A Day Off in Poquoson

Editors’ picks for 24 hours at the shore.

Poquoson, in Hampton Roads, derives its name from the Native Americans who populated the area before being pushed out by English colonization in the mid-1600s. The city’s lifeblood is the surrounding waters of the Chesapeake Bay and Poquoson River, and with that in mind, we offer a sample itinerary for both the repeat and the first-time visitor to enjoy a smattering of what the region has to offer.


8:30 a.m. – Come ashore

Fuel up at the family-run Poquoson Diner, formerly the Happy Belly, on Wythe Creek Road. Breakfast is served all day and includes made-from-scratch biscuits topped with chipped-beef gravy and sides like scrapple and sautéed veggies. PoquosonDiner.com

10:00 a.m. – Get the lay of the land

Grandview Nature Preserve in neighboring Hampton is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The park spans 475 acres, encompassing a variety of salt marshes, tidal creeks and Chesapeake Bay beachfront. There are several ways to enjoy the landscape, from observing migratory birds to combing beaches for hidden treasures. For those seeking additional adventure, canoeing and hiking options are available just 10 minutes down the road at Buckroe Beach. VisitHampton.com

1:00 p.m. – Stock up on provisions

The most recently opened location for the Tidewater-based, Surf Rider in Poquoson carries on a 20-year culinary tradition. Family-owned and operated, the restaurant offers the same home-style cooking with which Liz Massey and her son opened the franchise. All manner of seafood platters and sandwiches, including the award-winning crabcake-topped Chesapeake Bay Burger, are served with a side of fries or—more appropriate, perhaps—Old Bay Chips. SurfRiderRestaurant.com

2:30 p.m. – Make some waves

Once you’re properly fed and watered, it’s time to test your sea legs at Paddle 757 in the Whitehouse Cove. Offering BOTE paddleboards for one, two- and four-hour rentals, Paddle 757 provides the means to explore Poquoson’s bay, inlets and marshlands at your own pace. And don’t worry: if it’s your first time out, the staff will be more than happy to give you a private lesson before you set out to sea. Paddle757.com

5:00 p.m. – Splice the mainbrace 

Once you’ve conquered land and sea, it’s time to celebrate with a proper drink. St. George’s Brewing Co., located just outside Poquoson’s city limits, was founded in 1998, making it the oldest micro-brewery in Hampton Roads. The taproom sports nine to twelve taps rotating the brewery’s various English and German style ales, such as the award-winning Nut Brown Ale and Summer Ale, and also hosts live music on weekends. StGBeer.com

6:30 p.m. – Point the way 

There’s no better place to end your day than at Bull Island BBQ at Messick Point. Taking its name from Poquoson’s unique shape, the restaurant swaps out local seafood for cookout staples like pulled pork and smoked chicken wings. Positioned at the edge of the island, it’s the perfect spot to watch the sun set over the bay and let the cool evening wash over you while enjoying a cold beer and some tasty barbecue. Facebook.com/BIBBBQ

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