Maryland's Eastern Shore has long been considered the finest duck- and goose-hunting region on the Atlantic Flyway, with hundreds of thousands of migratory game birds passing through. More than 20 local organizations conduct guided waterfowl hunts for Canada geese (2 weeks in Nov and mid-Dec to late Jan), ducks (late Nov to mid-Jan), and sea ducks (early Oct to mid-Jan). Some quail and pheasant hunting is also available. White-tailed and sika deer may be hunted September through December.
The Department of Natural Resources (tel. 877/620-8DNR ; www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide) publishes an annual guide with all hunting regulations, including bag limits, season dates, and licensing. Albright's Gun Shop, 36 E. Dover St., Easton (tel. 800/474-5502 or 410/820-8811; www.albrightsgunshop.com), can help plan any sort of hunting or fishing trip you have in mind, with or without guides.
Golfing the Eastern Shore
Lots of flat land, terrific water views, and beautiful weather make the Mid-Shore an up-and-coming golf destination.
The Hog Neck Golf Course, 10142 Old Cordova Rd., Easton (tel. 410/822-6079; www.hogneck.com), has been rated among the top 25 U.S. public courses by Golf Digest. This par-72, 18-hole course and par-32, 9-hole executive course is north of town, off Route 50. Rates are $57 Monday through Thursday, $67 Friday through Sunday, carts included.
The Easton Club, 28449 Clubhouse Dr., Easton (tel. 800/277-9800; www.eastonclub.com), has a par-72 course on Route 333 that's open to the public. Greens fees, including cart, are $64 on weekends and $54 on weekdays.
Harbourtowne Golf Resort, in St. Michaels (tel. 800/446-9066; www.harbourtowne.com), is a par-70 course designed by Pete Dye. Greens fees are $70 for Harbourtowne hotel guests and $85 for nonguests, including cart. Harbourtowne offers 1- and 2-night golf packages, too. Fees go down in winter.
Biking -- Rent a bike at St. Michael's Marina, 305 Mulberry St. (tel. 800/678-8980).
Boat Rides -- All this water, and you don't have your own boat? Not to worry: There are all kinds of ways to get on the water here. Take a ride on the H.M. Krentz (tel. 410/745-6080; www.oystercatcher.com), a skipjack that dredges oysters in winter and earns its keep with sailboat rides from April to October. It's docked by the maritime museum. Or perhaps you'd like a slightly more modern sailboat? The 41-foot 1926 gaff-rigged Selina II (tel. 410/726-9400; www.sailselina.com), captained by Iris Clarke, with room for just six passengers, offers more intimate 2-hour sails.
Go in air-conditioned comfort with Patriot Cruises, by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (tel. 410/745-3100; www.patriotcruises.com), which offers three 1-hour narrated cruises and one 90-minute cruise on a 65-foot tourist boat.
St. Michaels Harbor Tours & Water Taxi (tel. 410/924-2198), berthed at the foot of Mulberry Street, offers daily 25-minute tours in season, as well as water taxi service.
Rent a bike and take a long ride on flat, fairly quiet roads. Hop aboard a skipjack for a ride into history, or see what's biting from a fishing boat. Rent a kayak and poke around the many coves. Whatever you do, slow down.
Biking -- Get a bike or a motor scooter or moped (no motorcycle license required) from Tilghman Island Marina (tel. 410/886-2500; www.tilghmanmarina.com). Rent for an hour or a full day. (St. Michaels is a half-hour scooter ride away.)
Boating -- Tilghman Island Marina (tel. 410/886-2500; www.tilghmanmarina.com) offers kayaks, pontoon boats, skiffs with outboard motors, sailboats, and personal watercraft, as well as fishing and crabbing gear, by the hour, half-day, day, or week. Or sign up for the Poplar Island excursion: They'll tow your kayak to this small group of islands for a 4-hour expedition, box lunch included. Reservations are required for the Poplar Island excursion, and suggested for others. If you prefer others to drive, sign up for a pontoon cruise.
Look for the Tilghman Island Water Trail map, available at the Talbot County visitor center in Easton (tel. 410/770-8000; www.tourtalbot.org).
Cruising -- Captain Wade Murphy will take you on a 2-hour tour on his skipjack, the Rebecca T. Ruark (tel. 410/886-2176; www.skipjack.org), docked at Dogwood Harbor. As he sails the oldest working sailboat in the country, the captain talks about the history of his boat and tells tales about crabs and oysters.
Dockside Express (www.cruisinthebay.com), offers 1-hour harbor tours, crabbing cruises, and eco-tours.
The Lady Patty (tel. 410/745-8077; www.sailladypatty.com), a 45-foot ketch, docked at Knapps Narrows, sails the Choptank on 2-hour, half-day, or full-day trips.
Tour the Chesapeake Lights aboard the MV Sharp's Island, a former U.S. Navy special operations vessel. Take a 3-hour cruise and see three lighthouses up close, or spend the whole day and see 10 lighthouses (tel. 800/690-5080 or 410/886-2215; www.chesapeakelights.com).
Fishing & Crabbing -- Harrison's Sport Fishing Center (tel. 410/886-2121; www.chesapeakehouse.com), is the best known of the charters here. Captain Buddy Harrison has 20 charter boats and room for 1 or 100. Half-day charters are available April through December, as well as packages with breakfast and lunch or even overnight lodging. The Miss Kim (tel. 410/886-2176; www.skipjack.org), a Chesapeake Bay workboat, offers half-day crabbing for six people. Other charters are available at Knapp's Narrows Marina (tel. 410/886-2720; www.knappsnarrowsmarina.com) and Tilghman Island Marina (tel. 410/886-2500; www.tilghmanmarina.com).
Surrounded by all that water, you just might want to charter a boat yourself. Choptank Charters, 102 S. Morris St. (tel. 410/226-5000; www.tays.com), offers sailing yachts for 2 days to a week and a motor yacht for 5 to 7 days. Captains are extra. Rates begin at $1,000 for 2 days on a 34-foot Sabre.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.