A Coastal River Getaway: A Guide to Visiting Urbanna, Virginia
Many people have heard of Urbanna because of the epic oyster festival that takes place here every fall. While we love our oysters, there’s a lot more to discover in this charming port town that boasts “more boats than folks.” We’re talking whimsical inns, early American history, trendy dining, and chic shops. Locals and vacationers wave and smile at everyone they meet.
Get here by turning off major highways onto our winding local streets. You can also cruise up by boat in the Rappahannock River from the Chesapeake Bay. However you make it to your waterside getaway, here are our must-sees in Urbanna, VA:
We definitely recommend making it an overnight trip. There’s nothing quite like falling asleep to the sound of waves or waking up to a sunrise on the water. The Chesapeake Inn is located right on Virginia Street in the middle of our scrumptious restaurants and chic boutiques. You can also use one of the Inn’s two seater surreys to cruise around town. Bethpage Camp Resort is another option you’ll only find in the River Realm. You can stay in a cute cottage rental or park your RV in the resort, which has a water park, fishing access, a lakeside beach, kayak and bike rentals, and fun events like live music and campfire gatherings. Stay like a local in some of our airbnb and VRBO options.
If you’re an American history buff, you’re definitely familiar with Urbanna’s celebrated place in our early history. There are several areas in town that offer a glimpse into this storied past. For starters, you must see the famous John Mitchell Map at Urbanna Visitor’s Center. The 1755 map traces the pathways and borders that helped diplomats and leaders settle the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which ended the Revolutionary War. Spain, France, and Great Britain also referenced it for subsequent treaties. More recently in 1980, the map settled fishing boundaries of Maine between the United States and Canada. Walk back into the past with a guided Museum in the Streets walking tour, which you can listen to on your phone as you take on the town by foot. Learn more about local history here.
You traveled here to get away and get some space. There are plenty of ways to do just that here in Urbanna. We’ll start with a local secret spot: Watermen’s Park. This secluded riverfront pocket park is in a residential area on Kent Street. It’s the perfect perch to take in the view of the boats and wildlife like our osprey on the Rappahannock River. Taber Park is another well-loved park that regularly hosts events like the Urbanna Farmers Markets and the Music Under the Stars Series. It’s also home to the LOVE sign for fun insta-worthy snaps with your travel crew. If you like games, Bethpage Miniature Golf & Ice Creamery welcomes friendly competition at COWTOPIA, a funky artfully designed miniature golf course with whimsical cows around every corner designed by renowned sculptor Mark Cline. Enjoy 20+ flavors of hand-dipped Hershey’s ice cream at the end whether you win or lose.
We know how to have a good time here in Urbanna! We’re well known for our fun events including the Urbanna Cup Cocktail Boat Races, Arts in the Middle, Music Under the Stars Concert Series, The Wine & Oyster Stroll, and of course the Urbanna Oyster Festival. We recommend planning trips around these events well ahead of time to make sure you are able to secure lodging and reservations. Another hot tip: the Urbanna Oyster Festival offers a VIP Oyster Lovers experience that makes this November festival experience really pop. Learn more about all of our signature events here.
If you brought your own boat, there are a few marinas in the area where you can you fuel up and dock your vessel: Urbanna Town Marina, Urbanna Port Marina, Urbanna Yachting Center, and Urbanna Bridge Marina. If you’d prefer to relax and let someone else do the work, Urbanna Cruises, Golden Age Charters, and Norton’s Yachts can lead you and your family on chartered pontoon, sailing, or yacht adventures. Have them stock the boat for you or bring your own goodies to fuel a laid back, yet luxurious day on the water.
If you’re here to find some inspiration, schedule an art class at River House Creations. The one-of-a-kind gift shop is in the heart of Urbanna. They carry ready-to-wrap gifts, but it may be more fun to create your own stained glass, shell art, or driftwood piece. Nimcock Gallery and Urbanna Harbor Gallery & Art Services can also help you bring creative projects to life with an extensive frame and matte selection as well as huge antique art, decor, and furniture collections.
Oysters, barbeque, bloody mary’s, fresh coffee, limeades, and crab tots are highlights on local menus of our many Urbanna dining destinations. For scenic waterside dining, Urbanna Seafood and Raw Bar and Portside Grill offer up creative family-inspired takes on locally sourced seafood dishes. In the heart of Urbanna, Half Shell Grill, Bubba’s Shrimp Shack, Virginia Street Cafe, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and Something Different both the classics and creative takes on breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just outside of town, Big Oak Cafe is a warm and cozy foodie getaway for a savory southern brunch, lunch, or dinner. Step back in time at the nostalgic 1950’s Marshall’s Drug Store. Meet the family at Mi Jalisco for a margarita and a big Mexican inspired meal.
If you’re more inspired by shopping as your cardio, we can help you get your steps in. Urbanna is home to an eclectic, yet refined variety of shops. For locally made art and decor, If It’s Wood and More and Urbanna Harbor Gallery are both full of surprises in all price ranges and styles. For women’s clothing, shop racks and shelves with hats, shoes, scarves, jewelry, and so much more at R.S. Bristow’s, Cyndy’s Bynn, and Lowe Tide. Second-hand style lovers will want to cruise through Resail Consignment Boutique, Simply Yaya’s, and Fashion Exchange. If you’re looking for unique gifts, Urbanna Trading Co. will keep you entertained looking through locally inspired art, gourmet foods, honey, CBD products, t-shirts, wine and other curiosities.
More Urbanna Inspiration
Looking for more ways to make the most of your River Realm trip to Urbanna? The below links are full of helpful ideas and resources for your trip!
- when you visit Urbanna: https://www.virginiasriverrealm.com/urbanna/.
- For a list of all of our awesome Urbanna businesses, visit our Business Directory and select “Urbanna”: https://www.virginiasriverrealm.com/places/tags/urbanna/
- For all of our upcoming Urbanna events: https://www.virginiasriverrealm.com/events-archive/category/urbanna/
- Urbanna is part of Middlesex County, which has lots of other charming people and places to enjoy. Visit the Middlesex County Website: http://visitmiddlesexva.org/
Capture And Share Your Favorite Urbanna Moments
With every river bend and wind in the road, we’re sure you and your travel buddies captured memories of the sights, sounds, smells, and flavors of the River Realm. After your adventures are done, check out your photos and share the best with us! We hope more people like you can enjoy the calming and enchanting spirit of the River Realm. Tag us using @virginiasriverrealm and we’ll share your photos.