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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

Cape Charles: Virginia's Best Beach for Families

Updated: Feb 7

Wondering where to plan your next family beach trip? Check out the charming beach town of Cape Charles. It's Virginia's best beach for families because of the calm, shallow water.

Cape Charles is located on Virginia's Eastern Shore, with about 5 blocks of beachfront on the Chesapeake Bay. It's also the only public beach on the Eastern Shore that doesn’t have an entrance/parking fee.

*For more things to do with kids around RVA and VA, follow @thewestendmom on Instagram!

This guide is brought to you by Madison Bay and Seablues Cape Charles.

The Best Places to Stay with Kids in Cape Charles:

1. Have a large group? Stella Marina in Cape Charles has space for 22 guests. And if you stay at least 7 nights, a golf cart is included in your stay! This recently renovated 1920s historic duplex has 9 bedrooms, 8 beds and 2.5 bathrooms. It is also located less than a block from central park, and it is a 10 minute walk from the beach.

2. Need space for up to 9 people? Seablues Cape Charles is a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house is located in the private Marina Village of Bay Creek, and it's just one block away from the private neighborhood beach. It's able to sleep 9 people, and it has an expansive deck, large dining room for up to 10 people, a private backyard and two garages. Staying at Seablues will also give you access to a private, neighborhood pool and tennis courts.

3. Need space for up to 6 people? This Cape Charles home has 3 bedrooms with 3 beds and 1.5 baths. This recently renovated 1920s duplex is located less than a block from central park, and it is a 10 minute walk from the beach.

While most families stay in beach rentals, Hotel Cape Charles is a boutique hotel located ~3 blocks from the beach. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast, beach towels & chairs for guests. You can also rent your golf cart through this hotel if you are staying 2 or more nights.

The Best Places to Rent Golf Carts in Cape Charles:

Don’t forget to rent a golf cart too - they are street legal around town. You will want to reserve a cart when you book your stay in Cape Charles, especially if you're visiting during peak season in the summer. Golf carts do sell out!

1. CC Ryder Rentals: This golf cart rental is located on Mason Ave. Carts cost around $50 a day. We've rented carts from here before & had a great experience.

2. Eastern Shore Custom Carts: Located on Randolph Ave., this golf cart rental has every kind of golf cart you can imagine. You can rent a 2 seater, 4 seater, 6 seater, 8 seater or beach cruiser. Prices start at $45 for a 2 passenger. If you have a family of 4, I recommend the beach cruiser - it comes with enough room for 4 people, plus it has racks on the front and back to hold your beach gear. We were actually able to fit 2 adults and 4 children (under 6) on our cart.

*If you stay 2 or more nights at Hotel Cape Charles, you can rent a golf cart through the hotel for $100 per night. This is the highest cost in Cape Charles. When we stayed at the hotel, we rented through Eastern Shore Custom Carts, and we were still able to use the hotel's charging station.

The Best Places to Eat with Kids in Cape Charles:

1. Deadrise Italian Kitchen: This Italian restaurants is one of our favorites in Cape Charles - we eat here every visit. You can dine-in at the restaurant, either inside or on the covered patio. It's very family friendly - we've eaten here with 4 kids under 3. You can also order pizza for pickup if you'd rather eat at your house.

2. The Shanty Seafood: This seafood restaurant has gorgeous views of the bay! I like that it has inside and patio seating. The patio has a roof in some sections with fans, and there is also a lot of room to move around. It even has multiple corn hole boards - our kids loved playing. If you read the Google reviews, it will have mixed comments - some say it’s “regular” food with great views. We had delicious food during our recent trip with great views. We eat here at least once every visit to Cape Charles.

3. AJ's Bar and Grill: This grill serves everything from Bayside Nachos and smash burgers to seared scallops and key lime pie. It has all indoor dining with TVs on the wall and by the bar. They had sports on when we visited - my son LOVED that.

4. Coastal Baking Co: This bakery cafe has coffee, donuts, breakfast pastries & sandwiches. Seating is available outside, and you can order your food to go. This is a popular spot for breakfast and treats, and there is usually a line forming prior to opening. It's open Thursday to Sunday from 8am-3pm. The kitchen closes at 2:50. Highly recommend visiting for breakfast during your trip to Cape Charles!

5. Rayfield Fountain Located on Fig Street, Rayfield's Pharmacy has a diner that serves up breakfast and lunch. Rayfield Fountain reminds me of Westwood Pharmacy in RVA. It has diner style food, and there is also a gift shop! My kids loved the pancakes & bacon!

This is also the restaurant that opens the earliest in Cape Charles - it opens at 8am daily.

There are three ice cream shops in Cape Charles.

1. Brown Dog Ice Cream: Located on Mason Ave., this ice cream shop has inside and outside seating. Brown Dog Ice Cream has a variety of ice cream flavors, and you can get shakes, floats and ice/hot coffee. It's open daily from noon to 9pm.

2. Cowlick's Creamery: Located on Mason Ave., this ice cream shop serves ice cream + so many toppings, sundaes, milkshakes and more! It has all indoor seating, and children will LOVE the cow seat.

3. Chase's Soft Serve: Located next to Bailey's Bait and Tackle, this food truck is not your average food truck! Chase's has a permanent spot on Mason Ave. with outside seating and toys for kids. Children can play with trucks, and there is a giant connect 4 game. Chase's Soft Serve has soft serve, milkshakes, chocolate dipped cones, slushies and more!

Food Trucks that Visit the Beach:

During our recent beach trip, we ate at all three food trucks multiple times. It was such a treat to grab food right next to the beach. We were also able to pack less in our coolers -- win win!

1. Smashers: This food truck sets up on Bay Ave, serving burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese and fries. The West End Dad said the classic smash burger was delicious!

*Smashers is currently closed for the rest of 2023. This food truck will open again in June 2024 for the summer season.

2. Peach Beach Shave Ice: This food truck sets up on Bay Ave, serving shaved ice. It's such a treat on HOT days at the beach!

3. Dogs by the Bay: This food truck sets up on Bay Ave, serving hot dogs, chips and drinks. My kids LOVED these hot dogs.

The Best Things to Do with Kids in Cape Charles:

Because the water is so calm and very shallow, your family will most likely be able to spend the entire day on the beach. We left only for naps! But, if you're looking for more fun things to do around town, the historic district has so many shops, restaurants & boutiques. These are walkable from the beach, too!

1. The Fishing Pier: The pier is located next to the public beach. It's free to visit, and you can fish from it. We visit the pier daily during our trips, and we've seen sting rays and a sea otter!

2. Cape Charles Mini Golf: Located on Stone Road, Cape Charles Mini Golf has putt putt and a full kitchen! It costs $12 to play for everyone 4 and older. Kids under 4 play free. Visit between 2-5pm to enjoy Happy Hour specials - 15% off your entire check including putt putt, food, drinks and merchandise.

During the summer, it is open everyday from 10am-9pm, depending on weather. Fall hours are TBA.

3. Central Park: Located at Plum Street and Monroe Avenue, the public park has a playground, corn hole boards, a large fountain, and plenty of space to run around. During the summer, there is a weekly concert on Saturday nights for free! These family friendly concerts start at 7pm.

The park is open daily from dawn to dusk unless there is a special event!

4. Kiptopeke State Park: Located about 14 minutes away from Cape Charles' beach, this state park has a fishing pier, campground, trails and a beach. The beach has a little bit large waves, and it gets a little deeper than the Cape Charles Public Beach. Children will be able to ride waves here, while adults can stand. This is an unguarded beach that is open from dawn to dusk.

The fishing pier is open 24 hours a day, and it costs $5 for adults and $3 for kids. Kayak rentals are available on Thursday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm, depending on the weather. You can also make reservations for the campground - there's camping, cabins and lodges.

For details on these Virginia places and more things to do with kids around Richmond, follow our family on @thewestendmom on Instagram!

Tags: Things to do with kids in RVA, Things to do with kids in Virginia, the best beaches for children in Virginia, Virginia family vacations, Virginia's Eastern Shore, family travel, family vacations on the East Coast

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