Wanderlust is defined as having a strong desire to travel, but here in Chesapeake, Virginia, we call that feeling WanderLove. And while traveling doesn’t look quite the same this year, you can still get back in touch with what you love: exploring the great outdoors, connecting with friends and family, and the winding roads in between.
Chesapeake is great fun with social distancing with stand up paddle boarding, hiking, restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating, and much more. Chesapeake is easily accessible from western Virginia, Richmond and NOVA via I-64 or neighboring towns on the Virginia coast via US-158 W. We are just a short drive from the famous Virginia Beach Oceanfront in historic Portsmouth in downtown Norfolk and North Carolina’s outer banks.
The whole family will have a wonderful time – even your furry friends. You want to make more than a day out of it, so choose from manyaffordable hotel options, including dog-friendly facilities. If you are the outdoor type, pitch a tent and sleep with us under the starsbeautiful and picturesque campsites. If you are here in autumn, watch the leaves change color before your eyes on our paths and waterways.
Here are six great reasons to get back to what you love on a Chesapeake, Virginia road trip.
Go outside and explore Chesapeake’s miles of hiking trails and hundreds of acres of green parks. Chesapeake is shady and green in summer and beautiful with autumn colors in late October. It’s the perfect place to go biking, hiking, or bird watching with the whole family.
Wander through thatChesapeake Arboretum, a 48 acre natural classroom with a beautiful network of trails and a self-guided tree walk. TheGloomy swamp canal pathoffers loads of fun for the whole family with a lush 16-mile bike ride or a leisurely 2-mile nature walk up and down during theInterpretation Trail in Battlefield Parkbecause ofGreat Bridge Battlefield & Waterways MuseumBrings the story to life through engaging and detailed posters. But that’s just the beginning. Check outAll parks and trailsChesapeake has to offer.
Grab your paddle and dive into a variety of tidal and non-tidal waterways. This containsGloomy swamp canal path,Northwest River Park,Elizabeth River Park,and other lovely kayaking and canoeing trips in Chesapeake. You get both a workout and a dose of fun exploring your natural surroundings. It’s serenity. It’s peace and quiet. And it’s completely family friendly. When in Chesapeake you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
Don’t have a kayak? Rent one and set off on your own or take a guided tour with Kevin FondaAdventure kayak & SUP tours. Adventure Kayak Tours is family owned and recognized by Coastal Virginia as the premier supplier of bespoke kayak and paddle tours and rentals. They offer tours of various locations in Chesapeake, including some scheduled overnight excursions.
South Norfolk Jordan Bridge
Take a scenic walk or bike ride over theSouth Norfolk Jordan Bridge– With a height of 30 meters, it is the highest bridge in the region. It connects Chesapeake with the city of Portsmouth via the southern branch of the Elizabeth River and offers breathtaking panoramic views from its towering architectural curves. Explore the mile-long crossing over the sheltered pedestrian path with a healthy incline of 5% (over and back is a total of two miles). As a FREE activity, walking the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge is a fun date night, family friendly, and pedestrian safe.
Just below the bridge is locatedElizabeth River Park. After your stroll along the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge, stop at the snack hut for a pampering. The park also features a playground, 1/2 mile trail, dog walk, 24 hour boat ramp, spectacular views of the winding Jordan Bridge, and sunsets that will take your breath away. You can also fish from the fishing pier or fish for crabs. A fishing license is not required. If you have a boat or kayak, you can launch it for free from the easily accessible public boat ramp or kayak launch.
Breweries & taprooms
Chesapeake’s local breweries and taprooms are the perfect way to unwind with a cold, affordable beer after a busy day.Big Ugly Brewingoffers up to 10 “Big, Bold Beers” on tap per night and spacious indoor and dog-friendly outdoor seating. The eclectic interior features a variety of classic cars from the collection of founders Jim Lantry and Shawn Childers – including a private seating area in a Volkswagen bus with a custom tabletop. Food trucks come by often so be sure to followBig Ugly’s Facebook pageknowing who’s next.
Chesapeake’s newest addition,The garage breweryoffers a microbrewery with seven barrels. At the heart of the business is Ulyana Gomez, a local entrepreneur, investor, and craft beer lover. She dreamed of opening a brewery and eventually her dream came true when she opened Garage Brewery in 2019. The dog-friendly brewery offers spacious indoor seating, an outdoor patio, and plenty of nibbles to choose from.
Foodie travel destinations
Gourmets, rejoice! We are freshlocally prepared dishes and artisanal creations. From fresh ice cream and coffee to baked goods and beer. Experience fine dining inThe butcher’s sonorPassion The restaurant. You will dine in the waterfrontBig Woody’s Bar & GrillandLockside Bar & Grill.Or enjoy the delicious, local flavors ofMount Pleasant Farms,Greenbrier farms,Hickory Ridge Farm, andBergey’s bread basket– Each of these offers tons of opportunities for fall fun for the kids, including corn mazes and pumpkin picking.
Satisfy your sweet tooth for classic local flavorsHE Williams Candy Companyor look back at the 50s with affordable shakes, burgers and versatile memorabiliaIrwin’s well. If you prefer delicious seafood that’s freshly caught in season, check out the family-friendly onesWicker’s Crab PotOr take your taste buds on a trip to JamaicaCutlass grill.
Don’t miss local hangouts likeKapers restaurant,The egg bistro,McGrath’s Burger Shack, andRacha Thai cuisine.
Visit theChesapeake restaurant sideto find the perfect taste. When you’re hungry for something familiar, we have many popular chain restaurants to choose from.
Continue your WanderLOVE experience with this great itineraryIn Chesapeake’s nature!
WanderLove: A Chesapeake Road Trip first appeared on Virginia’s travel blog.