lot at the end of the road. NOTE: Turnoff is marked for small craft launch area. Windsurfers, small sailboats, and kayaks launch from this area.
  • How do I get to Park Headquarters? If in the park, go back to the front entrance intersection and make a right. It is the first building on the left. From outside of the park, at intersection either stay straight from Rte 50 or from East College Parkway make a left.
  • Are there walking or biking trails? There are two short, self-guided trails in the park. The Symbi trail is behind the Tollgate Picnic area. The Blue Crab trail is between East Beach and South Beach.

Trails

 

Whether you feel like taking a recreational walk or looking for some of Maryland’s beautiful plants and animals, Sandy Point State Park has an opportunity for you. The Symbi Trail is located by the first picnic area on the right after entering the park. This trail provides views of an old planted pine forest and leads to neighboring marshes that many plants and animals call home. A second trail called the Blue Crab trail is a short trail near the small craft parking lot that provides hikers with wooded cover that is perfect for seeing some of Maryland’s distinctive birds.

The Corcoran Tract

Bordering Sandy Point State Park is the Corcoran Tract, a natural environmental area. Here there are approximately four miles of trails where you can hike, jog, and see many types of plants and animals. For more information about this property please call Sandy Point State Park at 410-974-2149.

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Hunting at Sandy Point State Park

Please be aware that deer archery hunting is now permitted in Corcoran Environmental Study Area from the Friday after Labor Day through the end of Primitive Season, Monday through Saturday.

Picnicking and Pavilions

 
Sandy Point State Park Pavilion

Sandy Point State Park provides multiple picnic areas throughout the park: Tollgate Area, South Beach Area and East Beach Area. Tollgate and South Beach picnic areas are available on a first come, first serve basis. Picnicking in the East Beach Area is by reservation only. Regardless of where you are picnicking, please be aware of the following:

  • Sandy Point State Park must adhere to statewide policies adopted by the Maryland Park Service regarding ALCOHOL, METAL DETECTING, PETS, DRONE USAGE. Please visit the Maryland Park Services Park Policies page to learn more.
  • Playgrounds and bathrooms are conveniently located throughout these areas. A limited number of grills and picnic tables are available on a first come first served basis.
  • The park’s marina store, located near the boat launch ramps, offers a variety of picnic and grilling supplies.
  • For visitors who prefer not to cook, a food concession located at South Beach is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
  • Maryland State Parks are “Trash Free”. Please practice Leave No Trace principles and take your trash with you when you leave. To view these principles visit www.lnt.org.
  • All minors must be under immediate supervision of an adult at all times.
  • Pets allowed (except for sandy portion of swimming beach areas from Memorial Day weekend until after Labor Day)
  • Alcohol is not permitted.
  • Profanity, improper behavior, and vulgar remarks are prohibited and may result in patron dismissal from the premises for the day.
  • Disorderly acts and nudity are prohibited.
  • Fishing is prohibited within the designated swimming areas and is permitted in the areas signed for fishing from the beach. Fishing is permitted from the rock jetties.

Pavilion Rentals

For family reunions, group picnics and large group gatherings, a more sheltered outdoor picnic experience is available.

The park has twelve rental pavilions located at the East Beach area of the park. Nine shelters accommodate up to 140 people, two shelters accommodate up to 180 people, and one shelter accommodates up to 300 people. East Beach has its own swimming beach and bathhouse as well. The East Beach area can not accommodate baptisms. Please contact the park to schedule a baptism at the South Beach area. Baptisms are permitted from 7AM-9AM only to maintain visibility to the water.​​

The pavilions include picnic tables, grills and limited electrical receptacles. Water faucets are also available nearby.

Alcohol is allowed in shelters by permit only. Permits can only be obtained through the shelter reservation system.

Note: There has been a noted increase in flying insect activity, especially flies, in areas of the park closest to wet, marshy areas. This is common during the late summer months and during periods of wet weather. Some of the shelters, because of their location, may be impacted. Use of sprays, traps and insect repellants is recommended when visiting the East Beach shelter area.​​​

Beaches​/Swimming Areas​

 
Beach scene at Sandy Point State Park

South Beach Restoration and Access Improvements​​


The park’s one mile sandy beach provides plenty of room for enjoying a variety of beach activities. However, please be aware of the following:

Sandy Point State Park must adhere to statewide policies adopted by the Maryland Park Service regarding ALCOHOL, METAL DETECTING, PETS, DRONE USAGE. Please visit the Maryland Park Services Park Policies page to learn more.

Swimming is permitted in designated swimming areas only. A portion of South Beach is protected with lifeguards from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, weekends and holidays, Memorial Day to Labor Day.

A bathhouse is located near the beach and provides park users with restrooms and showering facilities. Note: Outdoor showers are available on the beach near the South Beach bathhouse. ​Snack food, beach and picnic supplies are also available at the South Beach area of the park and the Marina Store by the boat ramps.

Maryland State Parks are “Trash Free”. Please practice Leave No Trace principles and take your trash with you when you leave.

Special Notes: Small sun shades are permitted in the main beach area of the park; this includes the beach and grassy areas. Sun shades must be open-sided and must not exceed 10 foot square in size. For the safety of our guests, shade canopies cannot have closed sides (including tarps or side shades), staff must be able to see into the structure, and they must be set up behind the lifeguard stands. During the late summer months there may be jellyfish.​

GENERAL PARK RULES

  • All minors must be under immediate supervision of an adult at all times.
  • Pets allowed (except for sandy portion of swimming beach areas from Memorial Day weekend until after Labor Day)
  • Alcohol is not permitted
  • Profanity, improper behavior, and vulgar remarks are prohibited and may result in patron dismissal from the premises for the day.
  • Disorderly acts and nudity are prohibited.
  • Fishing is prohibited within the designated swimming areas and is permitted in the areas signed for fishing from the beach. Fishing is permitted from the rock jetties.

WHILE IN THE WATER:

  • Swimming is permitted only in the designated swimming areas.
  • No swimming after dark.
  • Boats are prohibited in the designated swimming area, and between the regulatory buoys and the shore.
  • To hang, sit or stand on swim ropes or buoys is prohibited.
  • Beach toys, such as Frisbees, beach balls, volleyballs, footballs, rafts, inflatable devices, etc. may be prohibited at the lifeguard’s discretion.
  • Horseplay or games that may cause injury are prohibited. Ball games are permitted and should be kept away from crowded areas.
  • Imitating the actions of drowning persons in jest or play is forbidden.
  • SCUBA diving is not permitted in the swimming areas. However, masks, fins and snorkels are permitted in the swimming areas.

WHILE ON THE BEACH:

  • Glass, alcohol, grills and fires are prohibited on the beach.
  • A tent, lean-to, or any other type of structure other than a beach umbrella cannot be placed on the sandy portion of the beach or left overnight. The placing of beach umbrellas in front of the lifeguard stands is prohibited.
  • Throwing sand is not allowed.
  • Park personnel are not responsible for articles of clothing, radios, or other valuables lost or stolen regardless of where stored.
  • Metal detectors are permitted from 7​am-9am on the beach and in swimming areas, from the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Metal detectors are permitted on the beach and in swimming areas during park hours from the day after Labor Day through the Friday before Memorial Day.

​​​​

Boating

 
Sandy Point Lighthouse

Sandy Point’s staff is very proud of the park’s marina facility, which includes 22 launching ramps and six finger piers for temporary day use docking on a first come first served basis. The marina’s boat pump-out station is available April through October. The facility is certified as a Clean Marina. For hours of operation contact the marina at 410-974-2149​.


Boat Launch FAQ

  • How deep is the pond?
    The pond, named after one of Sandy Point’s previous owners, Baptist Mezick, was dredged to eight feet, however, due to sedimentation, the pond is believed to be approximately six feet deep in some areas.

  • How much is the boat ramp charge?
    No additional charge is required to use the boat ramp after the facility service charge has been paid.

  • Can I leave my boat trailer overnight or for several days?
    Boat trailers and vehicles can be left overnight in the large marina parking lot. If you intend to leave your trailer overnight or longer, please check in at the Marina store and fill out a form with registration information. If the store is closed, forms are available at the bulletin board by the Marina Restroom. If no forms are available contact a Park Ranger and inform them of your intentions. The trailers and vehicles should then be secured and parked at the top section of the lot by the Farmhouse.

  • Can I get gas or diesel fuel for my boat?
    Fuel is available at the Marina store. The fuel pumps are on the dock in front of the store.



Marina Store

The Marina Store, located near the boat launch ramps, is open from mid-April through mid-October. Here you can purchase a variety of boating, fishing, crabbing and picnicking supplies. Boat fuel, ice, snacks and drinks are also available for sale.

Verify regional tides for Maryland waterways


Small Craft Launch Area

If you are the proud owner of a smaller vessel such as a catamaran, canoe, kayak, or windsurfer and would like a safe, convenient place to launch, then head to the small craft Launch Area in the south end of the park. Parking is limited in this area, but convenient parking is available nearby after you launch.



Fishing and Crabbing

 
Rock jetty at Sandy Point

Fishing from the shoreline is permitted in designated areas. There are several rock jetties in the park and a fishing/ crabbing pier located next to the boat launch ramps. The park allows night fishing; however, only people who are actively fishing, including children, can be in the park after the park closes. Bait & fishing supplies are available in the marina store.

Special Note: A Chesapeake Bay Sport fishing license is required for those 16 years of age and older. For the safety of our visitors, tents are not permitted. Only see through sun shelters without a bottom floor are permitted.

To purchase a fishing and crabbing license online, please click:
https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal

Special Note: Be sure to follow all fishing and crabbing regulations and restrictions. This information, as well as fishing and crabbing supplies, may be found at the marina store located near the boat launch ramps.

To download Maryland’s Guide to Fishing and Crabbing, please click:
https://www.eregulations.com/maryland/fishing/

​​

Youth Group Camping

 
Youth Group Camping at Sandy Point State Park

The park has two Youth Group Camping sites that are strictly for official youth groups only. The youth group camping sites are open from the beginning of April through the beginning of November. These rustic camping sites overlook the Chesapeake Bay. Each site can accommodate up to 30 people and has a small picnic shelter with two tables and a grill.​ Download a Youth Group Pass application online.

If your youth group would like to do a service project during your stay, please sign up online at least two weeks before the date of your arrival. The volunteer coordinator will contact you to set up a project. ​Sign up online.

Make youth group camping reservations on-line for Sandy Point State Park or call 1-888-432-CAMP (2267).

Nature Center and Interpretive Programs

 

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Sandy Point Nature Center is open daily, but hours may vary. Additionally, you may encounter a Naturalist conducting a roving program on the beach, South Beach Plaza or elsewhere in the park! The Nature Center is open by appointment only in the off-season. For daily operating status or to schedule a visit, please call 410-974-2149 or email sandypoint.statepark@maryland.gov.

Located at South Beach Plaza, the newly constructed Sandy Point Nature Center can be found between the Concession Building and South Beach Playground. Come inside to learn about the plants and animals that make the Chesapeake Bay their home!

Compare your reach to the wingspan of several birds, play “I Spy” while looking for pollinators in a native plant meadow, learn about the importance of beavers, meet some Bay creatures, see who is in our aquarium, go fishing and crabbing, and so much more! These exhibits incorporate a fun, hands-on learning style, and are fully bilingual to engage both our English- and Spanish-speaking guests.

Various events are hosted in and around the Nature Center. Past events have included beach cleanups, birdhouse painting, seining, and fishing.

Follow Maryland DNR and Maryland Park Service on Facebook and Twitter for park-related notifications.​

If you’d like a sneak peek inside the Nature Center before your visit, check out this video created by Chesapeake Bay Media. And check out our Flickr photo album documenting the construction and grand opening of this great new addition to Sandy Point!

Interested in volunteering at the Nature Center? Please fill out this form.


Special Events

 

If you are interested in holding an event at Sandy Point, send an email to sandypoint.statepark@maryland.gov or call the park office at 410-974-2149 and request a Special Event Request form. NOTE: Due to heavy park visitation, requests for events between May to September are not often approved​.

​​Note: Special events include but are not limited to:

  • Baptisms
  • Field Trips & Other Youth Events
  • Weddings

Please note: Sandy Point State Park is not a prime venue for weddings and receptions in East Beach because of the lack of privacy. When considering Sandy Point for a wedding and/or reception, please keep in mind that all twelve shelters in East Beach share the same beach area. Weddings on the beach could be interrupted by other beach users. Chairs cannot be set up on the beach and areas of the beach cannot be roped off for special events. Also, all shelters in East Beach share bath houses, amenities and restroom facilities. No amplified music or DJ’s are allowed. Keep in mind that shelter fees do not include the per person entrance charges; all persons entering the Park will be charged the per person fee.


Sandy Point State Park is the host location for several local annual Special Events. For dates and other information about these events go to the sponsor’s website links or call the numbers below.

Note: The event prices may not include the park entrance cost. Please call Sandy Point State Park at 410-974-2149 for further information.

Annapolis Bay Grass Festival
October
www.baygrassfestival.com/
info@baygrassfestival.com

Bay Swim
June
The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, Inc.
410-727-2404

Chesapeake Bay Lighthouse Challenge
September
Chesapeake Chapter/U.S. Lighthouse Society
cheslights.org/maryland-lighthouse-challenge/

Lights on the Bay
Annual event that takes place from the third week in November until the first week of January. During that time, the park will close at 4 p.m. The event is sponsored by the SPCA.​​​

Drone Use

 

Statewide Maryland Park Policies

​​​​Per the Park Manager, Drone use is permitted at Sandy Point State Park PRIOR to the Memorial Day holiday (May) and AFTER the Labor Day holiday (September) to avoid times of heavy visitation. Operation is allowed during normal park operating hours of 7am to dusk. As with any drone operation, the operator must possess all required certifications or licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or other relevant agencies. Important to Sandy Point, the drone operator must refrain from operating over groups of people and must not disrupt visitors or harass wildlife.

Operators should be aware that the park is located directly next to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which is considered a sensitive structure. Operators should refrain from operation near the bridge; drone operation in close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge requires special permissions from the appropriate authorities. The park is also located within 7 miles of a small regional airport. Operators should make appropriate notification or use flight awareness.

Contact the park at ​​410-974-2149 or email sandypoint.statepark@maryland.gov for additional information or special requests.

Hunting

 

All hunting areas require the Free Public Hunting Permit (available on COMPASS). All local, state, and federal laws apply. The Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping is available online here. The full regulation packets for the Free Public Hunting Permit can be found on the Southern Region Public Lands​ page.

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Waterfowl Hunting

  • Waterfowl hunting is only permitted at two designated waterfowl sites.
  • Daily reservations are required and are made through the Myrtle Grove Wildlife Office by calling 301-743-5161 during office hours.
  • Waterfowl sites are open for the Third Split of Duck Season only. All open waterfowl seasons may be hunted that run concurrently with the Third Duck Split.
  • Both sites are in the Atlantic Population​ Zone for Canada Goose.
  • Both waterfowl sites are boat access only.

Deer Hunting - Corcoran Environmental Study Area

  • Approximately 215 acres are open for hunting in the Corcoran Area of Sandy Point State Park.
  • Only deer archery hunting is permitted.
  • Daily reservations are required and are made through the Myrtle Grove Wildlife Office by calling 301-743-5161 during office hours.
  • Hunters must also sign-in on site.
  • A maximum of 8 hunters are permitted each day.
  • ​Deer hunting is permitted from the Friday after Labor Day through the end of Primitive Season, Monday through Saturday.

Deer Hunting - Severn Run Natural Environment Area

  • Approximately 240 acres are open for hunting at Severn Run NEA.
  • Only deer archery hunting is permitted.
  • Daily reservations are required and are made through the Myrtle Grove Wildlife Office by calling 301-743-5161 during office hours.
  • Hunters must also sign-in on site.
  • A maximum of 12 hunters are permitted each day.
  • Parking is only allowed at the designated parking area located on New Cut Road.
  • Deer hunting is permitted for the 2022-2023 season starting January 6, 2023.
  • Deer hunting for the 2023-2024 season will be permitted from the Friday after Labor Day through the end of Primitive Season, Monday through Saturday.
  • The public land check code for Severn Run NEA is 607.
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The Sandy Point Mansion

 
SPSP_Mansion.png

​The Sandy Point Mansion, sometimes called “Sandy Point Farmhouse,” ”Tryall” or “Scotland,” is the park’s last vestige of its agricultural past. From the mid-1600s to the early 1800s, the lands in and around Sandy Point were used primarily to grow tobacco, which was exported to domestic and foriegn markets by way of the Chesapeake Bay. Tobacco, a difficult plant to grow and harvest, was cultivated primarily by indentured servants and Black enslaved laborers.

Local planter Henry Mayer likely built the Sandy Point Mansion in the early 1800s. According to the Maryland Historic Trust, the mansion “is an excellent example of the residence of a relatively affluent Maryland farmer in the first quarter of the 19th century.” It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.

Today, the Sandy Point Mansion is part of the DNR Resident Curatorship program. The curator is working to restore the building to its 19th-century appearance. The mansion is a private residence and is not open to the public. It is visible from the main park road. It is occasionally opened on special occasions. Contact the park for more information.

The Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse

 
Sandy Point Shoal lighthouse - Photo: Cindy Stegle

From the shores of Sandy Point State Park you can see the Sandy Point Lighthouse. The Sandy Point Shoal lighthouse was built in 1883 and features a 37-foot Empire-style, eight-sided red brick tower with a white roof and black lantern, which houses a 4th order Fresnel lens. This structure replaced an earlier Sandy Point Light that had been built on land where Sandy Point State Park is located now. The original lighthouse, a brick tower constructed in 1858, (see illustration below)​ was located on shore and situated in a poor location.

The current Sandy Point Shoal Light has a wooden foundation supporting a round 35-foot-diameter cement-filled cast iron cylinder on which a 2 1/2-story brick structure rests. The structure is 24 by 24 feet with cut corners. Although not originally painted, the brick portion of the structure is now painted red. The first two stories were used as living quarters, the third level as the watch room, and the lower level within the cast iron cylinder, as a storage area for water, coal, and oil. The lighthouse was electrified in 1929 and fully automated in 1963. The lighthouse is in 5 to 7 feet of water, approximately 1000 yards east from the beach at Sandy Point State Park and approximately 1 1/2 miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Until 2019, the light station lit the way for safe passage through the perilous sand shoals at Sandy Point. An excellent surviving example of the caison-style lighthouses that were built throughout the Chesapeake Bay, the Sandy Point Shoal Light Station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Today the lighthouse is privately owned and is not open to the public.

The Corcoran Environmental Study Area

 
Corcoran Woods Environmental Study Area Sign

Corcoran Woods

The Corcoran Environmental Study Area or “Corcoran Woods” consists of 215 acres of forested land located on the northwest portion of Sandy Point State Park. Corcoran Woods is administered by the Maryland Park Service as a nature preserve for educational, scientific, and aesthetic purposes.

Recent visitors to Corcoran Woods have likely encountered a nearly 17-acre portion of the forest that has been cleared. This is the first step in a multi-year effort to restore and reforest portions of Corcoran that have been overrun with numerous invasive and exotic vine species that have all but choked out the native forests. Through mechanical means, a local contractor is working with park management to clear these areas and make them ready to replant with native trees in the upcoming year. Other areas will be restored and managed through the use of safe and appropriate herbicides to eliminate or control the spread of invasive vines.

This effort has been funded through a grant from the Anne Arundel County Forestry and Greening Program administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, in partnership with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake & Coastal Service. For more information on the progress of this restoration effort, please contact the park office at 410-974-2149.​

Volunteers and Internships

 

Volunteers are an essential component in the overall maintenance and day-to-day operations at Sandy Point State Park. Volunteers may commit to a weekly or monthly schedule or help on an as-needed basis. Schedules are flexible and no amount of time donated is too small. Many of the bigger projects are scheduled for the evenings or on the weekends so that working volunteers and students may participate. If you are interested in volunteering at Sandy Point State Park, please call 410-974-2149.

Sandy Point State Park also offers a variety of unpaid internships for motivated students. Opportunities are available in several areas, including interpretation, office management, concessions, maintenance, natural resource management, trail management, Spanish language and cultural adaptations, park operations, and sports management.

Internships are available throughout the year and are unpaid. Students are expected to perform at least 50 hours of service, according to a flexible schedule. Internships may be conducted during block semesters, over the summer, or during the winter.

Interested applicants should send a resume, cover letter, and three character references to the Volunteer Coordinator. Applicants will be required to complete a volunteer application and student internship program application. The selection process will begin after all required materials are received and the applicant will be notified in advance of the requested internship. For additional internship information, please call 410-974-2149.

Green Initiatives​

 

Energy-saving enhancements have been installed at Sandy Point State Park. The new improvements are expected to reduce the park’s energy use by 45 percent, saving kilowatt hours used by almost 400,000 per year. Read the full press release about these updates.

EV charging stations are available near the marina store area. There are six, 7.2 kW Type 1 chargers available for use.


History

 

​American Indians and Captain John Smith

Though no American Indian archeological sites are known to exist on Sandy Point State Park, the surrounding area was home to Algonquin-speaking peoples during the centuries prior to European exploration and settlement. However, due to raids from the Susquehannocks and Massawomecks, who had settled in the upper Chesapeake, the Algonquin-speaking people moved further south and inland toward the Patuxent River in the late 1500s. When English explorer Captain John Smith explored the area in 1608, there were no American Indians living in the immediate area.

Captain Smith noted the area was well-watered, with high barren cliffs, but fertile valleys. The woods, he noted, were inhabited by many animals that no longer call the Chesapeake Bay home, including wolves and bears.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains an interpretive buoy at the mouth of the Severn River. It tells the story of Captain Smith’s exploration of this part of the Chesapeake Bay. 
To learn more about the buoy, please visit: buoybay.noaa.gov/locations/annapolis#quicktabs-location_tabs=1.

Tobacco Farming and Enslaved Labor

The Broadneck Peninsula, where Sandy Point is located, was settled by English colonists in the mid-1600s. The first colonists lived hard-scrabble lives growing tobacco near the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers. Some earned enough wealth to purchase involuntary labor -- first English indentured servants, later enslaved Africans.

When Maryland moved its capital to Annapolis in 1695, prominent families, such as the Sharpes and Homewoods, consolidated their holdings into large estates. By the time of the American Revolution, tobacco still dominated the regional economy, and most labor was performed by enslaved African Americans.

Early maps indicate that Sandy Point was originally called “Rattlesnake Point,” but the present-day name took hold by the late 1700s. The origin of the name “Sandy Point” is unclear, but it is likely a reference to its sandy beach and offshore sandy shoals.

In the early 1800s, Sandy Point was part of a large estate under the ownership of Horatio and John Gibson. In 1818, the Gibsons sold the farm to Henry Mayer. In 1820, Mayer held 22 enslaved African Americans who toiled in tobacco and grain fields to create the wealth their owner enjoyed. When Mayer died in 1833, a property inventory listed "a large, two-story, brick dwelling house with wings of brick, a barn, Negro quarters of brick, a carriage house, stable and a granary of wood." The farm, appraised at $7,000, also contained two large orchards. The “brick dwelling,” likely built by Mayer, is now the Sandy Point Mansion​.

Wealthy Baltimore shipmaster Baptist Mesick purchased the property in 1833 as a retirement estate. Mesick lived another three decades before passing in 1863. During his tenure, the farm shifted away from tobacco cultivation to grains and other crops, notably watermelon, strawberries and pumpkins. This agricultural and economic shift led to a decline in the number of enslaved laborers. During the U.S. Civil War, William Evans, an enslaved resident of Sandy Point, liberated himself by escaping and initially joining the U.S. Colored Troops (Union Army) before serving in the U.S. Navy.


Sandy Point Shoal Light Station

In 1857, the United States Lighthouse Board erected a brick lighthouse on the shore of Sandy Point. The 35-foot tall tower was incorporated into the keeper’s two-story, four-room residence. The shoreline lighthouse, however, proved ineffective and the present-day caison-style light station was built offshore in 1883.

Until 2019, the offshore light station lit the way for safe passage through the perilous sand shoals at Sandy Point. An excellent surviving example of the caison-style lighthouses that were built throughout the Chesapeake Bay, the Sandy Point Shoal Light Station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Today the lighthouse is privately owned and is not open to the public.

From Horse F​arm to Segregated State Park

​In the early 1900s, Sylvester Labrot, a successful businessman from New Orleans, acquired the property. His son, William H. Labrot, a sports enthusiast and politician, renamed the property “Holly Beach Farm,” and made it one of Maryland’s most successful horse breeding farms.


In 1949, Labrot sold 685 acres of his farm to the State of Maryland for the purpose of building a new park. Sandy Point became the first bayside state park located near Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Over the next three years, several state government agencies partnered to plan and build the park.

When Sandy Point State Park first opened to the public on Fourth of July weekend 1952, its two beaches and bathing facilities were segregated by race: only white patrons could use the expansive South Beach while Black patrons were relegated to the smaller East Beach. Initially, the East Beach restrooms were smaller and the beach itself was muddy and covered with rocks and debris.


Within a month of Sandy Point State park’s opening, lawyers from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sued the State of Maryland in Federal District Court arguing that the park’s beaches were unequal and should be integrated. The initial lawsuit failed, but a second lawsuit, led by Tucker Dearing, Linwood Koger, Jr., Juanita Mitchell, Robert L. Carter, Jack Greenberg and Thurgood Marshall, proved successful. In March 1955, the Appellate Court of the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of the NAACP in Lonesome vs. Maxwell. The State of Maryland appealed to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case, upholding the Appeals Court ruling that segregated public beaches and bathhouses were unconstitutional.

On Memorial Day Weekend 1956, Sandy Point opened as an integrated park. Sandy Point went on to become one of Maryland’s most popular state parks. The legal case at Sandy Point, combined with a similar case at Fort Smallwood County Park, paved the way toward ending segregation in public parks and beaches across the nation.

Exploring the Sandy Point’s History

At present, Sandy Point State Park includes waysides on the Sandy Point Shoal Light Station, the War of 1812 and the U.S. Civil War. New waysides that will discuss the park’s early segregation period are forthcoming. The park’s expanded visitor center, which is presently in the planning stage, will include additional exhibits that will tell the park’s segregation story.



For Further Reading…

  • “Sandy Point Farm House,” National Register of Historic Places Application, Maryland Historical Trust, 1971.
  • “Sandy Point State Park,” Maryland Inventory of Historic Place, Maryland Historical Trust, 2003.
  • R. Ross Holland, Jr. Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay : An Illustrated History, Maryland Historical Trust Press, 1997.
  • William E. O’Brien, Landscapes of Exclusion: State Parks and Jim Crow in the American South, University of Massachusetts Press, 2016.
  • Helen C. Rountree, Wayne E. Clark and Kent Mountford, John Smith’s Chesapeake Voyages 1607-1609, University of Virginia Press, 2007.

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Mansion with two wings from the front with driveway and fountain

Other Things to Check Out!

​​The Sandy Point Mansion
​​The Sandy Point Mansion, someti​mes called “Sandy Point Farmhouse,” ”Tryall” or “Scotland,” is the park’s last vestige of its agricultural past. From the mid-1600s to the early 1800s, the lands in and around Sandy Point were used primarily to grow tobacco, which was exported to domestic and foriegn markets by way of the Chesapeake Bay. Tobacco, a difficult plant to grow and harvest, was cultivated primarily by indentured servants and Black enslaved laborers.

Local planter Henry Mayer likely built the Sandy Point Mansion in the early 1800s. According to the Maryland Historic Trust, the mansion “is an excellent example of the residence of a relatively affluent Maryland farmer in the first quarter of the 19th century.” It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.

Today, the Sandy Point Mansion is part of the DNR Resident Curatorship program. The curator is working to restore the building to its 19th-century appearance. The mansion is a private residence and is not open to the public. It is visible from the main park road. It is occasionally opened on special occasions. Contact the park for more information.


The Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse
From the shores of Sandy Point State Park you can see the Sandy Point Lighthouse. The Sandy Point Shoal lighthouse was built in 1883 and features a 37-foot Empire-style, eight-sided red brick tower with a white roof and black lantern, which houses a 4th order Fresnel lens. This structure replaced an earlier Sandy Point Light that had been built on land where Sandy Point State Park is located now. The original lighthouse, a brick tower constructed in 1858, (see illustration below)​ was located on shore and situated in a poor location.

The current Sandy Point Shoal Light has a wooden foundation supporting a round 35-foot-diameter cement-filled cast iron cylinder on which a 2 1/2-story brick structure rests. The structure is 24 by 24 feet with cut corners. Although not originally painted, the brick portion of the structure is now painted red. The first two stories were used as living quarters, the third level as the watch room, and the lower level within the cast iron cylinder, as a storage area for water, coal, and oil. The lighthouse was electrified in 1929 and fully automated in 1963. The lighthouse is in 5 to 7 feet of water, approximately 1000 yards east from the beach at Sandy Point State Park and approximately 1 1/2 miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Until 2019, the light station lit the way for safe passage through the perilous sand shoals at Sandy Point. An excellent surviving example of the caison-style lighthouses that were built throughout the Chesapeake Bay, the Sandy Point Shoal Light Station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Today the lighthouse is privately owned and is not open to the public.


People with fishing poles walking along the waterfront  

​​Visitor Tips:

  • Sandy Point fills up during summer months. Please plan ahead, arrive early,​ and check out other options to the right in case of park capacity closures. 
  • Day-use ​Admission Fee
    • May 1- September 30 - Weekends and holidays: $5/person, Weekdays: $4/person
    • October 1 - April 30 - $3 per vehicle
    • Facility service charges are non-refundable. If you leave the park, you must re-pay to re-enter.

  • The boat ramps and fishing areas are open 24 hours. Fishing after hours requires that all persons must be actively fishing including children. To learn more, check out our Boating, Fishing and Crabbing pages.
  • Pets allowed (except for sandy portion of swimming beach areas from Memorial Day weekend until after Labor Day) To learn more about the Ma​ryland Park Service Pet Policy, click here.
  • Alcohol and glass containers are not permitted on the sandy portions of the beach​​.
  • Visiting the Picnic Area
  • Lifeguards are on duty from 10 am to 6 pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day, all other times are swim at your own risk. For your safety, swim in designated areas only. To learn more, visit the beach/swimming area.
  • Visiting the Beach/ Swimming Area

Drone view the beach with the Bay Bridge in the background  

Park Highlight

The Beach
The park’s one mile sandy beach provides plenty of room for enjoying a variety of beach activities. Swimming is permitted in designated swimming areas only. A portion of South Beach is protected with lifeguards from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, weekends and holidays, Memorial Day to Labor Day.

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