Along the boardwalk in downtown Norfolk. Photo: M. Ford Cochran
Big ships are the main attraction in the city of Norfolk and the nearby cities of Hampton, Portsmouth, and Newport News. The Naval Station in Norfolk offers tours of the base, but has discontinued ship tours. You'll find the tour center for the base at the end of Interstate 564. Following Hampton Boulevard to the south from the base will bring you to downtown Norfolk. There you will find Nauticus, a maritime-themed science center, and the sleek battleship USS Wisconsin (which is open to the public).
The only way to reach this charming island is by boat. Ferries depart from Point Lookout State Park on Maryland's Western Shore or from Crisfield on the Eastern Shore and run throughout the tourist season. Once ashore, you can explore the island easily by foot or via a rented bike or golf cart. During the summer months, be sure to sample softshell crabs, the island's main export, at one of the local eateries.
Crab pots stacked dockside in Ewell. Photo: Dan Sonnett
Hooper Strait Lighthouse, St. Michaels, Maryland. Photo: Dan Sonnett
St. Michaels is nestled on a thin strip of land west of the city of Easton. Following Route 301 or Route 50 from the northern Eastern Shore or Bay Bridge, continue on Route 50 to Route 322 (the Easton Bypass) then head west on Route 33. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum could easily occupy a day, but take some time to savor the quaint shops along Talbot Street. Then enjoy steamed crabs waterside while admiring the boats in the adjacent marinas.
The Bay Bridge is one of the world's longest and most scenic overwater structures. Kent Island's quiet parks offer waterfront views and its seafood restaurants are legendary. Routes 50 and 301 combine to cross the bridge and Route 18 runs parallel to the highway across the island. Terrapin Nature Area, located north of the highway on Route 18, has the best bridge view and miles of scenic nature trails.
Fishing in Matapeak State Park. Photo: Dan Sonnett
An oyster dredge awaits the start of the season. Photo: Dan Sonnett
The waterfront community of Rock Hall is home to a fleet of charter fishing boats and excellent seafood restaurants for fishermen and land-lovers alike. The flat country roadsa common feature of the Eastern Shorebetween Rock Hall and the city of Chestertown 13 miles (21 kilometers) to the northeast are ideal for bicyclists. From Chestertown, follow Route 20 until it ends in Rock Hall.