Tangier Island Travel Guide

  • Bay View Inn
    Bay View Inn
    by UncleBrian
  • Bay View Inn
    Bay View Inn
    by UncleBrian
  • One of Tangier Island's beaches
    One of Tangier Island's beaches
    by UncleBrian

Tangier Island Things to Do

  • Tangier History Museum

    The Tangier Island History Museum goes over the island's rich history and culture outlined in the intro. Admission is $3. Military and Tangier residents get in free.Apart from restaurants, it provides the island’s only public restrooms and created the historical markers that line Tangier’s streets and provide a “history tour" of the island. Locals...

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  • Do what the locals do...

    Two of the biggest activities on Tangier are fishing and going to Church.On a Sunday some businesses will be closed as most islanders will be sharing family worship throughout the day. This to some is an interruption in the vacationing pleasure, to others an interesting custom. Here this "activity" is commonplace and expected, in many other areas...

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  • Island Tour by Golf Cart

    Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the actual multi-passenger golf cart.While you can undoubtedly walk all around the island (there are only two roads lengthwise and it is impossible to get lost), it is relatively cheap to do the tour, and you get the information about the island that you might not otherwise get or think to get.The next time...

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  • Marine Science Park

    This is admittedly a huge name for a tiny attraction. We often come to expect large showy displays to explain the flora and fauna that surrounds us.This is a charming backyard attraction. Simple succint and worth the suggested donation. The "tanks" have the expected Chesapeake Bay Blue crabs. What suprised me though were the sea horses and various...

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  • A muse-ing Museum

    This tiny "museum" is at the back of on of the local shops. The lady sits in the front of the shop knitting afghans for sale along with various and sundry souveniers.They have a small but charming selection of local books and pen and ink postcards. After you have looked about for a bit wander to the back of the store to enter the Museum. Donation...

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  • When surrounded by water...go fishing

    The Chesapeake Bay offers some of the best fishing in the United States. This Bay is the largest estuary in the U.S.Tangier is noted for its Fisherman. The water is the primary source of income for them. You are able to hire a head boat to go out for serious fishing or a tour boat for lighter family style crabbing and exploring.

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Tangier Island Restaurants

  • Crabs and ice cream? Who knew?

    I have never seen such diversity in what a restaurant offers as this. Four Brothers Crab House & Ice Cream Deck hires out golf carts and bikes, serves Chesapeake Bay Seafood as well as a varied menu, Ice Cream, Wi Fi internet Service, Fishing and Crabbing Equipment, and more. The very last thing David and I did while on the island was get an icy...

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  • The aroma is almost as good as the food

    During the 1 hour and 40 minute ferry ride across the Chesapeake Bay, David and I worked out where we wanted to go for lunch on making port. Because crabs were the local cash crop, we reasoned we could get them best here. There are several other restaurants on the island, but many of them served their crabs in the form of cakes. For me, it's a...

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  • Under the Red Four

    This restaurant is apparently run by another branch of the Crockett family, and they have a web page with pictures and menus.The web page says in part:The Channel Marker Restaurant has a seating capacity of 135 persons. You have the option of enjoying the air-conditioned section of our restaurant or our air fresh Crab Deck... "The Island welcomes...

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  • Ice Cream

    One of the main things to do after dinner is to go to Spanky's for ice cream. We didn't do that as we had plenty to eat at Hilda Crocketts, but the teenage boys that were sitting with us at the table did - they rode their bikes down to get ice cream. They also have sandwiches and snacksWhen we walked up here to get some ice cream in 2007, they were...

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  • No longer exists

    We didn't eat here, but I stopped to pet the cat that was outside. I have been informed that the cat's name is Otis. We saw several folks that come over on the ferry who went in here to eat. When the Blue Crab was running, they offered seafood sandwiches, appetizers, soups, salads, deli sandwiches, wraps, crab cakes, gourmet coffee, desserts,...

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  • Takes credit cards

    Open May 1 to Sept 30Monday to Saturday 11 - 7Sunday 12:30 - 5Lunch specials were:Cup of Tangier Crab soup with Oyster Sandwich $9.95Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and 1 sideCrab & Shrimp dip w/ Salad $7.99Fish Sandwich with Crabby Fries (dusted with Old Bay and served with vinegar) $8.50Crabcake/Fried Shrimp Dinner w 2 sides $18.99The dinner menu...

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Tangier Island Nightlife

  • Magnificent Sunsets

    The sunset and a "cuppa" tea is the best nightlife. It also happens to be about the only nightlife. There are no bars. This is a conservative and religious community by and large.Enjoy an evening stroll and a chat with a local.

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  • Watching the Sun Set

    Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House doesn't seat you for dinner after 5:15 pm. So no matter how slowly you eat, you are done by 6 pm. About all there is left to do in town is walk around, and then watch the sun set.

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  • Feed the Ducks

    The boat that was cattycorner from us in the marina was feeding the ducks with the crumbs from their dinner.

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Tangier Island Transportation

  • (almost) no cars allowed

    Rather like Catalina Island in California, no automobiles apart from emergency vehicles are allowed on the island. Golf carts and motor scooters are the preferred mode of petite transport. There are even bicycle, motor scooter, and golf cart hires for tourists.

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  • Tangier Island Airport (TGI)

    In 1969, land was dedicated for a single runway. Since then, the island has been a little less isolated. Medical flights depart from there to evacuate the seriously ill to hospital and to get supplies in when the water occasionally freezes up in winter.

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  • Chesapeake Breeze

    The Chesapeake Breeze departs every day at 10 am from Buzzard’s Point Marina in Reedville, making port in Tangier at 11:40. It leaves Tangier at 2:15pm and arrives 2 hours later back at Reedville. Tickets cost $27 a pop as of August, 2015. The ride there and back was slick cam (Tangier dialect for "totally flat water"). Along the way, we passed...

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Tangier Island Shopping

  • the only groceries on the island

    Daley & Sons is the only grocery store on the island. They choose not to sell alcohol, not because of any law, but because Tangier residents are much more socially conservative than just about anywhere in Virginia. They offer all the basic staples such as bread and milk, but mainlanders used to a greater selection probably would not like to have to...

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  • gifts from the island

    Jim's Gift Shop offers historical gifts, jewelry, charms, cookery books, plates, mugs, glasses, books, and more. It was a one-stop shop for souvenirs I brought home for my mama. There is more to it than this, but I bought Mama 2 cookbooks (one from the Tangier Unified School P.T.A.) and a Tangier Christmas ornament, shaped like a crab to pay...

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  • Gifts and Museum

    Wanda's is a gift shop that is primarily notable because she has a soft shell crab exhibit showing the stages of the crab molt and how they are harvested. It's something that is easier to see in person than to really understand by reading about it. This is a season exhibit which she runs with her son Teddy. Teddy's crab shedding shack is behind the...

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Tangier Island Local Customs

  • Conservative values

    Religion is the social glue, and members are fairly evenly split between Swain Memorial United Methodist Church (pictured) and the New Testament nondenominational congregation. In the late '90s the town council rejected Hollywood's bid to come there to film "Message in a Bottle," because the script contained sex, cursing and alcohol. There is no...

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  • Front yard gravestones

    This would be taboo in 99 localities on 100. But in Tangier, it is common for people to bury loved ones in their yards where their graves are safer from the encroaching sea.

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  • The local lingo

    Because Tangier Island has remained so isolated from the mainland, most islanders still speak the same kind of Elizabethan English the original settlers spoke. If you put me there blindfolded, I would have thought I was in England. Here are a few slang words or phrases in the Tangier dialect...in a swivet (in a hurry)givey (damp or humid)quare...

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Tangier Island Warnings and Dangers

  • Aggressive golf cart and motor scooter...

    While there may not be cars on these narrow roads (save for emergency vehicles), the people driving the golf carts and motor scooters can be just as aggressive as any car driver. If I had a nickel for every time I was nearly mown down by one of those petite vehicles, I would have enough to buy the ferry on which I came and went! The best thing to...

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  • Mind your mobile phone battery

    I am not one of those so attached to his mobile phone that I'm ringing people at every chance. That wouldn't have done any good because mobile phone signal there is spotty. My mobile phone has a note-taking feature. So, I decided to leave the pen and paper at home, using my mobile phone only as a timepiece and a note taker. The best-laid plains go...

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  • black flies

    Tangier Island is great, but watch out for those black flies. We were there in late August, and I've never seen so many. Locals swear by Avon Skin So Soft as a bug repellent. Didn't have it so don't know if it's effective. Went to the beach and got into the water as deep as we could just to get away from the flies. Water washed off such bug...

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Tangier Island Off The Beaten Path

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Reverend Chas. P. Swain

    by grandmaR Updated Oct 10, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Rev Swain wrote A BRIEF HISTORY OF TANGIER ISLAND, VIRGINIA
    Description: Copywrite by Gail M. Walczyk. Originally written by Reverend C. P. Swain in the 1890's, it relates the history of both the people and the Methodist religion on the island. It is now has been indexed and a dateline has been included. 81/2x11, paper, index, 32 pp Cost: $18.00

    From 1808 through 1858 up to 10,000 people swelled the island each summer for Methodist camp meetings.

    In a letter to the Richmond Dispatch, July 30, 1899, Rev. Swain wrote:

    "In 1835, when there were only a few people here, they built a small famed church, 18 by 18 feet. In 1842 they enlarged the building to 22 by 26. N 1860 the house was again enlarged to accommodate the ever-increasing congregation. IN 1870 a new building was erected, 36 by 50, at a cost of $2,400, and made to cover about 2,000 square feet of ground floor and to seat 600 people. In 1896 it was found that a larger building was needed, and the present structure, modern ln its construction and conveniences. Lighted with gas and heated with steam, was erected at a cost of $10,000, about $7,000 of which has been paid in cash, and the rest is all subscribed."

    According to the sign on the church foundation wall, this church was renamed the Swain Memorial M. E. Church in 1900 the year after the above was written. I presume he had died before the church was named after him, but I can't find any information out about that. The marble memorial was erected in his memory by the citizens of Tangier.

    Memorial beside Swain church Another view of the Memorial beside Swain church Church from the other side of the island Church from the road Church steeple
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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Tangier Island Sports & Outdoors

  • Beach

    I am assured that Tangier has beaches, most of which I understand are on the south side of the island. I haven't tried to access the beaches myself. It is probably typical of the island beaches. The beaches will not be crowded - this picture was taken at the beginning of August and the guest houses were fullVT member hcm71284 tells me that the...

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  • Parks Marina

    Parks Marina is very small and informal. Mr. Parks lives in a house behind the marina. The actual marina consists of this little house on stilts (which houses the bathroom/shower rooms for men and women and also a front section which could be an office) and several slips which you can see two of on the right side of the picture.The marina does not...

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  • Anchorage in harbor

    The harbor in Tangier has a very swift current in it, and it is a very busy harbor. Not only are there fishermen who run around in the harbor, but there are the ferry boats from Crisfield and Reedville that come in and turn around. Also, there are depth problems at some places even in the channel.The marina in Tangier is NOT very expensive. it is a...

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Tangier Island Favorites

  • Where crab is king

    The best part of Tangier Island is seeing how crabs have become the force in the local economy. About 75% of our country's soft shell crabs (those that have just molted out of their old shells and are soft and squishy all over) come from the area every year, and it also provides a significant amount of hard crabs, oysters, and even eels that are...

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  • War Memorials

    Outside the Swain Memorial United Methodist Church, there are 3 war memorials. The first is for those who died in World War 1 and 2, the second is for those who died in combat since World War 2, and the third commemorates the men and women of Tangier who have faithfully served their country.

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  • Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House

    This was the island's first Bed and Breakfast opened in 1939. It is still in operation pretty much as Mrs. Crockett would have wanted. They still serve family style meals which include Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes (made from the Chesapeake Blue Crab.) Also: Chesapeake Style Clam Fritters, Virginia Ham, Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Pickled Beets, Apple...

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Deep Religious Convictions
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Ducks
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Ride a bike
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Golf Cart
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Above Ground Burial
Local Customs
Map of Tangier Island

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