There are certain places in a destination that defines its personality. Places that when you see a photo, you immediately think "I know where that is." Below are five locations in Chesapeake, VA that define the landscape and make Chesapeake special.



Great Bridge Lock

The Great Bridge Lock is adjacent to Great Bridge Lock Park. Completed in 1932, this lock is used to raise and lower water levels to help vessels easily travel between bodies of water. The Great Bridge Lock can hold up to 20 boats at a time while operators open and close four sets of gates and valves. What makes the Great Bridge Lock particularly unique is that it's a guard lock, meaning it protects water quality. Part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, over 4,000 boats pass through the locks annually, including barges and cruise ships. Visit this article to learn more about the history and interworkings of this lock.


Lake Drummond, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Scientists think the Great Dismal Swamp was created when the Continental shelf made its last big shift.  The whole swamp has peat underneath.  Several theories exist on the origin of Lake Drummond.  People have argued the Lake was made by a big underground peat burn about 3,500 to 6,000 years ago.  Native American legend talks about "the firebird" creating Lake Drummond.  Other theories regarding the lake's origin include a meteorite and a tectonic shift.

The oldest and best-known myth of the Dismal Swamp legends is that of the Lady of the Lake, a myth the Irish poet Thomas Moore canonized in his 1803 poem, "The Lake of the Dismal Swamp."  Based on local legends about an Indian maid who died just before her wedding day and who is periodically seen paddling her ghostly white canoe across the water of Lake Drummond, Moore's poem tells how the bereaved lover came to believe that his lost love had departed her grave and taken to the Swamp.  He followed her and never returned but was reunited with his Lady of the Lake in death.

But Oft, from the Indian hunter's camp
This lover and maid so true
Are seen at the hour of midnight damp
To cross the Lake by a fire-fly lamp,
And paddle their white canoe.


South Norfolk Jordan Bridge

Coined the Brooklyn Bridge of the South, the region's tallest bridge connects Chesapeake to the city of Portsmouth across the Elizabeth River's Southern Branch and offers sweeping, panoramic views from its soaring architectural curves.  At 169' atop the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge, you can see for miles in every direction and just below you lies the Elizabeth River, which stretches as far as the eye can see.  This modern marvel is higher than the Brooklyn Bridge and slightly lower than the Golden Gate Bridge.  It is the highest bridge in Coastal Virginia, and the only bridge in the area that can be navigated by car, foot, or two-wheels.


Chesapeake Arboretum

Named one of Virginia's Treasures by the Department of Conservation & Recreation, the Chesapeake Arboretum is a 48-acre natural classroom dedicated to promoting horticultural and environmental awareness. The Arboretum headquarters is an eighteenth-century farmhouse with theme gardens that include a fragrance and antique rose garden. The farmhouse was built in 1730 with an addition built in 1822. When in season, Camellia Cove is not to be missed, it is part of the American Camellia Society and is one of the most beautiful sections of the grounds.


Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Museum in Chesapeake
Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Museum

Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways Museum

History lovers will unite at the Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways Museum, near the site of the Battle of Great Bridge. This architectural beauty sits on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway at mile marker 12. Opening in summer 2020, this historic wonder is ready to welcome visitors from both land and water.

Want more? Check out the Top 5 Most Instagrammable Places in Chesapeake.