My visit to Kiptopeke State Park is another reminder that you don’t have to travel halfway across the state to have a great experience. Similar to my recent trips to False Cape, First Landing, and Northwest River, sometimes you find the best experience is literally just down the street or, in this case, across the bridge.
In the case of Kiptopeke State Park, it’s approximately 32 miles from my doorstep. Located on the southern tip of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, slightly more than half of the drive is spent crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
The campground at Kiptopeke SP is basically divided into 3 rather distinct sections. Section A contains sites providing water and electricity with those on the outer edge (adjacent to the park road, where I was camped) being a bit more wooded. Sections B and C offer water, electricity, and sewer and will obviously be where the larger RV are found. Sections D, E, and F are tent-only sites and are located in a forested area with its own shower/bathhouse.
The sites on the other side of Section A, as well as those in Sections B and C, are more wide open and has more of an RV Park feel. I was in site A2 which is actually the first site as you enter the campground and, being on the end of the row, actually provides a quite a bit more space that the typical site. Being on the periphery, I think it’s also a bit quieter as well.
Boardwalks and Hiking Trails
I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised with the network of trails available at Kiptopeke SP. On Friday morning I was able to link together several of the trails to wind up with a nice loop just under 4 miles. Many of these trails have short offshoots with boardwalks offering great opportunities for viewing birds and other forest wildlife and the Chesapeake Bay. This section of the shore actually has a bit of contour with some of the trails bordering “cliffs” that can be 20 to 30 feet above the beach. Granted, we’re not talking about anything as majestic as the Northern California coast, but still pretty nice for this part of the country.
Sunsets and Star Trails
The shoreline and boat dock at Kiptopeke SP are are facing west so be prepared for some spectacular views as the sun sets over the Chesapeake Bay and the Peninsular region of Virginia. Don’t be surprised to see folks begin wandering down the park road to the boat dock and pier, beverage in hand, to enjoy a beautiful sunset and watch the boats come in after a long day of fishing. Not a bad way to end the day.
Once the sun goes down, many areas of the park provide a great view of the sky for some great stargazing. On this trip I managed to catch a pass of the Chinese Space Station (Tiangong) as well as one of the brightest passes of the International Space Station I’ve ever seen. If you’re into astronomy, be sure to bring your telescope.
I suspect I’ll be back to Kiptopeke in the near future–quite possibly for an S24O in the tent section. If you’re looking to visit the Eastern Shore of Virginia, I highly recommend a stop at Kiptopeke State Park. You won’t be disappointed.