10 Best Crab Shacks on the Chesapeake Bay
Bubba's Seafood Restaurant & Crab House, Virginia Beach, VA
This Virginia Beach mainstay is both a prime parking spot for sunset admirers and a go-to source for fresh and local seafood. In season, you can snag a dozen Old Bay-dusted jimmies (steamed male blue crabs) at a reasonable price. Year-round, try the she crab soup—a local favorite—or the meat-stuffed crab cake sandwich.
Cockrell's Creek Seafood & Deli, Reedville, VA
This no-frills seafood market in Reedville, Virginia, offers lunch-only dining with prime outdoor waterfront seating, where you can watch as crabbers unload the day’s catch onto the docks. Fried soft-shell and crab cakes are the specialties, though the deli also offers oysters, scallops, shrimp and local fish, mostly in fried form.
Fisherman's Crab Deck, Grasonville, MD
Dining alfresco on the Fisherman’s Inn & Crab Deck in Grasonville, Maryland, is about as close as you can get to crackin’ crabs with friends in your backyard. Here, crabs are delivered by the tray full and dumped out onto paper-lined picnic tables, accompanied by wooden mallets and sides of warm, greasy butter.
Harris Crab House & Seafood Restaurant, Grasonville, MD
A longtime family-owned outpost on Kent Island, Harris Crab House offers a casual spot to park at picnic tables and chow down on fresh-from-the-dock seafood in paper-lined baskets. Locals love the place for its imperial-stuffed, broiled soft-shells and all-you-can-eat crab feast (weekdays only), which comes with Old Bay-caked steamed crabs, corn-on-the-cob, and doughy hush puppies.
Jimmy Cantler's Riverside Inn, Annapolis, MD
You know a place is good when its list of loyal local customers is a mile long. That’s the case with Cantler’s, an Annapolis, Maryland, crab joint founded by a former Chesapeake Bay waterman. The restaurant serves jumbo steamed hard-shell crabs dusted liberally with J.O. Spice on their back deck, where the regulars pull up in boats and wait for tables while sipping from canned beers.
Kentmorr Restaurant, Stevensville, MD
The scene at Kentmorr Restaurant in Stevensville, Maryland, is more tropical beach bar than it is salty crab shack—a tiki bar, pirate flag, and hammocks overlook the sandy beach just steps away. But the food is quintessential Chesapeake Bay. Maryland favorites such as crab imperial and cream of crab soup are on the menu, as are wild cards like their famous crab pretzel, a soft pretzel topped with homemade jumbo lump crab dip and cheddar cheese.
Ocean Odyssey, Cambridge, MD
What started as a third-generation-run crab processing plant has grown into a trendy community gathering spot complete with an open-air crab-and-beer garden (aka heaven on earth). Park at a picnic table and order craft beers in frosty mugs, a plate of local oysters (float-grown right down the street), and the Bay on a Bun, a whopper of a sandwich that overflows with fried fish, soft-shell crab, and oysters.
The Point Crab House & Grill, Arnold, MD
It might take a GPS to find this Arnold, Maryland, hangout, but the payoff is worth it. Indulge in five-star food (like sherry-spiked cream of crab soup or baked lump crab dip in a house-made brioche bread bowl) in a setting that feels open-air year-round, thanks to the surrounding retractable glass doors.
The Red Roost Crabhouse & Restaurant, Whitehaven, MD
The menu at the Red Roost—located in a former chicken house on the Delmarva Peninsula in Whitehaven, Maryland—is made for big appetites. Their unlikely trifecta of specialties—fried chicken, barbecue, and steamed crabs—can be ordered individually or all together in a customizable, monster of an all-you-can-eat package—served with each of the above along with fried shrimp, clam strips, French fries, hush puppies, and corn-on-the-cob.
Tyler's Tackle Shop & Crab House, Chesapeake Beach, MD
The allure of this place is its simplicity. A combo seafood market-and-tackle shop in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, the market offers fresh-off-the-boat seafood, including seasoned steamed blue crabs by the dozen. There’s no seating, but with a location just steps from the beach, locals are known to tote their grub to the sand for an impromptu beachside picnic.