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Visit Kent Narrows, MD: Chesapeake Bay’s Hidden Gem

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A laid-back waterfront destination on the eastern shore, 5 miles east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Kent Narrows remains one of Maryland’s best kept secrets. Surrounded by stunning views of the Chesapeake Bay in almost every direction, it’s the perfect destination for a getaway or a day trip. And it’s close to other popular places on the eastern shore like St.Michaels, MD.

Historically, the Kent Narrows Waterfront was the home for dozens of commercial seafood packing houses. While only one remains, today this charming waterfront destination has transformed into a fun and relaxing destination known for its sunsets, scenery, fresh oysters and crabs, iconic seafood restaurants, small shops, friendly people and population of outgoing ducks.

The water and sky view from the observation deck at Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor CenterThe water and sky view from the observation deck at Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center

The view from the observation deck at Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center | Photo: Better Living

Small and very walkable, the land around Kent Narrows is connected by two bridges and divided into 4 sections around the bay. It’s only a two minute drive to access different sides of Kent Narrows if you’d rather drive. But for ultra convenience, stay in Fisherman’s Village in the south eastern side of Kent Narrows. 

Here you can book a room at the newly opened waterfront Hyatt Place Kent Narrows & Marina and walk to several amazing restaurants and bars including the famous dockside Fisherman’s Crab Deck and the Fisherman’s Inn which is home to the Eastern Shore’s largest collection of antique oyster plates.

A Blue Heron walking along a dock during sunset in Kent NarrowsA Blue Heron walking along a dock during sunset in Kent Narrows

A Blue Heron walks along the dock at sunset in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Nature and bird lovers will love exploring the local parks and trails. But it’s standard here to see a variety of sea birds like herons fly by or local turtles called Terrapins, swimming through the water. To experience the bay away from the dock take a sunset cruise, book a fishing charter, or go kayaking or paddle boarding. And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the bay from the balcony at a waterfront hotel!

With well-equipped marinas, full-service hotels and amazing restaurants to dock and dine, Kent Narrows has plenty of options if you want to arrive by boat. 

One visit to Kent Narrows and you’ll be hooked. 

The view from the Hyatt Place Kent Narrows Hotel. An expansive bay with docks and piers along the coast. Boats going by in the background. The view from the Hyatt Place Kent Narrows Hotel. An expansive bay with docks and piers along the coast. Boats going by in the background.

The view from the balcony suites at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows. | Photo: Better Living

Things To Do In Kent Narrows, Maryland

With signs of nature never far away, gorgeous views, stunning sunsets, and plenty of options for dockside dining, the Kent Narrows waterfront is the main attraction here. In the summer it comes alive with boats and people enjoying the bay, but never feels crowded.

You’ll find many bars, hotels, where you can relax and enjoy live music as you watch boats and yachts go by. 

The Maryland Watermen’s Monument at nighttime in Kent Narrows, MD.The Maryland Watermen’s Monument at nighttime in Kent Narrows, MD.

The Maryland Watermen’s Monument in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

At the entrance to Fisherman’s Village pay your respects at the Maryland Watermen’s Monument, dedicated to the history, culture, heritage and contributions of watermen to those who have worked the Chesapeake Bay. Then shop one of the local boutiques to bring home a unique treasure.

An aerial view of The Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center with water in the background.An aerial view of The Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center with water in the background.

The Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center | Photo: Better Living

Ferry Point Park and Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center

425 Piney Narrows Rd, Chester, MD 21619
https://www.kentnarrowsmd.com/visitors-center

Ferry Point Park is a 41 acre park in Kent Narrows that is closed for renovations, but worth putting on your radar. With an easy boardwalk trail and coastline views of the Chester River, it’s great for hiking and bird watching.  Plus, there’s a small beach.

Ferry Point Park is accessible at the entrance of the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center which is also under renovation. Visitors love the observation tower here, but when they reopen, visit the museum inside to learn about local history and wildlife and get local travel information. For now, the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center is temporarily in the Queenstown Premium Outlets. Both the park and Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center will be ready for visitors by 2024. 

The view of the bay from the shore of the Chesapeake Bay Environmental CenterThe view of the bay from the shore of the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center | Photo: Better Living

Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC)

600 Discovery Ln, Grasonville, MD 21638
https://bayrestoration.org

Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center is an admission-free-but-donations-appreciated 510-acre waterfront preserve a 10 minute drive from Kent Narrows. This beautiful local outdoor retreat for nature lovers with 4 miles of themed hiking trails also has kayaks available for rental.

Made up of native woodlands, tidal marshes, and meadows, CBEC is home to a variety of wildlife including turtles, rabbits, river otters, deer and approximately 200 hundred bird species. Expect to spot egrets, osprey, eagles and herons. Before you leave, don’t miss a visit with the resident owls, hawk, and kestrel in their aviary rescue.

Perched rescued, non-releasable Barred Owls at CBECPerched rescued, non-releasable Barred Owls at CBEC

Visit the rescued, non-releasable Barred Owls at CBEC | Photo: Better Living

For tips getting around the park head into their air conditioned visitor center. Here you can borrow an “Explorer’s Backpack”, which includes binoculars, a trail map, a scavenger hunt worksheet and other supplies. QR codes posted on signs through the park can be scanned on your smartphone to guide you on your journey. CBEC is open 9 to 5 daily

 💡 Travel Tip: If visiting any of the local Kent Narrows parks or riding local trails, be sure to bring sunscreen, water and bug spray.

A baby terrapin turtle in the palm of a woman helping it to the water. A baby terrapin turtle in the palm of a woman helping it to the water.

Helping a baby terrapin turtle find the water at Terrapin Park | Photo: Better Living

Terrapin Park

191 Log Canoe Cir, Stevensville, MD 21666
https://www.qac.org

Terrapin Park is an award-winning 276-acre nature park with a 3.25-mile walking trail that wanders through woodlands, wildflower meadows, and wetlands on its way to a narrow sandy beach where sea glass hunters often collect.

With stunning views of the Bay Bridge and Chesapeake Bay, Terrapin Park is a great place to catch sunsets. True to its name, Terrapin turtle sightings are common here and the park is home to a variety of birds and wildlife. 

Other unique features of Terrapin Park include a gazebo, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk, benches for rest along the trail, and two observation blinds to let you watch birds unseen. Parking is free and bathrooms are located at the trailhead entrance. It’s only a 10 minute drive from Kent Narrows. Simply head west on 301/50 and take the Stevensville Exit to Terrapin Park.

Cross Island Trail

https://www.kentnarrowsmd.com/trails
https://www.traillink.com/trail/cross-island-trail/

Hike, bike, or jog the scenic Cross Island Trail where you’ll see stunning views of the water, birds like ospreys, blue herons and other wildlife along the way.

Traveling along this scenic boardwalk and asphalt trail 6 miles west from Kent Narrows will take you to Kent Island and Terrapin Park. Or get on the eastern bound Cross County Connector Trail instead to Long Point Park in Grasonville. 

Strolling through Historic Stevensville, MD. Shops and a fountain line the street.Strolling through Historic Stevensville, MD. Shops and a fountain line the street.

Strolling through Historic Stevensville, MD | Photo: Better Living

Historic Stevensville

325 Cleat St, Stevensville, MD 21666
https://www.stevensvilleartsandentertainment.org

Stroll through artsy and historic Stevensville, for small-town charm.

Stevensville is just five minutes from Kent Narrows by car and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here you can explore a handful of galleries, eateries and beautifully preserved 19th century historic landmarks, including the Old Stevensville Post Office, the Stevensville Train Depot, the Stevensville Bank and historic Christ Church.  

The Stevensville Train DepotThe Stevensville Train Depot

The Historic Stevensville Train Depot | Photo: Better Living

These sites are only open on the 1st Saturday of the month from 12pm – 4pm from May through November, but they can be enjoyed from the outside. It’s easy to peek through the windows of the train station

Unless you’re planning to have lunch, less than an hour is all you’ll need here. 

The view of the Love Point Winery and Vineyard from the dock. The view of the Love Point Winery and Vineyard from the dock.

Love Point Winery and Vineyard in Stevensville, MD | Photo: Better Living

Love Point Winery and Vineyard

305 River Shore Lane, Stevensville, MD 21666
https://lovepointvineyards.com/

Sample delicious locally made wine at Love Point Vineyards and Winery, where you can relax and enjoy stunning views of the Chester River. 

Eight miles west of Kent Narrows on the northern tip of Kent Island, this gorgeous family-owned winery established in 2015 produces award-winning white and red artisan wines including cabernet Sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay and Sangiovese from over 15 acres of vines grown on their property. 

Love Point offers wines by the glass, bottle or flight that you can enjoy on their spacious outdoor patio, deck or light filled tasting room. For ultimate relaxation, take a glass to one of the Adirondack chairs overlooking the water. If you like white wine, try their lightly sweet Summer Breeze made with a blend of Vidal Blanc and Gruner Veltliner with notes of lime, lemon and grapefruit. It’s perfect on a hot summer day.

A view of the dock, water, and sitting area at Love Point Winery and VineyardA view of the dock, water, and sitting area at Love Point Winery and Vineyard

Wine with a view at Love Point Winery and Vineyard in Stevensville, MD | Photo: Better Living

For a bite with your wine, order one of their delicious charcuterie or veggie boards. For a quiet time, head over during the week or catch one of their live music acts on the weekends. 

Love Point Winery is open from Thursday to Sunday, noon to 5 pm, but double check the schedule on their website before you go.

The sun setting in Kent Narrows over the water. Boats in the forefront.The sun setting in Kent Narrows over the water. Boats in the forefront.

A  stunning sunset and pastel sky from the docks at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Living

Enjoy The Famous Kent Narrows Sunsets 

One of the most amazing things to do in Kent Narrows, MD is to enjoy the stunning sunsets over the Chesapeake Bay. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this natural spectacle that will take your breath away.

An interesting cloud formation at sunset from The Crab Deck in Kent NarrowsAn interesting cloud formation at sunset from The Crab Deck in Kent Narrows

A brilliant sunset from the docks at Fisherman’s Crab Deck in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Whether you are looking for a romantic date night, a relaxing evening with friends, or a solo moment of Zen, watching the sunsets in Kent Narrows will make you feel like you’re in paradise.

The sunsets in Kent Narrows are especially beautiful because of the location and orientation of the area, which faces west and overlooks the bay. The bay is the largest estuary in the US, and it has a complex and dynamic weather system that affects the color and intensity of the sunsets. The sunsets can vary from soft pastels to fiery reds and oranges, depending on the season, cloud cover, humidity, and air pollution. No two sunsets are ever the same, so you can expect to see something different and amazing every time.

Where to Shop (Mostly) Small in Kent Narrows

When you need some retail therapy, here’s some shops to hit while you’re visiting Kent Narrows.

Items for sale in Hope Boutique, Kent NarrowsItems for sale in Hope Boutique, Kent Narrows

Hope Boutique in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Hope Boutique

100 Piney Narrows Road Unit C, Chester, MD 21619
https://www.shophopeboutique.com 

Loved by locals, Hope Boutique is a haven in Kent Narrows for stylish women’s clothing, known for their super friendly and helpful staff. 

Pieces at Hope Boutique range from casual loungewear, swimwear, shorts and jeans to breezy blouses, jumpsuits, skirts and dresses. The clothes are gorgeous, and even better, they won’t break the bank. Hope also carries shoes, jewelry, accessories and skincare. Need your crystal fix or a chic gift? This boutique is your place.

Items for sale at the Ophiuroidea Boutique Items for sale at the Ophiuroidea Boutique

The whimsical Ophiuroidea Boutique in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Ophiuroidea (“The O”) Kent Narrows

110 Channel Marker Way Suite 100, Grasonville, Maryland
https://www.ophiuroidea.com

Ophiuroidea (pronounced “O-fu-roy-dee-uh”) is a boutique in Kent Narrows with a treasure trove of unique gifts and souvenirs. 

Named after a subclass of species related to starfish, locals know this shop as “The O”. 

“The O” carries a large selection of tasteful coastal inspired home décor, food, jewelry, gifts, soaps, and women’s clothing. Mermaids, heron’s, blue crabs, turtles, sea glass and coastal Maryland are themes you’ll see throughout the store. There’s some sweet things here for children as well.

With all the wonderful things to see here, give yourself plenty of time to browse. It’s open 7 days a week, year round. 

Chocolate blue crabs in a chocolate basket at Chesapeake Bay ChocolatesChocolate blue crabs in a chocolate basket at Chesapeake Bay Chocolates

Chocolate blue crabs in a chocolate basket at Chesapeake Bay Chocolates | Photo: Better Living

Chesapeake Bay Chocolates

202 Island Plaza Ct, Stevensville, MD 21666
https://www.chesapeakechocolates.com

For rich delicious gourmet chocolate molded in shapes inspired by coastal nature and the Chesapeake Bay, stop into Chesapeake Chocolates. 

This shop is tiny, but the chocolates are divine. The chocolate lighthouses, sailboats and turtles are fun and delicious, but don’t leave here without a few chocolate crabs. You’re in Maryland after all.

Chesapeake Bay Chocolate’s chocolate crabs are available in white, dark and milk chocolate and a variety of sizes. For something really special, get their chocolate “Crabs in a Bushel Basket.” Also available in different sizes, these special Chesapeake treats make the perfect gift. Even if it’s for yourself. 

In nearby Stevensville, Chesapeake Bay Chocolates is only a 6 minute drive west from Kent Narrows.

The shopping outlet storefronts in Queenstown, MDThe shopping outlet storefronts in Queenstown, MD

The outlets in Queenstown are a short drive from Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Living

Queenstown Premium Outlets

441 Outlet Center Dr, Queenstown, MD 21658 (at the Rt. 301/50 split)
https://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/queenstown

For deals on name brands and luxury goods, the Queenstown Outlets is a popular Eastern Shore shopping destination only about 5 miles from the Kent Narrows waterfront. 

Not including eateries, there’s currently about 50 stores here with everything here from women, children and men’s apparel to shoes, home decor and accessories. Currently stores include Kate Spade, COACH, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors Outlet, LOFT Outlet, Tommy Bahama, Under Armour, Adidas, Pepper Palace and more. With so many stores to explore, you can easily spend a full day at Queenstown Premium Outlets

Vendors under their tents at Kent Island Farmers' Market in Stevensville, MDVendors under their tents at Kent Island Farmers' Market in Stevensville, MD

Kent Island Farmers’ Market in Stevensville, MD | Photo: Better Living

Kent Island Farmers’ Market

1169 Shopping Center Rd. in Stevensville, Maryland
https://www.facebook.com/Kentislandfarmersmarket/

Foodies will love the cheerful year-round Kent Island Farmers’ Market where you can shop a variety of delicious locally made and grown artisanal food products and specialty goods.

And you can feel the Maryland love here. Some of the many seasonal and ultra fresh goods available at the market include seafood, meat, microgreens, bread, pastries, pastured eggs, mushrooms, award-winning cheese, honey, jams, olive oil, spirits, baked goods, prepared dishes and more. 

The fresh-cut flowers will brighten your day and handcrafted goods like candles, art, soaps, and jewelry are well worth the visit. And the market hosts new vendors and pop ups regularly. 

The Kent Island Farmers’ Market runs Thursdays 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm in the summer and fall, and 3:30 to 5:30 pm in winter. Most vendors accept pre-orders, cash and credit cards. Don’t forget to bring a tote and cooler bag.

Steamed Crab Pot at Fisherman's Crab Deck in Kent Narrow with blue crab, mussels, clams, shrimp, and a mallet. Steamed Crab Pot at Fisherman's Crab Deck in Kent Narrow with blue crab, mussels, clams, shrimp, and a mallet.

The legendary Steamed Crab Pot at Fisherman’s Crab Deck in Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Living

Where to Eat in Kent Narrows

Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, tacos, burgers, or something else, you’ll find it here. Kent Narrows has many dockside restaurants that offer amazing views of the water and the bay, as well as friendly nearby eateries. Within walking distance you can enjoy local dishes and specialties, such as Maryland crab cakes, oysters, clams, and rockfish. You can also find international cuisine, such as Italian, Mexican, and Asian all close by. Plus, many of the waterfront restaurants in Kent Narrows offer Dock & Dine options with complimentary boat slips. No matter what your budget or preference is, you will find something to satisfy your appetite in Kent Narrows. Here’s where we dined.

The dining area of Fisherman's Inn at Kent Narrows, MDThe dining area of Fisherman's Inn at Kent Narrows, MD

Fisherman’s Inn at Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Fisherman’s Inn

Fisherman’s Village | 3116 Main St, Grasonville, MD 21638
https://fishermansinn.com

Located within Fisherman’s Village, Fisherman’s Inn isn’t only a large modern upscale casual seafood restaurant with a full mermaid themed bar. It’s also a historic landmark that has been catering to locals and drawing visitors to Kent Narrows for almost a century.

In 1930, long before AirBnB, Captain Alex Thomas and his wife Mae opened up the Fisherman’s Inn restaurant and grocery store and also rented out bedrooms in their home to local travelers. Although the original building is long gone, their daughter Betty took over the family business with her husband Sonny Schultz and opened the Fisherman’s Inn you see today back in 1971. The family continues to run Fisherman’s Inn along with the dockside Fisherman’s Crab Deck restaurant next door.

Sesame fried panko Rockfish “Bites” with Hawaiian BBQ, wasabi cream pickled ginger, and seaweed saladSesame fried panko Rockfish “Bites” with Hawaiian BBQ, wasabi cream pickled ginger, and seaweed salad

Asian inspired Rockfish Bites at Fisherman’s Inn Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Living

Seafood is the star of the show here (of course). And it’s as fresh and delicious as it gets. Start with the sesame fried panko Rockfish “Bites” with Hawaiian BBQ, wasabi cream pickled ginger, and seaweed salad. For your main entrée, try the Seafood Norfolk Sauté, a blend of fresh caught scallops, large gulf shrimp and jumbo lump crab meat sautéed in succulent white wine butter sauce. Their signature dish, Baked Jumbo Lump Crab Imperial features sweet and meaty lump crab topped with their rich and luxurious imperial sauce. It’s divine.

Baked Jumbo Lump Crab Imperial features sweet and meaty lump crab topped with their rich and luxurious imperial sauce.Baked Jumbo Lump Crab Imperial features sweet and meaty lump crab topped with their rich and luxurious imperial sauce.

Baked Jumbo Lump Crab Imperial at Fisherman’s Inn | Photo: Better Living

And don’t leave without diving into their best selling Coconut Cream Pie. It’s made with a homemade pie crust filled with a lighter than air creamy coconut mousse, topped with whipped cream, salted caramel, and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Coconut Cream Pie topped with whipped cream, salted caramel drizzle, and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.Coconut Cream Pie topped with whipped cream, salted caramel drizzle, and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

A generous slice of Coconut Cream Pie at Fisherman’s Inn | Photo: Better Living

The food and atmosphere are wonderful but not the only attraction here. A unique feature is Miss Betty’s collection of over 300 antique oyster plates displayed throughout the restaurant. Each plate is a work of art and hand painted with a variety of themes.

Another nostalgic yet unexpected feature in the Fisherman’s Inn is the suspended working train track is entertaining to watch traveling through the main dining rooms 8 feet in the air riding over 280 feet of track. I dare you not to get excited as it passes your table.

For a casual visit, head into their spacious Nauti Mermaid bar for cocktails, drinks and lighter fare. Happy Hour is another good thing here.

Customers dining and enjoying the sunset at Fisherman's Crab Deck in Kent Narrows, MD. Customers dining and enjoying the sunset at Fisherman's Crab Deck in Kent Narrows, MD.

Sunset at Fisherman’s Crab Deck in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Fisherman’s Crab Deck 

Fisherman’s Village | 3032 Kent Narrow Way S, Grasonville, MD 21638
https://crabdeck.com

The waterfront Fisherman’s Crab Deck is the perfect place to go for an authentic, but casual Maryland seafood experience. 

There’s no need to dress up here. In fact, if you’re coming here to crack crabs, it’s better you don’t and it’s part of the fun.

For dinner or lunch with a view, ask for a table by the water. Start with an orange crush, the Seafood Nachos with shrimp, scallops and crab, and their delicious award winning crab bisque. Then order up what the crab deck is famous for: fresh steamed blue crabs! 

Seafood Nachos with shrimp, scallops and crab. Sunset in the background.Seafood Nachos with shrimp, scallops and crab. Sunset in the background.

Seafood Nachos at Fisherman’s Crab Deck | Photo: Better Living

While you wait, someone from the friendly Fisherman’s Crab Deck crew will prep the table with paper and you can get cracking. Crabs come seasoned with plenty of Old Bay and plus, it’s fun to smash your dinner with a mallet. You’re in Maryland and life is great.

Steamed Crab Pot with steamed crabs, fresh mussels, clams and shrimp.Steamed Crab Pot with steamed crabs, fresh mussels, clams and shrimp.

Enjoying the sunset and a Steamed Crab Pot at Fisherman’s Crab Deck | Photo: Better Living

For a taste of the sea that’s enough to share, opt for the Steamed Crab Pot with steamed crabs, fresh mussels, clams and shrimp. Melted butter is a must. 

If you’d rather not use a mallet to eat your dinner try one of their delicious seafood entrees like the Crab Cakes, Seafood Mac and Cheese or Fish and Chips. There are lots of handheld options too.

The famous Kent Narrows Nutty Buddy ice cream cone being held high above the bay.The famous Kent Narrows Nutty Buddy ice cream cone being held high above the bay.

The famous Kent Narrows Nutty Buddy | Photo: Better Living

For dessert grab a Maryland seafood house favorite: the Nutty Buddy! Similar to a drumstick, Nutty Buddies are a towering cone of creamy vanilla ice-cream in a waffle cone, dipped in chocolate, covered in crushed peanuts and deep frozen. Because of the size they’re enough to share with someone. But you definitely won’t want to. Docking and dining is an option here.

Customers dining and enjoying the outdoor deck on the water at Big Owl Tiki Bar.Customers dining and enjoying the outdoor deck on the water at Big Owl Tiki Bar.

Big Owl Tiki Bar in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Big Owl Tiki Bar

Fisherman’s Village | 3015 Kent Narrow Way S, Grasonville, MD 21638
https://thebigowl.com

For a Key West vibe at the edge of Fisherman’s Village, Big Owl Tiki Bar is a fun and friendly open-air bar on the edge of a pier. With some of the best views around, this local hotspot makes a great stop at sunset. 

At Big Owl Tiki Bar you can feel the Chesapeake breeze on your face while you order up creative cocktails and tropical themed drinks. Big Owl’s also has a great selection of ice-cold beers, crushes, and specials like the jalapeno seed margarita that we tried and loved. 

Holding a Soft Shell Crab Taco at Big Owl Tiki Bar in Kent Narrows, MDHolding a Soft Shell Crab Taco at Big Owl Tiki Bar in Kent Narrows, MD

Soft Shell Crab Tacos at Big Owl Tiki Bar in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

The food here is bar casual and budget friendly, but really tastefully prepared. Menu highlights include burgers, wings, tacos and steamed shrimp. For a local treat, the Soft Shell Fried Tacos are not to be missed.

Their stage hosts live music acts almost every day in the summer. You might even get lucky and see a Terrapin swimming dockside like we did!

A dockside view of Bridges restaurant. A dockside view of Bridges restaurant.

Bridges waterfront restaurant in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Bridges

321 Wells Cove Rd, Grasonville, MD, 21638
https://bridgesrestaurant.net

Recently named one of 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America by OpenTable, Bridges offers stunning views of the Chesapeake Bay and serves up a fresh, creative and flavorful menu in an airy Caribbean atmosphere.

Menu options here include seafood, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and cocktails. And both indoor and outdoor seating is available. Try the delicious Shrimp and Grits with colossal shrimp, grape tomatoes and smoked Andouille sausage, over creamy cheddar grits. And you can’t go wrong with the Fish Tacos with poblano ranch slaw, Pico de Gallo, and guacamole wrapped in flour tortillas.

Shrimp and Grits with colossal shrimp, grape tomatoes and smoked Andouille sausage, over creamy cheddar grits.Shrimp and Grits with colossal shrimp, grape tomatoes and smoked Andouille sausage, over creamy cheddar grits.

Shrimp and Grits at Bridges | Photo: Better Living

Bridges Restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, and offers Happy Hour specials daily. Reservations can be made online or by phone. 

The front sign of Dock House restaurant with a giant blue crab on wood.The front sign of Dock House restaurant with a giant blue crab on wood.

The new Dock House restaurant in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Dock House

110 Piney Narrows Rd, Chester, MD 21619
https://dockhouserestaurant.com/

Dock House is a new airy dock and dine restaurant with modern coastal vibes, plenty of waterfront seating and unbeatable panoramic views of the Chester River and the Kent Narrows Bridge. It is a great place to watch boats go by while you eat great food. 

Locally and sustainably sourced, whenever possible Dock House serves both local traditional seafood dishes like crab bisque and crab cakes. But there’s also some seriously creative takes on classic seafood house flavors. 

Dock House Popcorn. Crispy fried shrimp, rockfish, calamari and caramel popcorn are served in a cinema style popcorn bucket.Dock House Popcorn. Crispy fried shrimp, rockfish, calamari and caramel popcorn are served in a cinema style popcorn bucket.

The must-try Dock House Popcorn at Dock House Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Living

An appetizer with a unique combination of flavors and textures is the Dock House Popcorn. Crispy fried shrimp, morsels of rockfish and calamari are tossed with Old Bay seasoning Caramel Popcorn and served in a cinema style popcorn bucket. It’s crispy, salty, sweet, and a little spicy. The flavors are genius.

Dock House Crab Pretzel. Doughy braided pretzel topped with Creamy Crab Dip, cheddar cheese, scallions and a touch of Old Bay.Dock House Crab Pretzel. Doughy braided pretzel topped with Creamy Crab Dip, cheddar cheese, scallions and a touch of Old Bay.

The Crab Pretzel at Dock House | Photo: Better Living

For something more traditional, the Crab Pretzel is a doughy braided pretzel topped with Creamy Crab Dip, cheddar cheese, scallions and a touch of Old Bay won’t disappoint. For something meaty go for the Dock House Burger made with a blend of short rib, chuck and brisket, topped with bacon, Cooper’s sharp cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, red onion and Dock House’s special sauce. 

Cinnamon Bread Pudding with a heaping pile of ice cream and whipped cream.Cinnamon Bread Pudding with a heaping pile of ice cream and whipped cream.

Cinnamon Bread Pudding at Dock House | Photo: Better Living

The Cinnamon Bread Pudding topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream makes an incredible sweet finish. If it’s hot outside try the Dock “House” Crush made with a blend of Orange and Grapefruit Vodka, triple sec, sprite and orange and grapefruit juices to wash it all down.

Dock House is only a 1-2 minute drive from the Kent Narrows hotels. Dock space and seating is first come first serve. Check out their Happy Hour or live entertainment on the weekends.

The front counter and staff working at Sugar DoodlesThe front counter and staff working at Sugar Doodles

Sugar Doodles in Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Sugar Doodles

110 Piney Narrows Rd, Chester, MD 21619
https://www.sugardoodlessweetshop.com

Sugar Doodles is a small but charming local cafe that serves up delicious gourmet coffee drinks, pitaya (dragon fruit) and acai bowls, and ice cream from Vanderwendes, a third generation dairy farm in Bridgeville, Delaware. You can’t go wrong with anything here. But you’ll be committing a Kent Narrows crime if you don’t get the crepes. Yes, they’re that good.

Crepes come in a variety of classic and creative sweet and savory flavors served all day. Savory crepes flavors include flavors like ham, egg, and cheese, Pizza and Pork BBQ while some of their sweet selections include Momma’s Apple Pie and Nutella Royale with Nutella, fresh strawberries and sliced bananas.

Nutella Royalle with Nutella, fresh strawberry and sliced bananas.Nutella Royalle with Nutella, fresh strawberry and sliced bananas.

Nutella Royale Crepe at Sugar Doodles | Photo: Better Living

When you need a caffeine boost, Sugar Doodles serves Chesapeake Coffee Roasters coffee and gourmet coffee drinks. Try the USDA organic Oyster Reef medium roast with notes of chocolate, brown sugar, pecans or the River’s Edge (dark roast). Also, organic, this one has tasting notes of s’mores, dark chocolate and nutmeg. 

Bird and nature enthusiasts will love the smooth Guatemala Bird Friendly® Blend. This eco-friendly seal created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center ensures the coffee was 100% shade grown to protect the habitat for birds and other wildlife. And shade-grown coffees are prized for their more complex, deeper flavor.

Breakfast and lunch at Sugar Doodles are available daily starting at 8AM.

The Maryland Waterman's Monument and the Hyatt Place at the entrance of Kent Narrows, MDThe Maryland Waterman's Monument and the Hyatt Place at the entrance of Kent Narrows, MD

The Maryland Waterman’s Monument and the Hyatt Place at the entrance of Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Where to Stay in Kent Narrows

Kent Narrows makes a great day trip if you live within a hours drive. But to give yourself time to enjoy the restaurants and the area, plan to stay for a night or two.

Dockside view of The Hyatt Place Kent Narrows & MarinaDockside view of The Hyatt Place Kent Narrows & Marina

The Hyatt Place Kent Narrows & Marina | Photo: Better Living

Hyatt Place Kent Narrows & Marina

3028 Kent Narrow Way S, Grasonville, MD 21638
https://www.hyatt.com

For a place to relax with mesmerizing panoramic views of the Chesapeake Bay, book a room at the recently opened Hyatt Place Kent Narrows & Marina. If you can’t relax here, you won’t be able to relax anywhere. 

Located in the Fisherman’s Village section of Kent Narrows, the Hyatt Place features 120 modern and serene guest rooms and is a short walk to a variety of harbor restaurants and dockside bars. 

The bedroom in Suite 304 at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows The bedroom in Suite 304 at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows

The bedroom in Suite 304 at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows at sunset | Photo: Better Living

The living and dining area in Suite 304 at Hyatt Place Kent NarrowsThe living and dining area in Suite 304 at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows

The living and dining area in Suite 304 at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Living

The Hyatt’s tranquil coastal inspired suites with natural woods in calming tones of blues, grays include standard amenities like free WIFI, 55” flat screen tv’s, and plush bedding. And many rooms are equipped with kitchenettes. For ultimate relaxation, book a waterfront room with a private balcony so you can look out over the Chesapeake fed Prospect Bay to the south. 

Enjoying the view from our private balcony in Suite 304 at Hyatt Place Kent NarrowsEnjoying the view from our private balcony in Suite 304 at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows

Enjoying the view from our private balcony in Suite 304 at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Living

Complimentary breakfast for guests is served at the Breakfast Bar room in the morning with a nice selection of hot and cold items, including scrambled eggs, waffles, sausage, steel cut oatmeal, yogurt and fruit. It’s a treat to enjoy it out on the dockside terrace with a hot cup of fresh coffee and watching the boats cruise by. Plus, complimentary coffee is served all day in the lobby. 

Breakfast plates on a table looking out at the water view at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows Breakfast plates on a table looking out at the water view at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows

Complimentary breakfast with a view at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Living

When you’re ready for a creative cocktail, local beer, glass of wine or a casual bite to eat, take a seat at The Placery lobby bar, which is open until 10pm most nights. Definitely try their signature Chesapeake Blue cocktail. It’s light, refreshing, and there’s even a cherry on top. In the evening, grab your drink and head out the terrace for sunset bay views by the firepit.

Relaxing by the firepit at sunset at Hyatt Place Kent NarrowsRelaxing by the firepit at sunset at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows

Relax by the firepit and enjoy the sunset at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Living

If you want to keep up on your workout, the spacious 24/7 gym is bright, motivating and well-equipped with equipment like weights, stationary bikes and cardio machines. 

The large indoor pool looking out to the water at Hyatt Place Kent NarrowsThe large indoor pool looking out to the water at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows

The large indoor pool at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows | Photo: Better Lving

Or, take a dip in the indoor pool that overlooks the marina. 

If you’re arriving by car, the hotel is right off exit 42 of the 50/301 split. If you would like to arrive by boat, the Hyatt Place in Kent Narrows is a great place to dock and stay. The marina behind the property has 40 dock slips, with electrical and water hookups and can be booked. And bonus, pets are welcome here.

How to Get to Kent Narrows, MD

How far is Kent Narrows from some of the major cities in the region? 

Here are some approximate distances and driving times for reference:

  • Annapolis, MD: 19 miles (31 km) and 22 minutes by car.
  • Washington, D.C.: 54 miles (87 km) and 1 hour 10 minutes by car.
  • Baltimore, MD:  46 miles (74 km), and about 1 hour and 5 minutes by car.
  • Wilmington, DE: 76 miles (122 km) and it takes about an hour and 20 minutes to drive.
  • Ocean City, MD: 94 miles (151 km) about 1 hour and 40 minutes to drive.
  • Philadelphia, PA: 101 miles (163 km) 1 hour and 45 minutes by car.

👉 Get Directions To Kent Narrows Here.

A boat being stored at The Boatel at Kent NarrowsA boat being stored at The Boatel at Kent Narrows

A boat gets stored at The Boatel, Kent Narrows. An indoor dry storage facility. | Photo: Better Living

Kent Narrows Boatel

If you visit and want to make Kent Narrows a permanent coastal getaway, you can keep your boat at the local Kent Narrows Boatel. This indoor dry-storage facility will house your boat keeping it protected from the elements and have your boat waiting for you in the water when you return.

The sunset over the shimmering water from the docks at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows, MD The sunset over the shimmering water from the docks at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows, MD

The sunset from the docks at Hyatt Place Kent Narrows, MD | Photo: Better Living

Final Thoughts on Kent Narrows

If you love being on the water and want to get away, Kent Narrows is a stunning under the radar coastal gem with a relaxed vibe and friendly people. 

Waiting for you here is fresh seafood, great waterfront dining, outdoor adventure, shopping and picturesque views everywhere you look. It’s the perfect destination for solo travelers or couples who want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There’s not many activities for kids here, so this is your chance to enjoy a romantic getaway with your partner or some quality time with friends. Treat yourself to a stay at Kent Narrows and experience the beauty of nature. You won’t regret it!

Close to major cities and all the Eastern Shore has to offer, Kent Narrows is a great Mid-Atlantic getaway for anyone arriving by car or boat.

Links For More Information on Kent Narrows

https://www.kentnarrowsmd.com
https://www.kentnarrowsstories.org

Explore More of Maryland

VISIT ST. MICHAELS, MD: A CHARMING COASTAL RETREAT
EXPERIENCE THE PERFECT WINTER GETAWAY AT MERRIWEATHER LAKEHOUSE HOTEL
SUMMER WEEKEND TRAVEL HACK: AN OCEAN CITY, MD ITINERARY
HOLIDAY TRAVEL: A VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS TOWN IN BERLIN, MARYLAND



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How to Celebrate Earth Day: 5 Family-Friendly Ideas

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This April 22nd, people all around the world will celebrate Earth Day. It’s a time to celebrate our precious planet, and consider how we can care for her better. Rooted in a legacy of environmental activism, this special day invites us to unite in honoring Mother Earth. Growing up in California, Earth Day was more than just a date on the calendar for me—it was woven into the fabric of my childhood and shaped by my mom’s deep reverence for nature. Now, as a parent, passing on these values to my own children feels like a sacred duty. If you’re wondering how to celebrate Earth Day with your little ones, join me on a journey filled with wonder, learning, and love for our planet.

Featured image from our interview with Roti Brown.

Woman gardening

How to Celebrate Earth Day: 5 Ideas to Inspire a Meaningful Celebration

Historically, Earth Day has come and gone for many of us without an acknowledgment of its importance. Until climate change became a growing concern for society on a global level—much of this awareness due to shifting weather patterns and warmer temps—we were met with messages to use less, recycle more, and maybe volunteer to plant a tree. But thankfully, things are shifting, and we understand how closely planetary health and community wellness are tied. Many people feel this responsibility and want to pass down a respect for the Earth to their children.

That said, it can be hard to know how to celebrate Earth Day in a meaningful, resonant way. For parents and caregivers looking for answers, I hope the following ideas spark inspiration and action.

Growing Gardens and Cultivating Connections

Planting a garden is more than just digging in the dirt. It’s a labor of love that yields countless rewards. My family has nurtured seeds into sprouts, tended to the soil with care, and celebrated in the bountiful mini harvests. Through this hands-on experience, my children have learned invaluable lessons about patience, stewardship, and the interconnectedness of all living things.

Whether it’s a backyard plot or a shared community garden, cultivating green spaces fosters not only a love for nature but also a sense of belonging and community spirit. Harlem Grown is a great book that speaks to the shared love of gardening.

Woman walking in field.

Chasing Sunsets and Cherishing Moments

Few things rival the enchantment of a sunset. It’s a natural phenomenon and fleeting masterpiece that paints itself across the sky. Whether we’re nestled in a blanket at the park or strolling along the pier, witnessing the sun’s descent always fills us with wonder. Watching the golden hues dance across the horizon can be an opportunity to express gratitude. For the warmth on our bodies, the light it extends, and its fascinating movements. I remind my children of our planet’s beauty and fragility, nurturing a sense of love and awe for the natural world that surrounds us.

Coastal Clean-up and Bonding by the Water

There’s something magical about being near water. It’s soothing for the soul and brings families closer together. Recently, a parent organized a beach clean-up with my daughter’s school friends. We armed ourselves with grabbers, gloves, and trash bags. As we combed the shoreline, picking up litter and sharing stories, I witnessed firsthand the power of collective action and environmental education. Remember, you don’t need an ocean to make a difference. A local park or trail can serve as a canvas for teaching your children about the importance of conservation and community care.

Stargazing Adventures and Eco-Lessons

Picture this: a warm evening, a telescope poised for exploration, and eager little faces reflecting the awe of the cosmos. My children’s fascination with the planets and solar system, ignited by a recent eclipse, has opened the door to meaningful conversations about pollution and light pollution. Together, we’ve peered into the night sky, marveling at distant stars while discussing the importance of preserving our skies for future generations.

This Earth Day, grab a telescope, and let the wonders of the universe spark curiosity and environmental consciousness in your own little astronomers.

Camille Styles backyard patio.

Reducing, Reusing, and Sparking Creativity

In a world dominated by consumption, teaching our children the importance of reducing waste and reusing resources is paramount. One of our favorite activities is reading This Is Not a Box. It’s a delightful book that ignites their imaginations and prompts them to see an everyday item in a new way. By encouraging creativity and resourcefulness, we not only minimize our environmental footprint but also cultivate a mindset of mindful consumption. It’s a gift I know will serve my children well throughout their lives.

The Takeaway

As Earth Day approaches, let’s seize the opportunity to celebrate our planet with our children. It’s a day where we can weave together moments of wonder, learning, and connection. Through stargazing adventures, coastal clean-ups, sunset chases, creative reuse projects, and gardening endeavors, we can instill in them a deep appreciation for the natural world and a commitment to protecting it for generations to come. Let’s embark on a journey of love and stewardship, nurturing a brighter, greener future for all.



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The Only Banana Nut Muffins Recipe You Need

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As someone who regularly tests recipes and also happens to live alone, I often find myself with the dilemma of having lots of extras. This isn’t a bad thing, of course. I’ve made friends with neighbors and always have treats to bring to the office. But sometimes, I just want to make something that’s not left hanging around my house for weeks. (When I developed this recipe a few months ago, I ate it every night for seven days straight.) I know I’m not alone in the struggle, so I’ve devised the ultimate small-batch banana nut muffins recipe. That’s right—these make a total of six muffins. You’re welcome.

banana nut muffin ingredients

The Case for Putting Nuts in Your Muffins

I’ve gone on record saying that I loathe nuts in my desserts. I don’t want walnuts in my brownies or chocolate chip cookies, butter pecan ice cream is a pass, and—hot take—I can’t handle a Snickers bar. The texture feels more like a nuisance than a way to enhance a treat. Maybe you’ll say I’m being extreme, but nuts are like land mines getting in the way of a fudgy brownie or fluffy cake.

The exception to this rule is putting the nuts on top of the dessert. Garnishing a cake with slivered almonds or a nutty crumble is my preferred method of utilizing nuts in baked goods. And that’s exactly what we’ve done here with this banana nut muffins recipe. We’re taking all the best parts of the banana nut muffin and adding a few tweaks to keep the texture and flavor top-notch.

best banana nut muffins

Key Ingredients for these Banana Nut Muffins

  • Pecans. Substitute with whatever you have on hand. Walnuts or almonds are great alternatives.
  • Oats. Optional, but I like playing on the slightly nutty flavor of oats for the topping.
  • Egg. Just one! Remember: small-batch.
  • Greek yogurt. Yogurt adds moisture while also helping with the leavening. If you don’t usually have yogurt on hand, freeze yogurt in ice cube trays and store the cubes in a freezer-safe bag. Simply thaw and use as needed.
  • Olive oil. Prioritize the good stuff in this recipe—you’ll taste it in these muffins.
  • Tahini. A little untraditional, but I love the savory and slightly nutty flavor that complements this recipe’s sweeter ingredients.
  • Maple syrup. I’m not a fan of super sweet treats, but maple syrup adds dimension.
  • Miso. If you’ve caught on, I love using savory ingredients in my baking. A little miso lifts all the flavors.
  • Banana. One banana is all you need. That random banana sitting on your counter? It’s the perfect contestant.
  • Flour. All-purpose for these muffins.
  • Baking Soda and Powder. Both keep these muffins light and fluffy.
  • Salt. If you’re not salting your sweets, start yesterday.
  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg. These warming spices enhance the muffins’ flavor without overpowering the banana.
  • Vanilla. Lately, I’ve considered vanilla optional in my recipes. (It can be so expensive!) Use it if you have it, but don’t fret if you don’t!
easy banana nut muffin recipe

Tips for Making Banana Nut Muffins

A few tips and tricks to ensure success.

  1. Let ingredients come to room temperature. This will drastically impact the final result.
  2. Mash the banana on its own, then add to the wet ingredients. Not only does this ensure an even distribution in the batter, but it also brings out the banana’s moisture.
  3. For bakery-style and domed muffins, fill your muffin tin to the top. I also recommend using parchment squares instead of regular liners as this will help create the rounded domed shape. This recipe works with regular muffin liners, but you might notice a bit more spreading on top of the muffin tin. Using large parchment squares also keeps the crumble in place.
  4. Gently press the crumble into the top of the batter. This ensures that the crumble will stick to the muffin instead of falling off during baking.

How to Store and Freeze Leftovers

These banana nut muffins are incredibly easy to store. (That is, if you end up with leftovers at all!) After letting the muffins cool completely, wrap muffins individually in beeswax or plastic wrap, then place them into a larger freezer bag. To reheat, remove individual muffins from the freezer and keep them in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, unwrap and toss muffins in the oven to thaw at 350 F for a few minutes.

the best banana nut muffins

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Description

An easy, small-batch banana nut muffin recipe that yields six fluffy and moist muffins.


For the crumble:

  • 60 grams pecans, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the muffins:

  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup (just over 1/4 cup, 3oz)
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large banana (1/2 cup mashed)
  • 120 grams flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Prep the crumble. Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and toss together until everything is evenly coated in oil and distributed. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with six liners, evenly spacing them out.
  3. Make the batter. In a large mixing bowl, add the egg, Greek yogurt, olive oil, tahini, maple syrup, miso, and vanilla. Whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  4. Mash the banana until very well mashed. Add to the batter.
  5. In a small bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Sift together to ensure everything is evenly combined, then add to the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, fold and combine the wet and dry ingredients until the batter just comes together.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, evenly divide the batter amongst the 6 muffin liners. You’ll want the batter to go almost to the top of the liner.
  7. Add a tablespoon of crumble over the batter in the muffin pan and gently press the crumble into the top of the batter.
  8. Bake at 400 F for 18-19 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about five minutes, then finish cooling on a wire rack.
  10. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: breakfast

Keywords: banana nut muffin



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The Best Skincare Products for Your 40s

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We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

With over a million search results for the best skincare products for 40s, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one looking for high-performance ingredients to improve my skin health. And that couldn’t be more true as I enter this new phase of my life. I turned the big 4-0 earlier this year and while I don’t ever want to be in my 20s again, I do miss that 20s collagen and high cell turnover. But I’m not writing this to lament about wrinkles and fine lines either. (But I will admit I have gone under the needle and have tried almost every buzzy beauty treatment.)

No, I am embracing my 40s wholeheartedly because, in all seriousness, I have never felt better. I am emotionally more stable and available, I am spiritually connected, and I am physically well and comfortable in my body. (Mind you, it’s always a work in progress.) But, I’m entering this new decade with a newfound confidence in myself. And I can say with certainty: all that wisdom and growth is worth it.

Featured image by Teal Thomsen.

Woman laughing in armchair.

The Best Skincare Products for Your 40s

Today, you’re here to learn about the best skincare products for 40s. Lucky for you, that’s something I love to talk about. I guess you could say I have been skin-obsessed since my mom put me on a simple cleanse-tone-moisturize-sunscreen routine at the age of 14. As an Aussie, where 14,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer each year, the sunscreen part is critical.

Sunscreen is my number one must-have product everyone should wear every day for anti-aging and skin health. And please note, that while I list all of these products here, you certainly don’t need to buy all of them. When it comes to skincare, all you really need is a quality cleanser, toner (yes, I am team toner), moisturizer (or face oil), and sunscreen. That’s it! And for me, it’s all about investing in quality over quantity.

Read on to learn about the best skincare products for 40s that I use in my everyday routine! Some of them I’ve been using for over 10 years. So if you’re in your 30s and looking for anti-aging solutions, you’re welcome to keep scrolling, too.

Editor’s Note: We did a follow-up to this post where we asked two dermatologists to share the best drugstore skincare for your 40s dupes. Read the article here.

Skincare products.

The Best Skincare Products for Cleansing

Cosmedix Purity Solution Cleanser

I like to rotate my cleansers depending on how my skin is feeling that day. For my morning routine, I usually reach for an oil cleanser. Why? Well, typically my skin leans dehydrated, making my epidermis especially parched.

This Cosmedix cleanser restores the skin’s natural moisture and removes impurities. It’s also especially great for removing makeup. I have been using Cosmedix for over 10 years now because they have high-performance ingredients and do what they say. I highly recommend an oil cleanser if you haven’t tried one yet, especially for mature skin as it’s super hydrating and moisturizing while being sensitive to the skin. I also love Mara’s oil cleanser and the one from Emma Lewisham, both of which are packed with exfoliating fruit enzymes like papaya.

Agency Cloud Care Duo

A recent addition to our editors’ radars, Agency by Curology differentiates itself in the overly saturated skincare world by formulating personalized prescription products. That’s right, everything you’ll try (and soon love) by the brand is tailor-made to target your skin concerns. You start by sharing your skin goals with a licensed medical provider who then creates customized formulations. From there, you’ll receive check-ins offering tips and formula adjustments to ensure your skincare evolves alongside you—because yes, you should be regularly switching up your routine!

The Cloud Care Duo pairs the efficacy of the brand’s Cream Oil Cleanser with its Weightless Whipped Moisturizer. The result is a fresh, soft, and hydrated complexion that never feels heavy.

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

I was introduced to iS Clinical about a year ago and have slowly been developing an obsession ever since. The cleansing complex is relatively new to my routine. But after at least four months of using it, I’m hooked. It’s a gel resurfacing cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin. The product is soft and gentle thanks to white willow bark that exfoliates the skin while breaking up any grime or makeup. Beauty editors love it because it works across every skin type and concern. I can use this one every day, multiple times a day, and it won’t leave my skin feeling dry, stripped, or squeaky. An all-around excellent addition to your skincare routine.

COSMEDIX Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser

In the past, foaming cleansers got a bad rap for being too stringent and stripping the skin of all of its oils. But let me introduce you to the new generation. Clarify is incredibly gentle and hydrating. The salicylic acid exfoliates the skin and helps prevent breakouts while the aloe vera soothes and heals. But this cleanser’s genius ingredient is the probiotics which encourage healthy bacteria on the surface. 10/10 recommend.

Renée Rouleau AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser

When my skin is feeling hormonal or blemish-prone, I bring out the big guns. Renée Rouleau is renowned for her arsenal of acne-fighting products and this one really nailed it. It packs a punch in the acids department mixed with gentle biodegradable jojoba beads which reduce acne, bumps, blackheads, and clogged pores while lifting away red discoloration and scarring leftover from blemishes. I use this cleanser about three times a week—prevention rather than cure!

Woman washing face.

The Best Skincare Products for Toning

Cosmedix Purity Balance Exfoliating Prep Toner

The jury has been out on toner in recent years but I swear by this one. Personally, I prefer a chemical exfoliation to a physical one. This one has salicylic and L-lactic acid combined with tea tree oil to cleanse, clarify, and smooth the skin. It’s great for blackhead management and removing excess oil or makeup. I’ve even been known to use it as a cleanser on the trips I’ve forgotten to pack mine.

Woman in sauna

The Best Skincare Products for Boosting

Cosmedix Cell ID Nutritive Defense Serum

There are a lot of serums out there. (I repeat, a lot.) But this one deserves a spot on your shelf. It’s packed with peptides, amino acids, and antioxidants which are great for aging skin. I can’t emphasize it enough: this serum is like giving your thirsty skin a big drink. The ingredients create a skin barrier that locks in moisture and keeps my skin feeling plump and dewy all day.

iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum

Speaking of drinks, let me introduce you to the ultimate glass of water for your epidermis: the hydra-cool serum from iS Clinical. I know hyaluronic acid has been hyped a lot in recent years, and for some people it can be drying (the opposite effect of what you want in an HA). But this serum has worked wonders for me. Perhaps it’s the additional vitamin B5, kojic acid, and menthol. Whatever the case, I find it really plumps up my skin and keeps the hydration locked in.

City Beauty Skin-Lifting Booster

This droplet serum is designed to be mixed with other skincare products or to be used alone for a lifted and sculpted look. I love blending a few drops into my moisturizer as a final step in my routine to supercharge my skin with advanced peptides (i.e., amino acid chains that support the skin’s firmness and promote elasticity). I have a few other City Beauty faves on this list—the products’ almost-instant results are unmatched.

Makeup products.

The Best Skincare Products for Correcting

iS Clinical Active Serum

The iS Clinical Active Serum has truly changed my skin. It reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, redness, acne, and smooths and evens skin tone, resulting in a clearer and healthier-looking complexion. A total no-brainer.

Cosmedix Elite X-cell+ Brightening Serum

If you’re looking for a brightening serum that packs a punch, look no further. This x-cell is from the Cosmedix Elite line, so it’s only available from licensed estheticians. But trust, it’s worth the extra step for the niacinamide and microencapsulated retinol. It does have witch hazel which my skin doesn’t have a problem with. If you react to it, you might want to opt out of this one. Don’t worry, I have another favorite brightening serum coming up.

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus

If you can only invest in a few products then make sure one of them is a vitamin C serum. It’s one of the few ingredients proven to protect against free radical damage, even skin tone, and promote collagen production.

Is Clinical Active Peel System

When I could see Candace Marino aka The LA Facialist in person, I would get the iS Clinical Fire + Ice facial but since we’re on the second phase of lockdown in LA, this at-home kit will have to do. This kit provides enough product to give you two professional-grade treatments at home which is great value.

Camille Styles skincare.

The Best Skincare Products for Exfoliation

Cosmedix Pure Enzymes Mask

There really is no other mask quite like pure enzymes. You definitely feel the tingle with this one (which I love) as the fruit enzymes are working their magic and you will feel a little red post-application but that’s what you want. The flush of oxygenated blood to the skin will boost circulation and collagen production. This mask is gentle enough to be done once a week.

Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel

This one is another favorite with beauty editors and celebrities with good reason. It’s packed with five skin smoothing fruit AHAs, BHAs, and enzymes to clear blemishes and clogged pores, fade post-breakout marks, lift discoloration, and stimulate cellular renewal. Plus, it’s just a really fun mask to apply because of the bright pink berry color!

Cosmedix Refine Refinishing Treatment 

I have been using retinol for years now and swear by it for anti-aging and overall skin health and maintenance. What I love about the Cosmedix line is their range of retinol that start low so you can work your way up as your skin adjusts. I asked the education director for Cosmedix, Ryan Christopher to explain and he told me that Serum 16 and Serum 24 are the starters and are great for sensitive skin. If you have textured skin then you can move to Define which also includes lactic acid to exfoliate. Refine, Refine Plus, and Refine RX follow each other in strength with RX being the highest. Genius.

Skincare products on sink.

The Best Skincare Products for Moisturizing

Matter of Fact Maximalist Age-Defying Moisturizer

Thankfully, younger generations are more attuned to the importance of SPF—but I get it, if you didn’t grow up in Australia like I did, you were probably encouraged to soak up as much sun as possible. This moisturizer is a go-to for undoing the damage of photo-aging. It combines a peptide and hyaluronic acid blend with heavy-hitting ingredients like niacinamide and bakuchiol to keep skin protected against environmental stressors and improve skin tone.

Cosmedix Mystic Moisturiser

Choosing a moisturizer can be tricky, especially when you’re looking for something rich that doesn’t clog your pores. This is hands down the best one I’ve come across for mature skin. It’s super hydrating and targets the concerns you want to address at this age like fine lines and wrinkles. I have combination skin but hydration is my number one goal with skincare and this definitely does the job. I can’t recommend this enough.

iS Clinical Moisturizing Complex

This is a great option for the summer months when you’re looking for something lighter. I usually mix this (and the X-Age) with oil for extra hydration and to seal in moisture.

Furtuna Skin Biphase Moisturizing Oil

I have tried so many oils and they’re either too fragrant or too heavy and they sit on top of the skin. This oil from Furturna is neither of those things. It has a super subtle fragrance and its lightweight formula sinks immediately into my skin giving an instant luminous glow while protecting my skin from the harsh dry LA air. I have been through three bottles of this already and I can’t get enough. It’s just a really beautiful product.

Mara Chlorella + Reishi Sea Vitamin C Serum

Okay, so this is technically a vitamin C serum but it’s an oil-based version so I put it in the moisturize category because I LOVE mixing it with my moisturizer. It ticks all the boxes for me: lightweight, mild scent, clean formula, and packed with potent ingredients—we’re talking 14 vitamin C rich fruit extracts, herbs and botanicals to help improve skin brightness.

Cosmedix Elite Eye Doctor High Potency Eye Treatment

I started out using the hero product in the Cosmedix line, Opti Crystal also known as unicorn tears but quickly moved onto Eye Doctor after learning it contains retinol and alpha-lipoic acid. I wasn’t a huge fan of eye cream until I met this product but what I love is that it also doubles as a highlighter thanks to their special liquid crystal. Try it, I guarantee you’ll love it. 

HydroSerum Eye Stick

I love the easy application of this moisturizing eye stick. Simply glide on a thin layer for a healthy dose of hyaluronic acid, argan oil, niacinamide, and licorice root extract to smooth fine lines and illuminate the skin. Trust: your under-eyes will appear brighter and feel revived immediately.

Woman face rolling in mirror.

The Best Skincare Products for Protection

iS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF 30

Now to my favorite product: sunscreen. I am at the esthetician level of an obsession now for this amazing product. As an Aussie, I have literally had 100s of sunscreens applied to my face and body and there are a lot of bad ones out there. This one is the best I’ve tried. It’s light, leaves a dewy glow without being sticky or oily, and it doesn’t smell like sunscreen!

I am the biggest preacher of sunscreen application (I’m talking every day, and reapplying multiple times a day) so if this one doesn’t suit you, please, please, please find one that does and wear it every day, even inside because this one also protects you from the blue light of your phone and computer screen.

SilkScreen Sheer Tint Mineral Sunscreen

I also love a tinted sunscreen, but it can be hard to find one that isn’t streaky or heavy. Thankfully, this sheer mineral sunscreen by Agency pairs a weightless application with SPF 50 protection. And because Agency is dedicated to providing customized skincare for everyone, this is my favorite sun-protection pick for all skin types. Simply swipe it on for even, poreless skin.

Cyndi Ramirez headshot.

The Best Skincare Products for Hydration

Matter of Fact Minimalist Hydrating Moisturizer

When it comes to hydration, a lightweight formulation is key. Yes, you want to feel that it’s working, but a gloppy texture isn’t ideal. And where sensitive skin is concerned, Matter of Fact’s hydrating moisturizer is the best in the game. The liquid crystal lipids not only provide hydration, but they also support your skin barrier—key when you’re playing the skin health long game.

City Beauty Line-Smoothing HydroMask

Something about doing a face mask feels so luxe. Not only do you get the results of an in-office treatment at home, but the process of applying one to your skin is self-care at its finest. And when the mask actually works? *Chef’s kiss* Infused with antioxidants, peptides (key for promoting collagen production), and hyaluronic acid for deeply hydrated skin, you’ll notice a complete transformation after just 20 minutes.

Cosmedix Mystic Hydrating Treatment

This isn’t essential by any means but since I love any hydration when I can get it throughout the day, I love a face mist. I find my skin will dry out after I’ve stared at a computer screen for a few hours so I love to spritz in between to keep my skin fresh. This one is an exfoliating formula so it also helps current breakouts and helps to prevent new ones.

iS Clinical Copper Firming Mist

I always keep a few mists handy on my desk so I can reach for whatever I feel like my skin needs. This copper firming mist smells great and is just the right amount of hydration when you need it.

Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2

If you haven’t tried this French skincare line yet then I highly recommend their masks. I like to multi-mask with the vivant so I’m hydrating while I’m targeting my t-zones. It’s not cheap but you don’t need much and it’s safe enough to use daily or weekly, whenever you like to mask. If you want a more affordable option, try the Cosmedix Restore.

Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant

I’ll just be straight up on, this mask doesn’t smell great. In fact, it smells like vegemite (if you know, you know!) but it’s such a great mask for treating dull, tired, or oily skin. I love it on the weekends when my skin is needing a boost or it’s a great hangover cure!

The Things We Do Liquid Lift Sleeping Mask

Vanessa Lee, RN is renowned in California for her incredible natural cosmetic procedures—her threads are the best but sadly she isn’t taking on new clients. But luckily for us, she has designed a product line to give us the in-clinic results at home. Her sleeping mask is one of my favorites. I love the jelly-like formula that is super hydrating thanks to organic oats, Vitamin B5, and hyaluronic acid. It’s great post-treatment or chemical peel too.

City Beauty City Lips Night Oil

Niche, but when it comes to the best skincare products for your 40s, a plumping, overnight lip oil is essential. Simply apply a swipe of this hydrating, exfoliating formula before going to sleep and get ready to wake up to noticeably plumper lips. I’m obsessed with this ingredient list: portulaca pilosa extract rejuvenates the skin while plankton and floral extract provide a smoothing effect. And of course, hyaluronic acid delivers all the hydration your lips could dream of. Seriously, this is a perfect overnight lip treatment. (Eat your heart out, Laneige.)



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