Must paddle place for Chesapeake Bay

What is the must see place to paddle in the bay and why.

We will be going there in a couple of weeks and we have found a couple of places out of a book but would like to hear from those that have been there and what we should not miss.



Its a big Bay!
Do you know where you will be staying? That would help others here to suggest some more specific places. The Bay is about 200 miles long, so if you’re staying north of Baltimore, for example, you don’t need to drive to Virginia Beach to paddle and vice versa.

This is the largest estuary in the US. There’s 64 thousand square miles of Chesapeake Bay watershed and good paddling within minutes of anywhere in that huge area. The nearly 12 thousand miles of shoreline is more than the entire US West coast. There are over 100,000 streams, creeks and rivers within the Bay watershed with about 150 considered to be “major” rivers and creeks.

Most of us put in close to home as there’s so many places to paddle. All have their own special attraction. One place I paddle (only on weekdays) is St. Leonard’s Ck on the Patuxent - the mouth of the creek is almost fjord-like and the site of a naval battle between US Commodore Barney and British rocket ships (yes “rocket’s red glare”)in 1814 (pieces of a scuttled US ship are visible at low tide after north winds). The determining factor is usually wind - most stay off the Bay itself when windy because the fetch is so long. The abundance of creeks and rivers means there is always someplace out of the wind. Some places are too busy to paddle on weekends, but fine on weekdays (Annapolis for example). Paddle early in the day and get off before the typical late afternoon squalls.

I like to launch at or close to the mouths of rivers - which gives the option of going out into the Bay, or going upriver and exploring creeks (my preference). There are also places to paddle to beaches (Calvert Cliffs, Choptank River, Potomac River, Patuxent River and their creeks) to look for Miocene fossils and fossil sharks teeth - a nice way to stretch your legs. You can find fossil sharks teeth along the entire Calvert County Bay shoreline and access is best by kayak.

If you’re coming from MA, see the Sox at Orioles Park at Camden Yards - beautiful ballyard and lots cheaper than Fenway.

We already have our tickets for the sox
in Baltimore. We could not believe that they are there the week we are. We are staying near Glen Burnie but we don’t mind driving for a good paddle. I like the idea of looking for fossils. Keep the ideas coming.

plenty of paddlers from that area here
You’ll get some great suggestions. Glen Burnie is convenient to the Bay Bridge. The Bay is divided into two major categories - the rural, less populated “Eastern Shore” and the more developed “Western Shore”. You could easily take the Bay Bridge over to the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC) at Grasonville and launch from their beach, for one day.

I like the Tuckahoe Creek for the feel of a typical Eastern Shore tidal creek. A little further away is Marshyhope Creek (access at Federalsburg).

For fossils, the most fossils per foot of beach will be from Brownie’s Beach near Randall’s Cliffs south to Dare’s Beach along the Calvert County shoreline. Hit the beach at low tide - above high tide its all private, except for the public beaches like Breezy Point.

Nice sweep of the yanks just now - let’s hope they can keep that up!

Launch points
This may come handy:

As for places near Baltimore - I’ll let others help with that. I rarely go there, usually paddling closer to Annapolis or just to the south of it. There, the Thomas Point light house is usually a good sight from the water, especially if the light is right. And as mentioned, there are countless crkees to explore with wildlife to see.

Just plan your trip according to the winds and tide - they can be a factor, especially the wind, so launch from the “right” side of the bay so that the conditions help you rather than hinder you - crossing by car is usually easy enough in this area, except in high traffic.


hi Patuxent , thought I might offer …

– Last Updated: Jun-12-09 9:34 AM EST –

..... a word , since you mentioned Tuckahoe and Marshy Hope .

Marshy Hope has power boats running up and down it's narrow width , more so on weekends I think ... the bass fishing crowd !! .

I have spent some time on the Tuckahoe , but all of that above the spillway , except for once . That once was in early spring and the spillway was really overflowing .

What I wanted to say is that one time while paddling "back" in the light flow (the channel pasages) above the spillway , we met some folks , man and wife paddling solo kayaks from out of state who were visiting , and it had been suggested to them that they try the Tuckahoe also .

I've always thought this to be a real nice place to spend the day myself , especially off weekends when it is basically yours alone . Well these folks had a comment that I won't forget ... they said it is one of the most beautiful and interesting paddles they have ever encountered !!

You know , I've seen it a gazzilion times and always enjoy it , but to hear them praise it like that , made me stop and remember my first paddles back into it ... it really is a beautiful and serene place for a short adventure .

bmach1 , if you are interested in seeing some pictures taken on the Tuckahoe (the part above the spillway) , just email me and I will send you some so you can sort of preview it (they say a picture is worth a thousands words). My sweetheart is always with me in the canoe and she loves her digi. camera ... she really captures the places and it's amazing to see in the pics. how beautiful the places we go really are .

When off weekends it has that secluded , serene and remote kinda feel to it . The passages are not very wide , I'd say 50' or so . Some parts open to maybe twice that , others narrower and twisty ... there are many ways to go back in there if you leave the main clearway passages , but easy enough "not" to get lost and find your way back , just follow the light flow back downstream from any point ... it always takes you back to the start .

If you might be interested in a nice river float for a day trip , I can send some pics. of the Potomac , putting in at Monocacy on the Potomac you can paddle on down to Whites Ferry (about 7 miles) ... I'm pretty sure Whites Ferry will shuttle you back if you make arrangements with them .

Perhaps it would help if you could tell us what kind of enviroment you have a taste for most ... as mentioned there are soooo many different types of places in the Bay region , and many different enviroments to enjoy .

Bay Trips
1. Launch at Canton waterfront park the day you go to the Yard. Paddle out toward Key Bridge and find the Francis Scott Key buoy. Painted in stars and stripes, this is supposedly unique because it is the only non-standard paint job among navigational buoys. Paddle back towards the harbor. Pass Fort McHenry, the iconic Domino sugar dock, the RORO ships that look like giant jaws, into the inner harbor and it’s relocated light tower, WWII era Torsk sub, Constellation, etc. Not bucolic, but a set of unique sights.

2. Put in at Jonas Green Park at the foot of the Naval Academy Bridge or at the Annapolis Canoe and Kayak dock in Eastport and paddle around Annapolis Harbor towards the Naval Academy. Paddle along the Academy Seawalls and play in the clopotis, maybe dink into College Creek for a bit of local atmosphere. Head toward Greenbury Point and enter the Bay proper. See the Bay Bridge and paddle up to it if you have the time and energy. Circle around the lighthouse at Sandy Point. Stop on the beach just south of the Bridge on the western shore to stretch if you want. I believe that is called Duck Bay. This trip gets you several more unique Bay scenes–Annapolis, the Academy, the bridge.

3. Cross the Bridge and paddle one of the wildlife refuges–Eastern Neck or Blackwater. This will show you tidal marshes.

4. The Thomas Point Lighthouse is a Bay icon that appears over and over in pictures or calendars with Bay scenes. Maybe launch from Annapolis Canoe and Kayak. A classic trip is to launch of the little beach in Galesville, then paddle out the West River, across the mouth of the Rhodes River, then head for the light. Nice paddle but IIRC it gets to be longish. Maybe the launch database will give you a put in on the South River. TPL is about a mile out in the Bay, so definitely consider weather when you do this one.

Happy paddling. Post your plans on the meet page if you want company.


bass boats
Yep - I forgot about the bass boats on the Marshyhope. With all the twists and turns, they can fly around those creek bends very fast. The parking lot at Federalsburg must hold a hundred trucks with trailers, so it must be busy on weekends. I’ve only been on weekdays and have never seen more than a half dozen trucks with trailers. The nice thing about launching at Federalsburg is that there is an ramp where I’ve never seen a boat just 1/4 mile downstream across the street from the VFW - a much better place to launch a canoe or kayak, IMO. At most high tides, most power boats can’t make it under the bridge on Main St. so a paddler can paddle upstream towards Delaware without concerns about bass boats flying around sharp turns at high speeds.

The Tuckahoe is a very different creek above vs below the Crouse Mill dam. I assume that’s the spillway you talked about, pilotwingz (btw, the largemouth bass fishing is outstanding above Crouse Mill). Below Crouse Mill, its a typical eastern shore tidal creek, with a lot of wilder areas you can no longer see on the western shore of MD (sigh…). Its all coastal plain paddling. The Potomac trip mentioned by pilotwingz is above the fall line, so its Piedmont, very different, and much cooler if you find the heat/humidity/squalls a problem in the coastal plain.

Another access site:

If you fish, the Cheapeake Bay (and tribs up to the tidal line) 5 day sport license is $6 and the non-tidal 3 day non-resident fee is whatever your home state charges MD residents. Sox fans are welcome here.

Annapolis launch
There’s a free beach launch site at the Annapolis Maritime Museum beach in Eastport (a short walk from the Annap Kayak & Canoe). Its an oyster shell beach, but an alternative if you prefer to launch from a beach. And check out the local exhibits while there.

Paddle the bay
What part of the bay…Eastern Shore, Virginia Beach? Annapolis, Baltimore? LOLOL the bay is a big area…my favorite is Silver Beach at Sunset…but it is private beach…there are a million sunsets on the bay with no two alike…whatever you do try to do a sunset…when the sun the going down like a big orange ball of flames and the sky is pink…orange and brown…it is breath taking and wonderful and take your camera…and don;t be late…when the sun decides to go down…it slowly but surely sinks beyond the horizon…until it looks as thought the sun is setting right on the bay…it seems to stare right at with that one big bright eye…letting you know this day is over…but I will rise…again…

I could see that same sight a million times…and each be different, the clouds…the wildlife.the cry of the seagull,the breeze,the tide, the smell of the sea, and effect of that moment…when the sun has slid over the horizon…still makes my heart beat …and I feel like I want to take care of all the earth…it reminds me how precious the earth and bay are…it brings up how the Indians took care of the earth…and it brings out the mother nature in me wanting to protect the bay for future generations… if you have never seen the sun go down on the bay…share it with someone…who can sit and listen to the sound of the earth…and there connect with there own heart…not everyone will feel the same…some will take it for granted…some will let that vision set in there mind and play it back like a photo…hope if you go it is as unforgettable to you…as it was to me…


Guys I love the ideas. As I said before
we don’t mind driving for a good paddle. We sometimes drive 2.5 hours for a paddle on Cape Cod, so driving is not an issue.


bmach1, had an idea you might be …

– Last Updated: Jun-13-09 12:04 AM EST –

...... interested in ??

I just got back from Diamond Head and Honolulu , saw the monument , the lighthouse and soooo much more . Flew all over the island at about the altitude of a seagull ... neat coastline .

Stopped by Beverly Hills and HollyWood and flew around there awhile ... back home now .

Here's the idea , you may already be doing this , but if not it's a great way to preview a place to paddle also .

Have you ever took a look at a place in "BirdsEye View" (like maybe yoiur front door) on a virtualearth site ?? If not , try this one !! ... most places/locations have the birdseye view available .

It will get you anywhere you want , fast ... use the road map to get near (country , state , area , etc.) , enlarge and refine as you zero in , then go to aerial view , enlarge and refine target some more ... then go to "BirdsEye" (if it lights up in the tool bar) , enlarge once , refine/center target and fly around using the "very center" of the N.S.E.W. circle , it's sensitive so fly slow (sort of like a joy stick the size of a pecil point) .

Take a look at the Bay region , see the bridge , see Annap. , see any place that's been mentioned and all the rest available ... see Glen Burnie ... see the Monocacy entering the Potomac and so on ... heck , have a look at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in birdseye ~~

All this as if you were flying in a hang glider , has the clearity and sharpness like your eyballs would see !! ... "See the world in "BirdsEye" view" !! ... well most US places anyway ...

Might help you to pick the kind of paddling place you like most ... if you haven't done this before , you're gonna love it !!

Paddle out of Chrisfield to Smith Island
Its about a 6 mile crossing. You can get a ferry to take you and boats over if the crossing is to long. The islands South of Smith leading to Tangier Island are fantastic. Kedges Strait north of Smith is always good for waves and current with a cool lighthouse. Janes Island is also nice.

I have not been to Crisfield
since the Captain’s Table was razed to build condos. Has the yuppification been completed?