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Chesapeake Bay West Shore Trip - Matoaka Lodges + Driftwood Beach, Chesapectans Galore!

Chris Carpenter

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Chris Carpenter

I thought a quick update on the scene along the west shore of the Chesapeake Bay might be informative.  We've been going down there using Airbnb for the past few years; this allowed us to stay in Chesapeake Beach in 2021 and access Brownie's Beach a.k.a. Bayfront Park, where the Shark teeth are abundant and even the kids could find them in the surf. 


Chesapeake Beach has closed all short term rentals post-Covid and getting to Brownies is now very difficult without a boat and taking advantage of the high tide laws in Maryland. (They can block access to the beach,  but cannot prevent you walking or boating to the beach as long as you stay below the high tide line.) 


North Beach just north of town has a beach practically devoid of fossils and too many docks between the two beaches to wade it; you could possible rent a place in NB and canoe or boat to Brownies. 


Calvert Cliffs State Park is almost 2 miles walk from the road and picked clean to death in summer. 


This leaves one to get creative if hunting the west shore is your goal. The two aforementioned locations are imho the best in terms of fossil quantities if not quality, public access in the case of the Calvert Cliffs, and generally an easy outing sans the walk to get to the beaches. However...


Two options we had great success with recently were the always-faithful Matoaka Lodges and Airbnb rentals in southern Calvert County that get you into some of the other beaches. Shark teeth are not as plentiful in either case.


Driftwood Beach is loaded with turitella and various snails but not much else. The cliffs on either side however are loaded with Chesapectans and some other species of clam-like fossil.  They continually wash out and are well preserved.


Matoaka Lodges on the other hand can be picked to death in the summer as well but normally a small walk north along the surf with reveal both cliff and beach areas with fossils. Loads of Chesapectans here too. Occasionally small shark teeth in the surf. 


NOTE : I found some weird white fossils in the cliff at Matoaka which are pictured below. Still have not identified it. 20230901_170733.thumb.jpg.891b70d13cae739316b3783c44f1a704.jpgSome of the chunks were as large as your hand and would flake off identical layers. Anyone with any thoughts please weigh in,  much appreciated. 
















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