Kiptopeke State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Discover the same beautiful stretch of sandy shore once explored by Capt. John Smith in 1608. Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and offering recreational access to stunning Chesapeake Bay, Kiptopeke is vibrant with activities, rich in history, and tinged with mystery. This unique state park offers endless outdoor adventures that should be at the top of any RV’rs bucket list.

Standing on the lighted pier looking out into the night sky, you may catch a glimpse of an eerie ghost fleet seemingly approaching the shore. In reality, these scuttled concrete ships have helped to protect the shore and provide habitat for wildlife, making Kiptopeke a fisherman's and birdwatcher's paradise.

Search for the tracks of native wildlife such as deer and foxes as you venture out on one of the many nature trails spread throughout the park. Birdwatchers will especially love the birding trails, each dedicated to a specific bird species such as raptors, songbirds, chickadees, and mockingbirds. Watch from the hawk observatory as hawks, falcons, and eagles take flight.

Camp at Kiptopeke State Park during the summer months and enjoy soaking up the sun on the beach, swimming in the bay, kayaking around abandoned ships, or enjoy some of the best fishing Virginia has to offer. Fall days at Kiptopeke are perfect for watching different species of birds migrate south for the winter. Take your RV over to Kiptopeke and enjoy all this 562-acre state park has to offer. Be sure to prepare for your special experience at Kiptopeke because even though the park is open year-round, it closes to all campers during Virginia’s winter months.

RV Rentals in Kiptopeke State Park

Transportation in Kiptopeke State Park

Driving

Accessing Kiptopeke State Park by car or RV is a breeze. Kiptopeke is located in Cape Charles just three miles from the northern terminus of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel offers an adventure for travelers all of its own.

In 1964 the CBBT became not only a way to get from point A to point B—but also an engineering wonder of the world. So, not only can you check Kiptopeke State Park off of your bucket list, but the CBBT as well. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel even offers a scenic overlook located on the west side of the roadway at the southern tip of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. There is parking at the overlook to accommodate cars and RV’s so travelers can view the stunning bay and magnificent architectural wonder.

The CBBT welcomes RVs. The maximum height to cross the CBBT is 13’-6 and all propane must be turned off at the outside valve before crossing. There is also a substantial toll charge to be aware of before crossing the CBBT.

Inside the state park, roads and ample parking make it easy to maneuver throughout the park in a car or RV. Bikes are also welcomed throughout the park and on trails.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Kiptopeke State Park

Campsites in Kiptopeke State Park

Reservations camping

Cape Charles / Chesapeake Bay KOA

Just north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Cape Charles/Chesapeake Bay KOA sits on the bay with its own private beach. From the campground, gain easy access to outdoor adventures in the nearby wildlife preserves, where you can hike, kayak or canoe throughout over 1,700 acres of protected lands. Cape Charles/Chesapeake Bay KOA features waterfront views and facilities for fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. If you tire of the beach, spend the day lounging by one of the pools, and when hunger strikes, you can grab a bite to eat at Jackspot Bar & Grill on-site. Other amenities include Wi-Fi, cable TV, restroom facilities, and propane and firewood are available on-site for purchase.

Kiptopeke State Park Campground

Kiptopeke State Park offers 138 pet-friendly RV campsites. Half of these campsites can be specifically reserved up to 11 months in advance while the other half are assigned upon arrival. This is a full-service campground offering sites with electric, water, and sewer hook-ups as well as restroom facilities, hot showers, and laundry facilities. The campground is equipped for RV’s up to 40ft and has outlets for 20, 30, and 50-amp current. Each site has its own picnic table and fire-ring. However, campers are asked not to bring firewood into the park. Firewood can be purchased at the camp store located in the park. The max length stay is 14 days in a 30 day period. The use of generators is prohibited. The State Park works hard to make its amenities ADA-accessible, and a free beach wheelchair can be provided upon request. Enjoy camping in your RV at Kiptopeke close to beaches, trails, and a playground.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Kiptopeke State Park

In-Season

Nature/History programs

The park offers daily fun and educational programs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Learn and explore on a beach safari or an owl prowl. There are also sessions on fishing, kayaking, crabbing,, lure-making, and campfires. Learn what life is really like at Kiptopeke with seasonal programs focused on natural history, birding, and bay ecology. Kiptopeke also hosts special events including First Day Hike,, Clean The Bay Day, Kids to Parks Day,, and Outdoor Exploration Day.

Fishing

The partially sunken WW2 concrete ships that lie about a quarter mile offshore near the fishing pier allow for some of the best fishing Virginia has to offer. If you prefer to stay on land, the fishing pier is equipped with picnic tables and lights to attract fish. You will not need a fishing license to fish from the pier. However, those over 16 fishing from the pier will need to register for the free Virginia Fisherman Identification Program. There is also a small fee for fishing from the pier.

Swimming

During the warm summer months, you will want to take advantage of Kiptopeke’s beautiful beaches located on Chesapeake Bay. Bask in the hot sun on a sandy spot among Kiptopeke’s nearly half-mile-long northern shore, and take a dip in the sparkling water when you get a little too hot.

There is no additional charge to use the beach. However pets, fishing, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, and other boats are not allowed on the north beach. You can also enjoy swimming, fishing, crabbing, and boating located at the south beach. Pets are allowed on the south beach but must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet.

Off-Season

Birding

Be sure to pack your binoculars in your RV during the fall months at Kiptopeke when birds of all kinds migrate from Canada and Alaska to Central and South America for the winter. Experience the migration of hawks, falcons, warblers, herons, shorebirds, and thrushes at this unique migration habitat along the Atlantic flyway. Visit the Kiptopeke Bird Banding Station, the hawk observatory, or any of the trails for the bird viewing experience of a lifetime. The hawk observatory at Kiptopeke is among the top 15 nationwide.

Biking

Rent a bicycle from the camp store or bring your own to enjoy the many biking trails available at Kiptopeke State Park. The bicycle trails are conveniently located along the park’s entrance road. The Raptor, Songbird, Chickadee, and Mockingbird trails also allow for biking. Enjoy looking for birds of all kinds as you venture down the path on your bicycle. Be sure to check the entrance of the trail to make sure bikes are allowed on your chosen trail.

Hiking

After getting settled in your campsite, stretch your legs on one of more than five trails located within the park. Check out upland hardwood forest along Baywoods Trail to search for native wildlife. Or, wake up early and enjoy a beautiful hike on the southern beach as you watch the sunrise. Extensive and convenient boardwalks stretch throughout the park, connecting the Baywoods Trail and the southern beach trail to allow for exploration among Kiptopeke’s dune formations.

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