- Located at the south end of the River Patuxent, about halfway between the C&D Canal and Norfolk/Portsmouth
- Founded as Bourne’s Island in 1680, it got its current name in 1870, thanks to Isaac Solomon’s oyster packing business.
- Home to one of Maryland’s largest charter fishing fleets.
What makes it unique
Situated at the foot of the Patuxent River, the tiny Solomon Island is teeming with boats of all brands and types, most moored in half a dozen first-class marinas and boatyards in its well-protected harbour. The Calvert Marine Museum is a kid-centric gem, its restaurants are well worth a visit, and you can’t help but unwind with the town’s laid-back, island vibe. The location in the middle of the bay makes it an ideal stopping point on your way north or south, and it’s also just an ideal stopping point in its own right.
Solomons is full of great marinas, but for space we’ll only highlight a few. Safe Harbor Zahnisers Marina is a Solomons classic, with good docks, 250 slips, boat berth, great location on Back Creek. In addition to all the usual amenities (wifi, bathhouse, swimming pool and on-site restaurant), they also know about service, which has earned them an impeccable reputation throughout the bay. Spring Cove Marina is also located on Back Creek, with 246 slides, a full-service yard, and all amenities, and it’s an easy walk from the marina to town and the Marine Museum. But what really sets it apart are the shaded picnic facilities by the river and a one-of-a-kind pool that comes with its own underwater music.
Calvert Marina is the largest in Solomons with over 400 open and covered slides as well as amenities including a swimming pool and cafe. There is no boatyard, but Washburn Boat Yard is right next door. It’s located on the opposite bank of Back Creek, so it requires a canoe trip or an Uber ride into town. But in exchange, you get plenty of room to walk – 70 dog-friendly acres. At the end of the peninsula you will find a statue of a young sailor, reminding visitors that during World War II this was the site of the country’s first amphibious training base. More than 67,000 officers and soldiers have passed through here.
On a boat
The mouth of the Patuxent River is wide and deep, although the channel narrows briefly between Drum Point and Fishing Point before opening again into a wide and deep bay. Patuxent River Naval Air Station is along the south shore, while Solomons Entrance is along the north. The river itself continues northwest under the 139-foot-high Johnson Bridge.
After passing red 4 from Drum Point you will find your choice of canals leading to Solomons Harbor. Both border a large area of shallow water (1-3 feet) known as the Flats. Both channels are marked and both have plenty of water (no less than 12 feet). The two meet at terminals 2 and 3.
Upon entering the harbor you will be confronted with a small island known as Molly’s Leg. Molly’s Leg is a kind of water ride. Like the apartments, there is plenty of water all around, so the choice is yours. Following him to the port, The Narrows leaves first. This is a short waterway that provides a back door to part of Solomons, including Tiki Bar and Harbor Island Marina, and Solomons Yachting Center further afield. The bulk of the city’s marinas are on the second spoke of the wheel, Back Creek. The final ray is Mill Creek, which has no public marinas, but instead half a dozen fine anchorages, including a couple on Mill Creek’s tributary, St. Johns Creek, which continues north past Mill Creek and jog east. .
Solomons is connected to the outside world by a small bridge the size of a bridge that connects SR 4 and St. Mary’s County via the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge, which, on the other hand, is a nice bridge that crosses the River Patuxent.
Stay down to earth
The Quality Inn/Beacon Marina and Solomons Inn Resort & Marina have their own docks and welcome transients whether you are staying at the hotel or not. They’re not luxurious, but each has comfortable rooms, a fitness center, a waterfront pool, and amenities: both are within easy walking or biking distance to the center. shopping on SR 4, home to West Marine, Port of Call Liquors, and a few other stores. .
Want atmosphere, breakfasts worthy of a brunch and even landing stages? The 1906 Queen Anne period Solomons Victorian Inn offers water views from almost every room and historic pedigree: it was the home of Clarence Davis, of the famed Solomons family of boat builders, MM Davis & His. One of the bedrooms is named after their Manitou, a graceful 53-foot yawl built in 1937 and sailed by John F. Kennedy when he was president.
Back Creek Inn, a 125 year old boatman’s house on the banks of Back Creek, has been a bed and breakfast for over 30 years. In addition to beautiful rooms, great views, and tall trees, the Inn has two boat ramps available for its overnight guests.
Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast is a Charleston colonial with a laid-back, southern beach vibe that feels right at home with Solomons. The hostel has four large bedrooms (two of which share a balcony facing the water) and a slipway for guests who come by boat.
Explore by water
As always, local boat ramps provide good entry points. In Solomons, you can also set up next to the town’s canoe dock and pumphouse, located behind the public rest area on Patuxent Street, across from the Solomons Boardwalk. There is more parking in the boardwalk area. Launching near the transitional docks at Calvert Marina is another option; check with the office first.
Once launched, grab your boat trailer, dinghy, kayak or SUP and meander through the Solomons waterways from The Narrows to Back Creek and take in the views from the water side. Feeling more adventurous? Cruise up Mill Creek to St. Johns Creek and Bow Cove, another lovely anchorage.
You didn’t bring a boat? You can rent a pontoon from Solomons Boat Rental, or a skiff or jetski from Bunky’s Charter Boats. Itching for a fishing trip? Bunky’s offers this too, as does Lucky Strike and many other companies.
Solomon Island is thin (only one wide road in places) and only a mile and a half long, making it both charming and fully walkable. At the north end of the island you will find the Calvert Marine Museum and to the south you will miss the road at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. Between the two you will find a succession of marinas as well as the promenade, shops, restaurants, a fishing pier and a few churches on the west side (Patuxent river). To the north of the island, along SR 4, you’ll find a few malls with a grocery store and drugstore, West Marine, a few restaurants, and a few hotels.
With a good pair of shoes or a bike (Patuxent Adventure Center offers rentals, as well as kayaks and SUPs), you can easily tour the island in a leisurely afternoon. Stroll the boardwalk and browse the shops across the street. Buy an ice cream at the stall on the promenade. Cast a fishing line into the water off the pier next to the boat ramp. Explore the lanes or sit at a picnic table along Back Creek and watch the scene go by.
The beautiful Calvert Marine Museum offers nature exhibits, boat trips on the Dee of St. Mary’s skipjack tuna and the Wm. B. Tennison buyer’s boat, and a roster of seasonal events includes big-name concerts at PNC Waterside Outdoor pavilion. (The 2022 musical program includes the Osbourne Brothers, of Deale, Md., and the Beach Boys.) Watch scientists work in the paleontology prep lab and enjoy watching the antics of the two most engaging river otters. that you will probably encounter. . You can also visit two lighthouses, Drum Point and Cove Point on site, just up the bay.
Ride a bike or taxi to the charming Annemarie Sculpture Gardens & Arts Center, which features a quarter-mile walking path featuring notable sculptures, many on loan from the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art. Or head inside where the Arts Building features rotating exhibits in a two-story gallery. The Studio School offers pottery classes if you want to create your own works of art.
The open-air Tiki Bar, famous for its wraparound bar, sand floor, giant Moai heads and general rowdiness, celebrated its 42nd opening weekend in April 2022. New owners Susan and Peter Bates keep the mai tais and the flowing live music. in the centuries-old tradition of the island.
The Pier is exactly that, jutting out into the Patuxent with fantastic views and a rich seafood menu. Back Creek marinas. Located on the mainland in Beacon Marina, Angler’s Seafood Bar & Grill is a casual local eatery that opens at 8 a.m. on weekends for breakfast. Bugeye Grill opened in 2019, quickly gaining fans for tasty food as well as views of the promenade and Johnson Bridge beyond.
Lotus Kitchen offers healthy yet hearty breakfasts and lunches; think toasted baguette breakfast sandwiches, quiches of the day and quinoa bowls. Bring one of Kim’s famous lime pies back to the boat. At CD Café, the food is fresh, local where possible, and expertly prepared with unexpected twists like pork pad thai or panko-crusted salmon. It is open for lunch and then again for dinner. There is often a wait. It’s worth it. Charles Street Brasserie offers small plates to share – mini barbecued duck burgers, crab in filo pastry – and dinner plates like imperial redfish, pasta with seafood or grilled rib eye. You can build a weekend around Sunday brunch, complete with piano jazz.