About 300 people live on Smith Island, a little island in the midst of the Chesapeake. The majority of island residents are employed as watermen who gather crabs, fish, oysters, and other species from the Bay for a livelihood. Smith Island is also well-known for its wonderful 9-layer Smith Island Cake, but we’ll get to that in a minute. If you are planning to use a Smith Island ferry to get here, continue to read. We will share more details with you on how to do it.
Getting to Smith Island in Smith Island Ferry
Smith Island can only be reached by water; to get there, you must take a ferry from Crisfield, Maryland. You essentially have to stay on the island for at least one night due to the boat timetable. Only one guaranteed ferry departs Crisfield and travels to Smith Island each day at precisely 12:30 p.m., and only one boat departs Smith Island and travels to Crisfield each day at 7:30 a.m. I found that spending a single day on the island was plenty, therefore I advise taking the 12:30 pm boat to Smith Island, staying the night there, and then catching the 7:30 am ferry back to Crisfield the next morning. This link will take you to information about ferries. Another link to ferry information is provided here.
Follow Route 413 to Crisfield, Maryland, to reach the Crisfield dock. You may get to the Crisfield City Dock by taking route 413 all the way to the finish. Parking is available at JP Tawes Lumber, which is the tan structure with the orange roof. In the front, there is a drop box where you must deposit an envelope with $3 every night.
Drive back to the pier after parking and search for the red boat, the captain Jason. The skipper only takes cash, and the ferry costs $20 per passenger one trip. Make sure you are on the boat by 12:30 PM STRAIGHT since he will be leaving! The boat voyage itself lasts for around 40 minutes, during which time you may see birds in the marsh. Additionally, I advise grabbing lunch in Crisfield before boarding the ship.
Where to stay in Smith Island
The Smith Island Inn and a few Airbnbs are among the locations to stay on the island. The Smith Island Inn also rents out “cottages,” which are really homes. We stayed at an Airbnb named Oysterman’s Pearl when I went to Smith Island. Smith Inn is presently in charge of running the home.
Ewell, Rhodes Point, and Tylerton are the three settlements on the island. Since Tylerton can only be reached by boat and Rhodes Point is located along a long, winding road, I advise staying at Ewell, the island’s major town. The majority of hotels and Airbnbs are a short drive or walk from the ferry pier. Look for a location with bicycles and boats. If your lodging does not come with bikes, you may rent bikes from a shop near to the pier.
Things to do on the island
Despite being tiny, the island is worth seeing! We effortlessly bicycled everywhere on the island thanks to the bikes provided by our Airbnb. What we did was this:
1. The Cultural Center of Smith Island
This little museum tells interesting tales about Smith Island’s culture and provides information about the island’s history. Since the museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm, I suggest beginning here. Discover the island’s history by going visiting the Smith Island Cultural Center.
We rode bikes on every road on the island, practically. A more distant portion of the island with more shanties and boat docks is Rhodes Point, so make sure you ride all the way out there. Bike through the water if the road is flooded. We rode bikes around Ewell as well.
On the island, many places to stay come with kayaks, so we went on our own for a fantastic sunset paddle. By kayaking, you may see the island from a new angle and get a closer look at the several taxi shanties that line its beach. The island just across from Smith Island is called Goat Island, and you can kayak all the way around it. You could even come across some real goats! It was lovely to see the sun set as we remained on the lake.
4. Go paddling at dusk.
Tours I didn’t undertake the boat trip around the island, but you can. A well-liked guide looked to be Tim Marshall.
5. Eat Cake
Eat at least one piece of Smith Island cake, please! Almost every restaurant on the island serves slices of cake, and getting one is simple. The cake comes in a variety of varieties, but the Devil’s Food taste we sampled at the Bayside Inn Restaurant was excellent. Smith Island cake is readily available on the island as well as on the mainland, where it is sold by Smith Island Baking Company.
Things to consider when you arrive in Smith Island
- Smith Island is a fascinating location. Observe the following crucial information:
- There are certain businesses on the island that only take cash, and there are no ATMs there. Before you go, get cash.
- There are instances when the eateries shut as early as 4 pm. Make sure you have a pan to eat supper in by checking a few hours before you leave.
- Take bug spray.
- You should bring your own food and toiletries since the island’s grocery shop isn’t very extensive.
Although Smith Island is tiny and easily accessible on foot, golf carts seem to be both tourists’ and locals’ favorite means of mobility. The Bayside Inn offers golf cart rentals. Around the restaurant’s rear is where you can find the rental carts and bicycles.
You may disembark from the passenger boats at Ewell adjacent to the Bayside Inn restaurant. A family-style meal is available, or you may purchase from the menu. They prepare a mouthwatering crab cake sandwich. Smith Island Cakes are also available there by the slice, or you may purchase a whole cake to take with you. Other eating alternatives include the Deck at Rukes General Store, which serves crab cakes, soft shell crabs, and other seafood on a screened porch, or ordering takeout at the Bayside Inn Carry Out store to the back of the restaurant (you can sit on a seat on the dock and watch the boats unload). The Smith Island Center is situated across the street from Rukes.
Anyone visiting the island should definitely stop by the Smith Island Center. Before seeing the remainder of the island, start by visiting this tourist center. A walking tour map that can help you navigate your island excursion is available here. Make sure to set aside some time to view the short film that is being shown on the TV just outside the main door. The movie is really well made and gives an excellent impression of life on Smith Island. Smith Island historical artifacts, many of which are on loan from Smith Island families, are beautifully displayed at the visitor center. Take a Smith Island ferry, and you will end up with securing the best possible experience in here.