Cape Charles, located close to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, was founded in 1884 as a planned community by railroad and ferry interests. The town’s neatly ordered grid of streets and alleyways attest to it’s carefully designed beginnings.
Cape Charles was, for many years, the terminal for passenger and car ferry service across the Bay to Norfolk and Hampton. The construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel made ferry transportation obsolete and the last ferry left Cape Charles in 1953. Although there is no longer passenger ferry service across the Bay, rail barges still depart from Cape Charles, transporting railcars over the open waters.
Today, Cape Charles thrives as both a local residential community and a destination for vacationers. The town has a nice public beach right on the Bay and the historic downtown has a number of nice restaurants and shops. The town’s marina was recently renovated and serves as a welcoming port for visiting boaters. There are boat a popular seafood restaurant at the town marina called The Shanty. And the Bay Creek Resort and Club, with beautiful Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses sits on the edge of town.
Nearby attractions include Kiptopeke State Park, where you’ll find off-shore reefs constructed from concrete ships, and the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge near the southern tip of the peninsula. Cape Charles is an excellent home-base for birders and kayakers.
Restaurant options include Aqua, (fine dining at Bay Creek Resort) Coach House Tavern (casual dining at Bay Creek Resort), Cape Charles Coffee House (located in a restored historic building, serves breakfast and lunch), Kelly’s Gingernut Pub (classic Irish pub in an old bank building), King’s Creek Inn (fine dining, located outside of town), and the Shanty (fresh seafood at the town marina). A little way out of town, you’ll find good food in an unexpected gas station setting at the popular Stingray’s on Route 13. Read Cape Charles restaurant reviews.