Cape Charles has one of the largest concentrations of late-Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings on the East Coast, with most of it’s structures built between 1885 and 1920. The town has been designated as an Historic District on the Virginia Landmarks Register and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visit the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center for more information on history of the town and the ferry and railroad service. The museum is located on Randolph Avenue in a former power plant and features photographs and items from the town’s past.
The newly renovated Town Harbor is a place to view boats and the Cape Charles waterfront. There’s a new waterfront restaurant at the harbor called The Shanty and boat and wave runner rentals will also be available.
Also, allow time for a visit to nearby Kiptopeke State Park for birding and nature study. In September and October, you can visit the park’s bird banding station. The park is also a prime hawk observation point during the fall migratory season.
The Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge is a great place for wildlife observation. There’s a visitor center to get you started on your explorations. There’s a 2.6 mile hike and bike trail that’s great for photography and viewing wildlife.
The Bay Creek Railway offers excursions on a restored circa 1913 Interurban Dining Car. The car travels north from Cape Charles for diner excursions which last about two hours and “fun run” trips that last about an hour. More Information.
Cape Charles still serves as a terminal for railway barges that carry rail cars from the Eastern Shore Railroad across the mouth of the Bay to Norfolk. After leaving Cape Charles, the ferry boat terminal operated for some time out of nearby Kiptopeke. Ferry service from the Eastern Shore was terminated in 1964 with the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
The town of Cape Charles fronts on the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay and has a sandy beachfront park. The beach is a great place to view Chesapeake Bay sunsets. The Cape Charles-Northampton Chamber of Commerce sponsors a series of “Applaud the Sun” Harbor Parties from 6:30pm to 10:30pm on the first Saturday of each month, June through September. These events are held at the Town Harbor and include a band, beer, dancing, food, and sunset.
For the visitor, Cape Charles features several restaurants, shops, and bed & breakfasts. Arts Enter, in the Historic Palace Theatre offers live performances, art showings, and some special movie screenings. The Cape Charles Coffee House is located in a restored 1910 bank building on Mason Street.
Cape Charles features a town harbor, used by residents and visitors. The Cape Charles Harbor is recently renovated with a new bath house, boardwalk, and a restaurant overlooking the water. The privately operated Bay Creek Marina is located in the protected harbor of King’s Creek. Bay Creek marina has over 100 slips and can handle boats up to 150 feet. The kayak outfitter, Southeast Expeditions, has kayak rentals and tours available. They have shops in town on Mason Ave and out on the highway at Sunset Beach Resort.
Cape Charles has two beautiful golf courses at the Bay Creek golf and residential community. Both courses were designed by golf legends and provide for challenging and enjoyable golf along the Chesapeake Bay and Plantation Creek. The Arnold Palmer Signature Course and the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course will be enjoyed by any avid golfer. Bay Creek Golf Club website.
The Cape Charles Light is located at the Northern point of the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, opposite the Cape Henry Light on the Southern side. The light is not easily accessible, but can be seen as you cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.