Kiptopeke State Park sign
Van Trips,  Virginia

Kiptopeke State Park – Cape Charles, VA

Kiptopeke State Park is part of the Virginia Parks System. At the bottom of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, it’s set on the Chesapeake Bay. There are plenty of water activities, water views, and lots of campsites. We liked a few of their more secluded trails and proximity to the adorable town of Cape Charles.


Getting There

Kiptopeke State Park is located in Cape Charles, VA about two hours east of Richmond and is sandwiched between some other state and national conservation land. To get across the bay, you have to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel which is 20 miles long and has a toll of $14 – 18 each way, depending on time of travel. Neither of us had been across the bridge tunnel and it was a cool experience marveling at the engineering. Kiptopeke is less than an hour from Virginia Beach, and 3 1/2 hours from Fairfax. Admission to the park is $7 plus $3 – 10 for a boat trailer depending on licensing and parking location.


Trails

From the campground we walked to the end of Kiptopeke Dr. to the waterfront to take in the views. There are spots to walk along the beach and get your toes in the sand. The Baywoods Trail is an easy loop through the trees (with much needed shade if it’s warm) attached to Peregrine Boardwalk that looks out over the water. Along the trails there were American Beautyberries. I had never seen anything so vibrantly purple/magenta in nature.



Additionally there are two more boardwalks near the yurts at the back of the campground that were lovely evening walks. Since the waterfront here faces west over the bay, we got to watch the sun start to sink over the water.


Camping

The campground here is pretty large, and all of the sites are lined up next to each other in rows. In September every site was full. I booked a site (A06) on a row that backed up to trees lining Kiptopeke Dr. Our site felt a little more private this way, but we were further from the bathhouse. Bring bug spray. Gnats were everywhere, although they chilled out some once we got a fire going. Our site didn’t have any downed sticks for kindling, so I used lots of pine needles instead to help the fire along.



OTHER VIRGINIA STATE PARKS: Bear Creek Lake | Staunton River | James River


Excursion

The nearby town of Cape Charles is the absolute cutest. Saturday afternoon we went to Cape Charles Brewing Co. They have lots of outdoor seating, and we found a spot in the shade to hang with Gimli boy. Their beers were quite good with a nice variety of styles. We each had a pint after we split a flight and took some cans home. Cape Charles Brewing also has food – you can’t go wrong with the beer cheese pretzel!



Sunday morning before we headed home, we hit the public beach in Cape Charles. We found street parking for the van right near the beach access. The sand here was much softer than in the park. We did about a mile here gazing over the water before hitting Coastal Baking Co for a breakfast of scones and lemon bars. Both were delicious.



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