Beach of the Month: Kiptopeke State Park
(Chesapeake Bay - Virginia's Eastern Shore)
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 to Cape Charles, the abandoned area was named Kiptopeke Beach in honor of the younger brother of a king of the Accawmack Indians who had befriended early settlers. 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. Kiptopeke opened as a state park in 1992.
More than four miles of fun trails for your dog traverse this 545-acre bayside park. Kiptopeke’s nature paths wind over sand dunes through groves of loblolly pines, sassafras and wild-cherry trees. The Baywoods Trail slips through an uplands hardwood forest on wide, old field roads and connects with expansive, sandy beaches via an extensive network of wooden boardwalks through the dunes. Your dog will find this hike open and airy as he loops from the farmlands to the beach.
The southern beach is perfect for a canine hike but observe signs designating the special habitat area that is closed to visitors. There is fantastic swimming for your dog on the sandy beaches (no dogs allowed Memorial Day to Labor Day) of the eastern Chesapeake Bay. Nine World War II-era concrete ships weighing almost 5,000 tons each were placed offshore in 1948 as breakwaters, providing less adventurous dogs a chance to play in gentle waves.


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