Off-Season on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Maryland’s Eastern Shore remains a secret to many travelers. Off the well-traveled north-south US 95 corridor, it takes a bit of effort to reach the each the slightly isolated beauty relished and protected by birders, golfers, boaters, surfers, and families alike.

Late fall and winter is considered off-season on the Maryland shore, and visitors making a road trip to the region are rewarded with less of the tourist crowd. 

Getting There

Maryland’s Eastern Shore lies east of the Chesapeake Bay, south of Delaware, and along the Atlantic Ocean on the east. From Philadelphia, take US 95 South just beyond Chester to US 113 South.

From D.C., head on US 50 East to 113 South. From Norfolk, take US 13 North to US 113 North. And, from Annapolis, use US 50 East.

What to Do

St. Michael’s is one of several picturesque harbors on the Chesapeake Bay side. Some of its quaint houses date back to the earliest settlements in the 17th-century. Boutiques and quality restaurants attract tourists, while boaters, kayakers, and water-skiers enjoy the water.

Birders flock to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambridge City. Here, visitors observe 250 species of birds, 165 species of endangered plants, and 35 species of amphibians and reptiles.

The November Waterfowl Festival in Easton draws thousands of people and birds to this three-day festival that raises money for local conservation projects. Try duck calling, fly-fishing, and enjoy the art display that fill the streets.

Chesapeake City sponsors a Winterfest of Lights, which runs from late November through mid-January. Natives and visiting families enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, Christmas carolers, a tour of Victorian houses, and light-displays throughout town.


Wild Horses at Assateague Island National Park

Wild Horses at Assateague Island National Park

Assateague Island National Park may be the country’s most unusual park. The island is home to herds of not-so-wild wild horses, natives there since surviving a Spanish shipwreck in 16th-century. The gentle horses graze the marsh grasses and rummage through tourist lunches.

Where to Golf

Golf is a popular activity on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Golfing offers ocean, bay, and wetlands views. In the fall, when the humidity has dropped, popular courses are the Links at Lighthouse Sound (designed by Arthur Hills) or the picturesque Rum Pointe Seaside Golf Links (located across the bay from Assateague State Park).

The Eagle’s Landing course nestles at Sinepuxent Bay and boasts blue crab cakes and crab chowder at its restaurant. Ocean City Golf Club has two locations, one at Seaside and the other on Newport Bay, and Robert Trent Jones designed the gorgeous course at Ocean Pines Country Club.

Where to Stay

Hotels near and in Ocean City offer big discounts on off-season rates, indoor swimming, water and beach views, golf and fishing packages, and special events scheduled for seasonal holidays.

The Princess Royale, for example, is open to Ocean City’s famous boardwalk. The Boardwalk is the Eastern Shore’s entertainment center with dozens of restaurants and bars, exciting amusement rides, and colorful game arcades.

Tip: In the fall, pack a light jacket or sweater for the early-morning and evening chill.

Atlantic waters are refreshing throughout the fall months. The beach and boardwalk at Ocean City lose their heavy summer tourist traffic after Labor Day. Not to mention, the long beach stays cleaner and is an especially popular location for morning surf fishing. 

About the Author

Michael F. Carroll is a freelance contributor with  OutreachMama and Youth Noise NJ. Michael helps businesses find their audience online through research, content copy, and whitepapers. He frequently writes about management, marketing, and sales with customized outreach for digital marketing channels and outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.