DC Day trip: Calvert Cliffs State Park in Southern Maryland

Calvert Cliffs, Lusby, Md.LUSBY, Md. — Think of a trip to Calvert Cliffs as a hike with a Chesapeake Bay beach in the middle. Last year, my family and I made our first trek to the Maryland state park after many years of wanting to go.

The hike

The Red Trail is the water level route with the accompanying mud, so much mud. In many places, there are boards or other ways to dodge the mud, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. It’s scenic though with a tea-colored brook and large marsh. We also saw a black snake climbing up a tree.

The Service Road is just that, wide, but hilly. Parts of it would make a nice double green circle ski run. The scenery is woods and nothing along this path suggests you are within two miles of the largest estuary in the United States of America.

A four-year old can handle both with patience and encouragement. A long car nap and good night sleep will likely follow. A good pair of sandals was sufficient, but hiking boots aren’t a bad idea, particularly when its not summertime.

The beach

The trail reaches the narrow beach beside the beginning of the more prominent northern cliffs. Signs and fencing to the left inform that area is closed, but a little wandering isn’t unheard of and isn’t strictly enforced.

Sifters for exploring for shark teeth fossils as well as toys are available to the public. There are a few picnic tables which visitors use for eating their lunch but not setting up camp. Trash needs to be taken out by visitors as there are no cans nearby.

The sand is full of rocks and shells, especially in the water, so water shoes are recommended. The water is wading depth at least 75 out. The beach is unguarded.

The views

Cliffs on other side of the beach show several geological eras even from a distance. A better view would be found from the water, but no large or small boats were seen nearby. On the water, a few freighters and a navy vessel sailed up the bay. I believe Cambridge, Md. buildings were visible in the distance. The controversial Dominion Energy Liquid Natural gas port offshore is prominent in view. It’s kind of shocking it got built, but visually interesting at the same time. To the south, Cove Point and it’s light house is a picturesque view.

A good camera with appropriate lens seems worth lugging around, my cell phone photos don’t have the depth of field to really capture of all of this well.

Getting there and cost

Calvert Cliffs State Park is 45 miles from the Capital Beltway (I-95/495). MD 4 is a divided arterial highway the entire trip with some limited access sections.

Admission is $12 per car.

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