Things to Do and See
Smith Island is small and readily walkable, but golf carts seem to be the preferred mode of transportation for visitors and residents alike. You can rent a golf cart from the Bayside Inn. You will find the carts and bicycles available for rent around the back of the restaurant.
The passenger boats will let you off in Ewell, right next to the Bayside Inn restaurant. They offer a family-style luncheon, or you can order from the menu. They make a delicious crab cake sandwich. They also have Smith Island Cakes by the slice, or you can order a whole cake to take with you. Other dining options include getting take out at the Bayside Inn Carry Out shop to the rear of the restaurant (you can sit on a bench on the dock and watch the boats unloading), or the Deck at Rukes General Store where crab cakes, soft shell crabs, and more are served on a screened porch. Rukes is located across the street from the Smith Island Center.
The Smith Island Center is a must see for anyone visiting the island. Make this visitor center your first stop before exploring the rest of the island. You can pick up a walking tour map here to guide your island exploration. Be sure to take the time to sit and watch the short film that they show on the television screen just inside the front door. The film is very well done and offers a good view of what life is really like on Smith Island. The visitor center has a very nice display of Smith Island historical items, many on loan from Smith Island families.
The museum collection includes information about the history of the island, crabbing items (including a boat), skipjack models, displays about the roll of women on the island, and many interesting things about life on the island. Everything is laid out in very nice, professional quality museum displays. The benches on the large porch that surrounds the visitor center are a good place to relax.
Bayside Gifts is located between the Bayside Inn and the Smith Island Center. They have a large and varied selection of souvenirs, including a nice selection of local cookbooks. You will find a few other small shops selling antiques and souvenirs as you explore the streets of Ewell.
In Tylerton, you can see the ladies of the Smith Island Crabmeat Co-Op picking crabs and packing crabmeat. you can watch them working through an observation window, or for a small fee come into the picking area, ask questions and get a sample of crab meat. They sell crabmeat, crab cakes, crab salad, etc. You should call ahead to make sure they'll have what you're looking for available. More information.
You will find that you can see the museum and island with plenty of time to spare before it's time for your ferry to depart. Pick up a slice of cake or some ice cream at the Bayside Inn Carry Out shop or Rukes and sit on a porch and relax. Bayside Inn has a large porch in front, with chairs, and the visitor center is wrapped with a porch with shady benches. Sit back and enjoy the quiet in a place that is truly away from it all.
Kayakers will enjoy the winding waterways around Smith Island. The Captain Jason and Captain Jason II will carry your kayak to the island for a small fee. A Smith Island Water Trails Paddling Guide has been published and the waterproof guide is available at island shops, or you can view it online. It is recommended that paddlers keep to the marked water trails, as unmarked may be shallow and cause you to get stuck.
Be sure to wear sunscreen and bring some bug spray. The island winds often keep the bugs away, but there are some biting flies around.
Places to Eat
The Bayside Inn is a large, fairly modern, restaurant located right at the dock where the passenger ferries arrive in Ewell. They offer a family-style luncheon for groups and individuals or you can order off the menu. They also have Smith Island cake.
The Bayside Inn Carry Out and Ice Cream Shop is located on the back side of the restaurant. You can get take-out meals from here, including crab cake sandwiches. You can also get hand scooped ice cream, snow cones, or slices of Smith Island cake. There are a couple benches on the dock where you can enjoy your meal or treat.
Ruke's Store and Seafood Deck is located a few hundred feet from the ferry dock, across the street from the Smith Island Visitors Center in Ewell. They offer crab cakes, soft crabs and more on a screened in deck.
Drum Point Market is located in Tylerton. They have crab cakes and subs. They also carry groceries and convenience store items.
Places to Stay
Chesapeake Fishing Adventures. A hunting and fishing lodge located in Tylerton. A variety of fishing, hunting, and lodging packages are available.
Chesapeake Sunrise B&B. Located next to the Smith Island Marina. Breakfast included.
Fishermen's Rest Cottage. Rental house in Ewell. Sleeps seven. Pier for small boats. Has kayaks for rent and bicycles you can use.
The Inn of Silent Music. Located in Tylerton and open April 1st through November 1st. All rooms have a water view. A gourmet breakfast is included, and a local seafood dinner is also available. Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor
Pauline's House. Waterfront cottage for rent in Tylerton. 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and an equipped kitchen.
Smith Island Inn. A quaint B&B on historical Smith Island offering private suites with full baths, full gourmet breakfast, canoes, bicycles, birdwatching, and beautiful sunsets. Weekend Smith Island Cake demonstrations. Families, singles, and couples welcome.
Susan's on Smith Island Bed & Breakfast. A two bedroom rental with beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay. Enjoy a home cooked breakfast on the front porch.
Smith Island Article from Shore Life Magazine. Nice article about a visit to the island.