A road trip is the best way to gain a new perspective. Showcasing Maryland’s only coastal county, the Cape to Cape Scenic Byway runs 79 miles of local and state roads from the Atlantic Ocean to the back bays of Chincoteague, Sinepuxent, Assawoman, and Isle of Wight, to the Maryland/Virginia state line. Come discover natural beauty, historic towns, seaside havens, open fields, and vibrant communities along the route.
Set a relaxed pace and take time to stop and explore points of interest that range from well-known treasures to hidden gems. Stretch your legs at photo-worthy vistas, wildlife observation areas, cultural hubs, and don’t miss the seafood eateries, craft breweries, bakeries, or ice cream parlors for a taste of local flavor.
If driving from north to south, the Cape to Cape Scenic Byway begins in Ocean City, a resort community that’s been a popular destination for centuries. The state’s only beach community occupies a barrier island lapped by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Assawoman and Isle of Wight Bays on the other. Stroll 10 miles of pristine sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Walk or bike the famed three-mile Ocean City Boardwalk, an award-winning pedestrian thruway that’s open 24/7 for people-watching, shopping, miniature golf, amusement rides, and more including dozens upon dozens of restaurants serving fresh seafood and other local delights. The Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, located on the Boardwalk, celebrates local history and the Coast Guard with attention-grabbing exhibits. Go surfing, diving, or offshore fishing in the Atlantic or rent a paddle boat, stand-up paddleboard, or kayak to explore tranquil, shallow bay backwaters.
Just over the bridge from Ocean City explore untamed Assateague Island National Seashore, a 37-mile barrier island famed for its wild horses. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Sinepuxent Bay on the west, the 48,000-acre island boasts multiple habitats to explore by car, foot, bike, and boat. A two-mile drive route offers abundant opportunities to snap photos.
Across the Chincoteague Bay through rolling farmland, discover downtown Berlin. A National Register Historic District with dozens of structures on the National Register of Historic Places spanning two centuries of architecture, Berlin looks like a place where time has stood still. Pick up a free brochure and take an informative, self-guided walking tour. Or simply stroll along tree-lined streets popping into art galleries, boutique shops, and other local treasures that pique your interest. Savor a sweet treat, savory meal, hot or cold beverage at a local eatery, coffee shop, bakery, or brewery. From burgers to crab cakes, seared fresh catch to peach dumplings, ice cream to chowder, satisfy any craving. Rest on the spacious porch or front lawn at Berlin’s historic Atlantic Hotel overlooking Main Street. Its famous rocking chairs are made even more comfortable with personal fans in summer and electric blankets in winter.
South on Route 113, which follows an 18th-century post road corridor through agricultural fields, find the community of Snow Hill on the shores of the Pocomoke River. The downtown Historic District boasts architecture styles from Colonial to Art Deco now housing boutiques, antique shops, galleries, studios, restaurants, and museums including the Julia A. Purnell Museum that highlights Worcester County history. Beyond downtown, the Furnace Town Living Heritage Museum offers a peek at a 19th-century company town and a one-mile hiking loop through the Nassawango Cypress Swamp. Drive two miles down the road to the Pocomoke State Forest to hike through lowland swamp and upland forest while looking for native flora. Hop on a bike to explore Snow Hill on two wheels or climb into a kayak to paddle the Pocomoke River. Check several species off your birdwatching list at Hickory Point Cypress Swamp, the largest southern swamp system in Maryland, home to at least 14 threatened and endangered species.
Near the Maryland/Virginia state line along the banks of the Pocomoke River—the deepest river in the world for its width— Pocomoke City also boasts a historic downtown. Bask in the view at waterfront eateries, expand your mind at museums, and stock up on treasures at independent family-owned shops including a regionally-renowned bridal boutique, hardware store, mini spa, coffee house, and local art galleries. The historic theatre plays movies and stages productions. Museums include a one-room schoolhouse and the Delmarva Discovery Museum with immersive exhibits including a touch tank and nature trail. The Pocomoke River is home to the nation’s northernmost cypress groves and counts bald eagles, osprey, egrets, blue herons, and otters among its residents. The 1.5-mile downtown Nature Trail offers a peek at what makes the river special. For a closer look rent a boat, canoe, or kayak to paddle among the cypress.
The spectacular Cape to Cape Scenic Byway encompasses multiple habitats from the Atlantic Ocean to maritime forests, bays to sand dunes, the salt marsh to creeks and rivers. Bring your sense of adventure and don’t forget your camera!
Plan your escape to Worcester County, Maryland’s only coastal county, at www.beachandbeyond.org.