Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail: Southern Maryland

Enjoy hushed woodlands, tidewater vistas and colonial-era towns. In Southern Maryland, the history is rich and the seafood superb

Photo By: Oyster Recovery Partnership

Southern Maryland

Places along the way

On the western shore of the Chesapeake, the rhythm of the tides, call of the gulls, and the hum of the engines from watermen’s boats create a symphony of sounds amid the miles of shoreline and open water. Nestled between the Potomac and Patuxent rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, the rolling hills of these Southern Maryland peninsulas are an easy peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby metropolitan areas.

You’ll find plenty of lighthouses to explore on the Southern Maryland landscape. See if you can find Drum Point, Cove Point, Piney Point and Point Lookout lighthouses on your journey. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to visit Blackistone Lighthouse on St. Clement’s Island, accessible only by ferry.

Enjoy the sweet salt air and sip a cocktail at a dockside restaurant while watching the sun slip below the horizon, revealing another evening sky. Chesapeake Beach, Cobbs Island, Broomes Island and Solomons Island are some relaxing destinations with several eateries and places to stay for your getaway.

Southern Maryland abounds with quintessential crab houses and wharves that echo traditions from yesteryear. The placid scenes betray the hard labor that underlies the watermen’s lives. Experience catching your own crabs or harvesting oysters, or just learn about the Chesapeake Bay and the life of a waterman on a Watermen’s Heritage Tour. Several tours are based out of Solomons Island, which is a favorite port for sailors. The island has its own vibe.

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Blackistone Lighthouse at St. Clement's Island State Park is accessible by boat from the St. Clement's Island - Potomac River Museum in Colton's Point.

While on Solomons Island be sure to visit the Lore Oyster House, part of the Calvert Marine Museum. J.C. Lore and Sons was a large and successful seafood packing company founded at the height of the Chesapeake oyster industry in 1888. The company specialized in Patuxent River fish, crabs and oysters. Today you can explore all aspects of oyster processing – from receiving oysters at the dock to storing, shucking, washing, packing, and shipping the product to markets across the region.

Time your visit to take in the U.S. Oyster Festival and National Oyster Shucking Championships in Leonardtown. Get a taste of the bay at the Oyster Festival Tasting Room and pair oysters with a locally-crafted oyster stout. Try some tasty recipes from the National Oyster Cook-off. You’ll want to make them at home, and with all of the fresh seafood markets in Southern Maryland, that might be possible!

See all seafood restaurants in Southern Maryland

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.

Drum Point Lighthouse at Calvert Marine Museum

Photo By: Calvert County Department of Economic Development

Maryland Lore

A male crab is called a “jimmy,” and a female crab is known as a “sook.” They can be told apart by the shape of the apron on their undersides. The females have a bell-shaped apron that resembles the dome of the U.S. Capitol. The males have an inverted T-shaped apron that resembles the Washington Monument.

U.S. Oyster Festival and National Oyster Shucking Championships.

Photo By: St Mary's County

Trails in this Region

Patuxent Wine Trail