With its Chesapeake Bay backdrop and Eastern shore charm, Rock Hall, Maryland, about two hours from D.C., has long been a destination for pleasure boaters and seafood fanatics. But once a year the town—typically known for its post-card perfect scenery complete with sail boats on the bay, light waves and moonlit marinas—hosts a rowdier crowd to celebrate its city-by-the-sea heritage: welcome to Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Weekend. Held annually during the second week of August, the three-day festival revolves around grub and grog, and of course—pirates.
The sixth-annual “Fantasy Weekend” took place Aug. 9 to 11 and turned Rock Hall’s Main Street into a bustling marketplace full of costumed pirates, live musicians, artists, merchants and food vendors. On Saturday, beach party attendees saw prizes awarded for the best decorated boats and the scurviest and most spirited crew. Those who made their way to the festival via boat were extra cautious as buccaneers, armed with Super Soakers and water balloons and adding to the lively environment, were waiting to fire their “weapons.” All the mayhem can work up an appetite, and Rock Hall’s restaurants got in on the action-packed weekend too.
The Inn at Osprey Point, named best romantic dinner restaurant by Chesapeake Magazine, held a theme-appropriate rum tasting on Friday evening. Bay Wolf Restaurant hosted pirate performers and a sea-shanty sing-along. Costumes were encouraged at every event, and Waterman’s Crab House and Dock Bar, an award-winning waterfront dining spot, held a buccaneer’s ball and crowned a best-dressed king and queen.
One of the area's true dining gems, The Kitchen at Rock Hall, is one of tastiest ways to experience the town’s fresh, local food. Husband-and-wife-team Steve and Monica Quigg run a cozy restaurant that serves outstanding cuisine. The dishes are straightforward and showcase what a few, fresh ingredients can accomplish when cooked just right. For an appetizer, consider trying the kitchen crab dip, a creamy concoction of cheeses and Old Bay served with toasted bread, or the pan-fried oysters served with roasted tomato remoulade. In addition to its seafood entrees, The Kitchen offers a mouthwatering seared beef tenderloin—and if you’re lucky, the Quiggs will explain their secret to the perfect sear. Be sure to make reservations since the small restaurant fills up quickly—especially on event weekends.
For an appetizing and entertaining escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown D.C., mark your calendars for next year's Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Weekend.
Aimee Wharton is a freelance writer and contributor to the Daily Meal.
The Rock Hall Triathlons are nestled on the edge of the Eastern Shore of Maryland in picturesque Kent County and only 18 miles from Baltimore “as the fish swims” (put your bike rack on a boat!). Rock Hall is one of the friendliest, most laid back towns anywhere…and is full of history. George Washington took the Annapolis Ferry to Rock Hall nearly ten times before heading to Philly on horseback to work out America’s Independence! The swim takes place in Rock Hall Harbor on the Chesapeake Bay, protecting athletes from any serious wind or chop. The bike course is a triathlete’s dream with beautiful ribbons of pavement and wide shoulders throughout most of the rural course. The run course is pancake flat and takes athletes through the quaint nautically themed neighborhoods and side roads of Rock Hall, MD.
This race is worth the trip to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Check out some of our VIDEO’s from prior years and see why athletes consistently come back year after year to race. Don’t miss out, register today.
Camping - Eastern Shore Maryland
Bay Shore Campground
Bay front campground located in Rock Hall, Maryland. Has a beach, two bath houses, game room, boat ramp, and playground. Electric and water hook-ups are available. Three miles from the town of Rock Hall, and Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge is nearby. ** Bayshore Campground reviews **
Holiday Park Campground
Located on the Choptank River in Greensboro, Maryland. 200 acres with 200 spacious wooded campsites pull-thru sites river sites electric and water hookups 30 free CATV channels picnic tables and fire rings modern restrooms. Swimming pool with sundeck 4 playgrounds free hayrides tennis court mini golf game room with videos, billiards and table tennis. Public boat ramps nearby. ** Holiday Park Campground reviews **
Tuckahoe State Park
Tuckahoe Creek, a stream bordered for most of its length by wooded marshlands, runs through the length of the park. A 60-acre lake offers boating and fishing. The Adkins Arboretum encompasses 500 acres of park land and almost three miles of surfaced walkways leading through the tagged native species of trees and shrubs. 20 miles of scenic hiking, biking and equestrian trails, flat water canoeing, and hunting. The park has a family camping area with 51 sites, 33 with electric hookups, and a central bathhouse. Four cabins are available for rent through the statewide reservation system. Located about 35 miles east of the Bay Bridge. Queen Anne, MD. ** Tuckahoe State Park reviews **
Roaring Point Waterfront Campground
Located near Salisbury, Maryland, on the Nanticoke River. This campground has RV and tent camping. Amenities include a beach, fishing pier, bathhouses, and camp store. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. ** Roaring Point campground reviews **
Sandy Hill Family Camp
Located on the Nanticoke River, this campground has fishing, crabbing, swimming, hking, and more. Amenities include two boat ramps, seperate fishing and swimming beaches, a playground, and recreation hall. Sites have 30 am service, water, picnic tables, and campfire rings. ** Sandy Hill Family Camp reviews **
Island Resort Co-Op RV Park
Located in Newark, Maryland, close to Ocean City. RV sites and cabin rentals available. Amenities include a swimming pool and catch and release fishing in an on-site 25 acre pond.
Coastal Camper Rental is camping made easy. Rent a well-maintained pop-up camper for your next camping vacation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Ocean City Maryland Campgrounds
Frontier Town Campground
Frontier Town, Ocean City Maryland is the area's leading camping resort. This Woodall's Double 5W-rated waterfront campground has over 500 campsites for tents, motor homes, deluxe rental trailers and camping cabins. Free waterpark. Fishing pier and marina. 5 minutes from Ocean City beaches, boardwalk and amusements. ** Frontier Town reviews **
Assateague State Park
Maryland's only ocean State Park is located on the northern end of Assateague Island, a barrier island. Two miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, beachcombing, sunbathing, surfing and fishing. The island's bayside offers canoeing to secluded coves. The marsh areas have a variety of wildlife, including deer and wild horses. 350 sites are available for camping, with a fire ring and picnic table at each campsite limited electric hook-ups available. Located 8 miles south of Ocean City, MD. ** Assateague State Park camping reviews **
Fort Whaley Family Campground
Located in Whaleyville, MD just 15 minutes west of Ocean City. Several nearby golf courses. Campers get free admission to Frontier Town Water Park and a 20% discount to the Frontier Town Western Theme Park. ** Fort Whaley campground reviews **
Castaways RV Resort & Campground
Waterfront campground on Sinepuxent Bay in Ocean City, Maryland. Has RV sites, cottage rentals, and tent camping. Onsite dining and nightlife. Sites are equipped with wifi and cable tv hook-ups. Amenities includes pool, playground, bathhouses with laundry, golf cart rentals, camp store, and more. Complimentary shutle to Ocean City, Berlin, and Assateague. ** Castaways RV Resort & Campground reviews **
Camping - Eastern Shore Virginia
Kiptopeke State Park
This Virginia state park offers Chesapeake Bay beaches and the chance to explore a unique coastal habitat featuring a major flyway for migratory birds. Lifeguarded swimming area during the summer. Some of Virginia's finest fishing. Also, a large fishing pier with picnic tables and lights to attract fish is available. The southern beach is great for surf fishing and beachcombing. Launch your boat from the ramp (4.5-foot mean low water). Yurts and RV campers for rent. A camp store is open throughout the summer and on weekends in fall. Located just a few miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, at the southern tip of the Eastern Shore. ** Kiptopeke State Park reviews **
Cherrystone Camping Resort
Everyone loves Cherrystone campground, 300-acres of fun family camping. Located on the Chesapeake Bay, just north of Cape Charles, VA. Bring your own or stay in one of their rental cottages, cabins, or trailers. Boat rentals, swimming pools, cafe, bait shop, general store. Daily activities. ** Cherrystone campground reviews **
Maddox Family Campground
Located on Chincoteague Island. The closest campground to the Assateague beaches. Hundreds of sites. Swimming pool, store, mini golf, arcade and other activities. ** Maddox Family Campground reviews **
Tom's Cove Campground
On Chincoteague Island. Waterfront. Swimming pool, clubhouse, country store. A short drive to the beaches on Assateague. This is one of the best Eastern Shore campgrounds. ** Tom's Cove Campground reviews **
Haven Harbour Marina Resorts – Rock Hall, MD
DO YOU WISH YOU could find a getaway destination where you can leave worries behind and enjoy life’s simple pleasures? Then Haven Harbour Marina Resorts are your dream come true.
These hidden gems on the Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore are just a short cruise from Baltimore and Annapolis tucked away in a charming waterman’s town and surrounded by natural beauty.
The two picturesque marina resorts — Haven Harbour Marina and Haven Harbour South — have merged to create a boater’s paradise with 350 slips that accommodate vessels up to 70 feet. Haven Harbour Marina offers two floating piers and one fixed pier, while Haven Harbour South has all fixed docks and floating piers slated for the near future.
Services include complete yacht repair, installations and maintenance. Haven Harbour is a full-line Yamaha outboard dealer and a trusted Imtra product installer and service provider. Technicians are in-house professionals with years of industry experience. The marinas have sizable boatyards with space for hundreds of dry-stored vessels and feature a full- service fuel dock and pump-out station.
You can soak up the sun at the swimming pools or the beach, work up a good sweat at the fitness center, or let the kids run free at the playground. Paddleboards, kayaks and bicycles are available, and both marinas are pet friendly, so everyone gets to join in the fun. When you’re ready to grab a bite, you can choose between packing a basket for a seaside picnic or savoring snacks, cocktails and a stellar view at Passages Bar & Grill.
Cottage at Haven Harbour Marina
You can spend the night at the Inn at Haven Harbour’s cottage-cute rooms, each with a distinct theme and decor.
Nearby Waterman’s Museum is a fine starting point for exploring the region. Its exhibits on crabs, oysters, fishing and working boats help build appreciation for the tight-knit communities that build their lives around the Chesapeake waters. An easy jaunt into the town of Rock Hall brings that history to life, as you stroll along the streets that are lined with gift shops, vintage stores, quaint summer cottages and restaurants serving the Bay’s bounty of fresh seafood.
Chesapeake Bay Boutique Hotel with Private Beach
Hotel and vacation rental reservations available for 2021. Wishing everyone great health, and hope to see you in the safer times!
- Enhanced cleaning and safety for the pandemic
- TripAdvisor Hall of Fame for five-time Certificate of Excellence Winner
- Best Adults-Only boutique hotel to relax on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay
- In-Room Comforts, In-Town Conveniences™
- Most 18 non-smoking accommodations feature amazing water views and porches
- Pristine seaside grounds with private beach facing west for awesome sunsets
- Oxford, MD restaurants & general store within walking distance
- Caring and friendly staff - Same family hotel ownership for over 51 years
- Located in Oxford, Maryland, one of America's most beautiful small towns
- Close to St. Michaels, Easton, Cambridge, and National Parks
- Hotel with modern conveniences and vacation rental amenities in a romantic getaway setting. Pet free to ensure peace and quiet.
Welcome to Sandaway Suites & Beach official hotel website sandaway.com
Celebrating 51 Years of Quality, Romantic Chesapeake Bay Getaways
Sandaway offers a boutique hotel experience, with vacation rental comforts in Oxford, MD. Enjoy an exclusive adults-only getaway on the Chesapeake Bay. Book securely online or give us a call at 1-888-726-3292 to reach us at our Oxford, Maryland location.
Situated on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Sandaway invites you to stay at our charming seaside suites complete with picturesque views from the hotel on Chesapeake Bay and a private sandy beach. Offering 18 non-smoking St. Michaels, MD area accommodations, many with private waterfront screened porches overlooking the bay. Sandaway provides modern hotel amenities with Eastern Shore vacation conveniences, perfect for couples, friends, or solo travelers seeking peace and relaxation in a natural setting. If you are looking at Chesapeake Bay hotels or St. Michaels bed and breakfasts for your next Eastern Shore vacation, consider all that Sandaway Suites & Beach has to offer.
Sandaway is our trademark and service mark. The Privacy of a Hotel, the Charm of a Bed & Breakfast is also our trademark and service mark of Sandaway. © 2021 All rights reserved.
Founded in 1772, Ellicott City is one of the most historic towns in the state and is home to the country’s oldest surviving railway station. Made from blocks of locally quarried granite and featuring a gabled roof, the Ellicott City Station exudes an old-world charm and is now a museum. The entire main district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with more than 200 18th- and 19th-century buildings and the largely unspoiled Main Street, home to numerous local shops and picturesque houses.
Maryland Bed and Breakfast
Maryland bed and breakfast is the best way to experience the beautiful state. Maryland is a favorite travel destination that has something to offer for everyone. Visit some of the best bed and breakfast Maryland has to offer for a memorable vacation.
Properties Taking Safety Measures
Embark on a Chesapeake Bay getaway at Sandaway Suites & Beach in Oxford, Maryland. Sandaway is a member of the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame, for five-time or more Certificate of Excellence Winners. Sandaway is one of the few boutique hotels in Maryland with a private sandy beach on the Eastern Shore. From the beach, you can see spectacular views of two rivers as they merge into the Chesapeake Bay. An interesting variety of watercraft and waterfowl often pass by Sandaway. Guests love to spend hours relaxing in this tranquil setting. The waterfront Adirondack and lounge chairs are popular seats at Sandaway. For more privacy, most of the boutique hotel rooms and suites provide screened-in porches overlooking the water. Sandaway is close to Saint Michaels, Easton, and Cambridge. A car ferry provides a shortcut to Saint Michaels, just 7 miles away.
Hummingbird Inn is located in a beautiful, circa 1865 Queen Anne Victorian in the heart of Easton, Maryland’s historic district. Blending the best of Victorian style with modern comfort, the Hummingbird Inn is welcoming, hospitable, and so much more than just a place to sleep. We’re a quick, two-block walk from Easton’s boutique shops, restaurants, galleries, and theater, and short a ride to boating, beaches, and all the Eastern Shore attractions. Hosting an Event? Hummingbird Inn’s stately architecture, lush landscape, and extensive Victorian gardens offer a striking, spacious venue Relax, meet new friends, discover the beauty of the Eastern Shore. Hummingbird Inn is a stately Queen Anne Victorian with a striking copper-roofed turret, lush gardens, and wrap-around porch. Hummingbird Inn blends the grandeur of the past with modern features and comfort.
Fall in love all over again. Solomons Victorian Inn captures all the charm and grace of a bygone era. Innkeepers Steve and Shawn have created a warm and gracious Maryland getaway, not only making their guests comfortably welcome, but assuring return visits. Whether you are enjoying the harbor views from your room, having a glass of wine in the lush gardens, dining on one of the Inn’s sumptuous breakfasts, or just strolling through the quaint village, the atmosphere that surrounds you will make your stay a lasting memory. The Inn is situated on the southern tip of Solomons Island, MD along the beautiful western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. This location makes for a truly easy getaway, as it is less than 1 .5 hours from Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. The Inn is also convenient to Richmond, Baltimore, and Philadelphia for an ideal alternative to Solomons Island hotels. Solomons Island is an inviting year-round travel destination. Most restaurants, shops, and the Calvert Marine Museum are open twelve months a year and are only a short stroll from the Inn. The area enjoys sunshine 245 days per year, so there isn’t a time when something is not in bloom – whether camellias in February or crape myrtle in September. Solomons is the perfect location and Solomons Victorian Inn, the perfect choice, for your Maryland getaway.
The Inn at Huntingfield Creek is a well-appointed bed and breakfast situated on 70-acres of land with Chesapeake Bay views. featuring comfortable rooms with fine linens, plush robes and towels, down comforters and private bathrooms. The harmonic atmosphere of the inn is perfect for weddings, family vacations or a romantic retreat with guest rooms, cottages and a vacation rental available for lodging. Enjoy panoramic views of the countryside, pet-friendly rooms, spa baths with whirlpool tubs and much more. Maryland’s Eastern Shore region is well known for its many nature preserves, fishing/crabbing, marinas, antique shops and areas of historical interest. As the Inn at Huntingfield Creek is the closest inn to the wonderful Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, it’s easy to spend an entire day walking the trails, snapping photos or viewing the resident Bald Eagles and tundra swans enjoying the wonders that Chesapeake Bay has to offer.
Reynolds Tavern Bed & Breakfast is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in Annapolis. Situated in a prominent position on Church Circle in Maryland it is convenient to the historic district, shops, restaurants and the United States Naval Academy. Reynolds Tavern features 3 Private Overnight rooms on the Second floor of the Tavern. There is a Cellar Pub (1747 Pub), 2 dining rooms on the first floor and a large outdoor Beer Garden. Many events are held outside in the Beer Garden through the Spring, Summer and Early Fall. The Annapolis Shakespeare Company performs on Tuesday evenings, Trivia Night every Monday Night, and Free outdoor Movie Screenings on Sunday Evenings. Live Music Wednesday through Saturday evenings.
Ocean City MD: Maryland's big oceanfront resort. Big hotels, nightclubs, and amusements. There's lots of activity every summer weekend.
Chesapeake City, MD: A picturesque small town on the C&D Canal (which connects the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays). See ocean-going ships sail through the center of town. The historic downtown is on the southern side of the canal.
Dover, DE: The capital of Delaware has several historic sites, arts performances, the Dover International Speedway, and Dover Downs Casino.
Chestertown, MD: Historic town on the banks of the Chester River. An important port of entry for colonial settlers to Maryland. See the 18th century homes and shop in the interesting stores. Don't miss the Schooner Sultana.
Rock Hall, MD: Plentiful marinas make this a favorite destination of boaters. Colonial travelers went by ferry from Annapolis to Rock Hall, and there are cruises that make the same trip today. Lots of shops and restaurants. Learn about working on the water at the Waterman's Museum.
St Michaels, MD: This waterfront town is overrun with tourists . but they have good reasons for visiting. The setting is beautiful, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is excellent, and there are shops, restaurants, and luxury hotels catering to the crowds.
Tilghman Island, MD: Surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, and a great stop if you are cruising the Bay. Tilghman Island is a true working watermen's village with excellent fishing and fresh seafood. It's also home to the last commercial sailing fleet in North America, the skipjacks, which are on display at Dogwood Harbor.
Easton, MD: Another attractive historic town. Do the walking tour and visit the shops. The Avalon Theatre hosts performances by national-calibre acts. The town is the home of the famous annual Easton Waterfowl Festival.
Oxford, MD: A quiet little town located near the mouth of the Tred Avon River. This charming village has true colonial era history. Tour the replica Customs House. Multiple marinas for boaters.
Cambridge, MD: Another very old town (settled 1684). Museum, the Skipjack Nathan, Sailwinds Park, and a fishing pier are attractions. This is also the home of the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay marina and golf resort.
Salisbury, MD: This is the central city for the Eastern Shore. You'll find lots of chain stores, hotels and restaurants here. Home of the minor league Delmarva Shorebirds baseball team. Visitor attractions include the Salisbury Zoo and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art.
Crisfield, MD: It's a long drive to Crisfield from just about anywhere, but many visitors arrive by boat. The Somers Cove Marina is huge. This is a good place to buy crabs.
Chincoteague, VA: Virginia's island resort is also the gateway to Assateague Island National Seashore. A seaside town without the high-rises and crowds of Ocean City. See the famous ponies.
Parksley, VA: A planned community built at the turn of the century when the railroad came to the Eastern Shore. Walk around town to admire the Victorian homes, and go in the many shops. Don't miss the railroad museum.
Accomac, VA: Take the fascinating walking tour of the seat of Accomack County. The homes and tiny churches are wonderful architecture.
Onancock, VA: Pretty town at the head of Onancock Creek. The wharf has slips for boats and the downtown has shops, galleries and a plethora of restaurants. Quality bed and breakfasts and a boutique hotel too.
Wachapreague, VA: Tiny seaside fishing village. The "flounder capital" has a large marina, restauraunt, and a few shops. Rent a boat to get out to the undeveloped barrier islands.
Eastville, VA: Yet another true colonial era town. The well-preserved old courthouse and inn are worth the trip.
Cape Charles, VA: Like Parksley, this town was built when the railroad arrived at the turn of the century. It was the port for ferries to Norfolk. The fashionable Bay Creek golf and marina resort has brought new life to the town.
Bareboat Sailing Charters on the Chesapeake Bay
Check out our Dockside Floating Hotel! Click the link below for the 40ft trawler Glory Days.
Discover the Chesapeake Beaches
Grab your flip-flops and slather on sun screen! You’re headed for the Chesapeake Bay, where summer is celebrated with gusto. Its 11,684 miles of shoreline are home to beaches with gently rolling waves that wash your cares away. Some of the seaside escapes are hidden in picturesque coves that cater to laid-back waterfront living. Other destinations sport a lively urban vibe with tiki bars serving cocktails that match the colors of a sunset. The key is knowing which beach suits your fancy.
To help you design seamless travel plans, Marinalife pulled together a list of top Chesapeake beaches that starts in Virginia’s southern waters and migrates north to Maryland’s upper reaches of the Bay.
CHESAPEAKE BEACHES IN VIRGINIA
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
When you enter the mouth of the Bay from the Atlantic Ocean and cruise past Cape Henry Lighthouse, you discover a beautiful two-mile stretch of sandy shoreline. Some call it Chesapeake Beach locals refer to it as Chics Beach (named after Luther “Chic” Ledington, who ran a hotdog stand here for decades). Beach houses, condos and seafood restaurants create a cozy waterfront community that’s seldom overcrowded. Their most noteworthy neighbor is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel,
a 17.6-mile architectural wonder that connects Virginia’s mainland to its Eastern Shore.
Along Hampton’s coastline awaits a trinity of beaches that can fulfill the summer wishes of everyone from historians to hikers. The southern part is Fort Monroe, a decommissioned Naval base that’s open to the public. In addition to savoring miles of gorgeous beaches, guests can tour the historic stone fort, lighthouse, museum and Civil War complex. In the middle of Hampton’s sun-kissed strip lies Buckroe Beach, a former plantation and tobacco farm now dedicated to seaside recreation. Its family-friendly amenities include playgrounds, picnic areas and places to rent umbrellas, jet skis, kayaks and paddle boats. Hampton’s northern tip is home to Grandview Beach & Nature Preserve, 475 acres of protected beaches, tidal creeks, salt marshes and hiking trails known for panoramic ocean views, migratory birds and trophy fishing.
CAPE CHARLES BEACH
CAPE CHARLES, VA
This charming seaside town is the epitome of timeless Eastern Shore hospitality. Shallow waters and gentle waves allow parents with small children to relax and soak up the sun. Everything is located within walking distance of the beach — a fishing pier, a historic district with park and gazebo, lovely Victorian houses, and streets lines with cafes, shops and an ice cream store. Just south of town is a nature preserve teeming with wildlife and a resort offering signature golf courses.
GLOUCESTER POINT BEACH PARK
A pair of petite beaches located where the York River flows into the Chesapeake Bay can accommodate lazy sun worshipers and energetic tourists. On the river’s north side is Gloucester Point Beach, a hideaway with a sandy swimming area, a concession stand, a fishing pier and a view of the J.P. Coleman Memorial Bridge that is exceptional at sunset. On the south side near the base of the bridge, you can discover another beach that meanders along Yorktown’s Riverwalk. When you come ashore and dry off, you’ll find restaurants, shops, museums and historic battlegrounds to keep you busy for days.
COLONIAL BEACH, VA
Along the Potomac River on Virginia’s Northern Neck is Colonial Beach, which boasts a half-mile boardwalk and 2.5 miles of soft-sand paradise. This classic riverside town charms its visitors with shops, galleries, playgrounds, a casino and restaurants serving terrific local oysters. A popular getaway since the 1800s, famous folks such as Alexander Graham Bell owned summer houses here. The region is also an incubator for noteworthy historical figures, such as the nearby birthplaces of George Washington, James Monroe and Robert E. Lee.
CHESAPEAKE BEACHES IN MARYLAND
CALVERT CLIFFS STATE PARK
About 20 million years ago, Calvert County was covered by a vast body of water filled with a menagerie of aquatic creatures. Erosion from the receding sea formed a 24-mile stretch of massive white cliffs that lend a dramatic beauty to the Chesapeake shoreline. Calvert Cliffs Beach visitors can simply enjoy the scenery — or they can investigate fossils from prehistoric sharks, whales, rays and seabirds the size of airplanes. With a shovel and sieve, you can sift through the sand and amass a nice collection of ancient shark teeth and oyster shells from the Miocene Era. This archaeological haven is surrounded by 1,079 acres of park land and 13 miles of marked foot trails.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH & NORTH BEACH
CHESAPEAKE BEACH, MD
In the late 1800s, Washington & Chesapeake Railroad laid big plans for this part of the Bay’s western shore and built gambling and seaside attractions that lured visitors from DC and Baltimore. The area flourished until the Great Depression when the boom busted. Decades of new development resurrected the twin towns and created two seaside destinations with distinctly different personalities. Chesapeake Beach bustles with a resort hotel, slot machines, gaming rooms, museum and water park for kids of all ages. North Beach presents a more relaxed family-friendly climate with antique stores, galleries, gift shops, a fishing pier, summer concerts, movies on the beach and a Friday farmers’ market.
SANDY POINT STATE PARK
Millions of people drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge every year. But Sandy Point offers a unique perspective where you can dig your toes in the golden sand and be mesmerized by the cars and trucks racing across the towering bridge spans above your head. The 786 acres of beach and picnic areas are a popular place to spend summer days at the Bay. Some sections of the park are designated for fishing and crabbing, and a 215-acre forested nature preserve is ideal for hiking and bird watching. Bring your own cooler and provisions, as the concession stand only offers snacks.
HART-MILLER ISLAND STATE PARK
On the western shore near the mouth of the Middle River are three uninhabited islands that are only accessible by boat. They might look like Mother Nature’s handiwork, but they’re actually man-made structures formed from dredge materials out of Baltimore Harbor and the Patapsco River. Hart-Miller and Pleasure islands comprise the 1,100-acre state park that boasts a 3,000-foot sandy beach with spectacular views. Hiking trails, campgrounds, bike rentals, fishing areas and
wildlife sanctuaries create an oasis of waterfront summer fun.
Where to Dock: Hart-Miller Island Anchorage
During the late 19th century, steamboats from Baltimore shuttled heat-weary vacationers to Betterton’s resort hotels, amusement park and luscious beachfront. Those glory days ended when the Bay Bridge offered an easy drive to Atlantic beaches. Today, Betterton is a quiet, hidden gem with a family-friendly vibe. It’s known for magnificent views of high bluffs along the shore that serve as a backdrop for the five-acre waterfront park, boardwalk, picnic pavilion, public pier and fishing jetty. People flock to Betterton in late summer when sea nettles plague other parts of the Bay, because fresh water from the Sassafras River washes away those bothersome jellyfish. Only one restaurant — lovely Barbara’s on the Bay — overlooks the beach. If you head south past Tolchester Beach into Rock Hall, you find more options to feed a hungry crew.
ELK NECK STATE PARK
NORTH EAST, MD
Don’t be surprised if you see eagles and hawks soaring around Turkey Point Lighthouse. They’re part of the natural wonders you discover at Elk Neck State Park, along with 2,188 acres of sandy shoreline, white clay cliffs, thick forests and marshlands. It’s a great getaway destination near the mouth of the Susquehanna River near the top of the Bay. Families build lasting memories of dreamy summer days while they swim, camp, fish, hike, kayak, picnic and romp on the beach.