Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail: Lower Eastern Shore

From the Beach to the Bay

Crisfield, at the southern end of the byway, is famous for its seafood, water trails and annual Hard Crab Derby.

Eastern Shore

Places along the way

Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore is known for its traditional watermen culture, where locals rise with the sun and work the waters to bring in the day’s catch.  Nestled between the vast, blue Chesapeake and the white, sandy beaches of the Atlantic, a tapestry of farms, woodlands, rivers and marshes paint an unparalleled landscape picture.

Among the wide open spaces, watermen villages and towns, like Deal Island, Crisfield, Princess Anne, Pocomoke City and Berlin, dot the countryside and provide a variety of places to pick crabs, slurp oysters and sample seafood dishes. 

Crisfield is especially known for its softshell crabs, which are most abundant in the early summer. The crabs molt (shed their shells) in the shallow grass beds in the bay close to land. When the watermen’s boats come to the docks, look to see if you can tell the difference between the live hard crabs and soft shell crabs. Then head to Captain Tyler’s Crab House or Linton’s Crab House to taste them fresh.

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The beach and dock at Crisfield are a fun place for a photo op

Photo By: Clark Vandergrift, OTD

Salisbury is an inland city that boasts plenty of fun things to see and do, including the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art and the Salisbury Zoo. Evolution Craft Brewery is a favorite local hangout, which also serves raw oysters and other seasonal grub.

Head for the beach to soak up the sun with a trip to Ocean City, where there’s an abundance of seafood restaurants sure to please, from the quirky and casual to the fancy and fine. What’s better than a crab feast at the end of a day in the salt, sand and surf?  For the nature lover, nearby Assateague Island is a popular place to relax on the beach, walk trails among the dunes and sight wild ponies.

Museums, Festivals, and Events

Maryland serves up a diverse menu of seafood festivals, crab derbies and waterfront attractions. Explore maritime museums to discover what it was like to be a waterman in decades past. Try your hand at tonging or running a trotline, when you spend the day on a watermen’s heritage tour. See the unparalleled majestic beauty of a skipjack or log canoe race, both traditional watermen’s boats. Catch all the Chesapeake has to offer!

See more of the Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail.

Wild ponies are regularly sighted on Assateague Island.

Photo By: Frank Forgione

Maryland Lore

Soft shell crabs are the same species as the “hard crabs,” but they have recently shed their shells after outgrowing them. The new shell is papery thin as it first forms.

Photo By: Sophie Mac

Trails in this Region

Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail: Upper Eastern Shore
Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail: Middle Eastern Shore