North Point State Park is a public recreation area located on Chesapeake Bay in Edgemere, Baltimore County, Maryland. The state park’s main feature is the historic Sandy Island Beach House and its former lifeguard stand which are operated as museum facilities by the non-profit “Save Our Stand” with support from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service, and private donors. It is managed by the Anne Arundel County Public Parks under an agreement with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The visitor’s center contains exhibits about local ecology and wildlife, history, art, literature, and music. There is also a conference room, classrooms, and an observation deck overlooking the bay. The Sandy Island Lifeguard Station has been restored and now houses the “Save Our Stand” headquarters along with other offices, a conference room, and two terrace gardens. Visitors can tour the station and see how life used to be protected on the Chesapeake Bay in the 1930s. The park provides bicycle rentals, boat tours, birding opportunities, cabins, campgrounds, canoeing/kayaking, cross-country skiing, hiking trails, picnic areas, swimming, and waterfowl hunting in season. The park’s nature center features naturalist programs throughout the year.
From 1933 until 1941, the site was owned by Robert Erskine and John Swain, coasters who made their fortune during Prohibition owning several dozen nightclubs, speakeasies, and casinos throughout Atlantic City, New Jersey; Miami Beach, Florida; Reno, Nevada; and Baltimore. After serving time for tax evasion, Swain fled to South Africa where he died in 1962. Following his death, his wife Diane became involved with the Save Our Stand campaign to preserve the property as open space. She signed over the deed for the property, then known as ‘The Pines’, to the state for use as a state park in 1983. Her donation specified that the park be named after her late husband. With help from the Land Trust of Central Maryland, the state acquired more than 1,000 acres through various means including eminent domain, purchase, and gift deeds.Planning began in earnest in 1996 when the state decided to build a new visitors’ center to replace the one destroyed in 1993 by fire. Designed by architect Alfredo De Vido, construction started in 2000 and finished in 2001 at a cost of $4 million.
In addition to beach activities, the park also offers:
- picnicking areas
- saltwater fishing\
Among the wildlife observed at the park include:
- bald eagles
- owls such as ospreys and barred owls
- red foxes
- blue-winged teals
- wood ducks
- river otters
- eastern gray squirrels
- wild turkeys
- marsh rabbits