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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 03/16/2010

Looking forward to Tim's

By Justin Rude

It may not feel much like boating weather yet, but sunny warm days are right around the corner. For boat-owning locals in the know, that means it's almost time for a trip to Tim's Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse. The Prince William County seafood spot serves generous baskets of shellfish right on the water. Tim's patrons arrive by boat, car and bike, and they clearly care more about the quality of their beer and steamer baskets than they do about the size of their cabin-cruiser -- it's the anti-Georgetown Waterfront.

Technically, Tim's has been open all year, but the open-top boat scene doesn't really take off until the mercury rises. Then the whole spectrum of Potomac river rides will be represented: speedboats, jet-skis, sailboats, cabin-cruisers and even canoes. While smaller craft head to shore or to tie up at the pier, larger boats take anchor and wait for the Rivershore shuttle to swing by and pick up customers. The crowd is an eclectic mix ranging from crusty old bikers to deck-shoe-wearing sailors, but it's always friendly and festive one. The restaurant has a modest indoor section; the majority of seating's on the deck and beach area, a fantastic place for people-watching and one of the region's best spots for spending a long afternoon outside with a basket of crabs and a cold beer.

Prices at Tim's aren't the lowest in the world of riverside seafood dives, but they aren't going to break the bank. either. And if you filled up your boat at a marina gas pump, chances are that gouging was bad enough that you won't even notice. Bud and Bud Light are your only draft beer options, but there are a handful of bottled microbrews and an extensive, if kitschy, cocktail menu.

If you don't have a boat, don't worry. You can drive to this fun, under-appreciated warm-weather destination, too. That being said, if you can finagle yourself a ready watercraft (or clue-in a boat-equipped buddy), take the trip. The best way to experience Tim's is from the river.

-- Justin Rude

By Justin Rude  | March 16, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
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