All Things Kayaking

Janes Island Tour

On September 25th, 2019 we paddled one of our favorite Maryland State Parks: Janes Island near Crisfield, Maryland. Janes Island Island State Park is blessed by beautiful (and deserted) sandy beaches, plentiful shorebirds and lots of working fishing boats providing a flavor of Chesapeake Bay industry.

The State Park has a nice put in site with plenty of parking. We launched our kayaks at the put in and turned left paddling toward Crisfield.

Turning left from the State Park Marina and heading toward Crisfield
Coming into Crisfield
Rounding the point and heading west toward the Chesapeake Bay

Immediately we began to see some of our favorite Delmarva birds including bald eagles, double-crested cormorants, and egrets.

Bald Eagle in a tree near Crisfield
Silhouetted cormorants watching a working fishing boat

As we came out into the bay a fishing boat appeared to be net fishing. Watching the netting process was fascinating.

A commercial fishing boat casting nets out on the water

Rounding Janes Island and heading North we approached the remains of the old fertilizer plant. Destroyed by a fire in 1932 only the factory smokestack remains.

Chimney of fertilizer plant destroyed by fire in 1932

Just north of the fertilizer plant we put ashore to look around (waypoint 173 on the map below). Paddling a little further north we located a narrow spit of sand allowing us to pull our kayaks across into the Bay. This is the only way to paddle further along the shoreline as the inside gut we were in eventually dead ends. (See Waypoint 174 on the map below)

Coming ashore to explore
Concrete boxes near the old fertilizer plant
A line of shorebirds near the corner of the island
The portage beach that we used to cross to the other side of the island

As we rounded the corner of the island and paddled north we saw a number of brown pelicans.

Brown Pelicans in flight near Crisfield
Brown Pelicans and friends

The bad news is that it seems to take forever to paddle North along Janes Island to get to Flatcap Basin for the final leg back to the park. The good news is that this stretch of the island is studded with beautiful sandy beaches and lots of nice places to put ashore for a rest. Since you are out in the Bay proper it can get windy and you need to fight against whitecaps at times. We don’t recommend this stretch of the journey unless you are a strong paddler or it is a very calm day.

Eventually we came to the Flatcap Basin portage beach and pulled our kayaks to the east side for the paddle back to the park marina. A single gentleman was resting in a lounge chair on the beach enjoying the view. He told us he comes there often to get away from it all and enjoy the wonderful vistas. After launching on the east side inside the basin it is a straight shot east to get back to our starting point at the State Park launch ramp. Along the way we spotted an osprey

An osprey standing tall in Flatcap Basin
Returning to the State Park boat ramp

This trip was a delightful paddle on a brilliant sunny day. We highly recommend Janes Island for kayaking. If you are new to paddling stay on the inner tracks and don’t brave the outside route unless you are a strong paddler.

On this map we put in at waypoint 144 and paddled south toward Crisfield to begin a rectangular tour of the island.

Directions: Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/@38.0070242,-75.8417502,13.75z

Services: Restrooms at Marina, Camp store at Marina, full services in Crisfiel

For more Kayaking Delmarva blog posts visit our Blog Index.

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