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Great Date Escapes: Savage Neck Dunes

Tucked away on the Virginia Eastern Shore is some dramatic scenery

MAY 2022


TRAVEL TIDBIT: A maritime pine hardwood forest is at least a century old.

If you like the sand between your toes, if you like strolling along a quiet beach, if you like an untouched natural backdrop, Savage Neck Dunes has you covered.

There are a couple of other ifs — if you can locate it, since directional signage is scarce, and if you can park there, since the heavily patrolled lot is limited to eight cars at a time to prevent overcrowding.

But your time is well spent even if you have to circle to pounce on an open space in the lot, located off Virginia Route 634 south of Eastville on the Eastern Shore. Savage Neck Dunes is a free, 298-acre natural preserve along the Chesapeake Bay with three trails that pass through loblolly thickets and a 4.6-acre freshwater pond with waterfall and wildlife.

The three-quarters of a mile beach trail leads to 50-foot-high dunes, some of the largest on the Eastern Shore, that have been formed over 10,000 years, with aged driftwood accentuating the view. The sand also is home to the rare northeastern beach tiger beetle, a light-colored threatened species, so watch your step and prevent fido (welcome on a 6-foot-long-leash) from digging too deeply into the sand.

Visitors consider the preserve, managed by the state conservation department, to be a true hidden gem. “The dunes offered something much more complicated: a walk through what felt like the evolution of the landscape over thousands of years,” writes science editor Rona Kobell of Chesapeake Quarterly.

Savage Neck Dunes | Eastville, VA 23310 DCR.VIRGINIA.GOV, search for Savage Neck Dunes