Ocean City, MD Flat/Calm Water

I’m going to be in Ocean City, MD in a couple of weeks. I have a recreational boat, so I need avoid surf, waves, etc., etc.

I’ve been eyeing up Herring Creek. I was hoping to find a launch location south of Rt. 50. But, I did find that there’s a public launch north of Rt. 50.

I’ve also looked about paddling out from a marina where my mom’s boyfriend has a big ole boat. It’s just north of Assateague Island - I could probably paddle out of the marina and then into the bay behind the island.

Anyone paddle this area?

Here’s what I’ve been kicking around…


Just head for Assateague Is.
It is a short drive, the back bay is relatively protected, and the scenery is great. But you are entering serious bug season now.


The moskitoes are vicious there -;(
at Assateague - they’ll get you even while biking fast on the trails…

I’d say, during the day (when it’s hot) and may be windy, you can do well in the protected western waters and there should not be too many bugs there during mid day.

I also plan to be there for July 4th weekend but will be paddling in the ocean side more likely (first time on the ocean with a sit-in kayak so it will be interesting). Depending on the moskitoes’ viciosness level, I might explore the creeks too.

The ocean side is not really bad either if the wind is from the right direction. But launching thru the surf is tricky. The waves can be 4 feet even on a calm day in the afternoon and may be too much to handle in a rec boat with repeat success. I’ve done it with a wind surf or a sit on top and it is a lot of fun but from these if you fall you just get back up … and if you break your mast on the windsurf and your spare is too small for the usually mild wind, you pack-up and go home -;(. With a recreational boat you all but have to swim back unless you are really good in self rescue and can get back in and get most of the water out…

But I’m sure there are places near ocean City that would serve you just as well if you can’t get to Chincoteague (Assateague Island).

Never paddled in O.C. …
… but the back necks you have ballooned on your map should be small enough and calmer waters , you can work your way out to the larger bay and put your toes in to see what you think then … all I can say is , pray for a sea breeze to drive those blood sucking misquitos and flies inland instead of the other way around … eastern shore MD. has some of the meanest and biggest hypodermic needle faced misquitos in the world and they don’t even bother to land first , they just spear you like a dart , many are the the ones that look like tiger strips and over a inch long !! … not to put you off but have suitable heavier clothing on standby , maybe even a bee keepers hood , really … maybe you’ll get lucky and won’t encounter them … also avoid walking through the brush cause they got more chiggers there than Carter’s got liver pills …

Bugs. Ugh.
Yeah, I hadn’t thought about them. I’ve heard the stories about Assateague Island before.

As for reentries - I’m comfortable that if I dump, I can reenter and empty the boat in deep water. I’ve got a giant flotation bag in the front and a bulkhead in the back. I’m probably going to back it up with another flotation bag.

The bugs… hmmm… maybe I WILL take the comically large sprayskirt.

Thanks for the input and checking out my little Google map.

inland rivers?
If you don’t mind driving an hour, long segments of the Pocomoke River are very nice. You can put in at Snow Hill or (I think) at Porters Crossing. And Nassawango Creek, which empties into the Pocomoke below Snow Hill, is lovely.

You can confirm these ideas, and get more ideas, with the Gertler book (Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails, or something like that).

– Mark

Haven’t kayaked Assateague

– Last Updated: May-30-08 10:55 PM EST –

but have camped there at the beach campground for about a week. Yep, nice waves. I windsurfed.

The misquitoes were horrible even camping on the beach when the wind was blowing from the swamps. Just load down with deep woods Off, and carry a can or two with you.

If you wear a tee shirt and another shirt they can’t bite through…

It's doable, people have been camping there for 40 years.

PS.. watch out for the crazy horses, they will break into your cooler and eat everything in about a minute. Seriously you have to latch your cooler shut or they will open it right off the camp table when you aren't looking!

A couple things for safety thoughts …

– Last Updated: May-31-08 12:15 AM EST –

.......... if go back into Salisbury on Rt.50 (NOT the 50/13 bipass which runs around Salisbury on the north side), and turn northward on Lake St. (just over the small Wicomico bridge), then up Lake St. aways make a right onto Rose St. (1 block), you come to a public launch site into the upper Wicomico .......... there's parking there , a small pier and you will be just above a nice little spillway , it's nice there , just another option ............. the thing I did want to mention to you about ocean side bays and creeks is the tide change because it can be a pretty big difference between high and low tides !! .......... the inlets really rip during the changes !!! ........... I've been all up and down the coast through that region from Cape May on down to Wachapreague,VA. and the tide change can easily be over 8' just inland sometimes , so consider the tides and check the schedule when you go .......... and I probably wouldn't think about launching at your most eastward ballon out on the coast and paddling back through the inlet unless you really have a handle on the tide time table and flows there , because like I said , it can really rip in the inlets ............ maybe some others who know more about paddling around ocean to inland inlets can give you more first hand knowledge of this aspect , I've always been in a powered vessle when in those areas and sometimes even that can be a wicked ride ..

It can be a challenge
I paddle around OC once or twice a year. It is very congested area. Lots of cars, it can be hard to park, lots of big power boats with no regard for paddlers. As was mentioned, the tides need to be understood as well. Things do rip at the OC inlet near one of your baloons.

Here’s what I do when scouting. Get up at 5:00 a.m. get a big mug of coffee and scout your potential spots. Make sure you have a tide table so you know what you’re looking at. Early morning is the only time to be able to move freely without traffic.

My flatwater paddling is farther north, Assawoman Bay, Fenwick Island, Bethany, Indian River Inlet. I prefer the ocean though. If you get a chance and feel up to it, try a sit-on-top on the ocean side. You’d have to do it before the lifeguards come out at 10:00.

Here’s what I did…
Not necessarily to revive an old thread, but I did want to add some closure to it. I ended up going with the paddle from the public boat ramp at Fisherman’s Marina. Hugging the shore, I went down into Sinepuxent Bay behind Assateague Island. I paddled around the tide change and paddled south for just shy of my planned 2 hours. It got to the point where the tide changed and I wasn’t making much headway- so I turned around. I stopped at one of the little islands to take a breather, get a drink, check my location on a chart, etc. I rode the tide back to my put in in about an hour. My only issue was that the boat wanted to turn and push me into the boating channel.

I decided on this paddle over the other location based on the wind coming from the south (I’d paddling into it and then let have it at my back on the return). And, I was able to time the tides so that they were a non-issue for the paddle south and I could get a free ride on my return. I wasn’t 100% sure about my planning on the tides, but it worked out perfectly. I can say that it would have been a long slog back if I had messed up and was paddling into the current.

All in all, it was a nice and uneventful paddle. Lots of curious fisherman and some nice beach goers at the “Castaway” campground (wherever that is!).

Oh, and the bugs were not an issue.
I paddled with long sleeves, put some bug juice on and used the sprayskirt - but, I didn’t even really see many bugs, much less be bothered by them.