A Visitor's Guide to Cambridge, Maryland

Choptank River Lighthouse, Cambridge
Choptank River Lighthouse, Cambridge. Rachel Cooper

Cambridge is a charming historic town on the Choptank River, a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Located in Dorchester County, Maryland, just 90 miles southeast of Washington DC, the waterfront community makes a great getaway destination for those who enjoy outdoor recreation and exploring small towns. The historic district features brick paved streets with parks, a marina, museums, and a lighthouse on the water. The area attracts nature lovers, birders, photographers, cyclists, and paddlers to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Over the past few years, Cambridge has been experiencing a renaissance, as old buildings are being renovated and returned to their former glory. One-of-a-kind shops, boutiques, and galleries, as well as a variety of new restaurants, have opened.

Getting to Downtown Cambridge

From Washington, DC, Virginia, Baltimore, and points west: Take Route 50 East, pass over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, continue on Route 50 for about 40 miles. After you cross the Choptank River Bridge, make the first right onto Maryland Avenue. Go about a half-mile, cross over a small drawbridge and continue straight where Maryland Avenue becomes Market Street. Turn Right on Spring Street. At the intersection of High Street, you are in the center of town. Take a Right on High Street and continue to the end of the street to reach Longwarf Park and the lighthouse. There is a parking lot next to the lighthouse and street parking throughout the town.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Design Pics/Natural Selection Tony Sweet/Getty Images

Major Attractions Near Cambridge

  • Choptank River Lighthouse - 10 High Street Cambridge, MD. The replica of a six-sided screw-pile lighthouse that guided mariners along the Choptank River for generations is open to the public for free, self-guided tours daily from mid-May through October.
  • Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center - 424 Race Street Cambridge, MD. The small museum highlights the life and stories of Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad heroine and Dorchester County native. She escaped slavery and returned to lead dozens of others to freedom. Open Tuesday through Saturday. Also pay a visit to the Harriet Tubman Underground Visitor Center at 4068 Golden Hill Road. It marks the entrance to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway. The visitor center offers exhibits, a film, restrooms, picnic facilities, and staff to offer further information and guidance to visit other sites along the byway.
  • Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge - Established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary for birds, Blackwater is located 12 miles south of Cambridge and consists of more than 25,000 acres of tidal wetlands, open fields, and deciduous forests. Visitors may bike, walk, or drive along the trails to view wildlife. There are three paddling trails, as well as hunting/fishing/crabbing opportunities.
  • Richardson Maritime Museum & Boatworks - Maryland Avenue & Hayward Street; Cambridge, MD. Founded in memory of a prominent local boatbuilder, the museum displays ship models and boatbuilding artifacts. The Ruark Boatworks Build-A-Boat Program gives student groups the opportunity to learn about maritime heritage while building their own boat and model.

Where to Eat and Dine

  • The Wine Bar & Shop - 414 Race Street. Wine Bar
  • Bistro Poplar - 535 Poplar Street. French
  • Canvasback Restaurant and Irish Pub - 420 Race Street. French, Italian, and Irish
  • Don Chuy Mexican Taqueria - 411 Academy Street. Mexican
  • Jimmie and Sooks - 527 Poplar Street. Raw Bar and Seafood
  • Portside Seafood Restaurant - 201 Trenton Street. Seafood
  • RAR Brewing Taproom - 504-506 Poplar Street (443) 225-5664. Brewpub
  • Snapper’s Waterfront Café - 112 Commerce Street. American and Seafood
  • Ava's Pizzeria - 534 Poplar Street. Pizza
  • Blackwater Bakery - 429 Race Street. Bakery
  • Carmela Cucina - 400 Academy Street. Italian
  • Cambridge House Bed & Breakfast - 112 High Street. American and Seafood

Hotels and Places to Stay