Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail: Middle Eastern Shore

The Heart of the Bay

Photo By: Clark Vandergrift

Eastern Shore

Places along the way

On Maryland’s Middle Eastern Shore (or mid-shore), you’re in the Heart of Chesapeake Country, where locals depend upon the bay for their livelihoods, and fresh seafood is just a stone’s throw away.

Experience the Eastern Shore culture by sampling crabs and oysters, visiting oyster hatcheries and oyster festivals and taking a skipjack sailing tour. Engaging maritime museums help you explore the watermen’s heritage and the local's livelihoods and connection to the majestic Chesapeake Bay. 

Drive the Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway to tour picturesque and quaint waterfront towns like St. Michael’s, Tilghman, and Cambridge, where you can find live crabs being loaded from boats to docks, sold at markets and then steamed fresh at waterfront restaurants and served at your table. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

The byway stitches together these towns and travels through expansive farmland, ripe with farm stands featuring luscious produce, where the fruits of the land compliment the bounty of the bay. Stop and pick up some fresh-picked corn, peaches or some green veggies.  

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With nearly 50 square miles of forests, fields, marshes and open water, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, “The Everglades of the North,” offers breathtaking vistas and a rare glimpse of untouched America.

Photo By: Clark Vandergrift

On “the shore” you’ll find  casual traditional crab houses, like The Crab Claw in St. Michael’s, Harrison’s Chesapeake House in Tilghman Island and Soft and Salty Seafood in Cambridge. You’ll also find upscale dining at well-known restaurants like Oxford’s Robert Morris Inn, Suicide Bridge Restaurant in Hurlock or Harry’s on the Green in Denton.

Check out a raw oyster bar in St. Michael’s or Easton. And there are plenty of seafood markets where you can buy and cook your own.

Get out on the water and take a skipjack tour from Tilghman Island or Cambridge to see oyster dredging first-hand.  A variety of Watermen’s Heritage Tours provide an unsurpassed, up close experience where you can catch your own dinner - or at least see how it’s done.     

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

Photo By: Clark Vandergrift

Maryland Lore

Recreational crabbers catch crabs using a Bait, Pull and Net method - what locals call "chicken necking." The bait, often chicken necks, is tied to the end of a string and dropped into the water, typically less than 5 feet deep. When the line starts "walking away," the crabber slowly pulls it up. Once in sight, the crabber scoops up the crab with a rigid net on a pole.

Photo By: Clark Vandergrift

Trails in this Region

Chesapeake Wine Trail
Following in His Footsteps - Maryland's Frederick Douglass Driving Tour