Just a follow-up since I was hustling out the door for work yesterday when I originally posted.
Kiptopeke has protected waters. It doesn't look that way from an elevated view of the area, but there are nine WWII concrete McCloskey ships that were grounded to form a breakwater; they're called the Kiptopeke Navy
. The Park has excellent beaches on both the north and south side of the launch ramps, as well as the anchorage inside of the concrete ships.
The western side of the Eastern Shore in that area doesn't have a lot to explore, but once you go down toward the south and round the point into the Smith Island area the sailing and gunkholing opportunities become fantastic. Many of the waters there behind the barrier islands are quite shallow and very protected from the Atlantic surf, so the sailing can be fast and furious. Lots to explore and look at - we plan to go back for a more thorough expedition ourselves. Two things to keep in mind as a cautionary note: a) the tidal currents in that whole area can be unexpectedly strong at peak flow, and b) the Atlantic surf can pound a boat to bits on the shoals between the protected waters and the ocean. We got caught by the current twice and both times the slog back to where we wanted to be was several hours longer than we anticipated.
We didn't stay at the Kiptopeke campground, so I can't cover the facilities there. If you require a caffeine jolt in the morning, go to Cape Charles Coffee House
- the prices are a bit high for the non-coffee items, but the expresso selections are excellent. The best local eatery, Sting-Rays Restaurant
, is further down the road, half-way between Cape Charles and Kiptopeke State Park on Route 13; their prices are outstanding, the portions are large, the service is fast and the food is an excellent example of Eastern Shore regional fare - nothing fancy - and we also stopped there everyday for breakfast and non-expresso coffee. For much fancier dining with a spectacular view (business casual or upper-end resort wear required), I would recommend Aqua
in the Bay Creek Resort at the north end of Cape Charles; pricey, but the food is worth it.