The Magothy River is so well hidden that even many longtime Annapolis residents don’t know much about this beautiful wide river that is right in their backyard.
Size and Location: The Magothy’s tidal estuary extends from its mouth at the bay near Gibson Island (5 nautical miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge), all the way up for almost 8 miles to its headwaters. The upper non-tidal portion measures close to 4 miles long and originates at a small freshwater pond near Chartwell, north of Millersville. At its widest, the magnificent Magothy measures a full 2.5 miles across.
Historic Lore: In June of 1608, Captain John Smith explored the Magothy, hoping to find the Northwest Passage to the Pacific. Local historians also indicate that Tar Cove (originally Tar Coal Cove) was a popular site where colonial seamen came to extract pitch from the nearby pits to patch chinks in the hulls of their well-worn vessels.
A Boater’s Dream: We invite you to explore this scenic and historic river. With many tranquil coves and anchorages, great boating, fishing, and sailing — and a convenient location just off the Chesapeake Bay, the Magothy River is truly a boater’s dream. Don’t miss the Wednesday night sailing races — and check out our “top-7” list of anchorage recommendations!
Mill Creek 8’-12’ depth to FPM Docks
One of the loveliest marinas in the mid-Atlantic region, Ferry Point takes its name from an earlier ferry that once crossed the river, at a more northern point, from Arnold to Pasadena. The marina itself, shaded with majestic oaks, still has a parklike setting and charm, and now boasts one of the most appealing waterfront restaurants in the region.
Directions from the Chesapeake: West into the Magothy River to Green Marker #11, then follow to the south shore to the mouth of Mill Creek on the port side (totaling approximately 4 nautical miles from the bay).
- Over 100 well-protected slips; up to 50’
- Up to 17’ beam; 12’ deep
- Full marine service department on-site
- Year-round dry storage
- Transients welcome (call 410.544.6368)
- The Point Crabhouse & Grill waterfront restaurant (call 410.544.5448)
Latitude: 39.068016 | Longitude: -76.511697
2. Dobbins Island
The north side of Dobbins Island is a well-protected anchorage with a swim-up beach area. Dobbins is a popular destination and the most well-known of the Magothy River anchorages. Smaller power boats can anchor almost to the shore of the island. It’s always a festive time on a boating season weekend. (Caution: Unless your boat draws less than 1 ½ ft., don’t approach from the west side.)
Latitude: 39.077888 | Longitude: -76.459683
NOAA_12282_BookletChart, page 6
3. Eagle Cove
Eagle Cove is a truly lovely location for a daytime or overnight anchorage. It is located just off the northwestern shore of Gibson Island, but it isn’t marked by name on any charts. It is located between Holland Point and Purdy Point, both of which are on most charts, and is known for beautiful rolling fields, and an estate with grazing horses on the north side. You’ll find it to be totally protected from wakes, but with nice summer breezes.
Latitude: 39.080023 | Longitude: -76.485205
4. Cornfield Creek
Just north of Holland Point on Gibson Island, this anchorage has an extensive natural shoreline, and provides good water for 7/10ths of a mile from the entrance. You will find a lovely wooded area to starboard, and protection from winds from almost all directions. Water-skiers also use this creek, but it quiets down by evening.
Latitude: 39.10437 | Longitude: -76.456128
5. Grays Creek
If you are looking for a quiet anchorage, try Grays Creek — its entrance lies a little over a half mile north of Dobbins Island, on the NW shore of Sillery Bay. It is a cozy little creek offering an intimate and peaceful anchorage. (Caution: Avoid the shoal off the north end of Little Island by following navigation aids. The entrance to Grays Creek is narrow, but it is marked by two pair of day beacons.) Note: There is a fuel dock within Grays Creek that offers both gas and diesel.
Latitude: 39.10437 | Longitude: -76.456128
6. Broad Creek
10’-12’ water (8’ further in)
Cruisers will find Broad Creek easily accessible and attractive, with several good anchorages and plentiful wildlife. Look for the entrance to Broad Creek at Magothy Red Marker 2. Day marks identify the edges of the shoals, and they are easy to spot. After the shoals, the creek makes an abrupt easterly turn upstream, and reveals a small islet (oddly not always shown on charts). Be aware of the shallow water around the islet (marked with Danger signs) There is plenty of water elsewhere. The shallowest water (just a few feet) is on the northern shore.
Latitude: 39.088621 | Longitude: -76.479805
7. Blackhole Creek
Blackhole Creek is a great place to anchor for a few hours or overnight. Located on the north side of the Magothy after passing Red 10 marker, honor this marker before turning North. Don’t cut it short here! Once you’ve made the turn, make directly for the red and green entrance markers. Passing between them, you should enter easily. Immediately to port, after the Green 1, is a place where you can anchor. Directly ahead is a small private island. Beyond, you will see PSA Sailing Club. You can also anchor anywhere in this part of the creek, in its 8’-10’ water. Dinghy to the sailing club if you wish — they welcome visitors. One caution: Don’t go through the next narrows farther up the creek — the water shallows very quickly.
Latitude: 39.09478 | Longitude: -76.496792
Wednesday Night Sailing Races
Join the fun on the Magothy River for MRSA Wednesday night racing. There are over 70 registered boats racing in seven different classes. In addition to spring and summer racing, MRSA also runs a great fall series on Sunday afternoons through November. For more information, go to the Magothy River Sailing Association website at: www.magothysailing.com
In closing, the broad, scenic Magothy River is both beautiful to see and has many splendid anchorages to explore. Come see for yourself!