Top 4 “Secret” Islands of the Chesapeake Bay

While writing my coastal adventure series of novels (which I informally refer to as the “shadow series”), I research a lot about the Chesapeake Bay. Consequently, I also learn a lot while writing. While searching secret islands (to use in my books), I stumbled on some places I already knew about from my time as a life-long resident of Maryland. I thought I’d share some of the islands I know and love, even though they are not totally “secret.”

Found between the mainland coasts of Maryland and Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula are some of the most beautiful islands worth a hop, skip, or ferry ride. Uncover the magic of the Chesapeake Bay on these four fantastic tiny islands. 

Solomons Island 

This island packs a punch into a small package. At just two square miles, the town is home to a winery, marina, restaurants, a marine museum, and boutiques. Don’t forget to take a stroll along Solomons Island’s weathered Riverwalk or a stop at the Tiki Bar for a refreshing cocktail.

Tangier Island

Those looking for a real escape should look no further than Tangier Island, a place where traffic jams, Wi-Fi, and crime are non-existent. This island is the “soft crab capital of the Chesapeake” and has many places to indulge in that moniker in the town’s quaint downtown: Fisherman’s Corner’s crispy fried crab bites and soft-crab sandwiches are top treats. Nearby, Four Brothers Crab House & Ice Cream Deck is a one-stop-shop for seafood, dessert, and gear rentals (such as bikes and crab pots) to enjoy some mid-day exploration on land and sea.

Smith Island

This island has a history that that dates back almost as far as the country’s original settlement in Jamestown. Somewhere along the way, it became the island that time forgot. Now, only 200 permanent residents call this island home, most descendants of generations of watermen. Getting crabs straight from the source is normal here. The Smith Island Crab Meat Co-Op offers fresh whole crabs, crab cakes, crab salad, and crabmeat by the pound. And let’s not forget the desserts: At Smith Island Baking Company, they serve Maryland’s official state dessert (an 8-layer, chocolate-frosted cake) by the enormous slice, and is aptly named Smith Island Cake.

Tilghman Island

This 3-mile bit of land keeps a quiet existence compared to its trendy neighbors to the north, which is why the residents love it. Things to-do include the Tilghman Watermen’s Museum and a handful of chill restaurants, but the real deal is out on the water. Take a day cruise on the oldest skipjack on the Chesapeake, the 19th-century Rebecca T. Ruark, or set sail with Chesapeake Lights Tours to learn about and visit old lighthouses on the bay.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual island tour of the Chesapeake Bay.

Until next time, I’ll be out on the water.