Posted in: Animal Sightings, Exploring Virginia, Hiking, Rest Stop/Welcome Center/Visitor Center, School, Sightseeing

Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge (Eastern Shore Virginia Welcome Center)

After crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (going north from Williamsburg to the Eastern Shore/Cape Charles), there is a Welcome Center. We were pretty early for our check-in time for our campground which wasn’t very far away, so I decided to pull in for a bathroom break. It was a pretty standard welcome center with local information, maps, and bathrooms. It had car parking and larger spots for trucks and RVs. The employees were nice and had a few suggestions.

The best part was an unassuming arch behind the welcome center. The arch leads to a path through the trees to the Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge (ESWR). There are some great trails there. One was the Butterfly Trail, which would be great when more things were in bloom, although we did see a couple along the way. We took the trail to a secondary parking lot, where we then took the Wildlife Loop. This loop led to a bunker and a huge gun (66 feet!), and an observation tower. Once at the top of the platform, you had some nice views of the Chesapeake.

Bottom Right: ESWR Visitor Center and stamp post.

There is a Visitor Center (and its own parking lot) as well, but it was currently closed. However, outside the Visitor Center, they had some informational pamphlets about birds, as well as stamps for passport/stamp books, if you collect those. There was no paper there for the stamps however, so you may want to bring your own.


  • TICKETS: Free. COVID Restrictions: masks, social distancing, ESWR Visitor Center and Fishermans Island closed.
  • HOURS: Dawn to Dusk
  • PARKING: Yes (at Eastern Shore Welcome Center and at ESWR Visitor Center)
  • BATHROOM: Yes (use the one at the Eastern Shore Welcome Center, not the closed ESWR Visitor Center)
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-3 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.

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