Although summer celebrations and vacations might look a little different this year, one thing is for sure: The bay is always a great escape for fun and leisure. And since docking and anchoring need a substantial amount of space, you can still practice safe social distancing while on the water. To learn more about the best places to visit on the Chesapeake, we sat down with the experts at MarineMax who shared safe boating practices, their favorite spots, and the best boats for recreational activities.
What are your top three places to visit in the bay?
St. Michael’s is one of our favorites. It’s a picturesque small coastal town. From local breweries, ice-cream shops, and antique shops, it is a great place to experience the eastern shore of Maryland. Annapolis is another wonderful place to visit where you can enjoy the history of Maryland and the Naval Academy. Plus with all the great bars and restaurants on Main Street, it’s definitely worth boating to the capital.
Another option is exploring all the rivers, inlets, and coves that make up the hundreds of miles of water in the Chesapeake. The Magothy is a great spot to anchor, swim, and take a slow cruise to Gibbson Island. A run through the Kent Narrows is great for sightseeing and taking in the beauty and nature of the local ecosystems. You can also make a day trip to the C&D canal with a stop in Chesapeake City to watch all the commercial vessels motor past.
What destinations have good restaurants doing waterside pickups?
You can call ahead for slip reservations to dock at Waterman’s Crab House in Rock Hall. Cuisine ranges from signature Maryland steam crabs to award-winning stuffed rockfish, jumbo lump crab cakes, and BBQ ribs. Plus, Annapolis is just a short boat ride away and you can dock at one of their many marinas to enjoy a day in the capital.
St. Michaels also boasts great restaurants. Docking is available at St. Michaels Marina, the St. Michaels Harbour Inn Marina, and Higgins Yacht Yard. Enjoy steamed crabs at The Crab Claw Restaurant or St. Michaels Crab & Steak House. Foxy’s, Harrison’s Harbour Lights, and Ava’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar are just a few of the restaurants with outdoor seating, great food, and cocktail offerings.
If you’re looking for a day trip with multiple destinations, you can visit Nick’s Fish House in Baltimore. Enjoy their seafood specials while sitting outside and take in the views of the harbor from their Port Covington location. After exploring the up-and-coming Port Covington area, venture to The Crazy Tuna Bar & Grille in Essex, which is just a 30-minute Back River boat ride away. Finish the day with cocktails and dockside pickup or enjoy their outdoor seating.
What are some of your most popular boats for these recreational purposes?
Our Scout 277 is a new model that we cannot keep in stock. It’s rugged performance with fantastic finishes is perfect for a day out fishing or a leisurely spin on the bay. The Sea Ray SLX 310 is a great size for the bay waters with room for the family and any gear for fun activities. The Galeon 485 offers the luxuries of home while out on the water. You can really leave life behind and just enjoy yourself on the open water with its great layout, fit, and finish—it’s truly a solid ride. Lastly, the Azimut 60 Fly has Italian style, inside and out, with all the bells and whistles a yacht has to offer. Enjoy your days on the water in luxury—and of course it has plenty of room for family and friends.
Are marinas still open for fuel and other services?
Marinas are open for business! They are taking extra precautions and are making sure to operate in a safe manner that adheres to the CDC guidelines. Boating offers fun activities while still being safe amid a pandemic, like distance from large groups and the ability to be outside in fresh air. Plus, they are great for family-oriented activities and relaxation.