The Eastern Shore - South

 

(Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, Worcester counties)


The southern part of Maryland’s Eastern Shore is characterized by its predominately rural landscape which features farmland, pine forests, marshes and beaches. Population centers include Salisbury and Ocean City (particularly during summer months.) Numerous small streams and larger creeks can be found throughout the area. The Atlantic Ocean, Tangier Sound, Chincoteague and Sinexpuxent bays and the Nanticoke, Wicomico, Manokin, and Big Annemessex rivers are the major waterways in this area and support the majority of recreational boating activity.


  • Fishing Bay Water Trail

    Cover of Tilghman Island Water Trails

    (Dorchester County) (Existing)

    Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is the largest parcel of publicly owned tidal wetlands in Maryland. Situated adjacent to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the lower Eastern Shore, Fishing Bay’s 28,500 acres offer boaters and paddlers a remote wilderness experience. The WMA has a boat ramp, parking area and features miles of meandering creeks, marsh, secluded ponds and islands of loblolly pine. The Fishing Bay Water Trail was developed in 2001 by Maryland DNR and has two identified trails that total approximately 10 miles. Copies of the waterproof, tearproof map are free and can be obtained in person from DNR Boating Services office in Annapolis, at the Sailwinds Visitor Center at #2 Rose Hill Place in Cambridge, Maryland or by sending an e-mail request to lgutierrez@dnr.state.md.us with “Map Request - Fishing Bay” noted in the subject line and include your name, complete mailing address, email, and phone number. For more information on Fishing Bay WMA visit www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/publiclands/eastern/fishingbay.asp.


  • Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Paddling Trails

    Cover of Tilghman Island Water Trails

    (Dorchester County) (Existing)

    Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary for birds migrating along the critical migration highway called the Atlantic Flyway. Blackwater Refuge is located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, 12 miles south of Cambridge, and consists of over 25,000 acres of freshwater impoundments, brackish tidal wetlands, open fields, and mixed evergreen and deciduous forests. Blackwater is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Three marked canoe/kayak trails, totaling over 20 miles are available for paddling. Boats may be launched from designated areas only. Maps of the water trails can be purchased at the visitor center. For more information call 410-228-2677 or TDD/800-735-2258 or visit http://www.fws.gov/blackwater/.


  • Choptank and Tuckahoe River Guide
    (Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester counties) (Existing)(Developing)

    The Choptank and Tuckahoe River guide provides information for exploring the Choptank and Tuckahoe rivers from Greensboro and Hillsboro to the Preston area. This guide is produced by Old Harford Town Maritime Center in West Denton, Maryland and has a web page that features a trip planner, river trip fact sheets, and information on historic sites, accommodations and public landings. View an electronic copy of the maps atwww.riverheritage.org/Riverguide/index.html. Printed copies of this map are available at the Old Harford Town Maritime Center in West Denton, Maryland. For more information call 410-241-8661 or send an e-mail request to info@riverheritage.org. While not currently mapped, the area beyond the scope of this river guide, along the Lower Choptank River (Talbot and Dorchester counties), is being explored.


  • Janes Island Water Trails

    Cover of Janes Island Water Trails

    (Somerset County) (Existing)

    Janes Island State Park features approximately 2900 acres of marsh, beach, and high land. Most of the park’s waterways are protected from wind and current and provide ideal conditions for paddlers of all abilities. The Janes Island State Park Water Trail map features six different trails, all of which begin and end at the Janes Island Park Marina and boat launch. For more information contact Janes Island State Park at 410-968-1565 or send an e-mail inquiry to Park-Janes-Island@dnr.state.md.us. Copies of this waterproof map can be obtained for $3 at the Janes Island State Park office or by using the online order format.


  • Smith Island Water Trails

    Cover of Smith Island Water Trails

    (Somerset County) (Existing)

    Though best known as a waterman’s community, Smith Island is also a paddler’s paradise for day or overnight trips. The island is located 9 miles offshore from Crisfield, Maryland and can only be reached by boat. Ferries leave twice daily from Crisfield and will carry kayaks for a small fee. Meandering creeks run throughout the island’s 8000 acres of marsh and provide extensive paddling routes close to three island villages. The Smith Island Water Trails Paddler’s Guide details seven, marked, water trails, which vary in length from 1 to 4.4 miles, but there are also huge expanses of open water which offer endless opportunities for the experienced paddler. The open water routes are unmarked and local knowledge should be consulted before embarking. To get a copy of the Paddler’s Guide send an e-mail request to dlitedirector@comcast.net or visit www.dliteonline.net/.


    A NOTE ABOUT THE POCOMOKE RIVER - There are a multitude of long and short paddling trips on the Pocomoke River. Suitable for canoes and kayaks, the flat, tidal river provides a unique, close-up view of the cypress swamp for paddlers of all abilities. The tides in the Pocomoke River can sometimes exceed three feet and the currents can run as fast as two knots. Rowboats and canoes are available for rental in the park or in nearby Snow Hill.

  • Corker’s Creek Blackwater Canoe Trail
    (Worcester County) (Existing)

    Corker’s Creek is a tributary of the Pocomoke River that winds through the Pocomoke River State Forest. The Corker’s Creek Canoe Trail is a 2 mile self-guided canoe trail that is perfect for a short recreational paddle. The tranquil, flat water is perfect for novices and families. The entire route can be completed in less than two hours. This trail provides paddlers with the opportunity to experience the sites and sounds of the cypress swamp as they follow the edge of the Pocomoke River Wildland. The trail is ideal for viewing wildlife and flowering plants make the trip picturesque April through October. A laminated version of the Corker's Creek Canoe Trail Guide is available at the Pocomoke River State Park Office.

  • Bog Iron Water Trail

    Cover of Bog Iron Water Trails

    (Worcester County) (Existing)

    The Bog Iron Water Trail is an existing network of water trail routes along the Pocomoke River and Nassawango Creek. The route along the Pocomoke River runs between the town of Snow Hill and Shad Landing State Park. The route along Nassawango Creek runs from the canoe launch at Red House Road to the confluence of the Pocomoke River. A brochure with a small map is available from the Worcester County Department of Tourism. For more information visit www.visitworcester.org or call 1-800-852-0335 or send an e-mail inquiry to econ@ezy.net.

  • Nassawango Creek Canoe Trail
    (Worcester County) (Existing)

    The lower part of Nassawango Creek from Red House Road to the Pocomoke River is an easy paddle for canoeists or kayakers. Over 3000 acres along Nassawango Creek have been preserved by the Nature Conservancy, which makes this 2.5 mile route, bordered by Bald Cypress forests a beautiful one. For a shorter trip (1.5 miles) take out at Nassawango Road. For more information visit www.visitworcester.org or call 1-800-852-0335 or send an e-mail inquiry to econ@ezy.net.

  • Sinepuxent Bay Water Trail
    (Worcester County) (Existing)

    The Sinepuxent Bay Water Trails are existing routes that skirt the Assateague Island National Seashore on Chincoteague Bay. Two routes, the Old Ferry Landing Loop and the Bayside Loop can be accessed from launch sites off of Bayberry Road and Bayside Drive. Both routes circle Little Egging Island and provide opportunities too explore the marshes. For more information visit www.visitworcester.org or call 1-800-852-0335 or send an e-mail inquiry to econ@ezy.net.

  • E.A. Vaughn Kayak and Canoe Trail

    Cover of E.A. Vaughn Kayak and Canoe Trail

    (Worcester County) (Existing)

    The E.A. Vaughn Wildlife Management Area is located in southeastern Worcester County and features over 3500 acres of habitat for plants and animals that are native to the Delmarva Peninsula. The E.A. Vaughn Kayak and Canoe Trail was developed in 2005 through a partnership between Delmarva Low Impact Tourism Experiences (DLITE), Maryland DNR, The Coastal Bays Program, and Worcester County. Three paddling routes which range in length from 3 to 6 miles can be accessed from either Taylor’s Landing or George Island Landing. A primitive camping area is also available for overnight stays. For additional information, contact the Wellington Wildlife Office at (410) 543-8223. Copies of the Kayak and Canoe Trail map can be obtained by calling 1-800-852-0335 or 410-213-2297 or you can view a detailed version online at by visiting the following website

  • Assateague and Coastal Bays Water Trails Guide
    (Worcester County) (Developing)

    Maryland DNR is working in partnership with Worcester County, the Coastal Bays Program, the Town of Ocean City and Delmarva Low Impact Tourism Experiences (DLITE) to develop a network of water trails that utilize existing public landings and guide visitors across the waters of the Coastal Bays and over to Assateague Island seashore. Historic, cultural and tourist resources will also be featured in the guide. A water trails committee was formed in 2008 and has been working steadily to identify and map paddling routes and develop interpretive information for the area. This project is still in development and maps are not yet available. For more information send an e-mail inquiry to DLITE at dlitedirector@comcast.net.


Other products showing water access in this region include:

  • Birding in the Heart of Chesapeake Country: Trail Guide to Dorchester County

    Cover of Birding in the Heart of Chesapeake Country - Trail Guide to Dorchester County

    (Dorchester and Wicomico counties) (Existing)

    This publication was developed in 2005 through a partnership between Maryland DNR and the Dorchester County Tourism Department. Geared towards bird watching and wildlife viewing, it details five separate driving routes through Dorchester County that are excellent for viewing bird species. A large map shows public water access sites along with other sites where wildlife viewing is particularly good. Free copies of this map are available at the Sailwinds Visitor Center at #2 Rose Hill Place in Cambridge, Maryland, or contact them by phone at 1-800-522-TOUR. Click here to view or download an electronic version of the guide.

  • Nanticoke River: Explorer’s Welcome

    Cover of Nanticoke River Explorer

    (Dorchester and Wicomico counties) (Existing)

    This publication was developed in 2008 as a bi-state effort between Maryland and Delaware to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Captain John Smith’s explorations of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including the Nanticoke River. Two maps are featured, one showing present day public water access and information and another showing heritage and cultural resources along with some notations on Captain John Smith’s travels along the Nanticoke. Free copies of this map are available at the Sailwinds Visitor Center at #2 Rose Hill Place in Cambridge, Maryland or by sending an e-mail request to lgutierrez@dnr.state.md.us. Please put “map request – Nanticoke River” in the subject line and include your name, mailing address, and phone number.

Online Services


Chesapeake Bay Hotline

Call 1-877-224-7229
to report any of the following

  • Boating accident or reckless activity
  • Fish kill or algal bloom
  • Floating debris that poses a hazard to navigation
  • Illegal fishing activity
  • Public sewer leak or overflow
  • Oil or hazardous material spill
  • Critical area or wetlands violation
  • Suspicious or unusual activity