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Updated on November 1, 2014

The Delmarva Peninsula - Delaware, Maryland and Virginia

This page introduces the Delmarva Peninsula, which encompasses parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The Delmarva peninsula is a narrow strip of land that is isolated by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Chesapeake Bay to the west. This strip of land is occupied by Delaware, and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

The area is home to a mix of agriculture, aquaculture, commercial fishing, beach towns and retirement communities. Among the attractions are wildlife refuges, state parks, sea shores and towns such as Dover, Salisbury, Berlin, Ocean City, Chincoteague, Onancock and Cape Charles.


Delmarva Towns

Salisbury Maryland

Salisbury is the central town of the Delmarva Peninsula. The town was originally was built on the Wicomico River, and became an important shipping port. The river still plays an important role in the present day life of the city.

Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City, Maryland is primarily a tourist resort, with a population that swells from less than 10,000 winter residents to over 2 million in the summer months.The town is famous for its beaches, boardwalk, nightlife and fishing and other recreation.

Crisfield Maryland

Crisfield Maryland is a popular Chesapeake Bay port. The town is known for its seafood, festivals, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, hunting opportunities, state park and abundance of wildlife.

Smith Island

Smith Island is a small island in the Chesapeake Bay. The nearest mainland port is Crisfield and the 2 towns are closely linked in culture. The island is home to three small communities, Ewell, Tylerton and Rhodes Point. Shallow water and marshy areas surround the island. The submerged grasses surrounding the island are home to crabs, fish, birds and turtles.

Tangier Island

Tangier Island is a small but beautiful island in the Chesapeake bay. Shallow water and marshy areas surround the island. The grassbeds are home to countless young blue crabs which come to grow and shed. This fishery for shedder crabs, known as "peeler crabs" are a main source of income for watermen. The commercial crabbers of Tangier Island catch crabs by traps, nets or scrapes and then hold them in tanks until they molt. The resulting soft shelled crab is a valuable seafood delicacy.

Onancock Virginia

Onancock is a small and beautiful town n Virginia's eastern shore. The town is one of the oldest in the area and currently thriving. The community centers around Onancock Creek which goes thru the town.

The Chespeake Bay

the Chesapeake Bay the largest estuary in North America, dividing delmarva from the western shore.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed includes more than 400,000 acres of land and thousands of miles of open bay, rivers and streams, making the Chesapeake Bay the largest estuary in North America. The name "Chesapeake" is a Susquehanock word meaning "great shellfish bay."

The Chesapeake Bay begins in Pennsylvania, as a small part of the Susquehanna River. It passes thru Maryland and Virginia, emptying into the Atlantic near The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

The estuary is a vital breeding ground and sanctuary for thousands of fish, shellfish, reptiles, birds and mammals.

The Chesapeake Bay is famous for its crabs, oysters, and fish. Known for its importance as a major breeding ground for striped bass or "Rockfish", one of the most important sport and food fish of the USA east coast.

Delmarva Rivers

Major Delmarva rivers include the Choptank, Nanticoke, Wicomico and Pocomoke. Further down into Virginia are bayside creeks such as the Onancock, Occohannock, Pungoteague, Nassawadox and others. Virginia seaside waterways include Gargathy and Accomack creeks.

Many of these rivers feature a wide range of habitat from their upper reaches out to the bay. River explorers may see a wide range of plants, animals and fish on an excursion. Often species that are normally isolated occur together as the river waters a mix of fresh and saltwater environments are blended.

As these four rivers flow towards the bay, the environment changes. Cypress swamps give way to open marshes and saltwater species begin to be more common. This mid-section still holds good fishing for largemouth bass and other freshwater species, but here anglers may also cast lures and find that striped bass, perch, channel catfish or other species are among the day's catch.

The lower areas of these rivers can contain more saltwater and may hold trout, red drum, black drum, croakers, Norfolk spot, bluefish, striped bass, flounder, perch, eels, channel catfish and other fish. Fishing the lower reaches of the larger Eastern shore rivers can be very productive during certain periods of the year. Late winter and early spring give cool weather anglers opportunities to locate and fish dense schools of yellow and white perch that have congregated prior to spawning. Again the fall, fish such as rockfish and croaker school up to feed before leaving the rivers.

Four Maryland rivers, the Choptank, Nanticoke Wicomico and Pocomoke offer outstanding fishing for both freshwater and saltwater species. In the upper sections of these rivers, lily pads and other structure provide an ideal environment for freshwater species including largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, pickerel, gar, white perch, yellow perch, shiners, herring, shad and bullhead catfish. Fishing can be not only productive, but spontaneous as every cast holds potential for an unexpected species.

Delmarva Seafood

Delaware has both coastal waterfront and property along the Delaware Bay. This small state has landings of blue crabs, clams, oysters and fish.

Maryland has waterfronts with access to the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay and coastal bays. While Maryland's access to the Atlantic is limited to the port of Ocean City, its landings are important to the state. Top quality seafood passes thru the port including scallops, clams, crabs, lobsters, tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, swordfish, sharks, flounder, sea bass, monkfish, croaker, spot, striped bass and other species.

Virginia seafood is dominated by several important fisheries. From the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, commercial fishermen harvest blue crabs, oysters, striped bass, croakers, white perch, catfish and other species.

From the Atlantic, sea scallops are by far the most valuable catch for the Commonwealth with some of the catches being landed in Chincoteague Island.

In addition to wild caught seafood, Virginia is known for its clam and oyster aquaculture operations which produce year round harvests of top quality shellfish.

Assateague Island
Assateague Island

Delmarva Beaches

Delmarva is home to some of the nation's cleanest beaches. In 2013, only 4 percent of water samples from Delmarva beaches failed to meet EPA’s "Beach Action Value"” (BAV), a federal public health threshold used to assess water quality at American beaches, according to the 24th annual beach report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is sometimes referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. This 13 mile bridge has 2 tunnels and spans the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay from Kiptopeake Virginia to Virginia Beach Virginia.

Delmarva Festivals - Shows - Events



Art lovers enjoy watching images take shape on canvas in and around the bayside town of historic Cape Charles. Beach, bayside gazebo, vintage railroad cars, and Victorian architecture are some of the potential subjects. Later that evening have the opportunity to purchase some of the fresh creations right off the easels.

Contact the Stage Door Gallery at 757-331-3669,



Commercial fishing boats from all over the Chesapeake Bay will converge at the quaint Cape Charles Harbor for the blessing of a safe season and good harvest for local fishermen. Share the bounty of the Bay, the freshest seafood brought to the dock by local watermen. The celebration includes beer and award-winning Eastern Shore wine.

Contact Harbormaster Smitty Dize:757- 331-2357,,


Second Friday evening of each month April through December. Take an evening art stroll through this1680 harbor town on the second Friday evening of the month. Participating shops and galleries stay open late featuring local artists, demonstrations and specials, with dinning in international and eclectic eateries. Sponsored by the Onancock Business & Civic Association. For more information (757) 302-0388


Chincoteague Island

Flower, Home & Garden Show and 8th Annual Spring Arts &Craft Show rolled into one amazing show.... Shopping Galore for Flowers, Plants, Fine Arts, Unique Products for Home and Garden

Contact 757-336-0614 or 757-894-2334


Chincoteague Island

See how the salty legacy lives on with the decoy carving talents of over 100 regional and national carvers competing and selling their artisan wares. Event also includes an exciting auction and awards for best in show.

Contact 757-336-6161 or


The Second Saturday Art Stroll occurs at participating shops, galleries, museums and artists' studios throughout Chincoteague Island. 2nd Saturday of each month thru December participating galleries and shops open extended hours with special events. Call (757) 336-5653


With the Eastern Shore in full bloom it's a rare chance to explore exquisite private estates, historic homes and gardens. Requests for color brochures or tickets, as well as questions regarding bus tours,

local information or other concerns, may be directed to Mary Hamilton Stuart at (757) 678-7889. Tour chairmen may be reached as follows: Kate Jacob at (757) 787-1514 or Katty Mears at (757) 678-5755.


An annual small town shindig following the Garden Week Tour. Feast on the Eastern Shore's version of a delicious Low Country Shrimp Boil on the grounds of the Cape Charles History Museum. Explore the latest displays and enjoy a silent auction. Local Blue Grass Music.

Contact 757-331-1008.



Historic Palace Theatre, Cape Charles, VA

One of Virginia's outstanding trios performs traditional and new country, blues, swing, bluegrass and folk.

Contact Arts Enter 757-331-2787.


The mother of all seafood feasts! Savor oysters, clams and fresh fish deliciously served Eastern Shore-style, a friendly all-you-can-eat treat at scenic Tom's Cove Campground, Chincoteague Island, VA

Contact Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce 757-787-2460 or


The perfect time of year to explore the wild isle with guided walks for birders of all ages along with family activities and workshops. All at the nation's second most popular refuge, a true coastal treasure-Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Contact 757-336-6122,


Anglers from New York to Alabama, and as far west as West Virginia and Ohio find fishing heaven at the luxurious Bay Creek Resort & Club in Cape Charles. Enjoy world-class black drum fishing Saturday and Sunday with cash prizes.

Contact Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce 757-787-2460 or


It's a down-on-the-farm good time at a beautiful vintage bay side farm. Literally pig-out on smoked pork B-B-Q with all the fixings, enjoy hayrides, antique farm equipment displays and local music. Relish a place where family farms are still part of the American fiber. Cherry Grove Farm, Eastville.

Contact Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore 757-678-7157 or,


The Blessing of the Fleet is a revered Island tradition held at the Robert Reed Waterfront Park. Local ministers give blessings to protect the watermen from harm and ensure a good fishing season. The finale is a boat parade with private as well as commercial fishing boats joining in the celebration.

Contact Captain Mike Handforth 757-336-6861.



A unique and grand affair alfresco alongside the Chesapeake Bay. Champagne dinner, dancing under the stars with live music. One of the Eastern Shore's most elegant affairs.

Contact Arts Enter 757- 331-ARTS


An authentic old fashioned Southern carnival with rides, the Miss Wachapreague contest, funnel cakes and the Shore's famous clam fritters. Live family friendly entertainment. Wednesdays-Saturdays.



Rides, fun, and food at this nostalgic carnival that is sure to make family memories. The Fireman's Carnival leads up to the world famous Pony Swim and Auction always held on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. The event brings small town fireworks at its best.

Contact: Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, 757-336-6161,,


Blue is bliss, with fresh blueberries in every yummy creation possible. Over 115 crafters & artisans welcome you to shop and enjoy the Eastern Shore's largest fine arts & craft event.

Contact Chincoteague Center, 757-336-0614,


A beloved island and Eastern Shore tradition from the thrill of watching saltwater cowboys herd ponies across the waters to Chincoteague to the excitement of the pony auction. Watch the book and movie event of Misty of Chincoteague come alive.

Contact Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, 757-336-6161,, www.



Generations old Shore tradition is showcased as carvers display their work on Chincoteague Island.

Contact Cinda Walls 410-546-1635.


Art lovers enjoy watching images take shape on canvas in and around the bayside town of historic Cape Charles. Later that evening have the opportunity to purchase some of the fresh creations right off the easels at an evening exhibit in the Historic Palace Theatre.

Contact Stage Door Gallery 757-331-3669,


This two day event attracts nearly 50 professional artists who come to paint outdoors using the beautiful islands of Chincoteague and Assateague as their subjects. Visitors are able to watch the artists at work as they use their unique talent to capture scenes quickly before the movement of sun and clouds change the landscape. The art event culminates with a Saturday evening reception, exhibit and sale of the artists' work. 757-336-5636

Contact: Chincoteague Cultural Alliance 757-336-5636 or


Come to this 1680 wharf town for an annual family fun event. Food, contests, music, small boat races, critter parade, bake-off, and a rubber duck race are held.

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