Matoaka Beach is hardly a hidden gem in Calvert County, MD but it’s not the most popular place to access the beach either because it’s a little off the beaten path. That makes this the perfect place for a family friendly beach day trip! Read on to for our detailed guide and best tips!
Matoaka Beach and Day Use
Matoaka Beach is considered the most picturesque beaches in Maryland! To get there you have to be very particular about your GPS directions because the road to the beach is not very obvious. It actually looks like a long driveway. But as you turn left on the beach access road, you will see how tucked away this beach is.
Eventually, the paved road gives way to dirt and gravel. If you are visiting for the day, park in the designated visitor parking area, about 250 ft from the beach access trail and the beach office. If you are staying at one of the cabins keep driving and park in the roundabout at the end of the road so you can check in.
Once you get out of your car your jaw might just hit the floor a little. The cabins and day use parking area are situated on top of the cliffs overlooking the vastness of the Chesapeake Bay. The view is stunning and on a sunny day the water is a perfect turquoise blue.
If you are visiting for the day only, grab your gear and hit the port-a-potty at near the office. The cost for day use access is $10/person per day and they only accept cash for payment. Kids 5 and under are free. The owners and local municipalities are trying to balance public access to this area with the need to keep the fragile ecosystem protected. So there are a number of rules you must follow:
- No dogs
- No grills or cooking
- The beach is open for day use from 7am-sunset
Note: This beach is not meant for large gatherings. If you want to have a large family party or get together, I would pick a different beach.
Once you have gone potty and paid, head down the beach path. This is a very short path but it is a hill.
There are makeshift steps to help with balance. Keep this in mind when you are hauling your gear. This path is definitely not stroller or wagon friendly. I would say the entire path from the beach office to the beach is less than 1/8 mile. Either way, the path is largely shaded and takes you through a bamboo forest, before dumping you out onto the most incredible beach!
And yes it’s a hike on the way back up. But I am pretty out of shape and 50+ and I made the walk back up just fine.
The beach itself is gorgeous. The water is very calm and clean. There are no other public beaches nearby. So, you will mostly have the area to yourself.
Matoaka Beach is the perfect starting point for a fossil or shark teeth hunting adventure. I have written more about shark teeth hunting here. But one of the biggest advantages of Matoaka Beach is that from here you can walk for miles along the Calvert Cliffs coastline, searching for treasures.
Much of the cliffs are off limits to visitors but that extends only to the high tide line. At low tide you can truly get access to a slice of wild Maryland that many people will never see.
Staying at Matoaka Beach Cabins
Going on a day trip to Matoaka Beach Cabins is one option. But staying at Matoaka Beach Cabins is even better!
The rules are slightly different for cabin renters. For one you are parked closer to the beach trail. But you also get unfettered access to the beach 24/7 while you are staying at the beach cabins. This would be an excellent place to watch the sunrise or sunset. And without light pollution, on a clear night the stars would be stunning!
What is it like to stay at Matoaka Beach Cabins?
There are 12 cabins available to rent from mid-April to early-November. There is a 2 might minimum stay and the only days you can check in are Mondays or Fridays.
Of the 12 cabins there are two styles. There is a dorm-style cabin and a bedroom-style cabin. All cabins have electricity, bathrooms, and a kitchen with a fridge, propane stove, microwave, and coffeemaker. This is definitely a rustic glamping style of accommodations. Just like with camper cabins at state parks, you have to provide your own bedding, towels, etc..
We stayed in Cabin 12 and were completely blown away by how amazing this cabin was! It had two bedrooms plus a day bed in the main living room area. There was cozy wood paneling throughout the cabin and high ceilings in the living area.
The kitchen was incredibly functional and the bathroom had a cute rustic sink. The shower had great water pressure and plenty of hot water.
There is a screened in porch that surrounds the cabin with so many seating areas. You could literally just hang out there and play games all day if the weather was bad.
There is no wi-fi at the cabins but we were able to get about 3 bars consistently from Verizon mobile service.
Video Preview of Matoaka Beach Cabins
Check out this Instagram Reel I made of the beach and cabins!
What to do In the Area
There are so many fun activities to do in the area near Matoaka Beach Cabins. Apart from the beach and shark tooth hunting fun, here are some parks and attractions that are within 20 minutes of the cabins:
- Annmarie Sculpture Garden
- Calvert Cliffs State Park (you really don’t need to visit the beach here, but there is an awesome playground!)
- Flag Ponds Nature Park
- Jefferson Patterson Park
- Battle Creek Cyprus Swamp
- Calvert Marine Museum
- Hallowing Point Park
- Cove Point Park
where to eat!
There are a few places right in St. Leonard. But if you are looking for sure bets, here are our top picks:
- Dream Weaver in Prince Frederick. Excellent breakfast and lunch with the most delicious sandwiches!
- Island Hideaway in Solomons. This fantastic waterfront restaurant has the best homemade pasta (for kids too!) and incredible desserts.
- Ruddy Duck Brewery and Grill. A local favorite for sure! They offer pizza, salad, sandwiches, bowls, and entrees like meatloaf, seafood platter, and enchiladas.
- Ice Cream! Grab a sweet treat at either Rita’s, The Cone Island Ice Cream Shoppe, or the Ice Cream Place.
Address: 4510 Matoaka Ln, St Leonard, MD 20685
Google Map Directions click here.
$10/day per person. Kids 5 and under are free. Cash payment only.
For day use the beach is open 7am-sunset. Cabin renters have 24/7 access to the beach.
No. Dogs are not permitted at the beach.
YES! It’s actually one of the best places to search for shark’s teeth and other fossils.
I would not consider the trail stroller or wagon friendly. The trail is a decent-sized hill but it’s not long or overly strenuous.
Depending on the cabin you choose, your daily rate starts at either $155 or $199/night.