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A Kayaking and Paddle Boarding Guide to the Eastern Shore

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts, offering breathtaking landscapes, serene waterways, and a plethora of adventure opportunities. For those seeking to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying thrilling water sports, kayaking and paddle boarding are the perfect choices. With an abundance of waterways and scenic spots to explore, including the Pocomoke River, Chincoteague Bay, Assateague Island, and the spectacle of Wallops Rocket Launches, this region promises unforgettable experiences. So grab your paddle and let's dive into the beauty of the Eastern Shore!

Pocomoke River: A Tranquil Escape

Nestled in Worcester County, the Pocomoke River is a picturesque waterway that winds through lush forests, offering paddlers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As you glide along the river's calm waters, you'll be immersed in the sights and sounds of nature. The river is known for its abundant wildlife, including bald eagles, herons, and even river otters. Marvel at the vibrant colors of the surrounding foliage, especially during the fall season when the Eastern Shore transforms into a breathtaking tapestry of reds, yellows, and oranges.

Looking for something a little less docile? If your looking for a little more action and friendly competition, check out the annual Return To Goat Island Race in Snow Hill, Maryland which features kayaking and paddle board races around the local Goat Island, an island in the Pocomoke river that is inhabited by a few friendly goats. If you missed the event this year, you can always put your kayak or paddle board in at Byrd Park and paddle around Goat Island at your leisure. Don't have your own kayak or board? No problem, the local Pocomoke River Canoe Company rents kayaks, paddle boards and canoes right on the river, they even have some beautiful wooden canoes in the shop The friendly staff can also bring you up river to Porters Crossing for a scenic tour down the river over 5 miles back to Snow Hill.

Photo: Paddlers race at the Return to Goat Island Annual Event.

Chincoteague Bay: A Playground for Water Sports Enthusiasts

Adjacent to the Pocomoke River, Chincoteague Bay is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. With its shallow waters, calm currents, and expansive stretches, it is an ideal spot for kayaking and paddle boarding. Launch your craft from one of the many public access points, and let the exploration begin. Paddle through marshes and channels, keeping an eye out for ospreys circling overhead and playful dolphins swimming alongside you. The bay also offers excellent fishing opportunities, so don't forget to pack your rod and reel if you fancy angling.

Assateague Island: A Pristine Paradise

No visit to the Eastern Shore is complete without a trip to Assateague Island. This barrier island, famous for its wild horses, boasts a unique blend of natural beauty and diverse ecosystems. Explore the island's waterways, where you can kayak or paddle board through the tranquil waters of Sinepuxent Bay, enjoying stunning views of the coastal dunes and vibrant salt marshes. Keep an eye out for the majestic wild horses grazing on the shoreline. As you traverse the island's water trails, you may also encounter playful bottlenose dolphins and graceful pelicans. There are kayak tours available through Assateague Explorer if you want a guide.

Wallops Rocket Launches: Witness the Extraordinary

For those with an interest in space exploration and the wonders of science, the Eastern Shore offers an extraordinary experience: witnessing rocket launches from the Wallops Flight Facility. Located on Wallops Island, this NASA facility hosts regular launches that captivate onlookers. Imagine paddling or boarding on the calm waters, glancing up to see a rocket ascending into the sky, leaving a trail of fire and smoke in its wake. It's an awe-inspiring sight that combines the beauty of nature with the wonders of human achievement. The video below from Jim Rapp and Maryland's Coast is a guide for launching your kayak to watch a launch. Here is a link to Wallops Launch schedule to help you plan your next adventure.

Safety Tips and Considerations

As you embark on your kayaking or paddle boarding adventure around the Eastern Shore, it's essential to prioritize safety. Here are a few tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  1. Check the weather conditions and tides before heading out. Avoid kayaking or paddle boarding during inclement weather or when strong currents are present.

  2. Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. Even if you're a confident swimmer, a PFD can be a lifesaver in case of an accident.

  3. Pack essentials such as sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a waterproof bag to protect your belongings.

  4. Stay hydrated

The Eastern Shore has so much to offer, we can't possibly cover it all, but we hope we have given some ideas and inspiration for your next outdoor adventure or relaxing day paddling down the river with nature. If you're planning a visit, consider staying with us here in Chanceford Hall Bed & Breakfast and adding the experience of staying in an 18th century Colonial Manor to your paddle adventure; we're just a couple blocks to the Pocomoke and central to Ocean City, Wallops and Assateague Island. Have a great paddling spot or event that we missed? Share it with us and our readers in the comments!

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