With a baby and toddler, traveling can be daunting, especially when kid-friendly doesn't turn out to be baby and toddler friendly.

We've realized what a difference that is, so we are here in hopes to share and learn about the best places to go with our babes and tots in tow.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sandy Point State Park, MD

I read an article in the Washington Post about urban beaches and it brought back memories of hitting Cony Island when I was living in the New York City area. We had not been to the beach in years, well except when we were in Jacksonville and San Diego, but we've not done the trek up the coast to visit the local beaches here for some time. My friend reminded me of Sandy Point, right before you cross the Bay Bridge. The last time Fred and I had discussed it was before we had kids when he was looking for a local place to launch for windsurfing and I had since forgotten about it.

One steamy Monday morning, we packed my car with all of our beach gear and three kiddos and headed out to the beach. What a warm welcome we received when we arrived and the gentleman collecting our $3 for entering--yes, $3, only $3--was so friendly and helpful. We pulled up and found parking without a problem. There was a playground right on the beach for the kids to hit, ample picnic tables, accessible showers and restrooms and snack bars. It made for a lovely afternoon and we were able to picnic, play on the playground and the spacious beach before hitting the road again, where we were able to avoid traffic getting back into DC even at 4:00! Definitely the another visit is needed a few more times this summer. I've not tried it on a weekend, but it is a weekday treasure to keep in mind when you need to get away, but not too far away.

Sandy Point State Park, Maryland

Sandy Point State Park is located Anne Arundel County, at the western terminus of the Bay Bridge, off U.S. Routes 50/301 at exit 32.

Sandy Point State Park
1100 East College Parkway
Annapolis MD 21409
GPS 3900 48.81N 7624 07.95W

Contact Sandy Point

Main Office: 410-974-2149
E-mail: sandypoint@dnr.state.md.us
Marina: 410-974-2772
Reservations: 1-888-432-2267

Hours of Operation

7 a.m. to Sunset, January 1-March 31
6 a.m. to Sunset, April 1-October 31
7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 1-Dec. 31
Fishing - 24 hr. access Jan. to mid-Nov.
Boating - 24 hr. access year-round

Admission Prices and Park Hours

When the Contact Station is not staffed, the automatic toll will be in operation. Effective April 1, 2010 the automatic toll machine accepts exact change only in the form of $1’s, quarters, MasterCard and VISA credit cards.

Sandy Point State Park may fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Visitors will not be admitted to the park during the closure. Anyone who leaves the park during the closure will not be permitted to re-enter until the park reopens. There are no other public swimming beaches in the area.

Weekends and Holidays

  • January 1st until mid-April -- $3.00 per vehicle
  • Mid April until end of October -- $5.00 per person for Maryland resident -- $6.00 per person for non-Maryland resident
  • November 1st until December 31st -- $3.00 per vehicle

Weekdays (not including holidays that fall on a weekday)

  • January 1st until Memorial Day -- $3.00 per vehicle
  • Memorial Day through end of September -- $4.00 per person for Maryland resident -- $5.00 per person for non-Maryland resident
  • October 1st until December 31st -- $3.00 per vehicle

Sunset to Sunrise – Boating & Fishing

  • Year round -- $3.00 per vehicle (Excluding special events and when the contact station is staffed. See prices above)

Park Hours: Day Use

  • January 1 through March 31 -- 7 a.m. to sunset
  • April 1 through October 31 -- 6 a.m. to sunset
  • November 1 through December 31 -- 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Fishing -- 24 hour access January through mid-November
  • Boating -- 24 hour access year round

White Oak Lanes Duck Pin Bowling

What to do when it is hot, hot, hot? We decided to try out duckpin bowling at White Oaks Lane.

Let me start by saying that the kids did have fun, but the staff wasn't exactly the most friendly. Actually, only one of the two members of the staff who were working there that day was not thrilled we were there. We went with some friends that had a peanut allergy, so we had to call to see if they could accommodate us if we ate there. We learned that they could not guarantee that their food was peanut free, which is fine, but when we asked if we could bring our own food, we were told no. When we arrived the gentleman who gave us our shoes was very friendly and helpful, but the lady did not seem to like having us there. Most of the patrons were retirees in leagues. They all seemed to love us and would come over to visit with the kiddos, so at least the patrons made us feel welcome, but you could feel that the staff wasn't thrilled with us. It was the first time our boys had been to a bowling alley, so we had to explain a few things. Our little guys twice sent the bowling ball back up the return and once a ball rolled into an unused lane, but other than that I thought they did well. I took a few pics, but was asked to stop and I of course complied, but just the tone and her energy made us feel that she was visibly annoyed with the kiddos and us. We ended up playing for less than an hour, but it was enough to get the boys out for some fun. Maybe it was a bad day for them and perhaps we will try it again, but this is the first time I am posting a negative review. But us mommies need to know where to go and where we are welcome.

Bottom line-fun for the kiddos and a very affordable, no frills venue, but just go in with thick skin and concentrate on the goal--fun and a break from the sun.

White Oak Lanes
11207 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20904

Monday-Friday 9:00 am - 11:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am - 11:00 pm