Kiptopeke State Park: Hiking on the Eastern Shore

We did a family hiking trip at Kiptopeke State Park. What a beautiful, serene and relaxing hiking area. I wanted to get outside of Virginia Beach and looked for hiking on the Eastern Shore. Kiptopeke State Park was one of the options that popped up. Great choice! I definitely recommend if for anyone visiting the area who loves to hike. Also, if you are coming from the Virginia Beach area, it comes with a beautiful drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

First let’s talk about the drive from Virginia Beach. To get to the Eastern Shore, you need to cross the Chesapeake Bay Chesapeake Bay Bridge TunnelBridge Tunnel. This is a 17.6 mile bridge, and tunnels, that connects Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore. There is a toll to cross the bridge.

The bridge has 2 tunnels and when you approach the Eastern Shore, it has a high rise bridge. It is breathtaking to look over the ocean. On our trip, the ocean was calm and we could see the ducks floating on the water. The seagulls were chilling on the light posts. There were a few boaters out, but it was a chilly day so that may have been a deterrent for folks to be out on the water.

As you enter into the Eastern Shore, the coast line is breathtaking. Once you are off the bridge, it’s a short drive to the Kiptopeke State Park.

Kiptopeke State Park

When you arrive at the park, there is a fee to enter by vehicle. When we visited, it was $7. There was no one at the gate so we put our money in the envelope and placed in the box and hung the tear off tag on the rear view mirror.

There are two parking areas. One is next to the trail heads. The other is further down and is the main parking that leads to the pier. There are restrooms in main parking, although when we were there it was 2 porto potties out front.

We parked in the area by the trail heads. There is a kid’s playground and picnic tables in this area as well.


There are many trails at Kiptopeke, however many are connecting trails with two longer trails that are approximately 1.5 miles each. The Songbird loop is 1.5 miles and the Raptor Trail is 1.5. For our hiking trip. We decided to do one large loop which encompassed all or a part of the majority of the trails. Bring a copy of the trail map with you, or a screen shot of the map. It will make it easier when deciding which way you want to go if you aren’t sure.

First, all the trails are easy to walk on. The only thing to watch out for are tree roots. Also, on our trip we had a two-year old with us. She did really great, except for tripping over roots now and then. 🙂 All the trails we went on would be okay for sturdy strollers, I wouldn’t use anything that does not have good wheels on them though. Strollers wouldn’t work on the Wood Warbler and Peregrine Boardwalks because of the stairs.

We started out on the Baywoods Trail. We took the right entrance and started off. After a short distance, we continued on to Kiptopeke State Parkthe Brown Pelican Trail. This was a fun trail that parallels the bay. We stopped at all the overlooks. You can see the bay through the trees. It was very beautiful and calm. You could also hear the waves softly lapping on the shore.

From there we went to the Mocikingbird Trail. This also has a gorgeous overlook before heading back into the woods. You will need to be mindful at the overlooks, some have cliffs. If you have little ones with you, they can easily slide through the wood fence. Continuing on the mockingbird trail, it takes you through the woods. The Mockingbird Trail is a loop trail but it connects to the Chickadee Trail. We took the Chickadee Trail to the Songbird Loop.

We did the outer edge of the Songbird Loop. The trail runs parallel to the highway. You can hear the cars zipping by. This trail was mostly a dirt road. While in the woods, we passed the remains of a house that had a fence around it. We looked for an info post to see the history around it but did not find anything. As you continue on the trail, there are fields that look like deer spotting areas.

Following Songbird Loop, we connected to Raptor Trail. We wanted to head to Peligrine Boardwalk to look for seashells. Raptor Trail took us back to Baywoods Trail where we were able to get to the boardwalk.

The Pelegrine Boardwalk is wooden and was wet and a little slippery when we were there. There are several steps along the way as well. The Boardwalk takes you to the beach. We hung out on the beach for a while before hiking to the end towards the pier. We walked back through the main parking lot to our parking lot to finish up our trip.

I loved this hike. It was so peaceful and I enjoyed sitting at the overlooks and just listening to the ocean. We were out on the trails and beach for a total of 2.5 hours. It was perfect for a day trip – especially with a little one in tow.

BoardwalksPeregrine Boardwalk

There are a few boardwalks that take you to the beach. Two of the boardwalks are accessible from the main parking lot. One is on the left side close to the building in the lot, it is called the Wood Warbler Boardwalk. That goes through the woods and down to the beach. The other boardwalk in this area is the pier at the end of the parking lot. You can walk down to the end of the pier to look out over the water, or there is an entrance/ramp on the left to get to the beach.

The other Boardwalk is accessible from Baywoods Trail. This boardwalk is called Peregrine Boardwalk.

Cape Charles

After our hike we decided to take a short drive to the Town of Cape Charles. This is a very quaint beach town. The houses are colorful and pretty. We checked out the beach area then decided we were hungry. As we drove back up the road, we decide to stop at the Cape Charles Brewing Company for a late lunch. We enjoyed the food and some drinks. The nachos were great. We did also have some sandwiches and the guys tried some different IPAs.


This was a wonderful day hiking trip for the family. I loved hiking at Kiptopeke State Park and enjoyed it so much. It is truly a beautiful area and so calm and serene. I am not sure how it fares in the spring or summer when more people are out, but I plan to go back and check it out.

If you have any questions or comments, have trail recommendations or want to share you are hiking experiences, please comment below. I would love to hear them.

Happy Hiking,

Michelle Louise


6 thoughts on “Kiptopeke State Park: Hiking on the Eastern Shore”

  1. Kiptopeke State Park sounds as if there is fun for everyone. I can understand the need to drive the scenic highway first before deciding to take a hike. There appears to be many beautiful sights to see. What other activities are available to enjoy for a day trip? Are there sights for daytime picnics? 


    • The great thing about Kiptopeke State Park is they do have picnic areas if you want to enjoy lunch in the fresh air! Eastern Shore also has antique stores, beaches, and wineries.  Every year there is also an annual swimming (and auction) of the wild horses in Chincoteague.  I have not seen that though.  Thank you!

  2. This can be a great family outing, especially for those who like to hike. I really don’t know these places, but i would like to go with my family sometimes, if the opportunity arises. The beach and promenade look great for a small excursion with family or friends. Thanks for the recomendations!

    • Thank you Bojana!  I hope you get a chance to go hiking with your family.  It really is a nice place to relax, hike or walk the beach and look for seashells.

  3. HI there, Kiptopeke State Park looks and sounds like an beautiful location to do a day’s hiking with the family and friends. Although I do not live in the Virginia area, I am sure that anybody that lives in the area and would like to have a day out, would benefit from this post. 

    I really like the detail you have enclosed, like paying for parking and hanging the tear-off on the rear-view mirror. The trails all look beautiful, so thank you for sharing a great day hiking. 


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