Kilmarnock, VA: Things to Do, Where to Eat, & More

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Kilmarnock, VA may not be one of the first places you consider when taking a vacation in Virginia. But it is one of the great small towns in the state, and it has a number of hidden gems that make it well worth the visit!

Kilmarnock is also one of the best day trips from Virginia Beach.

Kilmarnock is located in Lancaster County and Northumberland County in the Northern Neck of Virginia. The town had a population of only 1,487 as of the 2010 census.

The town of Kilmarnock is about a 2.5-hour drive southeast from Northern Virginia, about a 1.5-hour drive east from Richmond, and about a 2-hour drive north of Norfolk. This makes it a surprisingly easy place to visit from many major cities in the state.

Whether you’re interested in historic sites, parks, water activities, cultural activities, or more, Kilmarnock has a little bit of something for everyone!

Below are some of my top recommendations for things to do in Kilmarnock, VA.

Where to Stay in Kilmarnock, VA
Kilmarnock Inn
Quaint Cottages with Jacuzzis and Fireplaces
(Click Here to Book)

* * *
Back Inn Time B&B
Bed and Breakfast with a Garden and Great Location
(Click Here to Book)

11 Things To Do in Kilmarnock, VA

1. Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve

The Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve is a beautiful and peaceful oasis just outside of downtown Kilmarnock. The preserve is an important wetlands area in the region along the Chesapeake Bay.

Hughlett Point Nature Preserve - one of the best things to do in Kilmarnock, VA

The preserve serves as a vital habitat for the threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle, as well as the nesting area for ospreys, bald eagles, northern harriers, and many other birds.

The nature preserve includes several trails, including a beach walk trail and a wooded forest trail. The trails will take you by the coastline with beautiful beaches and interviews.

Some trails will also lead through the woods and through marshlands. There are also several wildlife viewing overlooks leading off of the trails, which will give you a chance to get a closer look over the protected wetlands.

There are so many wildlife species to discover when you visit Hughlett Point! As you walk toward the beach, you’ll likely see (and hear!) many scurrying crabs in the sand. There are also many seabirds, including cranes, geese, and ospreys.

Please note that parking is extremely limited at the preserve. The parking lot has 11 spots, and there is no additional parking.

I recommend trying to get to the preserve later in the day. You’re more likely to find a free parking space. In fact, I went on a Saturday in summer around 6 pm, and I was one of the only people in the preserve, which made the trip extra special and magical.

This is also the best time of day to see gorgeous sunsets over the water!

2. Kilmarnock Town Center Park

The Kilmarnock Town Center Park is a charming oasis in downtown Kilmarnock. It is perfect for families, children, and pets.

Kilmarnock Town Center Park

There is a Splashpad Waterworks area where kids 12 and under can play in the water fountains. There is also a Riverplay water feature for kids.

The park also features Scottie Yard Dog Park where you can bring your four-legged friends. The dog park has sections for large dogs and small dogs to play offleash.

The park also hosts music performances by local artists from May to October. You can find out more information online.

Another event that takes place from May to October is the Kilmarnock Farmers Market. On the 4th Saturday of each month, meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, bakery items and farmers market worthy products.

During the Christmas season, the park hosts Christmas in the Park, with a tree lighting ceremony, Santa’s Village, and lovely Christmas decorations to behold!

It is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm.

3. Belle Isle State Park

Belle Isle State Park is located about 16 miles west of Kilmarnock. It is located along the Rappahannock River. The state park features 7 miles of beautiful shoreline.

Water, grass and trees at Belle Isle near Kilmarnock, VA

The diverse landscape includes wetlands, farmlands, and coastal forests.

Belle Isle features a campground, as well as biking, walking, and even horseback riding trails. Visitors can rent bicycles, kayaks, and canoes on-site to explore the natural beauty of the park. Picnicking by the water is also popular.

You can also stay overnight at the Bel Air and the Bel Air Guest House.

4. Compass Entertainment Complex

The Compass Entertainment Complex is a massive entertainment space that is perfect for the whole family.

Miniature Golf course at Compass Entertainment Complex

The complex has a luxury Movie Theater, Arcade, Batting Cages, Bumper Cars, a Climbing Wall, Go-Carts, KidZone, a Miniature Golf Course, Ropes Course, Challenge Zone, and Virtual Reality. And so it definitely has something for just about everyone!

There is also a restaurant on-site, the Meridian Bar & Grill, which features dishes like She Crab Soup, Fried Oysters, Pizza, Sandwiches, and more. They also offer Sunday Brunch, with yummy dishes like Sweet Potato French Toast and Breakfast Pizza.

5. Deltaville Maritime Museum

The Deltaville Maritime Museum is located a little further outside Kilmarnock, but it is well worth the visit. It’s about 20 miles south of Kilmarnock in the town of Deltaville.

Deltaville Maritime Museum

The museum tells the story of the maritime history of the Deltaville Region near the Chesapeake Bay.

Some of the exhibits include wooden boatbuilding from the 1800s. The museum even hosts an annual Family Boatbuilding Week where families can build a Wright Skiff in the style of the 1930s!

There are numerous boats on display, including a replica of the Explorer boat used by Captain John Smith back in 1608 when he was exploring the coastline around Virginia. There is also an example of a log-bottom buyboat from 1924.

Other exhibits cover such diverse topics as Native American boatbuilding, Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay, and Chesapeake Bay Oysters.

There are also outside exhibits, including several boats that are on display, as well as exhibits on Oyster Gardening, Oyster Reef Restoration, and a Dolphin Garden with two bronze dolphin statues.

As a special bonus, the Maritime Museum also offers free Discovery Cruises by boat. The boat tours take place on the fourth Saturday of the month from May through November from 9 am to 1 pm.

The museum is located at Holly Point Nature Park, which is definitely worth exploring. The 36-acre park is devoted to providing a habitat for the indigenous flora and fauna of the wetlands.

The park features walking trails, kayak landing points, a pier, picnic areas, a wildflower meadow, open pavilions, an Azalea Garden, and a Camellia Garden.

The park grounds also feature a Children’s Garden with edible plants and a delightful Sculpture Garden.

6. Ditchley Cider Works

Ditchley Cider Works is a cidery that also produces meat and poultry products, including pork, sausage, beef, and chicken. They also host Sunday brunch (reservations are strongly recommended.)

The historic property dates all the way back to the mid-1600s. When visiting, you can explore the restored manor house dating back to 1752, orchards, grass pastures, wooded areas, and even 2.5 miles of shoreline with a natural beach.  

You can also book overnight stays at the historic farmhouse.

7. Good Luck Cellars

Good Luck Cellars offers a number of fun events, including live music and food trucks, plus Sangria Sundays!

They even offer massages on select days! You can learn more about all of their upcoming events.

You can purchase a five flight-tasting, wine by the glass, and wine bottles.

The winery is also a gorgeous venue for weddings.

Good Luck Cellars allows dogs outside but not inside.

8. Kilmarnock Brewing Company

The Kilmarnock Brewing Company is a brewery serving craft beer, plus local wine, and food.

Logo of Kilmarnock Brewing Company
Source: Kilmarnock Brewing Company

They serve a good mix of beers, including Belgian Wheat Ale, Limelight Mexican Lager, Lemon Shandy, and Irish stout style.

The brewery also serves food, including Calamari, mozzarella sticks, and Bavarian pretzels.

Kilmarnock Brewing Company regularly hosts live music performances, plus karaoke and trivia nights! You can learn more about upcoming events online.

9. Northern Neck Farm Museum

For those interested in agriculture and farming, the Northern Neck Farm Museum offers visitors a unique look at the history and practices of farming in the region. The museum is located about 15 miles north of Kilmarnock in Heathsville, VA.

Some of the special exhibits at the museum include historic tractors on display dating back to the early 20th century. There are also numerous farm equipment items, ranging from a unique dog-powered pulley machine to more common horse-drawn plows.

There is also an exhibit devoted to the life of the farm wife, which includes historic sewing machines and kitchen equipment.

The museum hosts many special events, including a Tractor Show, and a Farm to Fork Dinner.

Fall is an especially busy time at the museum. There is a Corn Maze that is generally open on weekends from September to October.

Fall also marks the time for the annual Fall Festival, which includes the corn maze, hay rides, sawmills, antique equipment, and Kid’s Corn Box.

You can learn about these events and more online.

The museum also features an open pavilion and a gift shop.

Note that the museum’s hours are limited to the warmer months of May to October, on weekends only.

10. Kilmarnock Museum

The Kilmarnock Museum is located in downtown Kilmarnock in one of the oldest buildings in the town. It features items highlighting the history of the town, dating all the way back to the 1700s!

Kilmarnock Museum - one of the best things to do in Kilmarnock, VA

The items were donated by residents, which makes it a very unique and personal place to visit.

Some of the items on display include watermen’s tools, farmer’s tools, and historic pictures of the town and its residents. There is even a room dedicated to Kilmarnock, Scotland, which is the sister city of Kilmarnock, Virginia.

Please note that the museum is not always open, but you can go to their website and call ahead to arrange a tour!

11. Northern Neck Popcorn Bag

If you love popcorn, then you definitely need to check out the Northern Neck Popcorn Bag! They’re located right on Main Street in downtown Kilmarnock, and feature a ton of creative and delicious popcorn flavors!

Containers of popcorn from the Northern Neck Popcorn Bag - one of the best things to do in Kilmarnock, VA

You can order savory flavors like Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese, Buffalo Ranch, Garlic Parmesan, and Crabby Corn.

My sweet tooth prefers the specialty and candy flavors. They are sooo good! Some of the flavors include Chocolate Peanut Butter, Key Lime Pie (tart but good), Ginger Ale, S’Mores, and Lemon Cheesecake.

Best Kilmarnock, VA Restaurants & Places To Eat

Even though it’s a small town, there are some excellent restaurants to check out during your visit to Kilmarnock.

I also recommend checking out some of the excellent restaurants in nearby Irvington, VA, which is just 10 minutes down the road from Kilmarnock!

Outdoor Patio at Filibusters at Kilmarnock Inn
Source: Kilmarnock Inn

Kilmarnock Inn & Restaurant

The Kilmarnock Inn not only features one of the best bed & breakfasts in town, but it also has one of the best restaurants! The restaurant is called Filibusters and it is Presidential-themed.

Filibusters serves up Southern Comfort food. You’ll especially want to stop by for breakfast.

Some of their mouth-watering dishes include Harrison Hash & Eggs, French Toast (with toasted croissants and candied pecans), Eggs Benedict Arnold, and the Political Flip-Flop Frittata.

And don’t miss their famous Bloody Mary Meal!

For dinner, you’ll find something for everyone, including their Signature Crab Cakes, Caramelized Sea Scallops, Chicken Parmesan, and Osso Buco.

Lee’s Restaurant

You definitely don’t want to miss stopping by Lee’s Restaurant! They’ve been around for over 80 years! They serve lunch and dinner on Wednesday through Saturday.

Lee’s specializes in homestyle country cooking. Some of their dishes include Fried Chicken Dinner, Roast Beef Dinner with onions and gravy, Chicken Fried Steak, and Chicken Fried Steak. You can also order sandwiches, pizza, salads, and more.

For dessert, don’t miss their excellent homemade pies, including coconut pie, cherry pie, and apple pie.

Front Porch Coffeehouse

This lovely coffeehouse right on Main Street prides itself on being not only a great place for coffee and snacks, but also a gathering place. Indeed, when I went there, everyone seemed to know everyone!

Their coffee is excellent, and I highly recommend ordering a specialty panini or sandwich (I loved the Ham Apple Swiss Panini)!

They even host live music.

There are plenty of cozy chairs and couches throughout the shop to lounge around and enjoy your coffee and good company!

Where To Stay in Kilmarnock, VA

Kilmarnock features some adorable Bed & Breakfasts to make your stay extra memorable.

Kilmarnock Inn

Kilmarnock Inn

The Kilmarnock Inn is a fabulous Bed & Breakfast that also features one of the best restaurants in town! The property is gorgeous, with lovely gardens, fountains, and landscaping.

They have quaint, adorable cottages with jacuzzis and fireplaces, so what more is there to ask for!

Back Inn Time B & B in Kilmarnock, VA

Back Inn Time B&B

The cleverly named Back Inn Time B&B is another great Bed & Breakfast option in Kilmarnock. They have a lovely garden in the front and a great location.

Each of the rooms has a lovely personality and features a private bath. The owners are delightful.

The morning breakfast is fabulous too (frittata, ham, sticky buns, and fresh fruit.)

FAQs About Kilmarnock, VA

Before planning your trip to Kilmarnock, VA, there are some more interesting facts about the town that you can learn about.

What is Kilmarnock, VA known for?

Kilmarnock, VA is known as the heart of Virginia’s River Realm. It is near the Rappahannock River and near many other river tributaries from the Chesapeake Bay. 

How did Kilmarnock, VA get its name?

Kilmarnock, VA is believed to have gotten its name from Robert Gilmour in 1764. It is derived from Kilmarnock, Scotland, where Robert Gilmour also owned land. 

Conclusion: 11 Best Things to Do in Kilmarnock, VA

As you can see, Kilmarnock is a charming hidden gem in Virginia’s Northern Neck that is definitely worth a visit! You’ll find a great mix of lovely parks, museums, breweries, and more to help make your stay memorable!

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