Destinations » Bays
Besides providing essential water filtration and wildlife habitats, tidal salt marshes and bays have a rich supply of things to see and do. Whether you are interested in birds, fishing, crabbing, wind surfing or setting out in a canoe, you won't want to miss all that these preserves and parks have to offer. Many offer boat ramps, trails and amenities like bathrooms and fresh water. The links below are to places with public access. There are also many public boat ramps that can be found on any road map. Be sure to click on locations of interest and check local sites for more specific information.
Port Mahon Preserve: This area on the Delaware Bay includes Bombay Hook and the Little Creek State Wildlife Area with tidal marshland, coastal dunes and beaches; and it is a great place for shorebird enthusiasts.
Beach Plum Island Nature Preserve: North of Lewes, this park is a satellite of Cape Henlopen State Park.
Delaware Seashore State Park: Six miles of ocean and bay shoreline includes Indian River Inlet and Thompson's Island Preserve.
Holts Landing State Park: Also part of Delaware State Park, this has unique pier just for crabbing.
Elk Neck State Park: Trails, camping and handicap access are all features of this state park at the northernmost reaches of the Chesapeake Bay.
Sassafras River NRMA: This refuge has views of bayside bluffs and cliffs, and eagle nesting grounds.
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is located at the confluence of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay and is known to be a home to the endangered fox squirrel.
Wye Island NRMA: Six miles of trails and thirty miles of shoreline are features of this land, part of which was once owned by the third governor of Maryland and signer of the Declaration of Independence William Paca.
Black Water National Wildlife Refuge: The Black Water Refuge is one of the largest and most well known wildlife reserve on the Shore. Home to bald eagles, peregrine falcons, osprey and a host of waterfowl - it is must for any birder.
Deal Island Wildlife Management Area: Waterfowl abound here including the rare duck known as the European widgeon.
South Marsh Island Management Area: Once a hiding place for pirates, this island, which is five miles across Tangier Sound is home to peregrine falcon nesting and other wetland natives.
Fairmount Wildlife Management Area: Home to waterfowl, marsh and shore birds, this management area also has trails for hikers and all terrain bicycles.
Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (formerly Horsehead Wetlands Center): Trails take you to a variety of ponds recreated to represent different habitats from around the world. Also be sure and visit the aviary.
Janes Island State Park: Once home to the Native American Annemessex Nation, this park offers camping and cabins. Some areas are only accessible by boat.
Ellis Bay Wildlife Management Area: The waterfowl and shore birds can best seen by boat in this area, which can be found in Wicomico County.
Cedar Island Wildlife Management Area: Near Crisfield, on the Tangier sound, Cedar Island is a nesting area for the once threatened black duck.
Taylor's Island: Best seen during winter, when the insect population has diminished, Taylor's Island is a classic example of Chesapeake Bay tidal marshland. Accessible by boat it is used mostly by hunters and the most hearty wildlife enthusiasts in search waterfowl, shorebirds, whitetail and sika deer.
Pocomoke Sound Wildlife Management Area: This tidal marsh is a great place to see the glossy ibis, a variety of waterfowl and nesting barn owls.
Isle Of Wight Wildlife Management Area: This area between the two bridges on Route 90 includes a boat ramp and wonderful views of Ocean City. Recent efforts to clean and improve this area will make it a place to watch.
Assateague National Park (Maryland Entrance): The National Park provides a water trail here on the bayside of the island.
Sinepuxent Bay Wildlife Management Area: Herron and Skimmer Islands are accessible by boat from public ramps in Ocean City, and ost wonderful opportunities to see nesting marine birds.
Tom's Cove: The bayside of the southern most reaches of Assateague National Seashore in Chincoteague, Virginia, is an excellent place to experience the wildlife that make the barrier island their home.
Kiptopeke State Park: The raptor research area here is know nationally and a must see for any enthusiast of birds of prey.
Eastern Shore Of Virginia & Fisherman's Island National Wildlife Refuge: Every fall you can see the amazing invasion of migratory birds and butterflies making their annual stop here.
Wreck Island Natural Area Preserve: Great for surf fishing and birding, but closed during prime nesting season, this island is only accessible by boat and open to the public from September 1st to April 14th.