The Mysterious Island in Maryland Where Houses are Just $5,000 and Locals Enjoy Laid-Back Life

Due to its isolated, archaic state and concerns over rising sea levels, there are only around 200 residents left on Smith Island in Maryland. The island has been inhabited since the 1600s and the main industry is crabbing. The tiny town of Ewell is considered the capital, with a post office, church, fire station and community center. Visitors to Smith Island should bring cash, as there are no ATMs on the island. As for cellphone service, it’s either spotty or non-existent. However, a new Internet connection is on the way, thanks to nearly $2 million of state money. The population of the island steadily declined in the mid-‘90s, with 100 people leaving in one year. Along with poor employment opportunities, the rising water levels have caused some to leave their homes, as some parts of the island have become uninhabitable. Making matters worse, two years ago a violent tornado spun through Smith Island and some properties were swept away. The one small store on the island contains Smith Island-branded sweatshirts, kitchen condiments, and the island's famous Smith Island cake, which features multiple layers coated in chocolate fudge icing. There’s no alcohol for sale, although visitors can bring their own. Properties on the island are exceptionally cheap, starting at just $5,000. Of course, they’re in need of some work, but the land isn’t going anywhere. Jerry Smith, whose family has been living on the island from the beginning, says the crabbing industry is gradually dying out because the younger generation has no interest in working on the water. Who knows whether Smith Island will even be inhabited in another 25 years.