Virginia's Beaches

There's variety in Virginia's beaches — from the action-packed shores of Virginia Beach to the uninhabited sands of Assateague Island and the hideaways of Virginia's tidal rivers — and all cater to family fun!

Virginia Beach

children playing in sand at Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach's well-maintained beaches are free! Lifeguards are on duty from mid-May through mid-September. Vendors scattered along the oceanfront cater to the good life by renting umbrellas, boogie boards and sling-back chairs.

Some Virginia Beach attractions include the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Waterpark, Motor World go-carts and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.



family on tandem riding on the VA Beach Boardwalk
Most of the city's visitors are drawn to the 3-mile oceanfront Boardwalk, where numerous hotels and restaurants overlook the beach. Many free, family oriented events take place every weekend from late spring to early fall, such as the North American Sand Soccer Championships, the Boardwalk Artshow & Festival Weekend, and Viva Elvis & the Legends of Rock and Roll.

Visitors can rent bikes, tandems and roller blades or bring their own. Other biking and hiking trails can be enjoyed at First Landing State Park, which winds through the wetlands and along Broad Bay.

Some secluded beaches in the area include the North End and Sandbridge to the south, where large oceanfront houses are both owner-occupied and rented by the week. Vacation homes and rentals.


kayakers on the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
The 800-acre Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge harbors an amazing collection of animals. Five miles beyond the refuge is False Cape State Park, a remote oasis along the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can board a tram at Little Island Park in Sandbridge and ride to the park, which is open from Memorial Day through October.

Other attractions at Virginia Beach include Mount Trashmore Park, the Cape Henry Lighthouses and the Old Coast Guard Station.

Virginia's Eastern Shore

Mother and son looking at seagulls on the Eastern Shore of VirginiaVirginia's Eastern Shore, home to three notable beaches, is connected to the mainland via the 17.6-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which snakes between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay.

The Bay's gentle waters, a 1 and 1/2-mile nature trail and 142 campsites make this a perfect spot for families with young children.

Kiptopeke State Park on the Chesapekae Bay is a great place to watch migrating birds and enjoy the Eastern Shore Birding Festival every October.

The Peninsula's best-know attractions are the sister islands of Assateague and Chincoteague. A short causeway connects the two islands. While Chincoteague offers no actual beachfront, the town and island feature charming B&Bs, restaurants, shops, bicycle rentals, craft galleries and one-of-a-kind museums.

Chicoteague Pony closeup

Admission to Assateague is free for those who arrive by bicycle or on foot. In addition to the expansive beaches, reached from the four parking lots by wooden walkways, Assateague operates two visitors centers and miles of hiking trails.

Be on the lookout for its most famous residents — the wild ponies that gained worldwide fame in Misty of Chincoteague, a book written by Marguerite Henry in 1947.


aerial view of Town Point Park in NorfolkJust 15 miles to the west of Virginia Beach is Norfolk's Ocean View Beach, which stretches continuously along 8 miles of the Chesapeake Bay.

Norfolk's four city beaches are wide with gentle surf, lifeguards in the summer, picnic pavilions and free parking. Visitors can rent sailboats, jet skis, paddleboats and kayaks.

Norfolk's Town Point Park pictured at left overlooks the harbor is the site for many events.

Norfolk is home to numerous museums including Nauticus, the National Maritime Center, with the USS Wisconsin docked alongside and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.


Hampton has 12 deep water marinas as well as Buckroe Beach, which is especially popular with windsurfers. Its newest addition is a Bark Park - great for your vacationing dog!

Hampton's attractions include the Virginia Air & Space Center, the Cousteau Society, Hampton University and Freedom's Fort nicknamed by escaped slaves during the Civil War.

Virginia's River Beaches - Tributaries to the Chespeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean

men posing with the catches

Fishermen appreciate the undiscovered jewels along the shorelines of Virginia's tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, such as both freshwater and saltwater fish in the same river!

Chippokes Plantation State Park maintains 2 miles of beach along the James River for fishing. Amerities at the park also include a swimming pool, picnic areas, cabins and campsites.

In the Northern Neck, which stretches between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers, five small public beaches run along the Potomac, such as Westmoreland State Park's beach and Colonial Beach, the northernmost beach and site of George Washington's Birthplace.