Things to Do in Cape Charles, Virginia
Local Guide to Cape Charles, VA
We love love Cape Charles, Virginia for family vacations! It’s a quaint little town on the Eastern Shore of Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay side of the shore.
Where the action happens is about half way up the peninsula, all the way to the west, where the water meets the shore in a historic district that is made up of a grid of walkable streets and local shops galore.
As Virginians, it’s close to home and an easy drive or sail over to the Cape. While the Eastern Shore is mostly farmland, this little section of the shore is the perfect beach destination.
How to Get to Cape Charles VA
Cape Charles is located at the southern tip of Virginia’s Eastern Shore — which is that little sliver of land separating the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.
Map of Cape Charles VA
Directions to Cape Charles from Richmond
Cape Charles is a mere two hours from Richmond, VA and is about 120 miles away. Follow I-64 all the way through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (the famous 17 mile stretch of bridges and tunnels that Mission Impossible was filmed on) onto the Eastern Shore and up to the Historic Area of Cape Charles.
Directions to Cape Charles from Virginia Beach
At only about an hour drive from VA Beach, Cape Charles is easy to get to for a day trip or weekend getaway. Take I-95 S and I-64 E to US-13 N/Northampton Blvd in Norfolk. Then take exit 282 from I-64 E and follow US-13 N to Randolph Ave it across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) to downtown Cape Charles.
Directions to Cape Charles from D.C.
Only 3.5 hours away from DC, the quickest way to get to Cape Charles is to take 95N to I-64 all the way to US-13N via the CBBT.
Accommodations & Where to Stay in Cape Charles
Cape Charles is full of adorable little beach houses that you can rent on Air BNB. There’s also the Oyster Farm at Kings Creek Marina which features 4 little villas that you can rent.
Parking in Cape Charles VA
If you’re staying at a beach house rental on Air BNB or at the Marina, you can park there for the week. However, once you start to get around the area to do things like the beach, restaurants and shopping, you’ll likely want to walk, bike, or golf cart it.
What’s the best way of getting around Cape Charles?
Ditch your car at your beach house and take advantage of the walkability of Cape Charles. It’s a close 10-15 minute walk to almost anything in the historic district — the beach, the bookstore, the restaurants, bakeries, and shops.
While walking is the best way to get around, you can also bike, skateboard or cart to your destination.
Is there parking at the Beach at Cape Charles?
In short, yes there is street parking at the end of the historic area on Bay Avenue. We have been early in the morning, afternoon and evening and never had trouble finding a place to park when we had too much beach gear to walk!
Is Cape Charles golf cart-friendly?
Yes! You can call over to one of the local golf cart shops and rent one for the hour, day or week. Drive it on the street in historic downtown, park in parking spaces along Mason Avenue. You’ll see ever color, size and style of golf cart while on your trip.
It’s a very popular mode of transportation!
If you’re heading out of the historic area, i.e. to the local Food Lion, you’ll need to take a car on the main road in and out of the downtown area.
Dining in Cape Charles
Oh the places you’ll eat in Cape Charles! Some of the best locally owned restaurants line the streets and you won’t leave here hungry. Let’s talk about some of our favorites.
- Ambrogia Caffé
- The Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery
- The Shanty
- Deadrise Pies
- Tim’s Place
- Kelly’s Gingernut Pub
Desserts & Specialties
It’s worth mentioning that there is a Food Lion grocery store right before you come into downtown (driving distance, probably not safe for walking). It is clean, well stocked and carries the best Bubly flavored sparkling water.
If you are staying in a rental and want to cook meals or pack lunches for your beach day, Food Lion will be invaluable to grab what you need. Like most beach town grocery stores, you will also find boogie boards, sunscreen, pool noodles and everything you need for the beach.
What to Do in Cape Charles
We love the beach! It’s situated on the Chesapeake Bay of the Eastern Shore. The water is shallow and still- which is perfect for young kids, getting sun, or floating on a tube.
Plan a beach day by walking down to the water and grabbing a spot in the sun. Parking is along the street. You’ll want to walk down to one of the local shops for chapstick, flip flops and to grab lunch.
THINGS TO DO IN CAPE CHARLES, VA
By now you know that Cape Charles is quaint, slow and relaxing with a shallow beach perfect for young children, but not a whole lot else to do. So, let’s explore the things we can do for fun in historic downtown Cape Charles, VA.
- Beach Day
- Read a Book form Peach Street Books
- Pool at the Resort
- Favorite Eats
- Take a Walk or Golf Cart Ride
- Bike Ride
- Jetski Rental
- Have a Dessert Treat
Every day is a beach day at Cape Charles because the whole town revolves around enjoying the sand and sun on the Chesapeake Bay. This is evidenced by most of the shops and restaurants being closed on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays with hours between 10AM-8PM, or 4PM-8PM.
It has a strong tourist season and again, not much is open in the off season, so you’ll want to enjoy the cape when it’s warm and beach weather is best.
Because it’s a shallow, sandy beach it will be perfect for little kids to play without fear of waves knocking them down. So bring a floatie for lounging and books to read on the beach.
You can pack a lunch or walk down the street to Kelly’s to grab a sandwich.
Don’t forget to bring a Shibumi shade– which is the best beach umbrella. We used ours last season and there were at least 10 other people using them on the beach. It provided great sun coverage, easy to put up and easy to move around as the sun moved.
Read a Book from Peach Street Books
Take some time to walk down to Peach Street Books and get a coffee from the barista. You can browse the used and new books, grab a coloring book and crayons for the kids, or a puzzle to entertain you in the evenings.
I also loved that patio with tables and chairs that are perfectly shaded by table umbrellas.
Pool at the Resort
Something worth noting is that there aren’t pools in every backyard in CC like there are in Nags Head, NC. If having a pool is a must have for your vacation, you will want to stay at the The Oyster Farm Marina & Vacation Rentals. There is a small pool by the villas that is perfect for the kids.
There are a ton of cute shops down on Mason Ave, so you’ll want to take some time out of your day to check them out.
- Like a Sailor
- Lemon Tree Gallery
- Surf Shop
- Table & Tonic
Like a Sailor
is full of fun, sassy decor, games and curiosities. We grabbed the board game Otrio, which is like tic tac toe, to play in downtime.
Table & Tonic Gift Shop
Table & Tonic: 233 Mason Avenue Cape Charles, VA 23310- I love the brightly colored gifts, decor and homewares at Table and Tonic. You can grab a puzzle, Museum Bees (see above), tea towel or my favorite Katie Kime patterned ice bucket with oysters or palm trees.
There are a lot of great restaurants to enjoy in Cape Charles (I made a list above), but here are some that you cannot miss:
And because it’s a coastal town, you can’t miss out on the seafood from Oyster Farm – the oysters and tacos were amazing!
Take a Walk or Golf Cart Ride
Cape Charles is definitely walkable, but it’s also a golf cart community so stop by one of the many rental companies to grab a golf cart for the day and ride around the town from the beach to lunch, shopping and then to grab pizza for dinner.
Bring or rent a bike to ride up and down the quaint streets of Cape Charles, tour the waterfront eateries and marinas and pop into shops on the way.
If you’re looking for watersports rental, head over to Poseiden Watersports to get a jet ski, kayak or bicycle. https://poseidonwatersportsva.com/
Have a Dessert Treat
Brown Dog Ice Cream has to make your lineup of things to do- it’s the perfect cold tasty treat for a hot summer evening at the beach. So grab your golf cart or take a walk down to Brown Dog.