Outdoor fun - on the water or on the land.
One look at a map and you can easily discern that it’s all about the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Much of the outdoor recreation revolves around all kinds of water sports, boating and fishing.
There’s a river in every shape and size, plenty of harbors, inlets and inland waterways upon which to recreate. Peninsulas, marshy tidal islands, sandbars and other configurations of land make the waterscape all the more interesting. It’s no wonder that the waters here serve as such a perennial vehicle for fun.
Check out Visit Maryland to start plotting your itinerary; the Talbot County Office of Tourism and Queen Anne’s County Department of Economic Development Agriculture & Tourism websites are very helpful as well. Researching your travels ahead of time is always a good idea. And once on the Eastern Shore, pick up a free Discovery Map at one of these offices or even order one online ahead of time.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels is a must. It’s the epicenter of learning about and experiencing firsthand life on the water, past and present, within this unique region. Through exhibitions, events and a variety of programs, including one where you can apprentice for a day in a shipyard, this living treasure helps to perpetuate the rich heritage of the Chesapeake all year long. Head over to The Crab Claw to eat crabs waterside before or afterward.
Taking a sail with Skipjack Sailing Tours ranks as another top-notch activity in St. Michaels. And, of course, there’s nothing like being out on the water. The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry also offers lots of scenic on-the-water fun in addition to being an excellent form of transportation. Oxford, a cute little town, showcases lots of nice eateries and shops. Mystery Loves Company Booksellers is a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Tilghman Island, an island that covers a total land area of less than three square miles, is a great place to start for water activities. You’ll find a great selection of rentals at Tilghman Marina where you can line up a variety of watercraft from sailboats to motor boats to fishing and crab boats to jet skis. They’ll also outfit you with kayaks, canoes, SUPs, you name it. They offer fishing charters and waterway tours as well!
Knapp Narrows Marina & Inn is another full-service establishment that can set you up with all kinds of rentals to assure you hours of amusement on the water. They offer fishing charters where you can engage in trolling, chumming, jigging, bottom fishing, live bait fishing and fly fishing, too. And if you have your own boat, Knapp Narrows Marina & Inn and Tilghman Marina offer all the services for tossing a line and staying a while.
Be sure to stop at Philips Wharf Environmental Center and Tilghman Watermen’s Museum when visiting Tilghman Island. Or even better, plan a special trip there. At Phillips Wharf you can learn about how oysters are raised, meet real life watermen or visit their aquarium. They organize all kinds of special events and programs and regularly provide terrific hands-on learning experiences for children. Celebrate the history and culture of this unique island at the Tilghman Watermen’s Museum. Art often takes centerstage both in the museum’s exhibitions and in its gift shop, typically featuring maritime-inspired works created by regional artists.
Not far away at Harris Cove Cottages Bed N Boat, you can line up–you guessed it–a bed and a boat. Now that’s a sweet place. Rent a cute house equipped with bayside fun and private pool. It’s terrific for events or “togethering” with family and friends.
Looking to hit the trail? There are plenty of options on the Eastern Shore where you can do it by foot or on a bike while taking in nature, historic sites or just the Old School charm of these colonial towns and villages that have become such beloved vacation destinations. In Easton, much of the railroad tracks have been converted into trails; you can find out about bike rentals and request maps of the bike routes of the Eastern Shore at.
Take in the beauty of Kent Island on the Cross Island Trail as well as on the South Island Trail where pedestrians, runners and cyclists can enjoy both natural and manmade beauty along trails that span six and seven miles, respectively. Go to Queen Anne’s County Department of Parks and Recreation for information about these trails and others.
Visit the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, also on Kent Island, where you can immerse yourself into nature by land and water. Their marshland boardwalks and observation tours afford many opportunities for viewing water fowl and their unique habitat. You can also paddle around on their tranquil waters by canoe and kayak.
Lastly, make sure you check out the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay. Go ahead and make a donation–you’ll be contributing to the preservation of one of America’s great treasures.