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Kiptopeke State Park


Kiptopeke provides excellent wildlife viewing in unique and interesting habitat. Hiking trails provide over 5 miles of wooded and open habitat for wildlife viewing. Woodland trails wind through mixed stands of hardwoods and pine. Songbird migrations in spring and fall produce large numbers of wood warblers, and the total species list for the park exceeds 300 birds. In the picnic area, a butterfly garden provides habitat for a variety of pollinators including the Monarch Butterfly.

Also located in the picnic area is a handicap accessible elevated Hawkwatch platform that provides one of the finest sites in the Americas to view migrating birds of prey. The Kiptopeke Hawkwatch, operated by Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory (CVWO), counts raptors annually each fall. American Kestrel, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon are some of the birds that can be seen here. Their annual count of raptors ranges between 15,000 and 20,000.

CVWO also manages a butterfly garden near the Hawkwatch platform, which is a good place to look for Monarchs during their fall migration from mid-September to mid-November.

Just off the shoreline, the old ferry landing, decommissioned with the advent of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, is marked by a series of partially submerged aged concrete ships.  These old hulks provide nesting habitat for gulls and structure for fish. A few feet away from the fishing pier is a wooden stairway that leads onto the sandy beach. This is one of two beaches in the park where you will find the federally endangered northeastern beach tiger beetle, a tiny insect with striking coloration that scuttles about the sand preying on smaller insects. These beetles are dependent on soft, friable sand for suitable habitat, so please tread lightly and try to limit walking to hard, compacted sand.


Address: 3540 Kiptopeke Dr., Cape Charles, VA 23310

From Norfolk, head east on I-264, merge onto I-64 W toward Richmond, take exit 282 to merge onto US-13 N/Northampton Blvd/Lankford Hwy toward the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, after reaching the Delmarva Peninsula, continue north on US-13/Lankford Hwy for approximately 3.7 miles, turn left onto CR-645/Arlington Rd, turn left onto CR-704/Kiptopeke Dr, and follow it to the park entrance.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: (757) 331-2267;
  • Website
  • Access: Fee, Daily

Birds Recently Seen at Kiptopeke State Park (as reported to eBird)

  • Bufflehead
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Brown Pelican
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture
  • American Crow
  • Carolina Chickadee

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Visitor/Nature Center
  • Bike Trails
  • Camping
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Fee
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Lodging
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Observation Platform
  • Canoe/Kayak Rentals
  • Boat Ramp
  • Beach