Smith Island vs. Tangier Island: Which Do You Visit?

Smith Island, Maryland, and Tangier Island, Virginia, can be reached only by boat. They’re about 10 miles from the mainland. Those islands have sustained generations of families starting in Colonial days, and they’ve developed a unique way of living.

Islanders on both make their living by crabbing and oystering from the Chesapeake Bay, but they supplement their livelihood with limited tourism.

The islands are being consumed by the rising Chesapeake Bay which is washing away that lifestyle, albeit slowly. Visit sooner rather than later.

Passenger ferries (no cars allowed) for both islands leave Crisfield, Maryland, at the same time, 12:30pm.

So, how to you chose?

Smith Island

Tangier Island

In Maryland

About one hour ferry-ride

9.6 miles from Crisfield

In Virginia

About one-and-a-half hour ferry-ride

13.3 miles from Crisfield

Approx. 2.5 hours to explore

Approx. 2 hours to explore

You can arrange longer day-trips through shuttle/cargo boats that load on Crisfield City dock. They also leave at 12:30pm.

Three villages, only two are on the same island, Ewell & Rhodes Point. Tylerton requires a different boat from Crisfield or a second ferry crossing.

One village, Tangier

Restaurants & some shops located in Ewell, unless you’re able to get to Tylerton

Restaurants & some shops located in Tangier

No beach…

unless you stay longer and kayak to a not-walkable location

Beautiful, white-sand beach…

but not much time for laying on the beach if seeing other island sites on a day trip

Tangier Island Beach
Tangier Island public beach

Smith Island cakes made on the island

Seven-layer cakes made on the island, which are similar to Smith Island cakes

Smith Island chocolate cake
Cake by Smith Island Bakery on Smith Island

Main village, Ewell, is smaller and easier to walk about

Tangier is bigger and there’s more area to explore around the village

Smith Island Cultural Center

Smith Island Cultural Center

Tangier History Museum

Ferries from Crisfield, MD, & Point Lookout, MD

Wednesday through Sunday, June-October

Approx. $30 for adults, with a couple bucks more for bicycles

Ferries from Crisfield, MD, Reedville, VA, & Onancock, VA

Wednesdays & Friday through Sunday, June-October

Approx. $30 for adults, with a few bucks more for bicycles

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