Social Distance with These Off-the-Grid Excursions from Cape Charles

Social distancing is still recommended in the name of public health and safety. Luckily, it’s not too hard to do that on Virginia’s expansive Eastern Shore — and still have a lot of fun in the process. With charming Cape Charles as your home base, here are five off-the-grid excursions where you can stay socially distant while making memories with your nearest and dearest.

Pretend that you’re on a deserted island at Savage Neck Dunes. This natural area preserve, a few minutes north of town feels like a world away. Savage Neck Dunes is known for its outstanding Chesapeake Bay beach, dune, and maritime forest communities, with three trails winding through nearly 300 acres. Look for rare migratory songbirds, tiger beetles, or just search for shells on your own quiet stretch of sand.

Kayak alongside the Ghost Ships at Kiptopeke. Head to Kiptopeke State Park for one of the most unique experiences on the Shore: kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding around nine partially sunken concrete ships known as the Ghost Fleet. You’ll often see dolphins as well as migratory and nesting birds around the ships. You’ll need to bring your own kayak or paddleboard.

Take a hike through the Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve. Craving a break from the beach? Discover the beauty and tranquility of the maritime loblolly pine forest at this natural preserve just outside of Cape Charles. A wide boardwalk leads you through several natural habitats on the way to an overlook beside the Bay. 

Look for birds at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. The location of this Eastern Shore refuge — right at the tip of the Delmarva Peninsula — creates a unique migration funnel for birds that results in some spectacular bird-watching, particularly in the fall. Stop by to see millions of songbirds, raptors, and butterflies converge as they fly south.

Explore the gardens of Eyre Hall. Mosey through some of the oldest gardens in the country, dating back to 1800. You’ll find ancient boxwood and gnarled crape myrtles towering over winding paths surrounded by brick walls brought as ballast from England. Allow yourself to be transported to another time as you’re drawn deeper into the gardens — we all could use a bit of healthy escapism now, couldn’t we?

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