Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore offers up some great ways to enjoy the winter months! Get out of the house and make a weekend of it with these 10 ideas we rounded up for you. Remember that our hotels, resorts, and vacation homes have off-season rates now.

Cambridge Ice & Oyster Festival - Dorchester County, Maryland - Photo by Jill Jasuta

The Cambridge Ice & Oyster Festival happened Jan. 13.

1. Chill out at Eastern Shore-centric events.

There’s nothing like experiencing a place through its unique events, and Dorchester County has some great happenings this winter!

  • Open Dance starting Jan. 18. Kick up your heels at the Dorchester Center for the Arts on Thursday evenings with this new, free event that’s a little like open mic night – but this time for dance! For ages 17+.
  • National Outdoor Show, Feb. 23-24. Truly a slice of classic Dorchester County culture, the National Outdoor Show features world championship muskrat skinning, muskrat dishes on the menu, contests from turkey calling to log sawing, and much more celebrating the outdoors.
  • Eagle Festival, March 16. Dorchester County’s Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge – home to some 150 eagles during the winter – celebrates this regal bird with a family-friendly day of eagle prowls, close-up looks at birds of prey, nature-inspired crafts, and more.
Harriet Tubman Mural in Cambridge, MD | Visit Dorchester

“Take My Hand” mural by local artist Michael Rosato – at the Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center in Cambridge.

2. Take the Harriet Tubman road trip.

Harriet Tubman of Underground Railroad fame was born here in Dorchester County in 1822. Her life story is much more fascinating than you may have learned in a history textbook as a kid. Her bravery and selflessness will inspire you. Take the scenic road trip known as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, with more than 30 sites on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Look forward to the new murals at the Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center in Cambridge that capture the historic Bucktown General Store. The unveiling is tentatively set for sometime in February (details to be announced here).

Oysters at Cambridge Ice Fest

A few of Dorchester County’s wild oysters

3. Warm your belly with oysters and… muskrat?!

This time of year you have your choice of local oysters – both wild harvested and farmed. You’ll find oyster specials in many of our restaurants – oysters on the half shell,  fried oysters, oysters Rockefeller, oyster stew, and more!  Enjoy dine-in or carry-out; you can even take home oysters in the shell or already shucked direct from the harvester. There’s also an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet on the last Friday of the month at Suicide Bridge Restaurant that includes fresh-shucked oysters. LEARN MORE

This is also muskrat season – long a traditional dish here in Dorchester County. A handful of local restaurants, including Cindy’s Kitchen, River View at the Point (both in Cambridge) and Mom -n- Pop’s in Hurlock serve up occasional muskrat specials. You can also get a taste of muskrat at the National Outdoor Show Feb. 23-24. If you’re feeling ambitious, pick up some muskrat to cook yourself. Check with Choptank River Crab & Oyster Co. or Kool Ice & Seafood.

Winter Fun and Birding at Blackwater Refuge | Visit Dorchester

Birding and nature at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

4. See eagles soar.

Grab your binoculars and look to the skies, the waters, and the fields for views of bald eagles, tundra swans, ducks of many types, Canada geese, snow geese, great blue herons, and more this winter. One of the ultimate experiences is watching a flock of snow geese swirling and soaring – something that happens only in the winter around here. Drive, bike or walk Wildlife Drive at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, which hosts about 150 bald eagles during the winter. Or combine birding and Underground Railroad history through a Birding the Tubman Byway outing on Jan. 25, Feb. 27, or March 7.  Learn more and check out the Dorchester Birding Guide. Also, here are some tips for winter birding from the Chesapeake Bay Program.

 

Duck carver Ron Rue's workshop at Dorchester County Historical Society - Photo by Jill Jasuta

Duck carver Ron Rue’s re-created workshop at Dorchester County Historical Society

5. Step back in time.

Learn about Dorchester County and regional history at the  Dorchester County Historical Society and their museum campus. Step into an authentically built Native American longhouse at Handsell Historic Site in Vienna, where you can stroll the grounds and learn about three cultures that have lived and worked on the land over the centuries. Make exploring Dorchester history a treasure hunt for the family by taking our self-guided Passport Tour!

Hiking at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge - Dorchester County, MD

Hiking in Dorchester County.

6. Take a hike.

Explore one of Dorchester’s trails while the weather is cool and free of bugs. There are four walking trails at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Or try an off-the-beaten-path trail, such as the one at Robinson Neck Preserve on Taylors Island. MORE

 

Dorchester Women's Mural - Cambridge, MD - Photo Courtesy Bridget Cimino

Dorchester Women’s Mural – Cambridge, MD – Photo Courtesy Bridget Cimino

7. Wander the Chesapeake Mural Trail.

Dorchester County is now home to more than 20 murals! Experience the fun of getting to the next mural, and learn a bit about Dorchester County’s history while you’re at it. There’s also an audio guide that highlights the murals created by local (and nationally known) artist Michael Rosato. Learn more about the murals.

Fireplace at Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort - Cambridge, MD

Fireplace ready for s’mores at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort in Cambridge. Photo courtesy Hyatt Chesapeake.

8. Cozy up to a fireplace.

Sip on a cocktail by the huge, stately fireplaces in Michener’s Library at the Hyatt Chesapeake, or grab a s’mores kit to toast marshmallows at their outdoor fireplace. You can also warm up by one of several fireplaces at Suicide Bridge Restaurant.

Hunting

Dorchester County offers excellent deer and waterfowl hunting.

9. Go hunting.

Dorchester County is known for excellent waterfowl and deer hunting on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Here you’ll find adventure, challenge, and reward in hunting a range of ducks, snow geese, Canada geese, turkey, and deer (including the elusive sika deer). Arrange for a guide.

360Tour - Bucktown General Store - Bucktown, MD

Screenshot of 360 Tour at Bucktown General Store.

10. Explore from home.

If you prefer to settle in to your cozy armchair, here are some great virtual experiences of Dorchester County to inspire your in-person visit in warmer weather:

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