Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Kiptopeke State Park

October 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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kiptopeke 2On Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Kiptopeke State Park is a favorite spot among boaters in the region. The 562-acre state park, located three miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, offers a swimming beach, hiking trails, picnic areas, a playground, boat ramps, a fishing pier, and excellent bird-watching.

“We see a variety of boaters during the season,” says assistant park manager Daniel Jordan. “The park’s three-lane boat ramp serves a lot of different boating interests.”

Many visitors launch their boats on site, according to Jordan, but there is also a protected anchorage off Kiptopeke Beach in about 15 feet of water.

The property was originally purchased by the Virginia Ferry Corporation to act as a terminal for the Virginia Beach to Eastern Shore Ferry. Promoted as the world’s largest and most modern ferry pier, it opened in 1950. However, the service was discontinued in 1964 with the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation eventually purchased the park, which first opened to the public on Memorial Day in 1992.

Along with excellent bird-watching, a big draw of the park is nine sunken concrete ships roughly 500 feet from the park’s boat ramp. The boats, built by McCloskey and Company of Philadelphia, were used in World War II when the country’s steel resources became scarce. They only had one advantage to more traditional boats — the materials were cheap and readily available.

The concrete ships were sunk in 1948 to serve as breakwaters for the ferry terminal. Sitting in roughly 20 feet of water, they still create shelter from the wind and waves on rough days. They also serve as an artificial reef, making it a popular spot for kayakers and fishermen. The park is open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.

The park is open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. For more information visit http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/kiptopeke.shtml#general_information or call 305-919-1844.

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