Solomons Island – How to Experience the Party

There’s not much at Solomons. But that’s what draws people. A lot of people.

The island is a major stop along the Chesapeake Bay summer boating circuit and a go-to spot for weekend parties.

The town of 2,400 swells to 10,000 on summer weekends and 15,000 on major holidays.

Why? Solomons Island is a place to just hang-out, on shore or privately on your boat.

Solomons Island is where people go to not be seen.

Anonymous Island Resident

Solomons Island is about 65 miles from Washington, DC, and about 80 miles from Baltimore, all along state highways. Mainly four-lane highways though.

About Solomon’s Island

The island is about two square miles in the shape of a burgee flag on a pole, with the pole connecting to the mainland and the burgee flying away from the Patuxent River toward the mainland. A one-and-quarter mile walk takes you around Solomons Island.

This is the tide box that connects the river to Back Creek and making Solomons an island. It lets the water change with the tide. A small bridge goes over the far side of the box.

It’s an island due to a canal cut through a narrow part of the land. That short canal, called the tide box, controls the water-flow and tidal currents in the harbor between the island and mainland.

The island’s main street, Solomon Island Road, is bordered by a boardwalk on the river side and shops, smaller restaurants & homes on the harbor side of the road.

Solomon Island boardwalk at sunrise

The ‘flag’ end of the island, where it widens, has a beautiful residential neighborhood and the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, doing research on how to keep the Chesapeake Bay healthy. It’s the oldest state-supported marine laboratory on the East Coast, part of the University of Maryland.

The Patuxent River flows along the west side of the island, on the boardwalk side, while Back Creek flows past the Eastern side. Marinas line that harbor side of Solomons Island. And at the end of the island, on the flag end, both water tributaries connect and swirl into the Chesapeake Bay.

Solomons Island harbor where most marinas are located

But back to that harbor. Solomons Island marinas have an estimated 800 boat slips around the island.

For those who drive in, the island has rentals and B&Bs.

Shopping is limited. You go to Solomons Island for the waterfront dining. There’s a lot of waterfront dining.

Solomons Island’s Big Bars

The island has three big bars — The Pier,  The Lighthouse and The Tiki Bar. In between are  several restaurants, a bit of shopping and very little parking.

The Pier (14575 Solomons Island Rd., Solomons, MD) is actually on a pier jutting into the Patuxent River. It’s an historic landmark offering panoramic views of the Patuxent River

The Lighthouse Restaurant & Dock Bar is on the harbor side of Solomons Island. It’s not really a lighthouse. However, it has a great view of the harbor, marinas and boats.

Tiki Bar Solomons (85 Charles Street, Solomons, MD) is across the street from the harbor. It’s not on the water, but has the main beach on Solomons Island. It’s an experience all by itself.

The Tiki Bar opened in the 1980s and became what may be the biggest tiki bar on the Chesapeake Bay, even though it’s across the road from the water.

The island’s population swells by thousands with the Tiki Bar’s annual opening and closing.

What To Do on Solomons Island

There are many other places to stop for a nosh or drink with beautiful views.

Solomons Island harbor view from Charles Street Brasserie (120 Charles Street, Solomons, MD)

Walk along Solomons Island Road and you’ll pass by smaller restaurants that are fun for a nosh or drink. Several have live music on the weekends.

This is also where most of the shops are located, mainly in converted homes.

And mixed among the shops, historic buildings.

Solomons Island also sponsors fun events around most major holidays.

Beach?

Solomons Island does not have a public beach. But locals have found a small sandy spot on the Putuxent River tucked by the parking lot; it can disappear with the tide and decisions by island officials.

Solomons Island waterside

There are a number of Western Shore beaches in state parks or other communities within driving distance. But be aware they fill early on the weekends.

University of Maryland Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

The Chesapeake Biological Laboratory is located on Solomons Island’s Back Creek, which is another beautiful water view.

The visitor center offers exhibits on the Chesapeake Bay watershed, oyster reefs and the research currently happening in the lab.

Check the website to find out when the visitors center is open.

Solomons Island Fishing

For those tired of hanging out, fishing is hugely popular.

There’s a boat ramp & fishing supplies under the Route 4 bridge crossing the Patuxent River.

If you don’t have a boat, you can rent one on Solomons Island.

There are also plenty of fishing charter boats there.

Certified Solomons Island captains offer world-class Striped Bass (rockfish) fishing plus great opportunities for Bluefish, Black Drum, Croaker, Flounder, Perch, Spanish Mackerel, Spot, Trout and more.

Bunky’s Charter Boats, which is also sort of a general store, can sell you fishing supplies.

Where to Stay on Solomons Island

There’s not a lot of lodging on Solomons Island, but there are some B&Bs.

Solomons Victorian Inn

You’ll find more motels and inns nearby on the mainland.

But Solomons Island also has a number of vacation home rentals. Find them on AirB&B, VRBO and other such websites.

Getting Around Solomons Island

The town has squeezed out all the parking it can along the boardwalk, with spots marked off everywhere possible, but it’s still not enough in the summer, especially on holiday weekends. Parking spots are marked off outside of town along the highway into town.

The best way to get around the island is to park and walk. Or ride a bike. The locals have developed the term “bar-cycles,” because cycling is the easiest way to get from marina to bar.

Cycling is a popular mode of transportation on Solomons Island. Parking is limited and many people come by boat. Bikes are available for rent.

Just Off the Island

Calvert Marine Museum

On the mainland within a long walk or short bike ride, is the Calvert Marine Museum with a big outdoor concert venue that attracts well-know musicians during the summer.

The museum is worth a couple hours to see a screw-pile lighthouse as it was when the lighthouse keeper lived there, watermen boats and live otters.

You’ll also learn the history of the region. Historic boats/schooners offer pubic rides from the museum’s harbor through the river and into the Chesapeake Bay.

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