Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel, but here in Virginia, we call that feeling WanderLove. To help you plan your next vacation through Virginia, we’ll be sharing a few of the most scenic and adventure-filled routes through the Commonwealth, including the best outdoor adventures, restaurants, and lodging options to add to your itinerary. Explore Virginia’s endless beauty with an epic road trip!

Locations Featured in Video: Cape Charles Brewing Company, The Shanty, Sunset Beach Resort, Kiptopeke State Park, Moonrise Jewelry, Cape Charles Candy, Comfort Suites, Thomas Gardens, Assateague Explorer, Cosa Pizza, Captain Zack's Seafood, Island Creamery, Sandy Pony Donuts, Lily's Little Mexico

If you’re feeling a bit stir crazy and are ready to hit the road, join us on a journey from Norfolk to Virginia’s Eastern Shore. A 70-mile stretch that runs between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the Eastern Shore is known for its pristine beaches, small but charming coastal towns, and delicious seafood. Use this step-by-step guide, following along Route 13, to experience WanderLove for yourself!


43.8 miles, approximately 54 minutes

From Norfolk, follow Route 13 to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, a 17.6-mile toll bridge that spans the Chesapeake Bay and is considered one of the seven man-made wonders of the world. The toll is $18 one way, but a discounted return fare of $2 is available with an EZ Pass if you return within 24 hours.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Once across the bridge, visit Kiptopeke State Park, a waterfront park that has fishing, kayaking, biking, hiking, and many more outdoor recreation opportunities. The park is also a prime spot for birding enthusiasts. The beach is open for swimming during daylight hours and the fishing pier is open 24 hours a day and costs $5 for adults and $3 for children. Kayaks are available to rent on a first come, first serve basis at the park’s boat shed Friday-Sunday 9am-4pm. If there are no kayaks available through the state park, consider booking a kayak tour through Southeast Expeditions, including their guided marsh, barrier islands, and coastal creek tours, or schedule a cruise through Eastern Shore Boat Tours, such as their Sunset Cruise & Dolphins Search, Barrier Islands Explorer EcoTour, or a private tour customized to your interests. In addition to the outdoor activities, Kiptopeke also has cabins, lodges, yurts, and campsites available to rent out if you plan to stay overnight.


Photo Credit: Adam Lewis, IG account: @adamtlewis

Head to downtown Cape Charles and spend some time perusing the shops within this adorable beach town. Stop into Moonrise Jewelry to pick up unique jewelry for yourself or your loved ones made from eco-friendly materials like colorful fish “leather” sourced from local fishermen, then pick up some sweet treats for the kids at Cape Charles Candy Company or Brown Dog Ice Cream, a beloved local ice cream shop located on Mason Avenue just steps from the beach. Speaking of the beach, you may want to enjoy the views of the Chesapeake Bay from the Cape Charles Beach, a free public beach on the edge of the downtown area. Before leaving Cape Charles, snap a photo by the beachfront LOVEwork, which celebrates the seaside and agricultural aspects of this Eastern Shore town.ES20071501V_002

Photo Credit: Nomarama IG credit: @_nomarama_

Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries, & More

Deadrise PiesItalian small plates, entrees, and handmade pizzas

Sting-Ray’s RestaurantSting-Ray’s is a fresh, locally caught seafood restaurant that is known for their crab cakes and Angus Beef steaks. 

The Oyster Farm at Kings CreekUpscale seafood restaurant with views of the Chesapeake Bay. 

Cape Charles Coffee HouseCommunity staple restaurant and coffeehouse in the middle of downtown Cape Charles open for breakfast and lunch. 

Cape Charles BrewingFamily-owned craft brewery in Cape Charles that also serves a small menu of tasty brewery fare. 

The ShantyFresh local seafood is the focus at the Shanty, located right along the docks at Cape Charles Town Harbor.


Hotels, Resorts, & Other Lodging

Sunset Beach ResortNewly renovated hotel with one of the largest private beaches on the Eastern Shore. Amenities include pet-friendly rooms, an on-site restaurant with a beachfront patio, and two outdoor pools. 

The Northampton HotelOriginally a Victorian home, this stunning property has been transformed into a boutique hotel in the heart of Cape Charles with panoramic views of the Chesapeake Bay. Rooms all have private balconies that make the most of the beachfront location.

Hotel Cape CharlesOverlooking the town’s harbor on Cape Charles main road, Mason Avenue, the Hotel Cape Charles is a modern, pet-friendly lodging option on the Eastern Shore. Most rooms have private balconies with views of the water, and a back deck is open to all hotel guests.


37.8 miles, approximately 47 minutes


Photo Credit: Julie McCool, IG account: @funinfairfax

Leave Cape Charles and head north on Route 13 to Onancock, a 1680 Colonial port town on the bay side of the Eastern Shore. For outdoor activities, Burnham Guides  offers bike, paddleboard, and kayak rentals and hosts paddling tours out of the Steamboat Ticket Office in Onancock, including a Moonlight/Stargazing Paddles Tour that gives you a front row seat to the sunset on the Chesapeake Bay followed by a serene paddle under the stars. Opt for a guided tour to learn more about Onancock’s extensive history and unique coastal environment, along with the diverse wildlife that live in the region. 

Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries, & More

The Island House RestaurantOverlooking the picturesque Wachapreague Harbor and the barrier islands of the Eastern Shore,the restaurant specializes in fresh local seafood, burgers and choice Black Angus steaks.

Kendalls Kountry KitchenFresh, local seafood and Soul food. Known for their country-style breakfasts.

Anointed Hands BakeryBakery with a wide selection of handmade cupcakes, muffins, danishes, cakes, rolls, biscuits, and more. 

Mallards At the WharfOnancock’s only waterfront restaurant, serving casual lunch and relaxed upscale dinner.

Charlotte Hotel & RestaurantAward-winning restaurant within a boutique hotel serving creative American cuisine made from fresh produce, seafood, and other locally-sourced ingredients. 

Chatham Vineyards & WineryFamily-owned waterfront winery that operates on the historic Chatham Farm. Currently open daily with outdoor seating safely spaced to follow social distancing procedures.


Photo Credit: Sam Dean, IG account: @sdeanphotos

Hotels, Resorts, & Other Lodging

Charlotte Hotel & RestaurantSmall upscale boutique hotel just four blocks from Onancock Creek.

The Inn at Onancock Bed & BreakfastHistoric pet-friendly bed and breakfast located in Onanock; amenities include a three-course breakfast, a wine hour in the evenings, and a staff that can make arrangements for activities within the town, including tours and reservations. 


32.1 miles, approximately 43 minutes

Continue your journey along Route 13 heading North with Chincoteague as your final Eastern Shore destination. If you’re looking for a secluded beach for fun in the sun, plan a detour to Saxis, a small coastal town on the Chesapeake Bay.

Otherwise, head towards Chincoteague Island, an outdoor paradise on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Here, you can explore Chincoteague Island National Wildlife Refuge on foot, bike, or by vehicle (check their website for specific route restrictions, as some roads and trails are for foot traffic only). Don’t miss out on taking the guided tours provided by the refuge, where you may get lucky and spot their world-famous wild ponies. Want a little more aquatic adventure in your vacation? Book a guided boat or kayak tour with Assateague Explorer Pony Watching & Wildlife Cruises for a chance to see the wild ponies in their natural environment as you paddle the inlets of the shore.


Another of the most popular activities within the refuge is the Assateague Lighthouse. Further north on the same barrier island as the national wildlife refuge, Assateague Island National Seashore is the perfect place for a beach day. You’ll spot all kinds of protected wildlife, including migratory birds, on the beach, and with no private homes or businesses spanning the length of the beach, it’s a peaceful spot to relax by the Atlantic Ocean.


For a family-friendly day of excitement within the town of Chincoteague, take the kids to Maui Jack’s Waterpark.ES20071501V_005

Photo Credit: Nomarama IG credit: @_nomarama_

To commemorate your trip, take a photo at the oversized LOVEwork Adirondack chairs (pro tip: this scenic spot is even more stunning during sunrise or sunset, so plan your visit then for truly breathtaking pics!).

Add in a little history to your road trip at the Captain Timothy Hill House, built circa 1800 and the oldest house on the Eastern Shore. The tour not only teaches you about the historic elements of the structure, but also some of the eerie ghost stories associated with the home.


And finally, for those science-loving individuals, the NASA Wallops Flight Facility should definitely be on your itinerary. Stop by the Visitor’s Center and check their launch schedule before your vacation to see if you’re lucky enough to catch a rocket mission!

Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries, & More

Bill’s Prime Seafood & SteaksA staple to the Chincoteague community since 1960, Bill’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, although most well-known for their dinner menu featuring local seafood and steaks. 

Island CreameryIce cream shop with over 36 flavors of homemade ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, sugar-free ice cream, and frozen yogurt, served in freshly baked waffle cones. Also have a selection of ice cream cakes.


AJ’s on the CreekWaterfront restaurant open for lunch and dinner where you’ll find freshly prepared seafood and a range of beef, poultry, and vegetarian entrees. 

Sandy Pony DonutsFood truck in Chincoteague with a menu of over two dozen custom donut flavors. 

Pico TaqueriaGourmet taco restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating that provides an artisanal take on Mexican fare.

Mister WhippySoft serve ice cream shop that also serves coffee and donuts during morning hours. 

Hotels, Resorts, & Other Lodging

Channel Bass InnA converted historic home that dates to 1892, the inn is pet-friendly and surrounded by stunning gardens. Each day, afternoon tea is served along with fresh-baked scones. 

Key West CottagesColorful one- and two-bedroom cottages on the Chesapeake Bay in the heart of downtown Chincoteague Island. Access to shared indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, and fitness center. 

Miss Molly’s InnCharming Victorian home on Chincoteague Island originally built in 1886 is now a beautifully-restored inn. 

Marina Bay Hotel & SuitesModern hotel inspired by the Eastern Shore’s sand, sea, and sky. Private deck overlooking the harbor, outdoor pool, and restaurants on-site. 

Snug Harbor Waterfront CottagesOne-, two-, and three-bedroom waterfront cottages along Snug Harbor are pet-friendly, with fully-equipped kitchens and tropical-inspired decor. 


Looking for even more inspiration for road trips around the Commonwealth? Check out our WanderLove road trips through Virginia from the mountains and valleys to the coast.