The Tides Inn Irvington VA: Getaway on Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay

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.

View from the Tides Inn on Carters Creek Irvington VA
View from the Tides Inn on Carters Creek Irvington VA
The Tides from the marina on Carters Creek in Irvington VA
The Tides from the marina on Carters Creek in Irvington VA

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.

Cocktails with a view at the Tides Inn Irvington VA
Cocktails with a view at the Tides Inn Irvington VA

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.

Room to relax Tides Inn Irvington VA
Room to relax Tides Inn Irvington VA

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.

Check availability and book your stay at The Tides Inn or read more Tides Inn reviews on TripAdvisor.

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.

Crabcakes in the Chesapeake Restaurant
Crabcakes in the Chesapeake Restaurant

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.

Fish Hawk Oyster Bar is a casual eatery by the water at the Tides Inn Irvington VA
Fish Hawk Oyster Bar is a casual eatery by the water at the Tides Inn Irvington VA

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.
Rent a classic Duffy Boat at the Tides Inn marina
Rent a classic Duffy Boat and picnic basket at the Tides Inn marina

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
Dinner at Dredge in downtown Irvington VA
Dinner at Dredge in downtown Irvington VA

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.

Giant corkscrew at Dog and Oyster in Virginia's River Realm
Giant corkscrew at Dog and Oyster in Virginia's River Realm

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.

After delicious cocktails and dinner last night at the Tides Inn, we woke up to this gorgeous view. Now it's time for a…

Posted by Fun in Fairfax Va on Friday, April 12, 2019

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.

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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.