Maryland is home to majestic islands, most of which are easily accessible to everyone by simple bridges or short ferry rides. There’s far more to this state than the urban centres of Baltimore and Washington DC.  

    Offering a real escape from the city, Maryland's islands provide picturesque playgrounds for sunbathing, strolls along the shore, wildlife watching, fishing, and plenty more fun family activities and adventures. Here are some of the best Maryland islands to explore throughout the 'Free State'.

    1

    Solomons Island

    One of the most scenic locations in the whole of Maryland

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    Solomons Island is situated in an intriguing geographical location where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay, and it also happens to be one of the most scenic spots in the entire state. It's a great place for those wanting to escape into nature without losing access to quality amenities like boutiques and restaurants.

    Anyone looking for majestic views and stunning scenery will find a lot to love here, with local landmarks like the Drum Point Lighthouse and nearby Calvert Cliffs State Park offering beautiful backdrops for photo sessions and wildlife watching.

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    2

    Assateague Island

    A haven for nature lovers

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    Assateague Island is a veritable paradise for nature enthusiasts and animal lovers visiting Maryland. This 37-mile long barrier island actually crosses over the state line, belonging to both Maryland and Virginia, and is home to many herds of beautiful feral horses, as well as over 300 species of birds and many other animals too.

    Activities like kayaking and nature walks are popular here, and since the island is a National Park protected location, you won't have to worry about big buildings blocking the view or crowds of noisy tourists gathered at beachfront bars. It's a peaceful, pleasant place where you can feel at one with the natural world.

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    3

    Kent Island

    An exciting escape for history buffs

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    Kent Island is the biggest island in the Chesapeake Bay, and it's only a short drive from Annapolis, making it quite easily accessible if you’re travelling from Maryland. It's an interesting historic location, with Kent Island actually being the oldest English settlement in Maryland, first founded in 1631.

    Many of the islands' historic buildings have been lovingly preserved over the years, with must-see sites including the Cray House and Stevensville Train Depot. You'll also find some great beaches, outlet stores, and hiking trails to enjoy here.

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    4

    Tilghman Island

    A peaceful little place for some rest and relaxation

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    Tilghman Island sits in the Chesapeake Bay only a short drive out of Washington DC. A small and peaceful place, it appeals to those who want to get away from big city life for a little while and feel totally relaxed. Locals here enjoy a laid-back kind of life, and the island's traditional waterman's village is filled with friendly people.

    You can enjoy cruises, boat rides, and fishing trips here, or if you'd prefer to keep your feet firmly on dry land, you might like to visit the Tilghman Island Watermen's Museum or one of the island's many seafood eateries.

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    5

    St. Clement's Island

    A picturesque park in the Potomac River

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    St. Clement's Island is totally uninhabited, covered entirely by a publicly owned state park. The park is filled with interesting monuments and landmarks, like the Blackstone Lighthouse and a huge stone cross, erected back in 1934 in honour of the state's 300th anniversary, as well as a symbol of religious tolerance.

    You can only access St. Clement's Island by private boat or water taxi out of Cotton's Point, but once on the island, you can enjoy a range of fun family activities like hiking, walking, or fishing.

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    photo by David Broad (CC BY 3.0) modified

    6

    Cobb Island

    A quiet, secluded spot for couples

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    Cobb Island is about an hour's drive from DC and is one of the smallest islands in Maryland, connected to the mainland by a bridge. It's a quiet place, home to a post office, church, and communal green space called Fisherman's Field, as well as some restaurants and marinas.

    Due to its simplicity, there's not a lot to do on Cobb Island, but that's all part of its charm. Many couples are drawn here for the island's romantic, relaxing feel, and the local eateries are particularly impressive, serving up some first-rate, freshly caught seafood specialities.

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    photo by Famartin (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

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    Janes Island

    One of the best islands for families

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    Janes Island is situated on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, a short trip from Crisfield. It's filled with mile after mile of water trail and marshland, serving as a haven for local wildlife like crabs, fish, and seabirds.

    Nature lovers and families will enjoy roaming around the island and spotting the various animals all around them, and Jane's Island is a fine spot for crabbing and fishing too. In the island's state park, you'll also be able to find a campground if you'd like to spend the night, as well as some lovely picnic locations and a marina.

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    photo by Acroterion (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    Smith Island

    One of Maryland's true hidden gems

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    Smith Island sits right on the state border separating Maryland from Virginia. Visitors can easily access this island via ferry or on a smaller boat, and it's actually the only inhabited island in the whole of the Chesapeake Bay not to be connected to the mainland by a bridge or causeway.

    Be sure to try a slice of Smith Island cake before you head home and enjoy some of the freshly caught seafood at one of several highly rated restaurants on the island too. You can even try your own hand at fishing by renting a boat or heading out on a tour.

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    photo by Lee Cannon (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    9

    Hart-Miller Island

    For some of the most memorable views in all of Maryland

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    Hart-Miller Island is an uninhabited location comprising of about 1,100 acres of mostly pristine land, including a stunning 3,000-foot, golden sandy beach. The island is part of a large state park, that also incorporates Pleasure Island, and is only accessible by boat.

    You'll find several miles of hiking trails here, as well as lots of wildlife and some truly magical views, making it a good option for families looking for summer fun or couples heading off on peaceful, romantic strolls as the sun begins to go down.

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    photo by Rufous-crowned Sparrow (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    10

    Deal Island

    The ultimate Labor Day getaway

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    Deal Island sits on the Tangier Sound, stretching out for about 3 miles in length and offering easy access to the mainland by a bridge. The island is home to 3 distinct communities to discover and explore, with its harbour being one of the busiest and best spots to visit, letting you sit and watch the fisherman at work or watch the sun setting in the distance.

    Each year, Deal Island also hosts a special Skipjack Race celebration for Labor Day weekend, with oyster boat captains competing against one another. Simultaneously, the island hosts a huge 'yard sale' event, with all kinds of treasures up for grabs, so Labor Day is definitely the best time to stop by.

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    Khadija Bilal | Contributing Writer

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