Things to do / Travel Guide
Whether you are up for a hair-raising, ghost-busting outing or would rather a quiet sunset or birdwatching cruise, whether you're fixing to lay your eyes on the shaggy mane of a wild pony or planning to salute a dolphin or whale surfacing boatside in the great, wide Atlantic, eastern North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland has a tour to make it all happen.
Cruises and Boat Tours in Eastern North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland
With literally thousands of miles of water to ply along the region's coast, there is no dearth of scenic and educational boat cruises and tours to try. Just about every community on the Delmarva Peninsula, eastern Virginia, and North Carolina shore has a unique sightseeing, wildlife watching, historic, entertainment (lunch or dinner), sunset, or sunrise cruise available.
For eco-cruises with a bird watching, wildlife observation, or salt marsh and barrier island educational spin, try companies with boats leaving regularly from the harbors of Chincoteague Island, Exmore, and Cape Charles, Virginia, on the Delmarva Peninsula. Cruises to the idyllic, Chesapeake Bay fishing villages of Tangier Island leave from Buzzards Point Marina in Reedville, Virginia.
Tall ships, riverboats, and paddlewheel boat tours and cruises are available throughout eastern Virginia and the North Carolina shore. In eastern Virginia, historic canal cruises up the James River are perhaps the best way to learn about Richmond's past and future. The full gamut of cruises is available on the Hamptons Roads' historical harbor, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Elizabeth River, near Norfolk.
On the North Carolina shore, you can take historic or sightseeing tours along the Pasquotank River, leaving from Waterfront Park in Elizabeth City. Steamboats and riverboats with historic narration (and lunch or dinner service) ply the Cape Fear River and Black River, and will give you a taste of Southern history, wildlife, and hospitality. Boats leave from Dock Street and South Water Street in Wilmington. Cruises and boat tours generally run from April-November, and tours can last anywhere from one hour to half a day.
Ghost Tours in Eastern North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland
There is nothing like a good spook to liven up a vacation. You can take the Original Ghosts of Williamsburg Candlelight Tour in Williamsburg, Virginia, for a 1.5-hour walk through the local haunted sights. The tour is a great way to see Williamsburg at night and learn about the local lore. Wilmington, North Carolina has its own share of ghoulish ghostly characters and local ghost busters who stalk their haunts. Take a 90-minute Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington to get the spooky scoop on about 20 of Wilmington's actively-haunted sites.
Whale and Dolphin Watching Tours in Eastern North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland
From the Delaware and Maryland sections of the Delmarva Peninsula, down the eastern Virginia coast, and along the North Carolina shore, whale and dolphin watching tours abound. Favorite locations include areas off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, as well as Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach, Delaware on the Delmarva Peninsula. Virginia Beach, and Hampton, in eastern Virginia and the Manteo waterfront, Nags Head, and the area from Cape Hatteras to Cape Lookout in North Carolina's Outer Banks are also popular for whale and dolphin watching tours. The tours generally run from June-Labor Day, are several hours in length, and will usually guarantee a sighting.
Wild Horse Safari Tours in Eastern North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland
If you want to ensure yourself a close encounter with some of North Carolina's most elegant and majestic creatures, take a two-hour, four-wheel-drive (4WD) wild horse tour through the back areas of Assoateague Island National Seashore in Maryland, or along the beaches in Assateague Island, in both Maryland and Virginia (on the Delmarva Peninsula). Wild horse tours are also available in Corolla, North Carolina (in the Outer Banks), along the pristine, white-sand Carova Beach, the stomping grounds of these fine equine specimens. You likely will see far more than horses, as tours often include unexpected sightings of white-tail deer, wild boar and goats, red foxes, surfing dolphins, and thousands of shorebirds. Companies in Corolla and Chincoteague Island, Virginia will be happy to set you up anytime from spring-early fall.