This Underrated State Park In Virginia Has A Unique And Creepy Secret

If you're fond of nature and history, you'll find Kiptopeke State Park a great place to visit. It's located in Northampton County on Virginia's Eastern Shore, and the beautiful Chesapeake Bay surrounds it. You can enjoy a peaceful retreat in the park, but there's more to it than that. Inside the park, you'll see old "ghost ships" that bear witness to a past era. These remnants tell stories of sailors and voyages that happened long ago. Additionally, the park's trails are not just paths; they are also pathways to the past. Hikers often share stories of mysterious sounds and sights, which add to the park's allure.

As you wander through the beauty of Kiptopeke State Park, every step you take is a walk through time as you listen to the rustling of leaves and whispers of the shores that tell stories of the past. The park blends nature and history in a unique way, and every stone, tree, and wave has a tale to share. 

Kiptopeke's mysterious concrete ships

During World War II, traditional materials for building ships were in short supply. In response, nine concrete ships were built as an innovative solution that could be produced quickly. Although unconventional, the concrete hulls were reinforced with steel to provide strength and stability, making them reliable cargo ships during the war. After the war ended, these ships became obsolete and were stationed at various military bases. Later, they were acquired by the Virginia Ferry Corporation and sunk off Kiptopeke Beach in 1948. The ships were strategically placed to protect the Little Creek-Cape Charles Ferry terminal from severe weather. These ghost ships are intriguing relics of wartime history and maritime ingenuity today.

The old, partially sunken ships have decayed in an interesting manner and are arranged in two lines —five on the north and four on the south. Some parts of these wrecks give a glimpse into their insides, showing their structures in detail. These ships are not only historically important but also home to a variety of marine life and are a popular spot for fishing. Their appeal is not just their looks or recreational value. To many, these ships hold a mysterious significance and add to the atmosphere of Kiptopeke.

Kiptopeke State Park history, nature, and recreation

Although the park's history might not be spooky, it is still interesting. It dates back to the 1940s when the Virginia Ferry Corporation acquired the land to create a northern terminus for the Virginia Beach to Eastern Shore Ferry. This ferry was a crucial transportation link between the Eastern Shore and Virginia Beach before the construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Nearly 50 years later, Kiptopeke State Park was officially opened to the public on Memorial Day 1992. The park offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and recreational opportunities, including swimming, fishing, hiking, and camping.

There are over five miles of hiking trails with several cabins, lodges, and campsites. The park also features a lighted fishing pier, picnic areas, a playground, a beach bathhouse, and a swimming beach. Visitors can expect to see a variety of wildlife, including deer, rabbits, birds, and turtles. However, mosquitoes and bugs can be a nuisance, so bringing some bug spray along is wise. The trail is open year-round, but check the park's website for any updates on hours of operation and closures. The trails are a great way to enjoy the park's natural beauty and even spot some ghost ships.