The Tiki Bar on Solomons Island was a well-known summer spot in southern Maryland, but with its closure and an uncertain future, is Solomons still worth visiting? Yes! The town on the Patuxent River still has lots to offer, and here’s how you can spend 24 hours around the island.
Southern Maryland’s wine industry has been growing lately, and one place to check out near Solomon’s is Perigeaux Vineyards & Winery. If you come on a Saturday, you might catch some live music or yoga, but at any time you’ll be able to taste the French-inspired wines (they specialize in red) and enjoy views of the vineyards from inside the small tasting room. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and you can bring your own picnic snacks if you like.
From the winery, drive into Solomons Island and grab lunch at The Lighthouse. The back deck is where you want to sit, and you’ll get great views of the harbor. Make sure to drink an Orange Crush if you want the real dockbar experience. Their menu is heavy on the seafood, but you can find salads and sandwiches, too.
Up the street from the Lighthouse is the Calvert Marine Museum. This museum explores all aspects of marine life, from the history and current lives of watermen of the Chesapeake Bay, the ancient history of the Calvert Cliffs and the fossils they hold, to the marine life that current lives in the area, including the three resident otters, stingrays, and jellyfish! Make sure you plan for plenty of time at the museum, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take a boat ride in the creek behind the museum
Take a walk down Solomons Island Road to the end of the island and take in the views of the Patuxent River. Solomons Island is also home to the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, an extension of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science. The CBL has a visitor center that is open to the public, where you can learn more about the work they are doing with marine ecosystems and healthy waterways.
Another great restaurant to check out is Kingfisher’s Seafood. The casual restaurant offers all your Chesapeake seafood classics, from crab cakes to rockfish to fried oysters, plus a raw bar menu, salmon, tuna, scallops. They have less outdoor seating than The Lighthouse, so it might be harder to sit right on the water, but the indoor dining areas still have harbor views.
Although the boardwalk is short, there’s nothing quite like getting a soft serve on a summer day and walking along the water as the sunsets. Cone Island Ice Cream Shop isn’t anything too special when it comes to soft serve, but it hits the spot.
When you stay on Solomons Island, you can opt for a cozy bed and breakfast right on the island, or you can stay in one of the many hotels in the area. Many are affordable and have great views of the water.
Enjoy a gourmet breakfast sandwich, a hand-crafted coffee and a great view at Lotus Kitchen. Owned by two local women and in a small house on the main drag on Solomons, the cafe and restaurant offers a great early morning view of the Patuxent river. Make sure to grab a famous slice of Key Lime Pie, either to eat there or to-go.
On your way out of town, you’d be sorry to miss Calvert Cliffs State Park. After a two-mile walk through what feels like an ancient forest where you might see a dinosaur, you’ll arrive at the chalky white cliffs along the Chesapeake Bay. The beach is a favorite spot for fossil hunters, and you’ll definitely find something cool, maybe even ancient shark’s teeth. The park provides spades and sifters for visitors to borrow, but the serious folks bring their own. You can also just sit and enjoy the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay if you’re not trying to work during your vacation.
Calvert Cliffs State Park, 10540 H G Trueman Rd, Lusby, MD, USA +1 301-743-7613