15 Best Islands of Virginia To Visit in 2018
- VERONICA DELACRUZ
- UPDATED May 31, 2018
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The state of Virginia is known for its natural beauty because of the abundance of rivers and forests all over the place. Additionally, it’s also home to some virgin islands with their fair share of wild ponies, saltwater and fresh wetlands as also sand dunes and the typically warm small town hospitality in some of Virginia’s most unique islands on the Delmarva Peninsula. You have the privilege of experiencing the Assateague, Chincoteague and Wallops Islands. Chincoteague in fact, tells you the story of the early settlers on the Eastern Shore. Now let’s take a detailed look at some of Virginia’s best islands.
1. Assateague Island
37 miles long, Assateague Island is a barrier island, which is located off the Delmarva Peninsula’s eastern coast and faces the Atlantic Ocean. The island’s larger northern part is in Maryland while the remaining southern part lies in Virginia. Reachable by motor boat or catamaran, the island is known for its wild pony population and unique ecosystem. Hike on its beaches or just laze around.
2. Hog Island
Hog Island is located to Exmore’s southeast in the county of Northampton. It’s a part of the Virginia Nature Conservancy’s Coast Reserve and is reachable both by road and water. Its natural beauty is to die for and makes it ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving or plain hiking.
3. Tangier Island
Known for its pretty beach, this island is ideal for day trips. Dotted with small eateries, this place offers some great seafood and is famous for its occasional giant lobster and clam chowder. You get to see plenty of cats also. It also has a historical importance as a site for some of the early settlers. Hike, boat or swim to your heart’s content here. Reachable by road and water.
4. Wallops Island
Stretching over six square miles, Wallops Island belongs to Virginia’s Accomack County. It’s also a component of the Virginia Barrier Islands stretching along the US’s eastern seaboard. You are allowed restricted access because the island is under NASA. Accessible by road and water, this island is great for studying virgin nature and its maritime forests are simply stunning. Hike around the place or swim while taking in the rare ecosystem.
5. Fisherman Island
This is the Delmarva Peninsula’s southernmost island in the area’s entire barrier islands chain. Fisherman Island is to be seen at Chesapeake Bay’s entrance and has an ever changing landscape. It covers an area of 7.4 square kilometers and is known for its rising waves which make it a windsurfer’s favorite spot. Also has facilities for boating, swimming and hiking. Reachable by road or boat.
6. Wreck Island Natural Area Preserve
This 1,380-acre Preserve area is in Virginia’s Northampton County. It’s also a Virginia Barrier Island, protecting various beach, marsh, dune, grassland and shrub land habitat. You need to visit this to see some rare flora and fauna or go picnicking on its beaches with the family. Drive down yourself or hire a cab. Ideal for a day’s hiking and/or boating trip.
7. Craney Island
Located in Virginia’s independent Portsmouth city, Craney Island lies in eastern Virginia’s South Hampton Roads region. Its landscape is naturally manicured and ideal for picnics and family outings. Go swimming in its waters or even snorkeling further deep down. Reachable by road.
8. Gwynn's Island
Located off the Middle Peninsula in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay, Gwynn's Island is in Mathews County’s northeastern part and lies south to the Piankatank River’s mouth. Its thick and lush vegetation make it a sight to behold. Just marvel at its magnificent sunsets or walk on the island. Wear sturdy shoes as certain parts are rough. Reachable both by road and water.
9. Bay Island
Known for its dazzling white beaches, Bay Island is two miles long and situated in Virginia Beach’s North Great Neck area. Laze in a hammock on the beach under the undulating palm fronds as you enjoy the fresh breeze or go swimming and snorkeling to see some interesting marine life. There are a couple of eateries but carry your own water. A simple hike is also advisable. Reachable by road.
10. Rip Raps
Island in Hampton, Virginia
Yet another interesting spot in Virginia’s Hampton city, Rip Raps is a 15-acre artificial island and makes a quick getaway on weekends. It’s actually located at Hampton Roads at the harbor area’s mouth and is ideal for sailing and swimming. Accessible by road.
11. Eppes Island
This is also called Shirley Hundred Island and is known for its archaeological sites and a historic home, spread over 230 hectares. If you visit Hopewell in Virginia’s Charles City County, spend some time here. The peace and tranquility of the area will rejuvenate you and you also get a taste of some early American history. Drive down for a great day’s outing with the family.
12. Virginius Island, West Virginia
Reachable by ferry, Virginius Island lies on the picturesque Shenandoah River in West Virginia’s Harpers Ferry. It was formed by the Shenandoah Canal, which the Patowmack Company constructed way back in 1807. Take the boat from Harpers Ferry town to reach the place and enjoy a day’s swimming, hiking or simply lazing around.
13. Magic Island
Located on the confluence of the Kanawha and Elk Rivers in West Virginia’s Charleston, Magic Island is accessible by road. The island is separated from the boulevard on Charleston's West Side by the Kanawha Boulevard and serves as one of the city’s public parks as well. Take a stroll around the place, eat at the numerous sea food joints, shop for souvenirs or simply hang out.
14. The Jug
It was also called the Jug Handle because of its jug-like shape. The island was formed by way of a horseshoe bend on the Middle Island Creek near Tyler County’s Middlebourne. Stretching over 11.5 square kilometers, this island has some interesting vegetation to offer which would delight both professional and amateur botanists. A good spot for swimming, hiking and sailing. You can reach the spot by car or taxi.
15. Buffington Island
Spread over two hectares, this cozy and quaint spot lies on the Ohio River in West Virginia’s Jackson County. Reachable by car from Ravenswood town, this island lies to Racine’s east and offers a suitable setting for bird watching, nature study and swimming.