Take a trip to the coast of Virginia and explore the many activities along the Chesapeake Bay! As the largest estuary in the U.S., the unique body of water is home to variety of wildlife and boasts a myriad of things to do, both along the bay and on the nearby waterways. Because of its size, it can be overwhelming to search for specific destinations, but we're here to help with a round-up of some of our favorite stops along Virginia's portion of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Beaches of Virginia Beach
If you're looking for a day at the beach, you'll want to visit Virginia Beach. This sprawling coastal city is home to three major beaches, Resort, Sandbridge, and Chesapeake Bay. Most iconic is Resort Beach
, which stretches as far as the eye can see and includes three miles of oceanfront boardwalk, lined with public art, quaint restaurants, and beachy shops. For a quieter experience, visitors can head 15 miles south of the Resort area to Sandbridge Beach
, nestled in a quiet Atlantic community with five miles of sand dunes, shoreline, and spectacular waves. Nearby havens like False Cape State Park
offer fantastic opportunities for hiking, biking, and kayaking, as well as a chance to spot wildlife like seals and shorebirds. If you're seeking a gentler seaside escape, try out Chesapeake Bay Beach
, known for calm waters, small crowds, and a wealth of local restaurants that overlook the ocean. With three options to choose from, you can create your perfect beach getaway in Virginia Beach.
Step back in time when you visit the world's largest living history museum. Colonial Williamsburg
, situated between Richmond and Norfolk, is a stunning re-creation of the colonial city where America was born. Walk through the halls of the Capitol and see the rooms where American representatives made the decision to declare independence from England. Take a trip through the Governor's Palace and experience the opulence of a colonial mansion. Just walking through the streets of this historic hub provides views of colonial gardens, centuries-old churches, and re-enactments of revolutionary battles. Perfect for history buffs or families, Colonial Williamsburg is an integral part of your Virginia vacation.
Soak up the sun on the shores of Cape Charles
, a bayside village that's home to arts, adventure, and picturesque coastline. Located on Virginia's Eastern Shore peninsula, this charming community faces the Chesapeake Bay, allowing for calm waters at its serene beaches. Stroll along the Cape Charles Fishing Pier, or stay on land and watch for a variety of shorebirds that hop along the tideline. Water sports enthusiasts will find a paradise with ample opportunity for kite boarding, jet skiing, and kayaking. Once you're beached out, be sure to check out local eateries like DeadRise Pies
and Brown Dog Ice Cream
, where you'll find delicious handcrafted creations!
Fort Monroe National Monument
Known as "Freedom's Fortress," Fort Monroe National Monument
is a landmark with a history that dates back over 400 years to its use as a defensive point by Native Americans. The coastal region became integral after the War of 1812 and the U.S. government opted to construct Fort Monroe in 1819. Although it's now decommissioned, Fort Monroe remains the largest stone fort ever built in America and provides a wonderful chance for exploration near Hampton. Some of the attractions include classic cannons and fortifications, as well as the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse. In addition to taking a tour, you can enjoy great public beaches and plenty of park space, perfect for walking pets! Whether you're here for the history or the atmosphere, you're sure to have a great time.
Gwynn's Island Fishing
Great fishing can be found almost anywhere on the Chesapeake Bay, however, a particularly good spot can be found on Gwynn's Island, a quaint boating town right off the Middle Peninsula. This fishermen's paradise is home to rockfish in the fall before hosting a variety of species, such as striped bass, in the spring. To enjoy the best of it, take your stay at Gwynn's Island RV Resort & Campground
. Our coastal resort is located right on the water, featuring a 100-foot fishing pier and a convenience store stocked with bait and tackle. Whether you're lounging on the beach or reeling in the big one, you'll experience a restful getaway on Gwynn's Island!
Explore the birthplace of Robert E. Lee at this plantation that's home to 1900 acres of rolling farmland and forest. Built in the late 1730s, Stratford Hall
was home to several generations of the Lee family, making it as historic as it is beautiful. Colonial architecture is on full display, with a brick exterior, hardwood floors, and influences from both English and Roman architecture. Guided tours begin on the hour from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and visitors are also welcome to take self-guided tours. Peer into all the nooks and crannies of the Great House and stop for a traditional lunch in the dining room. If you're looking for a jaunt, head out to the grounds and make your way to the high bluffs that provide spectacular views of the Potomac River!
American Rover Sailing Cruise
Set sail on the Chesapeake Bay! There's no better way to experience this beautiful area than with a cruise on the water. The premier ship in the area is the American Rover
, a 135-foot sailing boat that is designed in the style of 19th
century cargo schooners. Cruises take place in the afternoons and evenings, promising a different experience with every voyage. Families will love the daytime cruise as they help set the sails and learn about the highlights of the harbor. The sunset cruise is ideal for couples and groups, showing off the city at night with live music onboard. Keep your eyes open, you may catch a glimpse of dolphins leaping out of the water!
Have a hankering for history or an eye for archaeology? Then you'll want to visit Historic Jamestowne, a collection of museums, historic structures, and archaeological digs. This area celebrates America's first English colony and the dramatic story that accompanies. Visit Jamestown Island to learn about the latest discoveries with new artifacts found and carefully recovered. You'll spot ruins of the Ambler Mansion and get a chance to see the reconstructed Jamestown Memorial Church, built on top of the original 17th century foundations. More experiences can be found on the mainland at Jamestown Settlement, a living history museum with ships, shops, and the re-created Powhatan Indian Village, which offers plenty of fun and educational activities for children.
Nearby resorts in the Chesapeake Bay area:
Gwynn's Island RV Resort & Campground • New Point RV Resort
Make sure to keep checking The Scenic Route for more locations in our Destination Discover series! Sun RV Resorts offers amazing locations from coast to coast! For more information please visit us on www.sunrvresorts.com.