Kiptopeke State Park
Cape Charles, VA

Park Size: 536 acres.

The site was purchased by the Virginia Ferry Corporation for the northern terminus of the Virginia Beach to Eastern Shore Ferry. In 1949, when the terminus was moved from Cape Charles, the site was named Kiptopeke Beach in honor of the younger brother of a king of the Accawmack Indians who had befriended early settlers to the area. Kiptopeke means Big Water. In 1950 the terminus opened after the completion of a $2.75 million pier, promoted as the world's largest and most modern ferry pier.

Sponsored by the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory and licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, volunteers capture, examine, weigh, band and release resident and migratory birds each year from mid-August through November. In the raptor research area, hawks, kestrels, osprey and other birds of prey are observed and banded from September through November. Kiptopeke’s hawk observatory is among the top 15 nationwide.

Unguarded beach swimming on Chesapeake Bay coast (no charge). Kiptopeke’s northern beach fronts nearly half a mile on the Chesapeake Bay and features a beach and swimming area from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Pets, fishing, boating and crabbing are allowed on the south beach.

Gifts may be purchased at the contact station or camp store.

Guided hikes, fishing clinics, canoe programs (fee), beach bonfire programs, waterfront activities, hayride (fee); weekly birding programs in the fall. Clean the Bay Day, mid-June. Bird-banding, mid-August - late November. Eastern Shore Birding Festival, September. Hayrides, late October.

Kiptopeke is a perfect place to bring students to learn about the Chesapeake Bay. The park features Virginia’s State Parks: Your Backyard Classrooms, a 40-activity curriculum guide for use by teachers of grades K-12. More information is available by calling the park. Fall bird-banding tours are available by appointment. Please call the park office for scheduling: (757) 331-2267.

Kiptopeke State Park
3540 Kiptopeke Drive
Cape Charles, VA 23310
Phone: (757) 331-2267

LOCATION: Located on the eastern shore of Virginia, this park offers recreational access to the Chesapeake Bay and the chance to explore a unique coastal habitat featuring a major flyway for migratory birds. Kiptopeke is three miles from the northern terminus of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which has a substantial each-way toll charge, on Route 13. Turn west on Route 704; the park entrance is within a half mile. The park has an area for swimming Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Learn more about park offerings by calling 1-800-933-PARK or email

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