Updated on November 7, 2023 by Julie McCool
The Tides Inn in Irvington Virginia is a beautiful, waterfront resort on the Chesapeake Bay, perfect for a weekend escape from the Washington DC region. The inn occupies a peninsula near the bottom of Virginia's Northern Neck, with lovely water views on three sides. Guests at the Tide Inn enjoy relaxed luxury and a range of amenities that make it easy to kick back or get out and explore.
We were guests of Tides Inn and Virginia's River Realm during the Shuckapalooza and Spring Festival events. As always, all opinions, text, and photos are our own.
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The Tides Inn in Irvington Virginia: Rooms and Amenities
Public Spaces at the Tides Inn VA
As soon as you enter the driveway of the Tides Inn, you begin to relax. As you meander down the drive you are surrounded by golf course greenery and lovely trees and flower beds. Ahead is the classic white main lodge, which first opened to the public in 1947.
Enter the lobby and enjoy your first water views. A large terrace, croquet lawn, and those peaceful views call guests outdoors. Comfortable chairs and tables on the terrace, some with built-in firepits, are perfect for an afternoon cocktail. A cluster of tables under a giant cypress tree offer a peaceful spot to watch the setting sun.
Tip: The Lancaster Lemonade is a refreshing Tides Inn favorite, featuring vodka, limoncello, lemon, and ginger ale. The recipe is on the mason jar glass, which you can take home as a souvenir from your visit.
Head down the stairs at either end of the lawn to reach the marina, small beach, and outdoor pool. Here you will find many fun places to relax and play by or in the water. See the Things to Do section below for on-site activities at the Tides Inn.
Allow time during your visit to wander the grounds. Kids are drawn to the giant chessboard near the main lodge, while couples might prefer a quiet set of benches by the water. A large room near reception is a welcome retreat when the weather turns chilly, or you need a break from the sun. Relax in the comfy chairs, or take on a challenge with the giant Scrabble board and other games.
Tides Inn Virginia Rooms and Suites
We stayed in a spacious Chesapeake Bay Vista Suite during our visit to the Tides Inn. A wall of windows takes in the view, while a separate living room and bedroom offer comfortable spaces to rest. Watch this short video of our beautiful Tides Inn suite.
Our Tides Inn suite was quiet, luxe, and relaxed; the perfect place to recharge for more outdoor fun. The inn also offers deluxe rooms with and without balconies and pet-friendly rooms with special amenities for your four-legged friend.
Dining in the Tides Inn Restaurant
A meal at the inn's Chesapeake Restaurant offers fresh, locally-inspired dishes in an elegant but casual space. If the weather is nice, you can also dine outside on the terrace. We focused on seafood for our meal—fried oysters, she-crab soup, crab cakes, and a seafood medley special—and every dish was delicious.
In 2019, the Tides opened the new Fish Hawk Oyster Bar, near the water and the outdoor pool. This casual eatery is perfect for a waterside family meal. A large fire pit on the beach is a fun place to make s'mores at the end of the day.
Things to Do at the Tides Inn, Chesapeake Bay
One of our favorite things about staying at the Tides Inn is that it is very easy to just relax. Comfortable outdoor space and glorious waterfront views prompt us to slow down, take a seat, and soak up the peace and quiet. But families and active visitors will also find plenty of fun things to do at the Tides Inn.
Fun on the Water
There are numerous opportunities to enjoy the waters of Carters Creek, the Rappahannock River, and the Chesapeake Bay.
- Rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard from the Waterfront Water Sports kiosk.
- Enjoy a self-guided rental or a guided cruise on one of the classic Duffy boats. Lunch and dinner baskets are available for an additional fee.
- Learn about wildlife, the town of Irvington, and local shellfishing on a relaxing, scenic Cove Cruise; or kick up the adrenalin on a Jet Ski excursion.
- Hop on the Tides Inn water shuttle and head across the bay for sailing lessons.
- Play and fish by the shore on the resort beach and dock.
Golf, Tennis, Yoga, Spa, and More
It's easy to stay fit and have fun with the sports opportunities at Tides Inn. Resort guests enjoy a complimentary Par 3, 9-hole course; and a putting green, driving range, golf club rentals, and pro shop are all available. There are four tennis courts, yoga and pilates classes, and group fitness walks to get your heart pumping. Kids programs offer supervised fun for ages 4 to 12, and there are 3-day Junior Golf Camps for ages 8 to 14. We did not have time to visit the Tides Inn spa, but we were certainly tempted by the extensive menu of treatments.
Fun Things to Do in Irvington Virginia
Irvington's quaint downtown is a short, easy walk from your room at the Tides. The compact and walkable area offers excellent dining, shops, and scenic spots to relax. Here are a few of the Irvington restaurants that we sampled:
- Breakfast at The Local can be as healthy or as indulgent as you choose. We enjoyed tasty avocado toast and a custom omelette on the outside patio.
- Enjoy a glass of wine and a charcuterie plate at Vine, or order one of the daily specials for dinner.
- Crowds flock to Dredge for locally-inspired dinners in a rustic, casual space.
- The Dining Hall at The Hope and Glory Inn, an elegant bed and breakfast, is open to the public and offers prix fixe meals. We were treated to a trio of treats at the adorable dessert bar
Take a short drive or bike ride to the Dog and Oyster, a beautiful vineyard owned by the Hope and Glory Inn. There you can enjoy the unique experience of tasting wine and oysters that reflect the local terroir and merroir of the region. Two giant corkscrews gracing the entrance are perfect backdrops for wine-lover photo opps.
Find more places to visit: 5 Fun Things to Do on Virginia’s Northern Neck.
Resources and Tips for Your Tides Inn Visit
Tides Inn Events and Special Occasions
Special occasions like family reunions, weddings, and anniversaries are often celebrated at the Tides. In fact, many couples get engaged or married at the inn, then return for big anniversaries. The inn is also a popular destination for corporate retreats and team-building events. Find more information to plan your own special occasion on the Tides Inn website.
Special events throughout the year offer more fun times to visit Irvington. We stayed during the first Shuckapalooza. This day-long oyster-inspired event featured stops and tastings at oyster farms, wineries, and local restaurants in Lancaster and Middlesex County, also known as Virginia's River Realm. Other signature events celebrate crab, craft beer, boating, and local art.
Getting to Virginia's Tides Inn
The Tides Inn is located on Virginia's Northern Neck, in the quaint town of Irvington in Lancaster County. Irvington is about 125 miles south of Washington DC, less than a 3-hour drive as long as you don't travel during rush hour (don't!). Head south on 95, then southeast after Frederick. Or take our preferred route, south on 301 in Maryland then across the bridge to the Northern Neck. This route takes about the same time and allows more drive time on the neck.
Whether you visit for a scheduled event, a special occasion, or a weekend getaway, the Tides Inn offer a wonderful base to relax and enjoy this beautiful part of Virginia.