Cape Henry Memorial

Quick Facts

Cape Henry Memorial

Virginia

(757) 898-2410

Map Directions

Things To Do

 

Overview

After four and a half months crossing storm swept seas 144 weary Englishmen made land-fall in April 1607. They anchored their ships in the protected waters of the bay and landed a small party upon the shore. They built a wooden cross and planted it in the sand naming the place Cape Henry. This is the first landing site of those adventurous Englishmen who, some three weeks later, established the first permanent English Colony in North America at Jamestown. From this same site some 174 years later, citizens of a soon to be free and independent United States of America watched as a British fleet commanded by Admiral Graves engaged the French fleet of Admiral Comte de Grasse in a sea battle know as the Battle of the Capes. This French naval victory sealed the fate of General Cornwallis at Yorktown leading to his surrender with one third of the British contingent in America and the eventual end of the American Revolutionary War. Today this quarter acre of beach front is commemorated with waysides, a granite memorial cross, a statue of Admiral Comte de Grasse and a walkway ramp up the dunes to a magnificent view of where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay. Today Cape Henry Memorial is located on Fort Story Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Be prepared to be stopped at the guarded entrance station.

Map of Cape Henry

Latitude, Longitude: 36.923548, -76.010284

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Activities

  • Historic Sites

    Take the walkway leading to the top of the dunes where one can overlook the Atlantic Ocean and the Entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. Take the walkway just to the south of the Cape Henry Memorial and walk down to the beach and enjoy the waves breaking upon the shore.

    Although not a part of the National Park Service Cape Henry Memorial the more adventurous and hearty may want to climb the spiral stair case (approximately 165 steps) up to the top of the Cape Henry Lighthouse. This is not for the faint hearted, but the view is definitely worth the effort. This lighthouse is owned and operated by Preservation Virginia. There is a minimum height restriction to climb the light house of 42 inches.

Seasonality/Weather

Summers in the Southeastern United States are humid during the day. The best times to visit are fall and spring.

Directions

Driving

Located on the south side of the Chesapeake Bay, Cape Henry Memorial sits within Fort Story Military Reservation, 10 miles east of Norfolk and 3 miles north of Virginia Beach.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(757) 898-2410

Links