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Fort Monroe, Hampton, Virginia, USA

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Photographer:Steven Collingwood [View profile]Title:Fort Monroe, Hampton, Virginia, USAAdded:Jan 30, 2017
Captured:July 07, 2016IMO:UnavailableHits:248
Location:Hampton Roads, United States
Photo Category: Shipspotting Locations
Fort Monroe Hampton VA

Retired US Army Coastal Defense Fort that guarded Hampton Roads. Now a combine Virginia State and National Shrine & Park.

This was developed as a US 3rd Series Fort in the 1830s. Guns during that time only had a range of 1-2 miles, and needed to be generally mounted line of sight. Therefore, where the 3rd series forts have been preserved, they generally make good spots for Ship Spotting.

The fortress is located very close to the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel/US Interstate 64 (which is generally considered the separation of the Chesapeake Bay and the Hampton Roads area.) There are signs from I-64 guiding you to the fort and commercially available GPS systems are quite good at guiding you to the fort. Be advised traffic of I-64 can be very dependent on rush hour congestion and can affect local traffic as well.

The fort does occasionally does host musical and community festivals which can affect access to the fort or potions of it. Also the fort is being redeveloped and preserved - which may cause some eventual changes to portions of it. Please see the Fort's link for further.

I usually park (free) at the Beach Access immediately beside Battery Parrot. From there you can access the beach for pictures, or the sea wall which goes all the way to the Chamberlain Hotel. If needed there is a ramp to the sea wall walkway beside Battery Parrot from the parking lot. Crowds are usually not bad, but can be an issue during the summer months. See map link for further-

There are port a potties located nearby that can be used, however it is a good idea to bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Also recommended to bring water, sunscreen, and a hat. The wind can be also quite cold at times coming off the bay. Local weather reports are usually accurate, however haze/glare from the sun and fog can be issues.

There are a couple of small restaurants on the Fort proper, and a number of restaurants are within 15-30 minutes driving distance.

All ships entering from the Chesapeake Bay going to Norfolk, Norfolk Naval Station, Portsmouth, Newport News, and Chesapeake have to go by Fort Monroe. The Chesapeake Bay is the normal access to the Atlantic Ocean for these areas for sea going vessels as well as a route to Baltimore for local traffic and has a lot of fishing vessels as well.

During the daytime, you will usually see at least 5-10 sea going ships (and some days more) - they usually are container ships and bulk cargo ships, with some vehicle cargo ships. Norfolk Naval Base is headquarters of the Atlantic Fleet as well as having NATO Command center while having a number of ships based there, and has the associated traffic. Finally there is occasional cruise traffic and specialty vessels.

Peak times for civilian shipping appears to be 3pm-6pm with Naval Traffic generally 8am-5pm. However both are in operation 24-7.

Please note that the use of drones and metal detectors is prohibited and do not climb on the rocks or blocked off portions of the fort (some of the batteries and such are in the process of slowly collapsing from structural neglect). The sea wall, beach, and large portions of the fort including the top are open to all visitors.

This picture was taken from the tour boat Miss Hampton II which is located in downtown Hampton VA about 15 minutes from the fort. I would recommend it, however there is a cost for it and parking and does not operate in the winter.
See this link-

Hope this helps.
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