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Things To Do in Cape Charles, VA

Cape Charles is a beautiful little town in Northampton County, Virginia, known for its scenic beaches, great natural environment by the Chesapeake Bay, and rich history. If you’ve been thinking of staying with us here at Cape Charles Yacht Center and seeing this wonderful waterfront town yourself, here are some of the best things to do and places to visit in Cape Charles!

Popular Attractions in Cape Charles

Here are some of the best-known places that make Cape Charles such a unique destination.

Cape Charles Historic District

Cape Charles’ Historic District is more than just a wonderful stroll down the town’s history. The Historic District is home to about 526 buildings that date back to the town’s beginnings in the 1880s, including the Seafood Headquarters, Kellogg House, and the U.S. Post Office. It features plenty of historic styles of architecture, such as late Victorian, gothic revival, and neoclassical, and was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Cape Charles Museum

For a better taste of the town’s history, the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center is a great place to start. Take a look at old photographs, documents, artifacts, and exhibits that aim to preserve the history of Cape Charles and teach it to visitors. History buffs will love learning about this scenic beach town with surprisingly deep roots.

Cape Charles Lighthouse

The Cape Charles Lighthouse is a favorite landmark for locals and tourists alike. It’s the tallest one in the state of Virginia and the second tallest in the entire United States. The current cast-iron lighthouse was built in 1864 to replace the original that was first built in 1827. Though no longer in service as an actual lighthouse, the Cape Charles Lighthouse remains a popular and well-known attraction for the town. Note that the lighthouse is not accessible via land, but can be admired from the water along Smith Island beach.

Lemon Tree Gallery and Studio

In a creative mood? The Lemon Tree Gallery and Studio is the place to go for artists and art lovers alike. This art venue regularly hosts different art exhibitions, events, workshops, lectures, and opportunities to let your imagination run wild with a like-minded community of local artists and art connoisseurs. Be sure to try their delicious limoncello and pastries and buy yourself a one-of-a-kind souvenir from their gift shop!

Best Restaurants in Cape Charles

After a day out on the town, we’re sure you want to find out where the best places to dine are. Here are our top recommendations for the best food and drink in Cape Charles.


When you’re talking about the best restaurants in Cape Charles, Shanty is always at the top of everyone’s lists. Located in Cape Charles Harbor, this seafood restaurant is known for its relaxing ambiance, stunning ocean view, live entertainment, delicious fresh seafood, and its wonderful fine dining experience. There’s a reason it comes highly recommended by everyone who visits Cape Charles.

Cape Charles Coffee House

Feeling like a spot of breakfast? The Cape Charles Coffee House is known for serving the best breakfast and coffee in town. Housed in an old historic building that dates back to 1920, this cozy little cafe is sure to be an Instagram-worthy experience, from the food to the ambiance.

Kelly’s Gingernut Pub

Relax and grab a drink with friends and loved ones at Kelly’s Gingernut Pub, a classic Irish pub that offers meals, snacks, beer, wine, and a warm, hospitable atmosphere that’ll make you feel right at home. It’s located in a former bank that was first built in 1907 and you can still see traces of it today, from the exposed brick walls and floor to the original bank vault.

Cape Charles Brewing Company

For some outstanding craft brews, head on over to the Cape Charles Brewing Company. This family-owned brewery serves not just different types of handcrafted beer, but fresh seafood and a host of live events throughout the year. Taste the best that Cape Charles has to offer!

Nature Reserves and State Parks in Cape Charles

Cape Charles is famous for its gorgeous beaches and natural surroundings. A visit to Cape Charles just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to one or more of the many nature reserves and state parks in the area.

Kiptopeke State Park

Kiptopeke State Park is a wonderful avenue for plenty of outdoor activities. First established in 1963, the area used to house the north terminal for the town’s ferry service from 1949 to 1964. It’s one of the best places for birdwatching in Virginia, as well as an excellent place for fishing directly into the Chesapeake Bay from the beaches and shorelines.

Savage Neck Dunes State Natural Area

Savage Neck Dunes State Natural Area is renowned for its sprawling sand beaches, cool breezes, hiking trails, and migratory songbird populations. The area spans up to 298 acres and is the perfect place for a sunny beach day out.

Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve

The Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve is home to some of the state’s most unique flora and fauna. The preserve features a boardwalk that goes through several natural habitats and offers spectacular views and birdwatching opportunities. In fact, up to 240 different bird species have been reportedly spotted in the area.

Virginia National Wildlife Refuge

The Eastern Shore of the Virginia National Wildlife Refuge brings an even closer look at the abundance of nature and wildlife that simply surrounds Cape Charles. Here you’ll discover many natural habitats like marshes, grasslands, forests, ponds, and waterways that all serve as homes to over 300 species of animals, from birds to gators. It’s a beautiful protected area where you can enjoy the wonders of nature in peace and safety.

Outdoor Activities To Do in Cape Charles

Looking for some fun and excitement? Cape Charles is the premier destination for outdoor activities on the water, from swimming to jet skiing.

Bay Creek Resort and Club

Bay Creek Resort and Club has everything you could want and more in a stay in Cape Charles. But the main spectacle is the golf course. Featuring 27 holes, this golf course was designed by award-winning designers and is considered one of the best courses on the Eastern Shore. The resort also features swimming pools, a recreation and fitness center, hiking trails, sailing, fishing, and other fun, family-friendly outdoor activities.

Cape Charles Beach

Cape Charles is, at its heart, a beach town. And there’s no better place to spend a clear, breezy day than out on Cape Charles Beach. Go swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, strolling along the shoreline, and enjoy a beautiful sunset at the end of the day. Perfect for the summertime!


Cape Charles’ very close proximity to the water makes it an ideal spot for some watersports. Jet skiing is one of the most popular outdoor activities on the water, but you can also go kayaking and paddling.

Cape Charles Yacht Center

Of course, one of the best ways to really admire Cape Charles is while you’re out on the water. Cape Charles Yacht Center offers slip rentals, floating docks, dry storage, fuel, and boat service, along with other great amenities. We’d love to be your gateway to the wonderful world of Cape Charles.

Cape Charles has plenty of fun things to do and places to discover just waiting for you! Plan your next Cape Charles getaway now and be sure to stay with us here at Cape Charles Yacht Center while you’re in town.

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