Maryland Polar Bear Plunge 2018: Sandy Point State Park

Support the Special Olympics Plunging into the Chesapeake Bay

Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley participates in the Polar Bear Plunge.
Governor O'Malley/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The Maryland Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis is a charity event sponsored by the Maryland State Police in support of the Special Olympics. Each January, thousands of participants of all ages are daring enough to take a dip in the wintry waters of the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to the Plunges, attendees enjoy the Carnival FunFest with games, Astro Events Kids Zone, the Rams Head Ice Lodge and Beer Garden, food and other displays. The event has become so popular that it has expanded to two days.

Dates, Times and Event Details

January 25-27, 2018

Thursday, January 25

Cool Schools Plunge - school groups will take a field trip to plunge together to raise money for the Special Olympics, supporting children and adults with intellectual disabilities. 

Friday, January 26

Police, Military and Fire/EMS Plunges  -  throughout the day, service men and women will dip into the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay

Super Plunge - a series of 24 plunges in 24 hours starting at 10 a.m.

Corporate Plunge - Challenge your co-workers to take the Plunge with you. Happy hour begins at 5 p.m. to build your courage.

Saturday, January 27

Pee Wee & Family Plunge - Plungers will take a quick dip in the bay beginning at 11 a.m.

Main Plunge - The largest plunge takes place at 1pm.  Lineup by 12:30 p.m. to claim your place in the Plunge Zone.

Main Plunge 2 – Round 2. Make sure you get to the beach by 2:30 p.m. to claim your place in the Plunge Zone.

Registration: A minimum of $75 in pledges (or as a personal donation) is required in order to participate in the Maryland Polar Bear Plunge but spectators and festival-goers are welcome to attend free of charge. All participants receive a commemorative Plunge sweatshirt, and a photo gift. You may preregister online or by calling (800) 541-7544 x503.


Sandy Point State Park is located on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, off U.S. Routes 50/301 at exit 32.

Transportation and Parking

There is NO general parking available at Sandy Point State Park. Participants and spectators are encouraged to travel to Sandy Point via bus or by taking advantage of the free shuttle bus system that will run continuous routes all day long from the Naval Academy Stadium, Anne Arundel Community College and Kent Island High School. Shuttles will run from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Polar Bear Plunge Festival and Entertainment Highlights

  • Rams Head Ice Lodge and Beer Garden: Eastern Shore’s favorite band, Hot Tub Limo, the headlining cover band, The Amish Outlaws and Celtic sounds by The Rovers will entertain the crowd with a pre- and post-Plunge DJ set, and a variety of other acts will provide a full day of entertainment.
  • Carnival FunFest: The kids’ area includes boardwalk-style carnival games, a variety of food vendors, crafters and other displays.
  • Robert Andrews Spa & Salon: A variety of vendors will be inside the spa tent, focusing on beauty, fitness, health and wellness. Attendees can get a variety of spa treatments on site, including a massage, a paraffin dip, micro-dermabrasion or teeth whitening.

Celebrity Plungers

The Maryland Polar Bear Plunge has become popular amongst local celebrities and politicians. Notable participants in past events include Governor Martin O’Malley; former Baltimore Ravens Assistant Head Coach Rex Ryan; Ravens players Adam Terry – OT, and Haloti Ngata – DT; Orioles Hall of Famer BJ Surhoff; former Raven Edwin Mulitalo; WBAL-TV’s Jennifer Franciotti, Sandra Shaw, Deb Weiner and Rob Roblin, among others; 98 Rock’s Mickey, Amelia & Spiegel Morning Show, Stash, Theo and Sarah “The Queen” Fleisher; former Governor Robert Ehrlich; and numerous other legislators, and business and community leaders.


Special Olympics Maryland is a year-round sports organization dedicated to providing quality sports training and competition opportunities to Maryland’s children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or closely related development disabilities. The organization currently serves 10,000 athletes statewide, and offers 28 sports, all at no cost to the athletes or their families. For more information, visit or call 410-789-6677 x117.

See More Polar Plunges in Maryland and Virginia

For information about more upcoming events in the area, See an Annapolis Major Events Calendar

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