heart of the chesapeake
Dorchester County Maryland – A Water Lover’s Paradise!
With over 1,700 miles of shoreline, two dozen public marinas and ramps, dozens of special events and races, and countless opportunities to cruise, sail, or paddle, Dorchester is the heart of Chesapeake country boating.
Our beautiful waterways are ideal for cruising, sailing and fishing the Bay and three major tributaries, the Choptank, Little Choptank and Nanticoke rivers. Overnight at a marina in Cambridge or trailer your boat to more than two dozen accessible – and FREE – public boat ramps. Or bring your kayak or SUP and explore our waterways.
Whether you’re a casual paddler, cruise lover, seasoned angler or shore-side stroller, picture yourself in Chesapeake Country and discover why “water moves us” – and will move you too!
Start at the Dorchester Visitors Center where our friendly guides and exhibits will inspire you to explore 400 years of maritime history. Stroll along our boardwalk at Sailwind’s Park past the Ruark Boat Works and over the Cambridge Creek drawbridge. Walk along historic High Street to the Choptank River Lighthouse and Skipjack Nathan Dorchester.
Enjoy the ride – but not the work! – when you climb aboard the riverboat Dorothy Meagan or Choptank River Queen for a cruise aboard a paddlewheeler. See the 2019 schedule of lunch, dinner, themed or crab feast cruises. For a little more wind in your hair, take a sail aboard an authentic Chesapeake Bay Skipjack, the Nathan of Dorchester.
Located on the beautiful Choptank River near the mouth of Cambridge Creek, the Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin is an ideal stop for boats large and small. With a maximum depth of 13 feet, they can berth boats from 20 to 200 feet. Public and private marinas in Dorchester include: River Marsh Marina (Hyatt Regency), Cambridge; P.L. Jones Boatyard & Marina, Fishing Creek; Rippon’s Harbor Marina, Hoopersville; Slaughter Creek Marina, Taylor’s Bridge Marina, East New Market; and the Vienna Municipal Marina.
Drop your line at the Bill Burton Fishing Pier in Cambridge or try your hand crabbing with a chicken neck. If you’d like to head into deeper water, cast for rockfish and perch or crab with a waterman. Consider booking a guided tour. Here are a few Dorchester’s boat captains ready to make your group or private charter a success: Sawyer Fishing Charters & Tours; Riverside Lodge; Stony Cove Charters; Gootee’s Marine; and O Dark 30 Charters.
If you’d prefer to trailer your boat here, Dorchester has more than two dozen free public boat ramps and launching points. Click here for a map of ramps and marinas.
Catch the wave of today’s biggest water sport! Learn to stand up paddleboard as you explore hidden coves or travel to waterfront restaurants. Ready for a different challenge? Practice your downward dog in one of Overboard Paddle & Fitness’s weekly SUP yoga classes. If a quiet paddle or birdwatching is more your speed, rent a kayak or SUP at our famous wildlife refuge from Blackwater Adventures.
Ready to explore our waterways on your own in a skiff, jet ski or sailboat? Dorchester’s longest serving river outfitter – Blackwater Adventures – is conveniently located at the River Marsh Marina at the Hyatt. Best of all, you don’t need to be a hotel guest to enjoy free parking and access to a great fleet of on-the-water water toys seven days a week, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Check out their second location at Blackwater NWR on Key Wallace Drive, Monday-Saturday to put in a kayak or SUP in this magnificent national wildlife treasure.
Need a fix? For routine service or unexpected repairs, call on one of Dorchester’s finest including: Blue Water Marine, Yacht Maintenance, P.L. Jones, Generation III, Danny’s Marine, Gootee’s Marine, or R&D Boat Supply.