My two youngest kids and I went to play at Brownie's Beach, MD. My little ones loved digging in the sand, but I was most excited to look for shark's teeth. Our fossil-finding mission was successful! The fossils we found were very small, but they were easy to find as we sifted through the rocks at our feet.
Brownie's Beach (also known as Bay Front Park) is a small beach on the Chesapeake. It is very popular with fossil hunters, and serious fossil hunters visit year-round.
What to expect at Brownie's Beach
This calm, bay beach is a gem if you want a quiet place for little ones to play in the water. The waves are gentle and calm, and the beach slopes so gradually that my three-year-old and I walked out over 50 feet into the water and he was standing up just fine.
The most important thing you need to know is that this is not a state park. It is a small, local beach with few amenities. No running water and only two portable restrooms, which are often locked during the off season. Parking is limited so in the summer you may need to arrive early.
We found plenty of sand for building sand castles and picnicking. As the water warms up, jelly fish arrive at Brownie's Beach. If you have little ones splashing around in the water, watch out for jellies.
My kids loved playing with the driftwood on the beach. We built a seesaw for them to balance on, and I wished I had rope with me to help them build a raft.
There is a lovely boardwalk that goes into Chesapeake Beach proper if you want to take a stroll. Brownie's Beach is a dog-friendly beach.
For my family, the best thing about Brownie's Beach was that it is only about 30 miles from Washington D.C., making it easy to visit for a day trip.
Where to find shark's teeth
I wasn't sure what I was looking for or how to find shark's teeth, but a kind fossil-hunter named Donna who I met that day on the beach showed me the ropes. She was standing in just a foot of water and reached down and grabbed a handful of small pebbles. As we sorted through them, we started finding small shark's teeth! Donna's suggestion was to make sure you pick up small rocks, not sand. The more sandy your handful, the less likely it it is to have shark's teeth.
So as my children played in the water, of course I wondered if there were sharks at Brownie's Beach. The consensus is that these are fossils, and that many of them come from the cliffs on the edge of the beach. More info on the fossils at Brownie's Beach from the Fossil Guy. Sounds like I should be much more worried about jelly fish than sharks.
Serious fossil hunters often search near the cliffs to find bigger shark teeth; however, it is clearly sign-posted that rocks fall from the cliff regularly and it is dangerous.
When to go to Brownie's Beach
Summer is obviously a great time to go to the beach, but Brownie's Beach recently began charging exorbitant prices to visitors between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The cost for non-Calvert County residents is $18/adult, $10/child (age 3-11).
So it is it worth paying for? Hard to say. It would cost my family more than $100 and that feels pretty steep for a few hours at the beach.
My family will likely try to visit in May and September/October to avoid the fees, but if you are looking for a quick beach day in the D.C. area this summer, Brownie's Beach may be worth paying for. Especially if you bring home some shark's teeth!
Good to know
Where: Brownie's Beach Road, Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. For detailed directions and updated pricing, click here.
How Much: From Memorial Day through Labor Day: $13/adult, $9/senior (55+), $9/child (up to age 11). Discounts for Calvert County residents.
How Long: A few hours
Amenities: Portable restrooms. May be locked in the off season.
How else can we help?
Need a place to stay? Brownie's Beach is about an hour's drive west of Washington D.C. Click the button to check rates and availability near Brownie's Beach now on TripAdvisor.
Need help getting around? I don't recommend renting a car in Washington D.C., but if you're planning a day trip to Brownie's Beach, you'll probably want a rental car. Find the best rates from dozens of agencies at RentalCars.com.
Looking for other great places to take the kids in Maryland? Check out our Maryland page or our Maryland for Families Pinterest board.