Kayaking the Salt Creek in Berlin, MD with Ayers Creek Adventures

We recently learned that besides enjoying the peace and quiet of the beach during the off-season, there isn’t a whole lot going on in Ocean City, MD in April. While it was nice to walk on the nearly vacant beach and get some sand between our toes and the first chilly touch of the Atlantic on our feet to leave the winter behind, for once the real action lay outside Ocean City.

Sun glistening off the water in Ocean City, MD

The view from our balcony at the Quality Inn in Ocean City, MD

I’m sort of glad we didn’t visit during the summer because then I probably wouldn’t have discovered the small town charm of Berlin, Maryland. Featured in the movie Runaway Bride and named Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Town in America for 2014, a walk through Berlin is a bit like a trip back in time, but with cool new boutiques and cafes added in.

Berlin MD named America's Coolest Small Town in 2014

Berlin’s Town Hall

One the best discoveries, thanks to our friends at Ayers Creek Adventures, was the baked dessert cafe, home of Berlin’s official dessert, the original Berlin peach dumpling. This charming little cafe is the kind of place you just want to have in your home town. The desserts are all homemade, using local sources, and are all natural. All of the pastries look hard to resist but I can attest that the peach dumpling is worth giving in to temptation — just work it off with some kayaking! (For more of what to eat, check out my 5 Must Try Foods in Ocean City, MD post!)

Peach dumpling - Must Try Foods in Ocean City, MD

Baked Desserts Peach Dumpling

But we didn’t come to Berlin, MD just to shop and eat, what we came for is that quintessential Eastern Shore of Maryland experience — exploring the salt marshes in a kayak. To help us on our paddling, we hooked up with Ayers Creek Adventures, a family-owned business located right on the salt marsh in Berlin. You can rent kayaks there if you want but we decided to sign up for one of their kayak tours.

Ayers Creek Adventures offer a number of different eco-guided tours including ones through the forested wetlands or saltwater marsh, longer adventure tours, or even full moon and sunset paddles featuring local wines. Either the forested wetlands or the saltwater marsh tours are appropriate for families, at 1.5 or  2 hours respectively. Older children can paddle on their own after proving their prowess, but we decided to go with a tandem kayak since I didn’t think my 10 year-old would have the strength to paddle for two hours.

Ready to go kayaking with ayers creek adventures

Ready to go Kayaking

The calm water and diverse salt marshes of Ayers and Trappe Creeks were just what we imagined and hoped for. You pass under the Ayers Creek Bridge and paddle through the quiet and peaceful waters of the saltwater marsh. Along the way, our guide and owner Suzy Taylor gave us some basic paddling instruction but her main intention was to teach us about this tranquil place that she calls home.

Since Ayers Creek also hosts day camps and school field trips, as well as guiding many families throughout the year, Suzy was quite adept at tailoring our tour to meet our abilities and interests. More than a guide, Suzy is also well-versed in the local environment. She knows just where to find the bald eagles, ducks, osprey, heron, gulls and other birds and fish you might encounter along the way, and she is also able to tell you about their species and habitat.

Bald eagle and nest seen while kayaking with Ayers Creek Adventures in Berlin MD

Bald Eagle and Nest

On our paddle we saw a couple of bald eagles, some egret, gulls and plenty of jumping fish. I’m sure many avid birdwatchers enjoy Ayer Creek Adventure’s tours but for us, we were more than thrilled to see a bald eagle in the wild and surprised to learn that they are now off the endangered species list since the discontinuation of certain pesticides.

We had a great experience kayaking with Ayers Creek Adventures. Not only did Suzy teach us a lot, but we got great exercise and saw a part of Maryland that makes you want to get out of the suburbs and buy a house with a dock on a salt creek somewhere. If you go, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • It is a workout so bring your muscles!
  • Apply sunscreen and bug spray
  • Wear clothes that dry quickly because you will get splashed
  • Bring a water bottle
  • Go to the bathroom before you go (if needed Ayers Creek Adventures does have a portable toilet you can use when back on land)
  • Leave a dry change of clothes in the car
  • Be ready to learn and have fun!
Kayaking with Ayers Creek Adventures through the salt marshes of Berlin, MD

Enjoying our tour of the salt marsh of Ayers Creek

Ayers Creek Adventures is located at 8628 Grey Fox Lane in Berlin, MD and can be reached at 888-602-6288 or www.ayercreekadventures.com.

Note:  Many thanks to Worcester County Tourism and the Quality Inn Ocean City for hosting our stay. As part of our trip, Ayers Creek Adventures provided a complimentary kayaking tour. The opinions expressed above are our own.


4 Comments on “Kayaking the Salt Creek in Berlin, MD with Ayers Creek Adventures

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  1. Steve and Suzy do a great job on Ayers Creek. Their guided trips are great (I know, I’m a competitor and I hear it from folks who have paddled with them). Just as important, they are wonderful community partners, supporting nonprofits throughout the seaside. The “Pink Paddle” supports breast cancer awareness, prevention and research, and they host fundraisers for natural preservation organizations as well. So when you rent from them, or when you go on one of their tours, you’re contributing to more than just their bottom line.

    Thank you for the great write up. It was my pleasure to lead you on a tour.

    Thanks Ron for your comments. Visitors and locals on the shore are fortunate to have such great places to paddle such as Ayers Creek, Pocomoke River Canoe Co, and Assateague Island. The paddling community is a generous and supportive group that I am proud to be part of.

    What a great find! We definitely need to explore Berlin as a possible day trip this summer.

      Elana, definitely! The town won’t take long to explore but I think you would enjoy the kayaking as well.

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