There is plenty to see and do on the 70-mile peninsula that makes up the Eastern Shore of Virginia. From south to north the region’s charming towns and villages have a growing numbers of hotels, B&BS, shops, restaurants, art galleries and studios and outfitters to take you exploring on land and water. Six public beaches range from deserted stretches accessed only by boat or a hike, to the drive-up convenience of a beautiful beach on a barrier island. Whether you approach from the north or the south, use this itinerary to help you get a taste of the area so you can plan an action-packed stay.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel: Savor breathtaking views of both the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean as you make your way across the 20-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which is the world’s largest bridge tunnel hybrid.
Cape Charles Coffee House: Stop off in the picturesque bayside town of Cape Charles for a great cup of coffee and a substantial breakfast at the Cape Charles Coffee House. They’re known for their bagel and lox plate. This charming café is housed in a beautiful turn-of-the-century building located just blocks from the public beach.
Barrier Island Center: The Barrier Island Center preserves the history of those who lived on Virginia’s barrier islands. This museum captures a lifestyle that is gone forever. The building that houses the museum once served as an almshouse. After taking in a history lesson, stop by the museum’s gift shop, which is stocked with locally made, artisan wares.
Onancock: Head north to Onancock, a harbor town on the Chesapeake Bay, and choose from nearly a dozen restaurants where chefs prepare everything from Mediterranean cuisine to fresh local seafood. Explore Onancock’s historic downtown, with shops showcasing handmade jewelry, art, upscale clothing and home goods, specialty kitchenware and antiques.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge: Head north to Chincoteague, home of the famous wild ponies and a wildlife refuge that boasts a life-guarded beach, a non-lifeguarded beach that is a favorite for surfers, a beautifully restored lighthouse and a system of nature trails. This is a favorite spot for birders and nature lovers. With nearly 20 miles of white sand beach, Assateague is perfect for long romantic walks or family beach hikes.
Chincoteague: Once you’ve worked up an appetite, pick from dozens of different restaurants that serve up something for every palate, from fresh caught seafood to southern comfort food and upscale chef-prepared specialties. After dinner, stroll Chincoteague’s downtown, which is lined with shops where you can buy everything from beach supplies, to boutique clothing, books and local art.
Island Creamery: No trip to Chincoteague is complete without a stop at the Island Creamery which makes all of their ice cream in small batches.
Call it a Night: You can wake up on the water, sleep under the stars or find your home away from home in a local hotel, campground, vacation rental or B&B. Expect local charm everywhere.