If you’ve flown over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, you’ve seen Kent Island. If you love good seafood and especially crab cakes but haven’t landed there, you’ve been missing out! As a pilot, you can choose from two airports and enjoy fly-in dining from either one.
Kent Island sits at the base of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which connects Maryland’s eastern and western shores. Bay Bridge Airport lies just south of the bridge, on the island’s western shore. The Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area (DC SFRA), which forms a circle with a 30-nautical-mile radius of the DCA Vortac, begins about 3 nm west of the airport. Because the airport is outside the DC SFRA you can fly to it without having to file a flight plan, talk to Potomac Tracon, or squawk a discrete transponder code (VFR flight following is always a good idea, though). However, all pilots-in-command who fly within a 60-nm radius of the DCA Vortac must complete an FAA online training course, required by 14 CFR 91.161, to become familiar with operations in and around the DC SFRA. After you complete the free course, print your receipt and bring it with you. And unless you plan to fly within the DC SFRA, take care to stay outside its borders. When departing Bay Bridge Airport from Runway 29, a right turn back toward the east will keep you farther away from the DC SFRA than a left turn.
The 276-acre Terrapin Nature Park is just north of the bridge. A 3.25-mile oyster chaff walking trail meanders through meadows, wetlands, tidal ponds, woodlands, and sandy beaches; it connects to the County’s Cross Island Trail system. Two observation blinds overlook the tidal ponds where waterfowl often spend the winter.
You can grab an Uber or contact Kent Island Sedan Services to visit any of the numerous restaurants that lie along Maryland’s eastern shoreline, just across the bridge east of Kent Island. These include The Jetty Dock Bar, Bridges Restaurant, Fisherman’s Inn, Big Owl Tiki Bar, Narrows Restaurant, Harris Crab House, and Annie’s Paramount Steak and Seafood House. Buttery crab cakes and crab soup are specialties at the Narrows, but you’ll also find juicy steaks, rack of lamb, and much more, along with fabulous views. The Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center is also located on the Kent Narrows waterfront.
Check your sectional and you’ll see another public airport on Kent Island, just 4 nm south of Bay Bridge Airport. Kentmorr Airpark has a 2,400-by-75-foot grass strip; friendly residents welcome visitors. Note that the DC SFRA begins just 1.6 nm west of Runway 10/28. Enter left traffic for Runway 28 from the east by flying upwind and turning crosswind over the shoreline of the bay. Just minutes after you tie down, you can be walking in to the Kentmorr Restaurant and Crab House, founded in 1954 by Bill Morris, who also built Kentmorr Airport. Many people swear these are the island’s best crab cakes, served broiled or deep-fried. Kentmorr is known for their steak and crab, too. A few blocks south of the airport, the Blue Heron Golf Course is an 18-hole, par 63 course opened in 1959.
Kent Island has numerous accommodations, but two are outstanding. The historic Kent Manor Inn, about a mile from the Bay Bridge Airport, was built in 1820 and restored to perfection; indulge in their Sunday buffet brunch. The Inn at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, directly north of the Bay Bridge Airport, was built in 2015 and features two restaurants and a spa. So, fly in for the day or stay the weekend—you can’t go wrong on Kent Island!
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