If you’re looking for calm, open waters for swimming or SUP, then Sandy Point State Park is only 30-40 mins drive from the Beltway. Yeah, there’s the Potomac, but you can’t swim there and as with Phase 2, most of the area pools are still closed.
There are many advantages for settling for a Chesapeake Bay beach rather than trekking it to the ocean. First It’s easy to get to – located right by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (you won’t have to pay the eastbound toll) and it’s scenic – there’s sailboats and freighters heading into Baltimore. There’s lots of parking (only $5 for residents and $6 for non-residents per vehicle to enter the park) and there’s plenty of beach (one mile stretch) to go for a run or to catch some sun. Since the sand is a bit coarser and there’s no surf, the main attraction may be the open swim.
You can swim parallel to the beach in a 500 meter long, guarded section that is both deep and wide. With calm waters and lined with swim area buoys, you can easily half a mile to a mile within an earshot from the shoreline. In fact, every June the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim is held here.
While you really don’t have to be too concerned about boaters getting running over you, you do have to worry about the sting of jellyfish. In these brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay during the summer months, jellyfish are migrating across the bay especially in the area by the bridge. The only thing that keeps the numbers down during peak season (June – Oct) is heavy rain, but if it downpours, then the water quality diminishes and the beach is closed to swimmers.It’s not unusual during your swim to get stung by a jelly or two. They’re really not painful but annoying, so be forewarned.
If getting stung by a nettie doesn’t appeal to you, then this is a good spot to go boating. You can easily launch a kayak or paddle board here, where you keep the jellies at a distance.
What I like about Sandy Point is the bathroom facilities. There are individual showers for you to clean up after. There’s lots of trash cans and the park is well maintained. If you see trash lying in the park, it’s probably from the turkey vultures that like to raid the dumpsters.
It’s a great park for family fun. In the winter there’s the polar bear plunge, and every year in late May there’s a Blues festival which has been postponed until 2021.