Cape Charles Recap + Highlights

As summer draws to a close I wanted to do a quick recap + highlight post today on our week in Cape Charles, Virginia. I thought it might be helpful to share our experience in case any of you are interested in vacationing there next summer. Long story short – we would highly recommend it! Read on if you want all the details…

Getting there

To begin, when we looked into summer vacation spots one of our main requirements was the driving distance to our home in Richmond, Virginia. Cape Charles is a 2.5-hour drive. It was very easy! One of the coolest parts is driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (one of the longest in the US) as you make your way onto the Eastern Shore.

Where to Stay in Cape Charles

We rented this house on VRBO and would highly recommend it. The house was well-appointed with all the supplies we needed and the location was perfect. It was walking distance to a park, the main town center and 4 blocks to the beach. We would have loved to book the Young House Love rentals but they were completely full when we looked. The town also has a few cute hotel options if that is more your thing. The best part? Rentals/hotel rooms are very affordable compared to some of the other beach towns we considered!

The Cape Charles Beach

Cape Charles is located on the bay, not the ocean, so the water is very calm and shallow. There are no big waves or riptides to worry about which is great for young kids, allowing them to splash and play for hours. The street right off the beach always had plenty of parking and the beach itself was never too crowded. All-in-all, it was super low-key and family-friendly!

Restaurants

We brought the majority of our groceries for the week with us from Richmond but they have a Food Lion outside town if you want to pick up groceries once you arrive. Breakfast and lunch we mostly ate at home, except for a quick coffee stop every morning at Peach Street Books.

Our house had a grill available so a few evenings we did a BBQ cookout for dinner but most nights it was fun to try the local spots. Here are our favorites:

  • The Shanty – casual dinner spot on the water at the harbor. The food is good and it’s a fun atmosphere. They have cornhole outside which was great for the kids. I would definitely recommend!
  • Deadrise Pies – This restaurant was around the corner from our house and has great takeout pizzas. We went here twice because it was delicious and convenient. 
  • Brown Dog Ice CreamAdorable shop and delicious ice cream. We stopped here a few times!
  • Rayfield’s PharmacyThis is an old pharmacy with a little diner inside. It is super casual and has delicious milkshakes and hot dogs.
  • Cape Charles Brewing CoThe food was so-so but we really enjoyed the family-friendly atmosphere. 

Activities

We tried to spend as much time at the beach as possible each day. We did manage to do a few other fun activities around town:

  • The town center had a great playground. We brought scooters with us and the kids loved scooting around the big paved sidewalk.
  • It was rainy one day so we took the kids to the local library. They have a wonderful kid’s section with a few toys and lots of books.
  • Like most beach towns, Cape Charles has a main street with cute stores for shopping. We walked around a few times and always found ourselves at the Cape Charles Candy Company.
  • David and I snuck out one afternoon to Chatham Vineyards. It is located on a beautiful Virginia farm and was a fun activity. There were a lot of kids there too so it’s definitely a spot we could have taken our kids.

Resources

  • Young House Love has a wonderful guide to Cape Charles here
  • Coastal Living also has a helpful article here
  • A new Washington Post article here

I know how stressful planning family vacations can be so I hope this guide was helpful. Cape Charles was everything that our family wanted for a beach trip with toddlers in tow. If you get the chance, go!

I’m always happy to answer your questions in the comments or shoot me an email! XO

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