By Christian Kendzierski
Yes, Baltimore, dinosaurs once roamed our land and if you lace up your hiking boots and hop in the car you can see why Maryland is a hotbed for fossil hunters from all around. Experts have been trolling Maryland’s shoreline for years searching for dinosaur remains and fossils from mammals and reptiles that lived more than 6 to 20 million years ago. We have compiled a list of nearby places where fossil finding is made pretty easy but still adventurous!
Westmoreland State Park
Admission: Fees vary, Parking fee of $2 on weekdays and $3 on weekends
Westmoreland State Park, located in Virginia but just across the Potomac River in Southern Maryland, hosts some of the areas most interesting and most accessible fossils around. Its 1.5 miles of waterfront beaches and shores make fossil hunting easy in the shallow water. Fossil hunters are likely to find shark teeth, crocodile teeth, basic mammal fossils, turtles and various shells. When you are visiting, keep aware of areas restricted from fossil hunting due to safety measures.
Calvert Cliffs State Park
Hours: Sunrise to sunset/daily
Admission: $5 per car
When you mention fossils in Maryland, Calvert Cliffs State Park is often the first location mentioned for the most available and ease in finding fossils. From the main parking lot, hike about 2 miles to the shore on a marked trail. Here you could find up to 600 different kinds of species of fossils and odds are good you will find plenty of shark teeth! Make sure you wear your hiking boots because although there is plenty of fossil hunting going on, the park has more than 1,000 acres dedicated to hiking. Keep aware when walking along the bottom of cliffs, park officials warn. Make no attempts at climbing the cliffs. Erosion issues may cause the climber harm.
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Bayfront Park, also known as Brownies Beach, is located on the western shore of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, just outside of historic Annapolis, Md. The shoreline is lined with porpoise and shark teeth, shells and many fossil bone fragments. Because the beach is made up of a mix of broken shells, fossils, sand and rocks, the fossils may not be easily found. Experts say, after you have searched enough, you will recognize tell-tale signs that you have stumbled on a bit of history. The park is free and open to the public, so be aware of sunbathers and families there to enjoy the sun and water while you hunt for your fossil gold!
The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, completed in 1829, cuts through the Maryland and Delaware line to connect the Delaware River to the Chesapeake Bay. During extensive construction, the dredging of land and shoreline un-earthed countless fossils that are still accessible today. Some findings include fossils of snails, shells and creatures of the Bay. Along the canal’s coast you will find some public accessible areas but be cautions on your hunting exhibitions and make sure the area you are exploring is safe and open to the public.
Flag Ponds Nature Park
Hours: Seasonal, check website
Admission: $3 to $4 per car
At Flags Pond Nature Park you get the wonders of nature to experience while searching for fossils. Look for a variety of wildlife, beautiful beaches and, of course, fossils.The big draw to Flags Pond is its beauty but also plentiful shark teeth, shells, ray dental plates, turtle shells and clams. This area once housed whales too…so one never knows what could wash up on the shore.
Christian Kendzierski spends most of his time as a media specialist at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. He also works as a freelance writer and lives in Baltimore. See what’s going in Christian’s world by following him on Twitter @ck1media.