Cape Charles Attractions
When Captain John Smith sailed into the Chesapeake Bay 400 years ago, declaring it to be the most beautiful place he’d ever seen, Cape Charles – as he named the cape at the tip of the Delmarva peninsula – began its history of providing respite and recreation to travelers from all points of the compass. In the early 1880s, the Pennsylvania Railroad was extended south to the natural harbor where the new town would be built. By 1883, the town plan had been designed, and in the spring of 1885, passenger steamers and freight barges connected the new town to the cities of southeastern Virginia and connected north to south, much as our interstate highways do now. Millions of people passed through Cape Charles in its heyday, and two dozen hotels and lodgings dotted the tiny town.
Today, this railway heritage is still very much alive in town, where train cars are loaded onto barges within sight of the Hotel. Cape Charles is now a hub for tourism on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, with the nearby resort amenities of Bay Creek, close proximity to some of North America’s most beautiful natural habitats, a public beach perfect for families, and many other opportunities for recreation and relaxation. Hotel Cape Charles is delighted to be part of the region’s renaissance and its fair history.
Bay Creek Golf Course
The pride of coastal Virginia, the twin courses at Bay Creek—designed by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer—are as renown for their challenging layouts as for their stunning landscaping. Our staff will be happy to set up a tee-time and luncheon for your group with our friends at Bay Creek.
The Chesapeake Bay
The nation’s largest estuary, Chesapeake Bay offers many peaceful distractions, from relaxing on the Cape Charles beach, to sailing, fishing, kayaking, kite-boarding, birding, and beachcombing. At Cape Charles, the sun sets over water, producing splendid skies of lilac and peach after sundown.
Eateries & Wineries
From gourmet fare to beach blanket clambake, Cape Charles has a place for every taste. For wine lovers, our vineyards produce award-winning vintages each year, not to be missed. We’ll be happy to arrange an outing or dinner reservations for your group.
The Virginia Barrier Islands & Seaside
The largest undeveloped stretch of Atlantic coast in the nation, Virginia’s barrier islands are well-kept secrets, explorable by small boats, planes, and kayaks. The islands are constantly reshaped by wind and waves, but they are still much the same as when they were first discovered. Birding and fishing opportunities abound.
Parks, Refuges, & Natural Area Preserves
Based in Cape Charles, you’ll find world-renown wildlife refuges and parks at the doorstep, all less than 10 minutes away. Each season has a special character, but for birders, the autumn migration is unrivalled on the Eastern Shore. Professional eco-tours, led by certified guides, can be arranged at the front desk.
Running, Biking, & Horseback Riding
If a little exercise is on the agenda, Cape Charles has trails for walking, running, biking, and horseback riding. And you don’t have to bring your bike or your horse—we’ve got you covered. The front desk has water, hats, and sunscreen, and of course local tips on the best trails, routes, and outfitters.
Trains, Planes, & Golf Carts
For exploring the town, many visitors choose a golf cart, now street-legal in Cape Charles and the “transportation of choice” for many local residents. To see the area by train or from the air? We’ll reserve a spot for you on the Excursion Train (with dinner) or book an aerial tour. For thrill seekers, even hang-gliding and para-gliding are possibilities on the Eastern Shore!
Museums & The Performing Arts
European exploration and settlement of what became the Virginia Colony began over 400 years ago, but it was the industrial revolution—which allowed goods from farms and waterways to be shipped to cities—that brought prosperity to the Eastern Shore. Our museums tell the story from start to present. Cape Charles has not just art galleries but Arts Enter, a thriving home for the fine and performing arts, just a block from the Hotel.
Local Shops, Galleries, & Spas
Filled with local artwork and beachy gear, Cape Charles shops provide great opportunities to find accent pieces for the home and unique special-occasion gifts. Sea glass artwork is a local specialty, but our artists and artisans produce woodwork, paintings, pottery, fabrics, and sculpture as well. (And after shopping, a sprint to the spa or massage therapist is always in order!)