Right at the center of Coastal Virginia is the city of Chesapeake. The town is famous as that corner of the state with so much historical and cultural significance. Aside from that, the city is also home to a wide array of natural beauty spots.
There are more than 22 miles of waterways in this city.
The channels include canals, rivers, and lakes.
There is also a site called the Dismal Swamp Canal. According to locals, this place is the inspiration for the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.
Chesapeake is also great for those who love the outdoors. There are parklands and a horde of other places to visit. Such sites are ideal for bird watching, hiking, and picnicking.
But if you do not have a car and would like to explore the city and its nearby attractions, you can do so. There are different museums, indoor events, and diverse activities available. Ice skating and stargazing, anyone? You can do these activities in Chesapeake.
Now, let us explore Chesapeake and visit 12 of my favorite tourist attractions.
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1. Chesapeake Arboretum
The Chesapeake Arboretum is Virginia’s regional treasure. It is more than 48 acres in size. Locals always refer to the place as nature’s classroom because of the exquisite collection of flora and fauna in the area.
The greenhouse goes way back to the 18th century. Established in the same era when the farmhouse it is in was also built, the greenhouse is one of the oldest destinations in the city.
Themed gardens surround the nursery.
Such gardens include a fragrance garden. There is also an antique rose garden.
But if you are on the lookout for something a little more on the wild side, you can also check out the hardwood forest.
In the vicinity is the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail South Chesapeake Loop. Be sure to come here when you have the time.
2. South Norfolk Jordan Bridge
Also known as the Jordan Bridge, the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge connects Chesapeake to Portsmouth, another city in Virginia.
The bridge spanned a length of about 5 372 feet and was initially opened in 1928.
Carl and Wallace Jordan were two businesspeople in South Norfolk at the time. It was these two who had the bridge constructed.
Since its opening, there have been recent additions made to the bridge. Some of these additions are four additional crossings (two tunnels and two bridges).
The additional crossings would, later on, accommodate the needs of the growing population of the city. It also benefited the military in the area.
The South Norfolk Jordan Bridge is Virginia’s oldest drawbridge. It closed in 2008 as it needed to undergo maintenance at the time.
The new bridge that replaced the old one was finally completed in October 2012.
What do I like about this bridge?
It is worth visiting for its sheer beauty.
When you come, you can enjoy viewing the beauty that Chesapeake offers.
3. Fun Forest
Are you in City Park right now? Or are you planning to go to City Park?
If yes, you can also swing by the Fun Forest. Never miss out on this place when you are in the area.
The forest spans an area of about three acres.
And while most of the activities here are for kids, there are also some intended for adults. Here, you can have your kids enjoy the children’s play area. There is also an imaginations center and a family adventure area where you can have beautiful memories with your kids.
Built by about 2,000 volunteers, the playground’s design aims to develop motor skills and coordination among its visitors while presenting options for interactive playing.
It is common to find activities that include a shaking bridge, a dolphin side, an underground telephone, and numerous swings and slides.
Kids would also love the Fossil Dig in the forest. In this activity, paleontologists-wannabe would enjoy an afternoon digging for fossils in a sandpit.
4. Rodgers’ Puddings
You cannot go to Chesapeake and not swing by Rodgers’ Puddings.
That should be true, especially if you love to eat sweets.
Rodger’s Puddings is a pudding manufacturer in the historic district of South Suffolk. Over the years, its puddings were able to amass different awards for its incredible banana pudding.
The pudding has influences from all over the world. But aside from the pudding, Rodgers’ Puddings also has several other delicious local treats that they serve.
The ingredients used are of high quality. And if you cannot devour everything all at once, you do not have to worry since their puddings have a shelf life of three months.
Whenever you are craving dessert in Chesapeake, go for Rodgers’ Puddings.
5. Chesapeake 9/11 Memorial
Chesapeake 9/11 Memorial is where you can pay your respects to those who lost their lives during the 9/11 attack. Located on City Park Drive, the memorial is to remember the tragic event in New York.
Steel beams that used to be a part of the World Trade Center make up the memorial. A rock from Shanksville also takes part in the memorial. It is a part of the monument together with limestone from the Pentagon.
6. Great Bridge Lock Park
Situated at the intersection of the Chesapeake Canal and the Elizabeth River, the Great Bridge Lock Park is another destination to visit when in town.
The purpose of the lock was to keep the saltwater and the freshwater waterways separated from each other. A 19-acre park then stood in this spot in the years that came.
The park is part of a peninsula. There are boat ramps, trails along the shorelines, and several picnic spots.
Whenever I visit, I make sure to go crabbing and fishing. These are popular activities in the area because of the large body of water surrounding the park.
If fishing and crabbing are not your cups of tea, you can also explore the woods. The woods extend to the Great Bridge Lock Park’s western section and present an afternoon of relaxed strolling.
7. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel may not sound like your usual tourist attraction. But it is!
It is famous for being the place to go to if you want to see the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean in all its splendor.
For starters, the bridge itself is already impressive. In the world of architecture, it is also one of the best. It is a work of exceptional engineering.
It connects the Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach.
If you would like to see some of the city’s best views, make sure to drop by.
8. Gum Tree Farm
The Gum Tree Farm has an area of about 50 acres. It is a local rearer of sheep. But aside from sheep, you will also find ducks, pigs, cows, turkeys, horses, goats, and more here.
There is also a donkey here named Studebaker.
The farm engages in fiber production. The farm processes fiber from the plants.
But aside from fiber production, the farm also allows for an interactive afternoon with the animals I mentioned above. And fret not because these animals are friendly. They don’t bite.
While on the farm, you can take advantage of their tour. During the tour, you will learn more about the farm’s history. You will also learn about the farm’s activities during the tour, like how they dye wool.
Of course, there is a live demonstration for you and the other guests.
Aside from a fun-filled afternoon, visiting the Gum tree Farm is also educational.
9. Lake Drummond
There are two famous lakes in Virginia. One of them is Lake Drummond which sits right in the middle of the Dismal Swamp.
Several stories make the swamp and the lake famous. One of these stories says that fishers used to see a ghostly white canoe that paddles the lake with a firefly lamp.
These days, visitors come to enjoy the many fishing opportunities you can find at the lake.
Boating is also another popular activity here.
10. Cutlass Grille
If you are a fan of American barbeque dishes and Jamaican cuisine, look no further.
The Cutlass Grille in Chesapeake is the one to beat.
They serve the best-homecooked meal that will satisfy your barbeque-craving palate.
The name of the restaurant, Cutlass Grille, has its Jamaican roots. The owner, Shawn, is Jamaican.
Cutlass is also something Jamaicans use as a farming tool in their country.
The restaurant is a family-owned restaurant. Its menu includes several fresh and delicious meals prepared in a home-style and clean environment.
It is open during the week. The restaurant is also where locals and tourists dine for lunch and dinner.
So, if you are in Chesapeake, go ahead.
11. Greenbrier Mall
With 900,000 square feet, the Greenbrier Mall is a shopper’s paradise. It has different shops for almost anything.
The mall sits along Hampton Roads.
Situated on a hillside terrain, the mall has entrances at the lower and upper ends. And because of its location and number of shops, people from neighboring towns and cities also come here to shop.
More than 100 retailers are selling their wares here. There are big brands like Macy’s, JC Penney, Dillard’s, and the Cinema Cafe movie theater.
Of course, there are also several restaurants within the mall. They cannot allow you to go hungry while shopping!
If shopping is your cup of tea, make sure to drop by the Greenbrier Mall. It is worth it.
12. The Egg Bistro
Locally owned, The Egg Bistro started in Chesapeake and expanded to other cities.
As of this writing, there are three branches of The Egg Bistro. One is in Chesapeake. The other two are in Virginia Beach and Suffolk’s Harbour View.
The restaurant is unique as it serves fresh food using locally-sourced products. The products are those they source from Virginia and North Carolina.
The restaurant also has that groovy family vibe that sits well with its customers.
It has an extensive menu that includes vegetarian and even vegan dishes. It has 12 different rotating local craft beers on tap. The restaurant also has a bar that boasts mimosas and bloody Marys.
And if there is one thing you should know, these drinks were on top of their game, reaping awards for 14 years.
You can pay for the whole place for your special events like parties, reunions, etc. It can accommodate about 150 guests.
The staff is always friendly and provides everyone with a unique and fun dining experience. And the restaurant offers off-site catering services, too.
If you love food, include The Egg Bistro on your list.
Chesapeake in Virginia is smaller compared to the other cities.
But despite its size, the city can provide guests with enough recreational places to explore—museums, farms, parks, and even local and foreign restaurants.
There are antique shops and golf clubs. You will also find in Chesapeake numerous other sports fields.
What makes Chesapeake ideal is the proximity of one destination to another. You can walk or get a ride on the city’s public transportation.
All these make Chesapeake a perfect destination for friends and family.
How about you?
Have you been to Chesapeake?
Let me know if you want to add an activity to the list.
I’ll be waiting.