With a place called Ocean City in its midst, Maryland’s coastal destinations are all about the surf, sun, and waves. The state offers nearly 8,000 miles of shoreline for vacationers, from beaches along the Atlantic Coast to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. That’s why so many visitors from out of state flock to Maryland during the summer and make plenty of use of the state’s superb beaches and Ocean City vacation rentals. Here are some of the top beach destinations to sink your toes in Maryland and rent a charming vacation rental.

1. Ocean City

As if 10 miles of sandy beaches aren’t enough to lure the hardiest of beachgoers, Ocean City offers a three-mile boardwalk for those who appreciate alternate forms of entertainment. Ocean City is an iconic vacation destination for those in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas, and has been since the late 1800s. It’s a place vacationers flock to year after year, for the timeless boardwalk attractions, delicious cuisine, and stunning seaside. Gather your family or friends to start a summer tradition that will stand the test of time and be closer to the beach than ever in a vacation rental.

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2. Assateague State Park

The state park and national seashore have more than 2 million visitors each year and for good reason. Not only is Assateague State Park an ideal getaway from city life, but it’s also home to an incredibly diverse wildlife you may spot with a bit of luck. The national seashore is known for the wild horses that roam free and the state park is also home to foxes and bald eagles. Dolphins and whales are known to frequent the surrounding waters as well. Get the full Assateague experience by camping on the barrier island, or exploring the area in an over-the-sand vehicle.

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3. Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park is located along the northwestern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The picturesque bay area has opportunities for recreation and sightseeing perfect for families and groups of friends. Take a dip or lounge around the swimming beaches, wind down with a picnic after going on a hike, or go fishing from the shore or on a boat. The park has boat rentals and a marina store for those in need of equipment. As an added bonus, the state park is located just minutes from downtown Annapolis, making it accessible and opening up a whole new city to explore.

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4. North Beach

Few things are more quaint than a small town by the shore, and North Beach is your quintessential beach town. You’ll find antique and novelty shops lining the streets and a plethora of food options from burgers to ice cream to fine dining restaurants. The heart of town is within walking distance of the boardwalk and beach, but you can also rent bicycles to pedal through and around town. During the summer, catch a movie or summer concert on the beach or have a nice campfire in the backyard or porch of your vacation rental.

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5. Chesapeake Beach

Chesapeake Beach is located right near North Beach and the twin beaches are connected to each other by a summer shuttle. Chesapeake Beach is another charming, historic destination where visitors and residents have access to the town’s many amenities as well as the quiet, secluded beaches nearby. Options for things to do in Chesapeake Beach span the gamut. Take a walk on the Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail or stake out a spot on the pier for crabbing. You can dine at one of the waterfront restaurants for a taste of premier seafood or gather your own basket of goodies for a picnic by the bay.

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6.Deep Creek Lake

Maryland’s largest manmade lake has about 65 miles of shoreline that includes a swimming beach and offers a plethora of water activities. The lake, which is about 12 miles long, is great for boating, kayaking and even fishing. Take a boat out on the water for a peaceful afternoon of fishing, or spend an active time paddling aboard a kayak. Splash around in the roped-off swim area or stretch out on the section of sandy beach along the lake. If you’re looking for an extra kick of adrenaline try your hand at the manmade whitewater courses offered on the lake.

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7. Matapeake Beach

If you plan on bringing your pet with you on vacation, Matapeake Beach is where you and your dog can enjoy gorgeous views of the Bay Bridge. The beach is located on the Chesapeake Bay, where it has a swimming beach as well as a separate dog beach for the pups. Let your dog roam along the pet trail or romp with the other pups on the dog beach. If you aren’t traveling with pets, you can explore the for people beach and the picnic area next to the pier.

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8. Calvert Cliffs State Park

The massive cliffs of Calvert Cliffs State Park set an impressive backdrop to the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay. The beach area located in the state park is about a quarter of a mile long with plenty of open spaces for swimming and sunbathing. Fossil hunting is a special pastime associated with Calvert Cliffs, and over 600 species of fossils have been located nearby and within the state park. The beach area and the end of the red trail closest to the beach are open for fossil hunters.

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9. Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park is a unique destination in the Catoctin Mountains with plenty of scenic and recreational areas for visitors. Water activities including fishing and canoeing are available in addition to swimming. Hunting Creek Lake is where visitors can find three designated swimming areas, as well as opportunities for fishing and picnicking. The state park is also a top choice for camping, hunting and hiking.

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10. Point Lookout State Park

A beach with a little bit of history, Point Lookout State Park is where thousands of Confederate soldiers were imprisoned during the Civil War. A nature center and museum located on park premises detail the history of the area and the prison camp located on its grounds. In addition to the bit of history, the park offers designated swimming areas for vacationers who seek typical beachside activities. Visitors can also have picnics in the beach area, and rent canoes and supplies to go boating in the water.

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