Calvert Cliffs State Park is all about discovery
Like a lot of state parks, Calvert Cliffs State Park has some beautiful forested areas, fishing areas, hiking trails, marshy areas lit up with col0rful water lilies and a beach. But they don’t have shark teeth.
On Maryland’s eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, the beach at Calvert Cliffs is, in itself, not terribly impressive. It’s smaller than most parks and measured in feet, not yards, and it’s covered with shells. and pieces of shells. And fossil shark teeth. Now, that’s something to grab the kids’ attention.
Calvert Cliffs State Park is about 2.5 hours from York, southeast of Washington, D.C. Take state Route 2/4 south to approximately 14 miles south of Prince Frederick. Exit onto H.G. Trueman Road. You will be facing the park entrance immediately. Or phone 301-743-7613.
From the parking lot, the beach is a flat hike of 1.8 miles. Hauling a cooler, beach umbrella, a stroller and a few kids to the water would not make for a good day. Keep it simple– and light. The path is smooth and in the places where it hops a stream, becomes a pretty boardwalk. It skirts a marsh through part of its trek–listen for frogs and birds.
Indeed, the walk is mostly flat and smooth, probably wheelchair accessible, although it’s not noted on the state park website. At the end, however, is the beach– not good for wheelchairs.
Once at the beach, find a log and perch your family as it strips down to ‘fossil hunting’ clothes. That is, a bathing suit. Take along a kitchen sieve or strainer to hold the small rocks, shells and fossils as you search through it all. The best time for fossil hunting is at low tide or early in the morning before the other treasure hunters have shown up.
The park is named for the high cliffs along the north side of the park, and that’s where the fossils are hiding. Landslides have created havoc with that beach area, and it’s been closed off for safety reasons. Still, the signs are often ignored. Searching is allowed south of the cliffs.
If you’re not loving the fossil search, there is still a little room for sunbathers to lay out their blanket and let others find their treasure.
Straight away offshore is Cove Point LNG Terminal, a liquid natural gas shipping terminal. Look south, and you’ll see the “Cove Point Lighthouse, a beautifully restored and re-purposed active lighthouse and keeper’s home that sits on a seven acre point of land in one of the narrowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay… Cove Point Lighthouse was built in 1828 to mark the shoal that extends outwards toward the shipping channel. A total of four acres was purchased at a cost of $300.”
The cliffs have hidden their treasure for eons, and the park is a good place to go hunting. Or, let the others hunt while you soak up the rays.