Maryland’s famous crabs are a staple of the state’s culture and cuisine.
The Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, borders Maryland and is known for its high-quality seafood, particularly blue crabs. These crabs have been a significant part of Maryland’s economy for centuries and remain an essential part of the state’s identity to this day.
Blue crabs are featured in various events and festivals in Maryland throughout the year. The National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield features events like crab races (yes, really) and a beauty pageant for female crustaceans. There is also the Annual Maryland Seafood Festival in Annapolis, where local restaurants compete for the title of “Best Crab Cake.” Both festivals are ideal events at which to pick up a crabby souvenir.
Why Crab Souvenirs Are Unique
While many states have their own local foods or symbols that they celebrate through souvenirs (like New York City’s I Love NY apparel), few places boast such an iconic food as blue crabs when it comes to souvenir options. Some may argue that buying an edible souvenir might be more enjoyable than purchasing something you will never actually use once you return home.
However, not everyone wants to snack on canned crab meat or seasoning after their trip has ended! Instead, purchasing trinkets like keychains or magnets featuring colorful crab designs can help visitors remember their time in Maryland.
Popular Types of Crab Souvenirs
Whether you’re looking to buy a small memento or something more substantial, there are plenty of crab souvenirs available in Maryland to suit your needs and budget. T-shirts and hats featuring crab designs are popular options, as well as keychains and refrigerator magnets. Many souvenir shops also sell handmade crab-themed jewelry such as pendants, earrings, or bracelets.
Particularly popular over the last years has been a motif that includes the crab in the colors of the Maryland flag.
But what if you want an edible souvenir to bring home instead? Consider buying some Maryland blue crab seasoning or canned crab meat. Old Bay is the standard for seasoning in these parts, while local restaurants like Phillips sell lump crab meat under their brand in many groceries around the state, including at BWI Airport in Baltimore.
The Most Popular Crab Souvenirs
Let’s take a closer look at some popular examples of crab souvenirs you might come across when visiting Maryland:
– T-shirts: these come in all sizes and styles featuring different designs incorporating crabs such as “Old Bay Seasoning” or “Happy Crabs from Chesapeake Bay”.
– Hats: snapbacks or trucker caps with embroidered crab designs. – Keychains and Magnets: small yet cute reminders that tourists often purchase as gifts for loved ones back home.
– Edibles: souvenir shops also sell various edible items such as canned crab meat and local-made Old Bay seasoning – this way tourists can enjoy authentic Maryland crab taste without actually visiting a restaurant. Some souvenir shops offer customization of items so can have your name or date put on the back of a crab-shaped t-shirt to remember your visit.
Unique Crab Souvenirs
Hand-Carved Wooden Crabs from Local Artisans
While t-shirts and hats are popular souvenirs for tourists, few know about the unique hand-carved wooden crabs made by local Maryland artisans. These stunning pieces of artwork come in a variety of sizes and styles, from small tabletop decorations to larger wall hangings. The crabs are expertly carved to capture the detail and texture of a real Maryland blue crab, making them a perfect conversation starter in any home or office.
Some artisans even use reclaimed wood from historic buildings around Maryland, giving each crab its own unique character and story. Visitors can find these beautiful crafts at local gift shops or art galleries, or even at farmers’ markets where artisans set up booths to showcase their work.
Customized License Plates with Crab Designs
For tourists who want to show off their love for Maryland blue crabs while cruising down the road, customized license plates with crab designs are the perfect souvenir. These plates can be personalized with a variety of designs, including images of blue crabs or catchy phrases like “Crab Cakes & Football – That’s What Maryland Does!” Visitors can even request custom designs that incorporate their name or other personal details.
License plates can be found at many souvenir shops throughout Maryland, but some visitors may prefer to order them online ahead of time for convenience. Some crafting websites also offer tutorials on how to create your own customized license plate using materials like vinyl and transfer tape.
Crab-Shaped Soap Bars Made with Locally Sourced Ingredients
For visitors who love unique beauty products, crab-shaped soap bars made with locally sourced ingredients are a fun way to bring a piece of Maryland home with them. These soaps come in a variety of scents and colors that mimic the look and smell of a real Maryland blue crab.
Some even feature added ingredients like Old Bay seasoning or sea salt for an extra touch of authenticity. Soap bars can be found at local farmers’ markets and specialty gift shops, as well as online from some soap-making companies.
Visitors who are feeling adventurous can even try making their own crab-shaped soap using tutorials and recipes readily available online. Regardless of how they are obtained, these charming soaps are sure to make a unique addition to any bathroom or guest room.
Where to Find Crab Souvenirs in Maryland
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Ocean City Boardwalk are two of the most popular areas to find Maryland souvenir shops.
Meanwhile, there are other off-the-beaten-path locations available too that offer more unique or handmade items. For instance, St Michaels, on the Eastern Shore, offers a wide variety of small independent gift shops that sell beautifully crafted hand-made jewelry pieces made by local artisans.
Another great location to find handmade items creatively sourced from locally-sourced ingredients is Annapolis, the state capital.
Crab-related Fun Facts
Did you know that a group of crabs is called a “cast”? Or that female crabs have red-tipped claws while male crabs’ claws are blue?
During mating season (which typically occurs from May through September), male crabs will literally “dance” with females to attract their attention.
Whether you’re a longtime crab fan or a newcomer to this beloved seafood, we hope that your experience in Maryland leaves you with fond memories and an appreciation for all things crustacean.