Dock & Dine

Waterfront Restaurants Along the Chesapeake

September is arguably the best time to boat on the Bay, with steamy summer behind us. On these cooler evenings, plenty  of restaurants invite you to pull the boat right up and grab a meal.

Catch incredible views of the sunset and the Bay Bridge at Hemingway’s in Stevensville, Md. Try their Maryland vegetable crab soup, which took first prize at the Maryland Seafood Festival. “Our tiki bar and patio are casual,” says General Manager Stephanie Dudding. “Come off your boat and bring your pooch with you.

Up north in Havre de Grace, Md., at the mouth of the Susquehanna River is Coakley’s Pub, famous for its chicken wings—coated in your choice of seasoning from Old Bay to Sweet Thai Chili. It’s a short walk from the waterfront: dock at Havre de Grace Yacht Basin. If you need supplies for the boat, Coakley’s operates a packaged goods store selling ice, beer, wine, spirits, snacks and more.

Heading south, Pirate’s Cove Restaurant and Dock Bar on the West River in Galesville, Md. is the place to be on Wednesday evening to catch a glimpse of the sailboats competing in the Wednesday Night Races.

“We have open slips right at the Dock Bar and deck,” says co-owner Anthony Clarke. “If they’re full, the Dockmaster answers calls for approaching boats and will find the best slip on the main pier.” The restaurant also offers dining in the privacy of your boat. “You can order a meal or beverage and we will deliver it to your boat,” Clarke says. Try the award-winning crab cake.

Over in Tilghman, Md., Tickler’s at the Wylder Hotel serves up Chesapeake regional cuisine with classic French technique. “Our chefs put a focus on supporting local growers, harvesters and foragers,” says executive chef Jordan Llyod. On the menu is the Maryland crab dip-stuffed pretzel bun. Tickler’s has boat slips available and offers the option to stay in the adjacent Wylder Hotel overnight.

In Virginia, history buffs can pull up to The Deadrise in Hampton and eat on historic Fort Monroe — built in 1834 and the site of the first anti-submarine net installed during World War I. “People love our seafood burrito — stuffed with shrimp, scallops, rice and beans and finished with pico de gallo and creme fraiche,” says owner Joe Illes. “We have safe, sheltered docks for our diners with quick access to the restaurant.”

A short distance south, on Sunset Creek in Hampton, Va., you’ll find Surfrider Restaurant serving up seafood, steamers and casual cuisine including the Tommy Boy, a fried flounder filet topped with cheese and half a crabcake. In fact, you can visit Surfrider by boat at four different Hampton Roads locations: At Bluewater Yachting Center in Hampton, Whitehouse Cove Marina in Poquoson, Marina Shores in Virginia Beach, and, opening in September, at Bay Point Marina in Norfolk.

Don’t worry if you’re not arriving to these eateries by water. All will happily welcome you however you get there—by car, motorcycle and at Hemingway’s, even by helicopter. Just be sure to radio ahead. ⚓︎