WanderLove is about reconnecting with what you love. Experience quaint small towns, miles of shoreline, and all of the winding roads in between when you road trip through Mathews County, Va.
Whether you prefer to explore the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waterways by boat or by foot, you’re sure to find an adventure that fits your speed in this coastal getaway. Discover the best spots to play, eat, and stay in this guide to Mathews County.
Go Outside and Play
Although Mathews County is Virginia’s second smallest county, it has the greatest amount of shoreline making it the best place to get on the water. Head to one of the many beaches in the area to take in the natural beauty and coastal wildlife. Haven Beach is a popular spot for families with a tidal lagoon perfect for swimming the day away. At Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve, you can enjoy a walk or picnic by the water with plenty of opportunities for birding.
As a peninsula, Mathews County is a paddler’s haven surrounded by shallow rivers, inlets, and creeks. With 19 launch points around the area, you can spend a few hours or a few days exploring all of the waterways in the area. For a self-guided tour of the area, use the Mathews Blueways Water Trail Guide for details on where to launch and take out, water conditions, and nearby attractions. Contact one of the outfitters in the area for a guided tour with an expert, boat and kayak rentals, lessons, and more.
Cyclists of all abilities will enjoy riding the quiet country roads by the water. Visit in May for the Tour de Chesapeake, a lively weekend of cycling, music, and food. Travel the county by car, featuring nine stops on a birding and wildlife trail. During migration season, keep your eyes open for shorebirds in the tidal lagoons and land birds along the marshy shore.
Witness the historic preservation of the New Point Comfort Lighthouse, the tenth oldest lighthouse in the country, from the water or land. Book a kayak or boat tour to view the lighthouse up close or view the ongoing construction from the observation deck at New Point Comfort Natural Area Preserve, particularly at sunrise or sunset.
Main Street is your go to stop for award-winning eateries in Mathews such as the date night spot, White Dog Bistro, the infamous Richardon’s Cafe, and local musician jam spot, Southwind Pizza. You can also enjoy the local Mexican restaurant, great diners in town, and a recently renovated waterfront restaurant on Gwynn’s Island called Hole in the Wall Waterfront Grill. From gourmet, sit down meals with outside seating to grab and go lunch spots, you’re sure to find a place that satisfies your cravings. Head to VisitMathews.com for the latest updates on restaurant openings and new procedures.
Check out the LOVEwork at The Inn at Tabbs Creek. This nautical-themed sculpture made with crab pots, buoy floats, fishnet rope, and salvaged house parts represents the history of the Chesapeake Bay and the welcoming hospitality of the bed and breakfast.
Relax and Unwind
There are a variety of lodging opportunities available in the area to make it a comfortable stay. Book a room at the Callis House Inn on Main Street for easy access to cultural amenities or Foster’s Bethel Beach Inn located right by the water. Several waterfront cottages offer stunning views of the natural landscape. Or reserve a spot at a local campground and sleep under the stars.
Experience WanderLove for yourself when you visit Mathews County, Va. Please check local guidelines and regulations before making plans to get outside. Remember to practice social distancing guidelines, wear a mask, and respect others’ health when outside.
Cover photo by Kirsten Beatley Films