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North Point State Park is a 1,310-acre Bay-front park with more than six miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay, Back River, and Shallow Creek. The site also boasts several wetland areas, including the large bayside Black Marsh -- one of the finest examples of a tidal marsh on the upper Chesapeake.
Most of North Point is covered by woods, active agricultural areas, and unmanaged fields that help to maintain water quality and support a vast array of wildlife in the region. North Point has been continuously farmed for almost 350 years, with evidence of human occupation dating back 9,000 years. The site also was a critical spot during the War of 1812, when British troops' route to Baltimore passed through the present-day park along what is now known as the 'Defenders Trail.'
Today, the park supports a blend of outdoor activities and historical study. North Point provides public access to the Bay, a wading beach, and crabbing and fishing opportunities.
The park is open from 8:00 AM until sunset and closed on December 25. The Takos Visitor Center is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day on Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
Weekends and Holidays, Memorial Day through Labor Day:
$4 per vehicle (Maryland Residents)
$6 per vehicle (non-Maryland Residents)
Summer Weekdays and Weekends after Labor Day and Before Memorial Day:
$3 per vehicle (Maryland Residents)
$5 per vehicle (non-Maryland Residents)
Buses are $10 and require a reservation.
A Golden Pass is avaliable for Senior Citizens Age 62 and older. It is $10 and good for a lifetime.
Well-marked trails allow you to observe local birds and wildlife while hiking or biking. North Point's habitats support muskrats, beavers, foxes, otters, ospreys, great blue herons, and bald eagles. A variety of waterfowl, songbirds, and raptors make their homes at North Point.
More than half of the park is designated as a state wild land area where bicycles and pets are prohibited. You can view the 350-acre Black Marsh from a convenient observation deck. North Point also supports fishing, flat-water canoeing, boating, and waterfowl hunting with the proper permits.
The park's picnic tables offer a spectacular view of the Chesapeake Bay, and North Point rents the restored trolley station for large group picnics.
Park officers also conduct a variety of educational programs throughout the year including bird walks, canoe trips in Shallow Creek, ecology workshops, and the annual Bay Shore Days.
In the early hours of September 12, 1814, a British fleet carrying more than 5,000 troops landed at North Point under the command of Maj. Gen. Robert Ross.
This was the beginning of the British attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812. The British met American Brig. Gen. John Stricker and 3,000 Maryland militiamen eight miles north of North Point at Godly Wood on Patapsco Neck. The Americans faced musket and artillery fire for nearly an hour before moving back toward the main lines near the city.
The British held the battlefield, but suffered heavy casualties. Ross was mortally wounded. The next day, British troops resumed the march toward Baltimore. When they reached Hampstead Hill, about 15,000 Americans and more than 100 cannons were waiting.
By this time, the British navy had begun bombarding Fort McHenry. For 25 hours, the British sent a constant barrage of solid shot, mortar shells, and Congreve rockets toward the fort.
Finally, at 7 am the next day, the firing ceased. Remarkably, Fort McHenry withstood the bombardment. British land forces realized the navy would not be sending reinforcements to help take Hampstead Hill. They withdrew back to North Point and boarded their ships.