Calvert County, MD

I first visited Calvert County in 2012 on a fossil hunting trip along the western coast of Chesapeake Bay. I had read in a travel guide that Calvert Cliffs State Park is a prime location for finding 50 million year old shark teeth, so I decided to give it a go.

Flag Ponds Maryland

Ollie on boardwalk

I combed the beach for a while, even digging some shallow pits on the beach in the hopes of finding some  specimens but came up with nothing. It was still a nice morning on the beach and the path from the parking lot to the ocean was particularly scenic as it wound through a marshland filled with wildlife. Here is what the teeth look like:

Examples of shark teeth that were found at Flags Point (These were not mine; picture courtesy of University of Maryland)

Examples of shark teeth that were found at Flags Point (These were not mine; picture courtesy of University of Maryland)

This summer, after reading about how easy it was to find shark teeth and other ancient fossils on the same stretch of coastline in Calvert County, I decided to try my luck again. This time, my destination was Flag Ponds Nature Park, about three miles north of Calvert Cliffs. The ride down was easy—the hardest part was getting out of DC. But once I got on US 4, the route was a straight shot through an area of suburban strip malls with every conceivable amenity for errand running, which is what I did on the way back.

There’s a $6 fee to park for non-residents, but there are no other charges. The visitor’s center, right next to the parking lot, provides a good background on the park and has displays of the types of fossils found on the beach nearby. Millions of years ago, this area of Maryland was under water—that’s why there are shark teeth and other marine fossils such as dolphin bones there. The 10-minute walk down to the beach takes you through a nice forest dotted pawpaw trees and swampland with little inlets connecting to the bay.

Flag Ponds dog

Ollie surveying the scene

When I got down to the beach, I walked along the shoreline and sifted through the sand in the shallow water to find anything resembling a shark’s tooth.  I spent about 15 minutes strolling up and down the beach in this way but found nothing but a bunch of broken mussel and crab shells and tons of little rocks of all shapes and sizes. Again! I still had a good time though. The beach was nice and the view of the bay was beautiful. Ollie seemed to really enjoy the place too, with the exception of getting little prickly seed pods in his paws and on his legs. I could tell they were very painful to him and he spent the first part of the ride home picking them out of his paws with his teeth.

Flag Ponds Maryland

Ollie on the beach at Flag Ponds Nature Preserve

Tips:

  • Bring a picnic lunch, or stop at one of the hundreds of fast food places on either side of the highway on the way
  • Be wary of the little prickly seeds that can be very painful to dogs. I also got some on my shoelaces and it actually really hurt to pick them off with my bare hands.
  • Bring a digging tool and be patient while looking for shark teeth

Map

Kevin is based in Washington, DC and writes about his travel adventures in the Mid-Atlantic region and around the world. Through entertaining writing and eye-catching photography, he aims to provide readers with useful information as they plan their next trips.

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