View Full Version : Assateaugue Island, Cape Hatteras, Kings Dominon, Baltimore

Mad About Mickey
04-11-2010, 07:27 AM
This summer we are going to drive down to Cape Hatteras and camp for 4 days. We plan on climbing the lighthouse, visiting Kittyhawk, and Fort Raliegh. Our young children enjoy doing the junior ranger programs. Would love to hear any other suggestions and any info on the campgrounds in the National Seashore.

On the way down we are going to stop at Assateague Island in Maryland before crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Looking for suggestions on where to stay, A hotel in or around Ocean City seems to be an idea. Also any interesting or must do restaurants.

On the way back we are going to Kings Dominion and would love to hear any insiders tips. Which rides to hit first, crowds in mid July, where to eat and is it worth doing two days. Also any information on hotels near the park would be appreciated.

Lastly we plan to do a drive through tour of DC to wet the family's appetite for a possible future trip before stoping in Baltimore to see Fort McHenry. Loking for suggestions for hotels and restaraunts in Baltimore as well as any intersting things to do or must sees.

Thank you in advance for all your suggestions :mickey:.

04-11-2010, 09:09 AM
Have you ever been to Williamsburg, VA?

As much as I enjoy KD, the Busch Gardens park there is my favorite park that isnt in Orlando by far. It has Disneyesque themeing and shows (European theme) and some amazing coasters. Also in Williamsburg is Water Country USA a world class water park and Colonial Williamsburg which is a revolutionary living history museum. You can get a 7 day pass that includes unlimited park hopping and free parking to all of these attractions for just $99 so its pretty cheap too.

I strongly advise you revise your plans and spend a few days here instead of doing KD if youve never visited. Like I said its my favorite "theme park" place to go that isnt WDW.

04-11-2010, 09:43 AM
On the way to Hatteras, maybe an hour before the lighthouse, there's the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. This is a terrific area to explore. There's trails on both the ocean and bay sides. There's a campground nestled into the dunes a little further down - Oregon Inlet Campground. We've stayed in a tent there and had a wonderful time. I'm pretty sure it's run by the National Parks Service.

04-11-2010, 06:33 PM
The Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore is very nice. It's right there on the harbor. The hotel is attached to a small mall that leads out to the harbor by an enclosed walk way. There is a Cheesecake Factory there with a huge menu. The aquarium, Hard Rock Cafe, and ships are right there too. I was very pleased with this hotel.

04-13-2010, 12:30 AM
I have to second the poster that mentioned Busch Gardens over King's Dominion. Busch Gardens is really a beautiful park. Water Country is also great-- the whole Williamsburg area is fantastic, and if you have taken them to Ft Raleigh to see where the Lost Colony was, then a trip the Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement kind of "closes the loop"-- and they have added a lot of great stuff there since their big anniversary a few years ago (Jamestown's Quadrennial was 2008!)

We go over to the Eastern Shore a couple times a year, and there are some cute places in Chincoteague, I also highly recommend the Charlotte Hotel in Onancock, VA (a very short 20 min drive from Assateague.) Onancock is a completely walkable village on the Bay, and is charming without being all slicked up and redone. The Charlotte is beautifully renovated and has amazing food. The marina in Onancock is tiny, but you can rent boats, and there is a restaurant right there on the water-- pretty cool and super low key. Much as I love Assateague, really, Chincoteague is just fantastic. We like to stay at Peyton Place, which is a small owner-operated inn of all efficiencies (one or two bedroom)-- they have a great dock, and the views and sunsets are fantastic!

Since you enjoy camping you might want to check out one of Virginia's state parks in the area: Kiptopeke is on the Shore, First Landing is in Virginia Beach (pretty much right on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel) and Chippokes Plantation is one the way towards Williamsburg ( a bit out of the way, but only a bit.) We really have enjoyed camping at First Landing and Kiptopeke.

Good luck!

04-13-2010, 09:46 AM
Yeah, when I was a kid we loved Kings Dominion, but apparently the prevailing opinion these days is that Kings Dominion is more, as the kids call it, "ghetto". Busch Gardens is really well themed and kept up.

Now, that said, we went to Kings Island this last fall, which is Kings Dominion's sister park. A lot of the same stuff and rides at both parks.

You would probably have fun at Kings Dominion. But you may enjoy Busch Gardens Williamsburg more.

04-13-2010, 11:12 AM
KI is the original park, KD is the copy. KI is much, much nicer then KD in my opinion. The locals really love the place, and it has the Beast (world's longest wooden coaster a 5 minute coaster ride in the woods.)

Mad About Mickey
04-13-2010, 05:19 PM
:welcome: mommylovespoly :welcome:

Thanks everyone for the input. We went to Willamsburg 3 summers ago and enjoyed Busch Gardens, so instead of going back to Busch Gardens we are trying King's Dominion instead. Looking forward to riding the Intimidator 305, Volcano and their wooden coasters. We have given thought to dropping in on Jamestowne & Yorktown since we are both National Park and history fans, we did check out colonial Willamsburg when we visited Busch Gardens.

We are realy interested in seeing the horses roaming the beach and Assateaque in Maryland seemed to be the place. I read the horses on Chincoteauge are penned, please correct me if I'm mistaken.

We have given thought to camping in Virginia but since we are traveling with 6 of us in a minivan we will most likely leave the camping gear packed and stay in a hotel on the way down through Md & Va. Then repack it after camping at Cape Hatteras and stay in hotels on the way back through Va & Md.

04-19-2010, 12:04 AM
Your are correct-- the place you can see the ponies roaming free is Assateague. The ponies you can see in Chincoteague are the ones being rounded up/ ones that have been penned. In July they have the Firemens' Fair and Pony Penning festival going on pretty much all month with a lot of fun country-fair type events.

When we have gone, we like to stay in Chincoteague or another VA Shore town and drive to the national park to see the ponies. There is a pretty nice walk that they have there that my daughter (7) and I enjoyed, and we did see some ponies relatively close-up. The beach is wild and beautiful. The park is minutes from Chincoteague. (I am pretty sure that it straddles the state line-- but not 100% sure!)

I am sentimental about Chincoteague because of the book (Misty of Chincoteague) and because I am Virginian-- my family is from the Onancock area (although no one lives there full time now.)

And, of course, Chincoteague is also right by Wallop's Island where they still shoot off NASA rockets on a fairly regular basis. Not sure if there are tours though.

I like Chincoteague and the other VA Eastern Shore towns because they are like stepping back in time. There are a handful of brand new hotels and such, but basically its all owner operated small businesses and everything is very quaint.

Thanks for the welcome-- and enjoy VA!