There is so much to see and do on the Eastern Shore of Virginia away from the crowds at Cherrystone. Exploring Cape Charles, Kiptopeke State Park and so much more on the Eastern Shore. Here is part 2!
We are so grateful that John spent the time to get the towing set up on Boomer so we can tow our ’99 Jeep Wrangler! It gives us the freedom to leave Boomer at the campground, and get out and explore the area. The Eastern Shore of Virginia is a narrow peninsula of land that comes down from Delaware, in to Maryland and ends in Virginia. There are a lot of small communities who depend on fishing and crabbing, along with farming to provide for their families.
Just a short 15 minute drive south of Cherrystone campground is Kiptopeke State Park. Honestly, we would probably have preferred to stay here IF it were a little cooler. The campground is nice, but very open with no shade for RV’s. (The tent areas are set amongst the trees with plenty of shade). They rent Yurts, cabins and trailers. We definitely prefer to stay in state parks, but shade in the hot and humid Virginia summer is a must. Anyway, digressing…
We parked the Jeep at the fishing pier, where a lot of people were out fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. Across from the pier is a lengthy barrier wall created using a lot of cement boats from WW2. There is a boat ramp and a nice beach for swimming and sun bathing on either side of the pier.
Hiking the Trails
We moved the Jeep closer to the trails and head off with the dogs to explore! There are 5 miles of hiking and bicycle trails. We chose the upland hardwood forest trails which led us through pine tree forest and meadows of brush and wild flowers. It was a really pretty hike – not too strenuous, but warm due to the typical Virginia humidity. There are birds and butterflies everywhere, along with small critters and deer.
We neglected to put bug spray on until we were taking a water break amongst the pine trees and both of us were instantly covered in mosquitos. We frantically dropped everything to hunt for the bug spray while dancing around slapping ourselves. It would have looked hilarious to anyone watching! We both received a large number of bites, so make sure you don’t forget the bug spray! Ticks can also be a problem, so make sure you check for those on yourselves and your dogs.
There are a variety of other trails including one closer to the beach and through dunes. Next visit, we will probably head in that direction!
Cape Charles – LOVE
A mile or so south of Kiptopeke State Park is the quaint town of Cape Charles. It is a small town on the bay with one of the most beautiful beaches on the Eastern Shore. There are a handful of shops and a restaurant in the town, but not much else. We are attracted to the small town feel. It’s a hidden gem!
There is a long fishing pier that stretches way in to the bay. On the south side of the pier is a small beach where dogs are welcome to swim (Sidney loved it!). On the north side is the people beach. In low tide, you can walk for ages in shallow water before it gets deep. It is a safe, calm and very clean beach.
There is also a sign right before the pier with the state motto “LOVE” (Virginia is for Lovers). Make sure you take the obligatory photo on the sign before you leave!
After we explored Kiptopeke and Cape Charles, we drove further up the Eastern Shore, stopping in small towns along the Eastern side of the island. There are a lot of very small fishing towns, protected from the Atlantic Ocean by barrier islands to the East. The drive is very pleasant and easy.
We drove the road to Thousand Trails at Virginia Landing. It is a gorgeous drive, but the campground is very isolated. It looked empty, but I’m sure it is beautiful on the other side of the gate. It is just a long, long drive from anywhere.
Note: On a previous visit, we also stopped at Wallops Island – where a lot of rockets are launched for NASA and other agencies. It is a fascinating place and happens to be on the way to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, famous for the horses who roam wild on the latter island! We stopped in Chincoteague – a cute town, but were not as impressed as we thought we would be – but I think it is because we had heard so many wonderful things about the area. As we had the dogs in the car at the time, we couldn’t drive on to Assateague Island (NO ANIMALS ALLOWED), so we will have to go back sometime.
As I mentioned in Part 1 , Cherrystone was a nice park, but too busy for our liking. We used it as a home base to explore the Eastern Shore, and there is plenty to do (if you have a car!) We loved the hiking, and exploring of the small towns up and down the bay and ocean side. If you’re love rockets and space exploration, check out Wallops Island on your way to visit the horses on Assateague. Skip Chincoteague, unless you need a quick meal. And make sure you stop in Cape Charles for a swim and walk around town. We will return….