This past weekend, we made it out to Dundalk for the first time! I’ve been wanting to go to North Point State Park to see those amazing views out over the water. And since Maryland can be a wee bit unpleasant near water in the summer (the humidity and mosquitoes are no joke!), we opted to save this for a fall hike. That was a win for us because this park was absolutely beautiful in the crisp late fall weather. This is a great easy hike for those days when climbing a mountain just ain’t gonna happen. Enjoy the peaceful marshlands and relax in a bench by the water and when you’re ready, head over to Key Brewing Co. for a refreshing brew!
THE HIKE: North Point State Park Loop
Length: 5.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 40 ft
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Trail use: Hiking, leashed pets, biking on some trails
Parking: Large parking lot at trailhead. $3 per vehicle for MD residents ($5 non-resident) off season and weekdays; $4 per vehicle MD residents ($6 non-resident) for peak weekends
Parts of the area that is now North Point State Park used to be an amusement park. The Bay Shore Amusement Park operated for about 40 years and was a popular trolley destination from Baltimore. After the area was bought out by a steel company, it was another 40 years before the land was recovered by the Department of Natural Resources and turned into a wildlife sanctuary. Parts of the old park still exist including the trolley station, a large pier, and a fountain.
Because this park is right on the water, the trails are very flat and easily accessible. The first two miles of this hike is the most woodsy and was by far my favorite section. You start out on the Black Marsh trail which leads through the protected wetlands of the area. Please be aware that no bikes are allowed in this area! Throughout the wooded section, there are little educational signs about the wildlife in the area. We learned a lot about the birds of the area! Unfortunately, we didn’t see too many birds for ourselves.
After the marshlands, you pass by one of the old park structures. Some people were inside exploring but I don’t mess with creepy abandoned buildings! The trail then leads along the water, offering expansive views of the Chesapeake Bay. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought we were at the ocean! A really unique part of this park is the 1000ft Crystal Pier. It’s super impressive and we really liked walking all the way out to the end. Although it was way colder with no trees to block the wind! Aside from the pier, the latter half of the trail was not my favorite. Some of the path lead along the road and other parts were a mowed path through a field. I find grassy trails boring and difficult to walk on so I much preferred the marshland trail at the beginning.
Overall, this was a great new park for us. We always love being in new areas and I will never stop being impressed by the Chesapeake Bay. If we went again, I think I would like to go on a warmer day and bring a picnic to have by the water. There are tons and tons of picnic tables so it seems quite popular! Also I believe that you can swim here in the summer? Don’t hold me to that though. Another perk of North Point State Park is it’s only 4 miles away from Key Brewing!
THE BEER: Key Brewing Co.
Address: 2500 Grays Rd, Dundalk, MD 21222
Distance from Trail Head: 4.5 miles, 9 mins
H&H Rating: 4/5
Like many Maryland breweries, Key Brewing is located at the end of a long industrial park. They have a really large, comfortable taproom which offers no-fuss, quality beers. Key brewing is the only brewery in Dundalk and they’ve been a community staple since their opening in 2015. Their name is a tribute to Francis Scott Key, our famous anthem writer and Baltimore native. Key Brewing has a vibe I can get behind: straightforward quality. They want craft beer to be something anyone can enjoy, not something intimidating or elitist. We felt completely relaxed in their taproom full of people watching a football game and a group having a small family reunion. I loved that it felt like a local hangout.
Key Brewing was definitely an IPA place, which is great because that’s often what I’m craving after a romp in the woods. For me, the winner of the day was definitely the double IPA, Dundalk Calling. It’s big on flavor and is dry hopped with Citra, which I think is pretty much my favorite hops? Like I’m no pro but every IPA that I really like seems to be made with Citra! J liked the Next Stop Rye Porter, which he thought had a really subtle rye flavor that didn’t overpower the classic porter taste. I’m so glad that we stopped by Key Brewing and I will definitely be keeping a look out for their beers in my local market!
- Diamonds and Domes – West Coast IPA – 6.7%
- Speed Wobbles – Session IPA – 4.6%
- Next Stop Rye Porter – Porter – 5.5%
- Dundalk Calling – Double IPA – 8%
SUM UP: North Point State Park is a former amusement park located in Baltimore County on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Now it is a wildlife sanctuary and greenspace offering hiking and biking trails, as well as fishing piers. A highlight is definitely the 1000 ft. Crystal Pier, jutting out into the Bay. Make sure to have cash to pay the park entrance fee! All of the trails are flat with little to no obstacles. Only 4 miles away is Key Brewing Co., Dundalk’s first and only craft brewery. Bring some snacks, enjoy good beer, and stay for the comfy atmosphere!