May 24

Discover Eastern Shore Military History This Memorial Day

We are so excited that Memorial Day is right around the corner!

On the Eastern Shore, we love to celebrate our history and remember those that paved the way for us today! This Memorial Day, in between chilling on the beach and checking out your favorite restaurants and shops, be sure to stop in at these historical military sites!

WWII Gun Barrel

WWII Bunker and Cannon Barrel at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge

Originally, this national wildlife refuge was Fort John Custis, then the Cape Charles Air Force Station, until the refuge came to be in 1984. You can catch a glimpse of the area’s military history when you visit the Bunker Overlook with WWII Gun Barrel.

Read more about it on the National Wildlife Refuge site and the Eastern Shore VA blog.
Scott Hall Cemetery Historical Marker
Scott Hall Cemetery
Located in the historic town of Onancock, Scott Hall Cemetery is the final resting place of Maryland’s Commodore Whaley who was killed in the Battle of the Barges just outside of the mouth of Onancock Creek in 1782. The battle was the last naval action of the Revolutionary War.

Barrier Islands Kayaking

Photo by Bayside Studios Photography

Mockhorn Island

Originally a rich man’s club, Mockhorn Island was taken over during the time of WWII by the US Military as a sportman’s retreat for high-ranking officers. The island held a mansion, a working farm, and several observation tours. You can access the island by boat and it is open year-round to the public for bird watching, photography, primitive camping, rail and waterfowl hunting and trapping. Please be careful as you explore the island!

Read more about the island on the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources website and on

Coast Guard Assateague Lighthouse

This 142 foot red and white striped lighthouse is located on the Virginia side of Assateague Island on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Built in 1867, the light was originally kept lit with oil. The keeper of the lighthouse would have to climb all 172 steps to the top of the light every hour to keep the light lit for those at sea. In 1933, the lighthouse was converted to electric in 1933. The light is comprised of two rotating lights that can be seen for 19 miles out at sea. Now the lighthouse still aids those at sea but is open to the public to explore, giving way to a gorgeous panoramic view of Assateague Island. The lighthouse is open every weekend from April-November from 9am-3pm.

Read more about it on the National Wildlife Refuge site.

The Concrete Ships and a Coast Guard Boat at Kiptopeke

Photo by Bayside Studios Photography

Kiptopeke’s Concrete Ships

With a history shrouded in obscurity, the concrete ships at Kiptopeke are definitely a must-stop for any history lover. Constructed during WWII due to a shortage of plate steel, they were among two dozen of these unique boats built to haul goods and weapons. They were sunk here to create a protective barrier for the shoreline. Read more about the history of these impressive ships on the Abandoned Country blog.

For a comprehensive list of our museums and historic sites, check out this map! And be sure to stay up to date on historical events and tours on our Events page.

When you get back from your adventures, be sure to tag us in your photos! Use the hashtags #visitesva and #off13.

virginia.orgeastern shore of virginia tourism logo

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up to receive our newsletter
Click the photo to access our Travel Guide.

Our email newsletters feature helpful information, upcoming events and attractions throughout the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Whether you’re planning your trip or staying in the know, our newsletters will keep you informed.

Select list(s) to subscribe to

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission, P.O. Box 450, Melfa, VA, 23410, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact