Apr 27
Kiptopeke Pelican

Explore Virginia’s Natural Coast: Kiptopeke State Park

Information and images from except for image above, which was taken by Eastern Shore Boat Tours; used with permission

Just after you complete the drive over the  Chesapeake Bay Bridge-TunnelKiptopeke State Park awaits your arrival a few miles down the road. It is a great headquarters for your Eastern Shore adventure. With safe, distanced accommodations, a beautiful beach, fishing, ranger activities, trails, and more, you can’t go wrong!

With a full-service campground featuring lodges with anywhere from two to six bedrooms, RV & tent camping areas, yurts (part cabin/part tent), AND a bunkhouse, Kiptopeke State Park has an abundance of choices for overnight stays to fit any budget. If you’re staying for the day, a long weekend, or a whole week, there is no shortage of things to do and see in and around the park.

The yurt is part tent/part cabin and is a truly unique place to stay.

It’s for the Birds

Whether you are a novice birder or someone trying to check an elusive species off your bucket list, the Eastern Shore is a birder’s paradise. Nestled along the Atlantic Migratory Flyway, spring and fall migrations mean flocks and flocks of various birds passing through. Kiptopeke State Park has four miles of hiking trails, several overlooks, and two photo blinds that are perfect for birding.

The south beach is a great place to get photos of water birds like this pelican.

The Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge located just across Route 13 from Kiptopeke State Park also has incredible trails, marshlands, and shoreline that are great for birding.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources also has the Eastern Shore Loop of the Birding and Wildlife Trail mapped out with a variety of waypoints for great birding adventures.

The Simple Life

Farming, family, and friends seem to the central tenet of bygone eras on the Eastern Shore.

You can get a glimpse of what life was like in colonial, civil war times, and during World War II by visiting the Barrier Island Center and the Cape Charles Museum.  Both locations boast an incredible array of displays and photographs from years past.

This old farm building located in Kiptopeke State Park was probably used to store produce or tobacco.

Up and down Route 13, you’ll find roadside produce stands and “pick-your-own” farms so you can stock up on some fresh veggies, fruit, and seafood for a grand feast over your campfire.

An easy way to get a snapshot of ESVA history is to check out the four large signs on the beach bathhouse at Kiptopeke State Park. These four signs talk about the life and history of the Eastern Shore and the park. It is a peek into what Eastern Shore life was like at the turn of the century.

Horsin’ Around

One of the biggest draws to the Eastern Shore is a visit to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  Located about 60 miles north of Kiptopeke State Park, Chincoteague is the place to see the wild ponies made famous by the children’s book, Misty of Chincoteague.

Hook, Line & Sinker

Kiptopeke State Park is well-known for its 24-hour lighted fishing pier. Night fishing is great fun for kids and adults of all ages.

The pier is licensed, but be sure to follow the guidelines for getting a free Fisherman ID number by phone or online.

This serious fisherman shows off his catch to his very impressed friends.

Reopening soon – The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel also features the Seagull Fishing Pier that juts out into the Chesapeake Bay. This fishing pier features an official weigh station for the serious fisherman hoping to break some records! Currently the pier is closed but it will be open soon!

In the summer, the park hosts some great fishing and beach programs including seaside crafts, knot-tying programs, kid’s fishing events, and more. Programs are being added throughout the year so check back on the Virginia DCR website for updates.

The park’s camp store sells basic fishing gear and bait. If you need a whole new rig, check out Ocean’s East located just a few miles north on Route 13.

Yes, there really are flying fish! Kids love to catch these sea-robins off the pier at Kiptopeke State Park.


Kiptopeke State Park has great ranger-guided kayak programs and kayak rentals in the summer season. Sometimes, special kayak fishing programs are available for reservation. The park has a boat launch and kayak launch if you bring your own watercraft.

The north side beach is set aside for sunbathing and beach play. Ranger-led seining and seashell craft programs are fun for kids of all ages.

The shallow surf and gentle wave action make Kiptopeke‘s beach great for preschoolers who enjoy splashing at the water’s edge.


Ranger-led seining programs let you see marine life up close.

Using the park as headquarters for your Eastern Shore adventure is a great idea! Make your campsite your home base and take day trips to different places around the Eastern Shore, but don’t forget to explore the park and participate in ranger-led programs, too.

Pack your gear– don’t forget the camera and binoculars–and head across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel for a fun Kiptopeke State Park and Eastern Shore adventure.

Make Kiptopeke State Park your adventure headquarters while you explore all there is to do in the region. Call 1-800-933-PARK to make your campground or cabin reservation now!

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