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Cruiser2B 05-15-2011 07:25 PM

Cape Charles, Va
Wife and I are planning a trip to Cape Charles from Norfolk. We are looking for any specific info in regards to Marinas, Navigation and achorages. I have heard it is a nice little town. Any info on the area would be great.

Thanks SN

pdqaltair 05-15-2011 08:52 PM

Yes, quiet, but nice for a visit.

The city marina is simple enough; Google "Cape Charles." Note that there is no anchoring in the harbor. I'm not sure of Kings Creek.

Kelly's Gingernut Pub is a favorite of mine, nearly worth the trip. There may also be some stuff in the trip reports on my blog.

Skip Sunday; everything's closed.

travlin-easy 05-15-2011 09:54 PM

The entrance to Kings Creek, at least the last time I was there, was silted in to about 4 feet at high tide. Cape Charles Harbor doesn't have a place to anchor, but you have lots of water at the City Marina and the entrance to the harbor is a piece of cake.

Cape Charles has an interesting history, and at one time I knew many of the residents. Things have changed somewhat, but the center of town, particularly along the beach, has some incredible, old mansions, some dating back to the U.S. Civil War.

Cape Charles is where Virginia's aquaculture industry began, when a guy by the name of Ballard began cultivating clams at the mouth of Kings Creek in waters adjacent to Cherrystone Campgrounds. I interviewed him many years ago and wrote a story about his aquaculture operation in the Washington Post.

Almost forgot--The national bird of Cape Charles is the mosquito, which in this part of the world seems to grow to the size of a crow. Be sure to have those hatch screens in place long before the sun goes down or they'll eat you alive.

The best area for anchoring is to the south, behind the concrete Liberty Ships that form the old breakwater for Kiptopeke Landing. Depths here range from 8 to 20 feet, you are protected from most winds other than dead north and if you have time, dinghy to Kiptopeke State Park and explore the incredible beaches and dunes areas. This time of year the wild yucca plants should be in bloom, and more often than not you can find lots of whelk shells littering the beach.

Good Luck,

Gary :cool:

T37SOLARE 05-15-2011 10:10 PM

I'll second the city marina is pretty simple, and Kelly's Gingernut Pub is a must.

If your looking to go a bit more upscale, Bay Creek Marina on Kings Creek is one of the best marinas on the bay. Great facilities and a great restaurant, plus they'll give you bicycles to ride into town to Kelly's Pub. Boating - Bay Creek Resort and Club

Not many anchoring options, but it's worth the trip.

T37SOLARE 05-15-2011 10:16 PM


Originally Posted by travlineasy (Post 730770)
The entrance to Kings Creek, at least the last time I was there, was silted in to about 4 feet at high tide.

Bay Creek has dredged Kings Creek and put in new private markers since I was last there. My brother takes his 5.5' draft in and has never had any problems. I did touch 4 years ago w/4' draft, but that was before the new marks were installed.

joethecobbler 05-15-2011 10:27 PM

I was in cape charles in the summer of 2007 , they had just completed upgrading the city marina.
While we did not anchor in the harbor , I do remember seeing 2 other sailboats anchored there adjacent to the old rail yard area just west of the launch ramps.
Is the no anchoring restriction something new? and if so how is it that it is not permitted ?
I almost stopped there again last year but the wind picked up as I was approaching from Hampton so I continued on northward and anchored in cod bay on the SE end of Tangier Island near the "wreck" spent 3-4 days there until the wind shifted to give me a lee shore, then I left,

travlin-easy 05-15-2011 10:35 PM

Good news about the marina. Many, many years ago, when I first traveled to Cape Charles, this marina was called Kings Creek Marina. The guy that owned it, Donny (can't remember his last name) lived in a stilt house perched on the dock. His mother-in-law lived in a stilt house on the opposite side of the dock. There were just a handful of charter fishing boats running from the marina, several commercial fishing boats, and the oysters in the creek were fat and succulent. One of the charter fishing captains, Otis Asal, was known for his knack for catching huge, black drum, many approaching 100 pounds. The fish were scaled with a garden hoe, and the scales made outstanding guitar picks. I think I still have a couple of them somewhere in the office.

At the time, the marina was pretty run down--my, how things have changed. I intend to put this location on my 2011 itinerary. Thanks for the link.

Gary :cool:

joethecobbler 05-15-2011 10:43 PM

Can you shed any light on anchoring in the cape charles area and the anchoring restriction if any?
the state park seems a bit off the beaten path.
the kings creek area looks alot closer to the old town,is ancoring permitted in any part of kings creek?
We kinda liked the quite little town of cape charles and met friendly watermen there from tangier as well as from the town.

Willis 05-15-2011 10:48 PM

We love Cape Charles. It is a little sleepy, but that is part of the charm for us. We usually tie up at Bay Creek Marina, but that's the price of keeping my wife happy. If it was just me, the city marina would be fine.

You enter the channel to Cape Charles off of the bay well south of town and then head north parallel to the coast for quite a way. You can turn into the harbor/city marina or keep going past the breakwater and turn into King's Creek. Bay Creek does a good job keeping the channel marked, and they have good directions on their website. I have seen people anchored in King's Creek opposite the marina, but usually multihulls with shallow drafts. You can use Bay Creek's dinghy dock and facilities for a fee if your draft is shallow enough to allow anchoring out there.

The local museum is worth a visit it you have the time, the grocery store has an old fashioned soda fountain with awesome banana splits, and I also heartily recommend Kelly's.

You aren't that far away by car if you are in Norfolk. You could always drive up and scout it out by car. All the channel markers are visible from the beach.


travlin-easy 05-15-2011 10:49 PM


I'm not sure if there is a "no anchor" restriction there, but there is a fair amount of traffic, both commercial and recreational in this area, which could make anchoring a bit difficult. Additionally, there's a pretty hefty tidal change here and loads of things to snag your anchor upon--rocks, cables, etc...

Cod Harbor used to be one of the best locations in lower Tangier Sound for catching weakfish and flounder that I know of, particularly a spot the locals refer to as California. The wreck you passed was one of my favorite locations to catch swelling toads, which stacked up among the rusted hulk of the Tangier Wreck. The fist time I fished this particular area the wreck was intact, but naval aircraft from Patuxent Naval Air Station used it as a strafing target until most of it was blown apart. There are remnants of several other wrecks in that area: San Marcos, Old Texas, Davidson and American Mariner. The only one that is still above the water is the American Mariner. The others are now navigation hazards that could rip the bottom out of a boat in a heartbeat.

Good Luck,

Gary :cool:

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