The inviting little town of Onancock, Virginia was founded as Port Scarborough in 1680. With a population of about 1,500, Onancock is one of the largest towns on Virginia’s remote Eastern Shore.
Onancock’s history lies in its past as a port town. The town’s harbor was once a regular stop for steamboats that carried passengers and goods to and from the large ports of Baltimore Maryland and Norfolk Virginia.
The town of Onancock is wrapped to the north and south by branches of Onancock Creek.
The creek wanders past many old and beautiful waterfront homes for about 4 miles to the Chesapeake Bay.
The town has a small downtown area with a nice variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants.
One of the nicest attractions of this town is the abundance of large Victorian-era homes on tree-lined streets. Onancock is a walkable town and although there’s very little traffic, it’s best to park your car around the center of town and explore on foot.
On weekends, you’re likely to find live music in one or more of the town’s restaurants. There’s also theater at the North Street Playhouse, and movies at the vintage Roseland movie theater. On the second Friday of each month, galleries and shops stay open late and feature special exhibits, activities, and entertainment.
The town’s central location makes it a good home base for exploring the rest of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Chincoteague, home of the Assateague National Seashore and the famous Chincoteague ponies, is less than an hour’s drive northeast. The bayside town of Cape Charles is about an hour drive to the south. Nearby small, but interesting towns include Accomac, Parksley, and Wachapreague.
Places to Stay
- The Charlotte Hotel. A boutique hotel in the middle of downtown Onancock, on North Street. Has an art gallery, restaurant, and full-service bar attached.
- The Inn at Onancock. Great location at the residential end of North Street. An easy walk to shops, restaurants, movie theater, playhouse, etc.
- Days Inn Onley. Budget accommodations just outside of town on Route 13. Convenient for exploring Onancock and the surrounding area.
- More Bed & Breakfasts and nearby hotels.