There’s nothing like a vacation on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, especially if you come to Talbot County where you can see experience the bounty and beauty of nature, relax with great food and outdoor activities, all while reconnecting with the whole family. To help you, use this guide to plan a vacation that’s fun for everyone.
Take a Ride on the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry
By car, bike, or on foot, treat the family for a ride on the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, the nation’s oldest continually operating, private ferry route was established in 1683! Take the 15 minute trek across the Tred Avon River from Oxford and disembark in the little community of Bellevue with its petite beachhead and winding roads. Or ride from Bellevue to Oxford, the oldest town on the Eastern shore, and walk the tree lined streets to the Oxford Town Park.
Picnic in the Quaint Town of Oxford
Make your first stop the Oxford Market to pick up house-made, grab-n-go sandwiches and salads, beverages, and other provisions for a picnic at the Oxford Town Park beside the Tred Avon River. The kids can work off their energy on the swing set or investigate along the living shoreline, a sandy wading area where they will discover the native creatures that are a part of the ecosystem of the river. Then stop in the Oxford Social Café for a coffee or sweet treat.
Hot Tip: Small-batch, hand-crafted ice cream awaits at the Scottish Highland Creamery, just a short walk down Tilghman Street!
See Easton by Carriage Ride
Take the kids back to a forgotten pace of clopping hose hooves on the city streets and traveling with no windows! Climb aboard Easton Carriage Tours and hear colorful stories of the people, events, and places that helped build Easton into the city it is today. After the tour, get up close and personal with the horses! You can even bring the family dog along for the ride.
These Folks Make History Engaging
Talbot County museums touch on many subjects but have a common theme of teaching how the people of this area made a living from the water and the land.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels provides not only a stunning, up-close view of the Miles River but also a view into the importance of the Bay to sustaining the lives of both humans and wildlife with hands-on displays, interpretive events, water cruises, boat restoration workshops, and so much more. Make sure to grab a selfie at the giant watermen’s boots!
The Water’s Edge Museum in Oxford provides powerful insight through art, music, and stories into the lives of the “founding” Black families of the Eastern Shore. Be ready for a moving experience.
The Tilghman Watermen’s Museum on Tilghman Island chronicles the maritime traditions of the people of Tilghman Island and the unique way of life of the watermen who lived on the island. On your way back stop at the “Tilghman’s Pride” Mural on your right before crossing the Knapps Narrows Bridge.
The Wye Grist Mill & Museumin Wye Mills has been nearly continuously grinding grain since 1682, and provided flour for George Washington’s Continental Army! See the mill in action and learn how grain was made into the flour before the days of commercial factories. You can bring home a bag of flour for yourself!
Get Outside and Play!
Talbot County’s flat terrain and access to the Chesapeake Bay and its feeder rivers make it the perfect place for outdoor activities such as kayaking, cycling, and fishing. Whatever your preferred family activity, these outfitters are ready to help you enjoy your time on water and land. While you’re out, be on the lookout for blue herons, bald eagles, ospreys, and other species!
Shore Pedal & Paddle in St. Michaels is a full-service kayak, stand-up paddleboard and bike shop for rental or purchase, plus tours and instruction workshops are available.
Knapps Narrows Marina & Inn on Tilghman Island does it all. This full-service boat yard and inn also rents kayaks and paddleboards, plus trail maps to get you paddling in and around the Chesapeake Bay.
Easton Cycle and Sport is just off RT. 50 in Easton with bikes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and more to rent or buy.
Hot Tip: Stop in the Talbot County Visitor Center at 11 S. Harrison Street in Easton to pick up cycling and waterway trail maps!
Experience the Waterman Way of Life
Go Crabbing! Hop on the crab boat of Captain Wade Murphy and learn how to catch crabs straight from the Chesapeake Bay. The whole family will enjoy a morning out on the water and devouring the fruits of labor in the afternoon.
Catch the big one! Catch your own dinner with Chesapeake Lady II Fishing Charters and Screaming Eagle Charters. Whether your favorite is rockfish, bluefish, croaker, or other, these folks will set you up with the right gear to net a fish fit for the dinner table.
Hot Tip: We created a place full of all the incredible experiences to be had on the water in Talbot County!
There are Plenty of Ways to Stay
Block a week or more on your calendar then book a vacation rental home in Talbot County. Each home is unique and offers an opportunity for family bonding whether your needs are a pool, water access, or visiting one of the many seafood markets and teaching the kids how to cook a real Maryland crab feast. Only staying for a few days? Book a hotel or Inn with a pool or swim dock!
Find Hands-on Art Activities and Games
Give everyone’s creative side a workout with a new game or art class at one of these kid-centric hobby shops. Cracker Jacks keeps minds active with board games, building toys, science activities, and so much more. Or learn a new skill at Smartivities, giving classes on drawing, mosaics, collage, and other arts activities. Kiln Born Creations offers kids (and adults!) a chance to take home a piece of pottery they hand-painted themselves, or try their hand at glass fusing, or painting on canvas.
Get Back to Nature at a County or State Park
Talbot County abounds with county and state parks where you can find playgrounds, trails, wading areas, and places to get close to nature.
Kiddies can work off their energy on jungle gyms, swing sets, and slides at Idlewild Park in Easton, Hollis Park in St. Michaels (featuring a pirate ship play structure), or the Bellevue Community park (crossing point for the Oxford Ferry, sandy beach, picnic tables, and playground). The Claiborne beach provides a trail to a small beach and wading area.
Looking for a great hike to get close to nature? You can fish, bird watch, or catch site of a variety of mammals at the Bill Burton State Park, Wye Oak State Park, Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe, Oxford Conservation Park, St. Michaels Nature Trail, Pickering Creek Audubon Center.
Talbot County Restaurants are Ready for You and Your Family
The Talbot County restaurant scene is hoppin’ with plenty of delicious choices. Whether you’re looking for steamed crabs and seafood, outdoor or waterside dining, or ethnic fare, you can satisfy any palate at these family/group-ready dining spots. Or have a night in and order pizza for the crowd!
Check Out Our Ice Cream Guide!
Whether you happen to be in Easton, Oxford, or St. Michaels when your craving hits, there is an ice cream flavor waiting just for you. From old fashioned ice cream parlors to small-batch creameries, you can easily choose the right place that will make everyone in your party happy. See our quick guide to where you can fill a cone.
**Please call or check the websites of the businesses mentioned regarding hours, reservations, and/or COVID protocols. Some businesses are only open seasonally.