St. Michael’s Lighthouse

Usually when you think of water parks, you think of slippery slides, wave pools, and raging man-made rivers. Those kind of parks are fun, but there are natural water parks all over — ya know, they’re called lakes, rivers, and bays. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My favorite? Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.

My in-laws keep a small motor boat docked on the Eastern Shore. Earlier this summer, we took a boat ride from Kent Narrows to St. Michael’s. It’s a ride we’ve taken many times, but it’s easy and enjoyable — an almost straight shot south across Eastern Bay that allows you to enjoy both the bay and the quaint and utterly charming town of St. Michael’s, Maryland.

Chesapeake Bay is a Boat Lovers Paradise

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, the Chesapeake Bay offers some of the best boating in America. It’s the largest estuary in the U.S. Two hundred miles long and, at its widest, 30 miles across — the bay’s total shoreline (including tributaries) is over 11,600 miles! You could spend every weekend for the rest of your life exploring each of its nooks and crannies and I still don’t think you’d find them all. Luckily, you only need a day to have fun on the bay.

Kent Narrows & Dock Bars

The Bay Bridge spans the Chesapeake Bay from just outside Annapolis to Kent Island, a large island that is separated from the Delmarva Peninsula by no more than the narrowest strip of water — a continuously dredged channel that connects the Chester River to Eastern Bay. “The Narrows” is full of boats and bars (okay, there’s food and fuel too :-)). When we were younger, my husband and I spent a considerable portion of many of our weekends at those bars. The music was loud, the drinks plentiful, and you could always walk “home” — to your boat! ๐Ÿ˜€ (We’ve now settled into calmer weekend rhythms, but I sometimes miss those late nights out!)

Red Eyes Dock Bar in Kent Narrows
This is what we miss when we fly into Bay Bridge Airport (a tiny, un-towered strip to the right of Bay Bridge as you cross onto the Eastern Shore) — TRAFFIC! This traffic isn’t even that bad. As any Marylander can tell you, the Bay Bridge can be bumper-to-bumper during summer weekends!

St. Michael’s, Maryland

Patriotic View from the Town Dock

St. Michael’s is a historic town dating back to colonial times. The place is full of charming cottages, beautiful boats, churches, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and lots of great restaurants.ย We ate lunch at the Town Dock. I spontaneously and sentimentally ordered a Pimm’s Cup (thinking of the ones I used to drink at the Napoleon House in New Orleans), but either my palate has changed or adding lemonade really does make a difference. (Anyone else a fan of the Pimm’s Cup? Have any tips on how to make a good one?) In any case, the Town Dock’s waterfront deck views were sunny and sparkling and it was nice to just sit in the shade, watching the boats in the harbor. Later, we took a leisurely stroll through town.

The Crab Claw in St. Michael’s is another great place to eat. Crabs, beer, and boats… What could be better?

Want to know what else to do in St. Michael’s? Here’s a list ofย 50 Free Things!

Other Chesapeake Bay Options

If you’re not up for docking and eating, another option is to pack a picnic and beach your boat on a sandy spot. My kids love jumping off the boat into the water and playing in the sand. I usually opt for lounging with a book.

Nice sandy spots are popular!
On the way back, you can look for osprey nests…
Watch the sunset…
Or just blow bubbles at the marina…

Want to know more about the Chesapeake Bay (as well as where I got my facts from)? Click here and here.

So readers, how about you? Have you ever been on the Chesapeake Bay? If so, what’s your favorite thing to do there? Do you like to go boating? Where’s your favorite place? Have you visited the Eastern Shore? Would you like to? Do you still blow bubbles? Watch the sunset? Eat crabs? Love a good Pimm’s Cup? Whatever your plans are for the weekend — Enjoy!