My family and I have been doing the Virginia State Park Trail Quest program for the last 2 year-ish. Basically, you visit any of the parks and once you’ve gone to 5, 10, 20, all- there are pins. There are 38 parks (39th under development!), and we have now been to 13 thanks to our hike yesterday! Why yes that DOES mean we have the 10 park pin!
We went to Chippokes Plantation State Park which is easily one of my new favorites. It is nestled on the Cobham bay of the James River. Virginia has amazing parks because they range in everything from your typical Appalachian Trail-style mountain hiking to meadow hills to ocean and river beach. Chippokes Plantation was a “river beach” style park. So instead of a lot of trekking, we mostly did beach-combing meandering.
The beach was SMOTHERED in shells and rocks. One of the park officials told us to look for shark’s teeth, but we didn’t find any of those. Along the beach there were gorgeous tree roots popped up where the beach had eroded away a bit. We came at a lower tide so a lot was uncovered.
The kids and Kile had a blast skipping rocks, and I even learned how to do it. I think the crew record was 10 skips? I was so excited when I got it to skip 3 times, haha!
The outside temperature was decently warm, but the water was SO cold. That didn’t stop me from reaching in and pulling out amazing shells! There were tons of pieces of shells you could tell were HUGE. Lots of little tiny shells, too. We all got super excited when we found ones that were unbroken.
After we finished wandering around the beach, we headed up to the mansion. It ended up being closed (which we had thought may be the case), but we got to watch birds doing this crazy thing where they all gathered in the trees and then flew away really fast and then came back. Every time they flew away from the tree it made this really loud boom/whoosh sound. It was really, really cool.
All in all, a WONDERFUL state park that everyone should go enjoy. Great for those with little kids because the trail to get to the water was not difficult and mostly paved. Lots of camp sites, and we drove by a park swimming pool in the park. Definitely check the tides before you go, though. We got exceptionally lucky that it was low tide when we went because a lot of what we saw would’ve been covered by water had it been high tide. We will definitely be going back in the summertime at some point to check out the mansion.