This article was originally written by Laura Scharle (Creator of Delmarva Trails & Waterways) for the Ocean Pines Courier newspaper.
In Worcester County, the vast majority of shorelines - aside from the ocean beach - are privately owned. If you don’t own a boat and you don’t live on the water, your options of finding public beaches and piers on Maryland's coast can be challenging. In order to swim, fish, crab, or just enjoy a waterfront view, you are limited to beaches and piers that are open to public visitation.
While some public piers are well known, like the Ocean City Fishing Pier off Wicomico Street, there are some that both visitors and locals may not know - some of the best, albeit limited, beaches and piers around the county.
In Ocean City, there are just four places to access the bayside. First, there are public fishing areas on 3rd and 9th Streets. The third street location is a free fishing area, designated by Maryland DNR. Moving up the coast, many people don’t know that this is a public fishing pier located behind the convention center. Park on 41st Street and walk on over. The water here is exceptionally shallow, but it’s still a great spot to bring the kids and maybe snag a crab or two.
The only other public pier on the bayside of Ocean City is located at Northside Park. The water there is pretty shallow, but it’s still a quiet, scenic location to enjoy the waterfront.
Just outside Ocean City is the Isle of Wight Nature Park, located at the traffic light of St. Martins Neck Road. This county park has a great pier on the Isle of Wight Bay and a tiny little beach on the west side facing Ocean Pines.
Speaking of Ocean Pines, all of the amenities in the community are open to the public, so it’s worth mentioning the few spots to access the water there. The Swim & Racquet Club boasts the only beach in the community, although it is quite small. Nearby in the neighborhood, there are two small piers located at the boat ramp behind White Horse Park, as well as Pintail Park (currently, the bulkheads and dock are under construction at Pintail).
Assateague State Park features a nice crabbing pier just before you cross the bridge onto the island. Entry fees apply at this location. On the island itself, the National Seashore has a few bayside access points at the end of Bayside Drive and at Old Ferry Landing.
Further on down the county there are some hidden gems that everyone deserves to know about. Heading down Route 113, you can take a slight detour down Marshall Creek Road which will dead end at a boat ramp. You don’t need a boat to use this spot though. There is a small crabbing pier and a few benches to relax on and take in the view.
Public Landing, located on Chincoteague Bay just east of Snow Hill is pretty incredible. This spot was an up-and-coming tourist town around the turn-of-the-century, complete with a boardwalk, rides, and hotels. Unfortunately, the area never fully recovered to its former glory after being hit by the hurricane of 1933. Today it has an awesome fishing pier and beach that are managed by the county.
If you head even further south to the tiny town of Stockton, you’ll find Taylor’s Landing which has a small pier for crabbing and fishing, along with a boat ramp.
To see a full map of all of the beaches and piers on the Delmarva Peninsula, visit our beach and pier locator map.