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
Kiptopeke is three miles from the northern terminus of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which has a substantial each-way toll charge . From US 13, turn west on Rte 704. The park entrance is within a half mile.
From the previous site on the Eastern Shore Loop of VBWT:
From the GATR Tract of Mockhorn Island WMA, return to Seaside Road/Rt. 600 and turn right. Travel 0.6 miles and turn left on Rte 645/Cedar Grove Road. Drive 0.1 miles and turn right on US 13N. Proceed 0.3 miles and turn left on Rt. 704/Kiptopeke Road. Continue on Rte 704 to the State Park entrance.
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- Site Contact: (757) 331-2267; email@example.com
- Access: Fee, Daily
10 Most Recent Bird Observations Added to eBird
- Surf Scoter
- Red-breasted Merganser
- Ring-billed Gull
- Herring Gull
- Great Black-backed Gull
- Common Loon
- Northern Gannet
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Brown Pelican
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Visitor/Nature Center
- Bike Trails
- Environmental Study Area
- Handicap Accessible
- Hiking Trails
- Interpretive Nature Program
- Interpretive Trail
- Kayak/Canoe Launch
- Canoe/Kayak Rentals
- Boat Ramp