Tilghman Island is located on the eastern shore of the upper Chesapeake Bay at the periphery of Maryland’s Bay Hundred Peninsula. The island is wedged between Eastern Bay, the Choptank River, and Harris Creek. Tilghman Island is a spectacular destination in its own right and this island is not to be missed for weekend boating getaways and cruising yachts.
The quiet community on Tilghman Island was originally settled in 1656. It is known for oysters, crabs, and the watermen who harvest them. At one time during the peak of the Tilghman Packing Company, the island boasted four villages, a boatbuilding industry, and many residential communities. Today, the island is a mixture of undisturbed countryside, small agriculture, and private homes. Tourists come to Tilghman for a taste of traditional Chesapeake culture, heritage, and beauty. The Tilghman Waterman Museum is a must-visit to learn more about the island and the people who settled it.
Tilghman is located just southeast of Poplar Island and is connected to the mainland by the Knapps Narrows Bascule Bridge. Along Knapps Narrows you will find several welcoming marinas, inns, and restaurants with dockage.
The western and southern sides of Tilghman Island are shallow and bordered by marsh. Small boats and shoal draft vessels can make use of Blackwalnut Cove on the south end of the island, off of the Choptank River. Here, a 3 foot dredged channel leads to a public pier and shallow protected cove. Vessels drawing less than 3 feet may be able to find an excellent gunk-hole anchorage here with protection from all directions but due south. The pier at the south end of Fairbanks provides shore access to stretch your legs or walk to town.
The eastern shore of the island is a bit more welcoming to Chesapeake boaters, though open to winds from the east. With prevailing westerly winds or in settled weather, shelter and a comfortable roadstead anchorage can be found tucked in near Dogwood Harbor. Here you will find several restaurants and welcoming marinas. Tuck in as close to shore as your draft will allow, where you will find good protection from the southwest through the northwest. For landside exploring, the public boat ramp at Dogwood Harbor provides shore access. The Country Store and the Waterman’s Museum are a quick walk up the main road from here.
For vessels with a fast dinghy, 3 miles north along Harris Creek and just off of Bald Eagle Point, you will find a popular and well-protected anchorage in Dun Cove. With great protection from south, west, and north, Dun Cove offers several forks to explore and 7-9 foot depths. Many more necks and creeks offer a variety of protection and scenery options to explore farther up Harris Creek.