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Virginia Bay Boating - the Lower Chesapeake Bay

Coles Point Marina, Hague VA, 2022

Even though the Lower Chesapeake Bay is as popular as the Upper, somehow it seems to have less boat traffic and is less crowded. Offering an unspoiled beauty that is hard to find in this day and age, the Lower Bay sits close to major cities and our nation’s capital. Needless to say, the Lower Chesapeake Bay is a beautiful and rare paradox.

This area is normally defined as the part of the Bay stretching from the Potomac River to Virginia Beach, where boaters marvel at the massive expanse of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-tunnel. If you haven’t explored the Lower Chesapeake yet, we’re here to tell you that it has a number of celebrated towns and cities with ports beckoning to boaters. Here are just a few fantastic sailing destinations and great places to dock:

Cape Charles, Virginia

Bordered by the Chesapeake Bay to the west, King’s Creek to the north, and Old Plantation Creek to the southeast, is the small peninsula of Cape Charles. Founded in 1886, this history- and energy-filled town boasts quaint shops, a wonderful selection of restaurants, museums, and events.

When it’s time to fill your personal tank, you won’t go wrong at The Shanty. It’s casual dining with delicious fresh food and a great atmosphere. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, then head to The Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery. Not only are the oysters out of this world, but the bay views from their deck are legendary.

For nature lovers, there’s the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge and the Kiptopeke State Park (say that one three times fast!). Of course, Cape Charles also has some of the best beaches in Virginia. A favorite is the long and lazy Cape Charles Beach located along Bay Avenue. For convenience, there are beach access ways at the end of every block. The best part of visiting this slice of boating heaven is that there always seems to be something going on. From summer concerts in the park to Festive Fridays through the holiday season, Cape Charles has something for every member of your crew all through the year.

Where to dock

Cape Charles Yachting Center is a full-service marina in the heart of this quaint historic town, and the perfect stop before or after Coinjock. Book your slip here: https://www.snagaslip.com/atlantic-icw/virginia-icw/cape-charles-yacht-center

Deltaville, Virginia

Believe it or not, Deltaville has more boats than people. That’s why it’s known as the “Boating Capital of the Chesapeake”. Boaters visiting Deltaville love their time on the water, thoroughly taking advantage of all the water activities they could possibly desire. But for the members of your crew who are ready to try out their land legs, there is plenty for them as well. There are art galleries, shops, fish markets, nature parks, and more.

Locals celebrate their bayside location every chance they get! One celebration that’s a crowd-pleaser is the Deltaville Seafood Festival which comes around each May and the annual Crab Feast put on the fire department in August. You’ll certainly feast on the ocean’s bounty while having fun with locals and visitors alike. Deltaville also boasts an impressive farmer’s market filled with fresh foods and produce from April through November. It’s the perfect way to stock your gally.

The finest seafood market in town is J and W Seafood. They have it all and it’s as fresh as can be. But if you don’t want to cook, head to Deltaville Tap & Raw Bar with its locally inspired dishes and friendly staff. While it’s true that seafood is a big deal here, you can also find a good selection of other fare, like Italian and Chinese.

Learn about Deltaville’s maritime history and commune with nature at the Deltaville Maritime Museum & Holly Point Nature Park . There you can walk the trails, set off on a kayak adventure, or ride your bike along the water.

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Norview Marina, Deltaville VA, 2022

Where to dock

Nomad Norview Marina is Deltaville’s largest full-service marina with amenities to match.

Hague, Virginia

Not far from the Chesapeake Bay, on a peninsula wedged between the Potomac and the Rappahannock Rivers, is Hague. It’s not far from the Bay itself, but this picturesque and serene town is a world away from the hustle and bustle. And its pristine shoreline is right in the heart of Virginia’s historic Northern Neck.

As soon as you step off your boat, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The locals, and visitors, seem to enjoy life at a slower pace. But that doesn’t mean it’s a sleepy town. Quite the contrary. There is so much to do in Hague (pronounced Hay-g). The town is actually known for its excellent vineyards, like the General’s Ridge Vineyard and Winery. If you’d rather good brews and want the best views and awesome food, head to Coles Point Tavern right on the Maryland state line. They have live music and generous drinks. Another favorite is Tim’s at Coles Point. It’s a family restaurant with fresh local dishes – and you can dock and dine.

To learn more about this intriguing town, make your way to the majestic Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park . We don’t want to give anything away, but we can say that it has a colorful past. Another place to soak up some history is the St. Clement’s Island Museum. There, you’ll be amazed by Maryland’s earliest history and Potomac River heritage.

Where to dock

Coles Point Marina & RV Resort is a full-service marina that’s an ideal destination for boaters, RVers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

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Tim’s at Coles Point, Hague VA, 2022

Written by: Jo Montgomery