Janes Island State Park: Crabbing, Nature Center, Kayaking & More

Janes Island State Park is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  The park is located just outside of the town of Crisfield, known as “the crab capital of the world”.  

With beautiful scenery all around, this is a great place to enjoy nature, relax and even enjoy some outdoor activities.

In this guide, we cover everything you need to know before you go.

Covered in This Guide

Things to Do
Cabins
Camping & Campgrounds
Fishing
Pricing & Fees
Hours & When to Go
Park Map
What to Bring
Good Know Before You Go
Getting There
Things to Do Near Janes Island State Park

There are so many amazing hidden spots in Janes Island State Park. Here you have the opportunity to visit beautiful remote beaches and spot birds, fish, crabs and more in the salt marsh.

The park’s namesake, Jane’s Island is located just off shore from the park’s campground. 

Water trails view at Janes Island State Park
Credit Maryland State Parks & Ranger Jessica Conley

Things to Do

Janes Island State Park is the place you come to connect with nature.

There are some amenities to help you connect and enjoy your time even more. These include:

  • Nature center (open Memorial Day to Labor Day only)
  • Observation tower
  • Marina and boat launch
  • Sunset viewing deck
  • Swing set (with 4 swings)

Special water trial state park. Very nice staff, very cool park. Come prepared to be on water! Very cool experience to kayak close to many different birds. Enjoy the beach with no one else on it in the middle of the summer! Kids loved the shallow bay for catching fishes and crabs. The full service cabin is old but nice and clean. Really enjoyed my stay here.

– Yingxi RS

Crabbing

This is a place where you can crab right from the shoreline and shallow waters. If crabbing isn’t your thing, it’s still fun to watch others catch crabs.

Water Trails & Kayaking

Kayaking at Janes Island State Park
Kayaking at Janes Island State Park | Credit Maryland State Parks

The real draw of this park is the 30-miles of water trails that lead around Jane’s Island itself. 

The state park rents canoes and kayaks from Memorial Day to Labor Day only

You can launch your own boat here or even dock your power boat for the night.  Renting a canoe was definitely the highlight of our trip and we highly recommend making sure you do when you go! 

Out on the water we had a breeze so the bugs were kept at bay. 

We paddled the yellow trail which leads right through the center of the island out to a sand bar on the Chesapeake Bay. 

The sandy beach here was empty, beautiful, breezy and a great place to spend the afternoon. 

It took two experienced paddlers about 45 minutes each way to canoe out to the sandbar.  There are 6 water trails which take various routes around and through the island.

Hiking

Hiking at Janes Island State Park
Hiking at Janes Island State Park | Credit Maryland State Parks and Ranger Richwine

The White Tail Trail is an easy 1.1 mile hike that leads you along through the pine forest right here on the Eastern shore.

The trail leads you to the bulkhead where you can get a full view of James Island. This is your chance to take in the views and watch the many birds in the area.

Note: The trail is stroller friendly. Dogs on leash are welcome.

Cabins

Cabins at Janes Island State Park
Credit Maryland State Parks & Ranger Jessica Conley

Four full-service cabins are available to rent on the waterfront. Each sleeps 6 people and comes with:

  • 3 bedrooms
  • Common area
  • Full kitchen (with oven, stove, refrigerator, coffee pot, microwave and basic cooking utensils and plates for 6)
  • Bathroom
  • Screened porch with picnic table
  • Air conditioning
  • Heat
  • Fire ring with grill (outdoors)

You will need to bring your own linens, pillows and blankets.

Camping & Campgrounds

What makes this campground so special is it’s setting – nestled among the pine tress and near the water.

There are 104 camp sites available, and all campsites are all shaded by large trees, offer flat areas for pitching tents, fire pits and new picnic tables. 

The Loops

Loop A has less shade and is close to the marina parking lot.

Sites in Loop B have electric hookups for RVs and camper vans. 

If you are looking for quiet sites, I would recommend Loop C as it is the furthest from the marina and does not allow pets. 

The most coveted sites are those that sit along the waterfront of Daughertry Creek.  Each camping loop has their own bath house with showers, flush toilets, sinks and electrical outlets. 

Campsites and cabins can be reserved online at www.dnr.maryland.gov.

Note: Camp sites in A loop are near the marina parking and kayakers and fishermen often start very early so you may want to rent at another site if you’re not an early riser.

The Camp Store

You’ll find some of the basic essentials available at the camp store on site. It sells items like ice cream, bags of ice, bait, and bundles of firewood.

If you need larger items or the camp store doesn’t have what you want, the Food Lion grocery store is just a few minutes down the road.

Fishing

Beautiful island view with crabbing and fishing available
Beautiful views, crabbing & fishing at Janes Island State Park | Credit Maryland State Parks

Normally the park has a fishing equipment loaner program, however, due to covid that is on pause. It’s best to check-in with the park to see if they are offering this again.

One reason people like to fish here as well (besides the amazing scenery), is this park does not require a fishing license at any time of the year.

Pricing & Fees

There is no fee to enter Jane’s Island State Park. You’ll only need to pay if you wish to stay or rent (or launch) a kayak.

Campsites (without electricity) are $21.50 and $27.50 (with electricity). Mini cabins are $55.50 and Full-service cabins are $86.75.

You can make reservations online here.

Hours & When to Go

Janes Island State Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Between Memorial Day and Labor day is the best time to go as you can rent canoes right on site.

If you plan on camping, there are 4 campsites that are open year round and all campsites are open from early April to Late November.

Full-service cabins are open year round and mini-cabins are open from early April to late November.

Check-In / Check-Out

Check-in time for the campsites is between 3pm and 10pm. You are not permitted to enter after 10pm. Checkout time is 1pm.

Check-in is 5pm for the full service cabins and checkout is at 11am.

Park Map

What to Bring

  • Bug spray
  • Camping gear
  • Plenty of water
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • GoPro or waterproof camera

Good Know Before You Go

  • If you need to get online, there is free WiFi available in the store
  • There are plenty of clean bathrooms and showers on site
  • During our family visit the mosquito population was out in full force.  Enjoying this beautiful location requires lots of bug spray and hopefully a breeze to keep the pests at bay.  Campers experienced at this location came armed with strong DEET spray and citronella torches to put around their site.  Gnats, mosquitoes and flies all call Jane’s Island home.  As one ranger explained though, the bright side of the bugs is that they keep the crowds away.  The campground was only half full on a beautiful May weekend.
  • Dogs are now allowed in:

    1. All interior paved roadways throughout the park.
    2. Adding campsites in B Loop #14 through #22, making the entire loop pet friendly, as well as the adjacent waterfront area.
    3. Allowing pets in Full Service Cabins #1 & #2.
    4. Allowing pets in Camper Mini-cabins #D & #E.
  • Park rangers keep the park safe as they do rounds often to check on everything

Getting There

The park is located at: 26280 Alfred J Lawson Dr, Crisfield, MD 21817

From Chesapeake Bay Bridge:

Take US-50 E and US-13 slight right onto MD-413 S in Westover. (11.3 miles) Turn right onto Plantation Rd. (1.2 miles), Continue onto Jacksonville Rd. (0.3 miles) Turn right onto Alfred J. Lawson Dr.

From Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel:

Take US-13 N to MD-667 W/Rehobeth Rd. (7.1 miles), stay left to stay on MD-667 W (3.8 miles) turn right on Tulls Corner Rd. (161 ft.) Tur left at the 1st cross street onto MD-413. (3.4 miles). Turn right onto Plantation Rd. (1.2 miles). Continue onto Jacksonville Rd. (0.3 miles). Turn right onto Alfred J. Lawson Dr.

RELATED: Chincoteague Island in The Fall

Things to Do Near Janes Island State Park

  1. Learn about the town’s maritime history at J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum (7 minutes away)
  2. Crisfield is the launching point for ferries to both Smith Island in Maryland and Tangier Island in Virginia.  In season boats leave daily at 12:30 for both locations.  Before Memorial Day and after Labor Day you can take the “mail boat” to the islands at the same time but need to ensure that it will be returning to the mainland for your ride back. 
  3. Visit the exotic animals at Salisbury Zoological Park (37 minutes away)
  4. Crisfield also has several crab shacks open for lunch and dinner and a waterfront ice cream shop at the City Dock.
  5. See the wild ponies and nice beaches at Chincoteague / Assateague (about 50 minutes away)
  6. Go geocaching along the river at Pocomoke River State Park (34 minutes away)

Jane’s Island State Park is a gorgeous location, and a great jumping off point for fun on the water. 

Families can enjoy fishing, crabbing and boating on a weekend getaway 3 hours from DC, just don’t forget to pack the bug spray!

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OK Editorial Team

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