Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve


his preserve is found on the Bay side of the Eastern Shore. Its 29 acres feature coastal beach, dune, and maritime forest habitats. The preserve provides habitat for the federally threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle. Coast bedstraw, an herbaceous plant, grows on the dunes at the interface between open grassy areas and shaded areas where shrubs and trees dominate. During fall migration, the forest abounds with migratory songbirds and raptors resting and feeding before continuing their journey across the Chesapeake Bay.


A long boardwalk takes visitors through several natural communities, including a globally-rare Maritime Dune Woodland, and ends at a low bluff overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.  There is no beach access. Due to the sensitivity of the habitat, access to the beach is restricted to researchers and land managers.

The preserve is owned and managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Contact Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve

Contact Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve

Dot Field, Eastern Shore Regional Steward
Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage
Phone: (757) 787-5576


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Northampton County, Virginia