The 9 Best Beaches to Visit in Virginia Beach
Virginia’s most popular beach destination, the City of Virginia Beach, has multiple beach outlets within the city that have different identities and features. National coastline, state parks, and residential beaches all offer various options between the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay’s waterfront.
From rocky beach fronts to sandy shores, there’s a beach to suit every family’s needs over the summer, making Virginia Beach a top priority vacation for military families not only living in the area, but from all over the entire Hampton Roads region and beyond.
But, First, Dogs on the Beach!
Dogs on the beach! Is there any better way to vacation than with the family pet? In the spring, fall, and Winter (before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) leashed dogs are allowed on public beaches anytime. Virginia Beach asks that when dogs are off-leash on the sand and in the water, they must be trained with reliable voice command and recall.
Dogs are restricted in the following areas during peak season.
- Beaches: before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Pets are limited to frolic on the north end of Virginia Beach.
- Beach above 42nd Street and the south end of Virginia Beach in the Sandbridge area before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
- Boardwalk: 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. only.
1) Virginia Beach Oceanfront
If this is your first visit to Virginia Beach, then your #1 stop should be the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Historic and traditional, this beach is where all of the quintessential beach action takes place.
Touristy (in the best way) and loaded with shopping and dining options, the oceanfront checks all the boxes for the complete getaway to the sand and sea. Try relaxing in the sun and waves and then later eat at one of the many seafood restaurants and explore shopping on Atlantic Avenue and the boardwalk.
2) North End Beach
North of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, North End Beach has a different feel than its neighbor. Fewer people head this way because the beach is in a residential area. The seclusion offers quiet days and plenty of beach space to spread out and play. If you get the urge to explore, hike or bike the nature area around North End Beach.
Heading to Virginia Beach? Take a look at Explore Virginia Beach Neighborhoods.
3) Grommet Island Park
South of the Virginia Beach boardwalk, Grommet Island Park is the ideal location for a quick beach trip because the shorefront is a manageable 15,000-foot beach. Families love the playground with unique features like a sensory board, hand-operated sand scoop, and raised sand tables.
4) Sandbridge Beach
For a calm vibe, visit Sandbridge Beach, just south of Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Seclusion is this beach’s best quality, and visitors relish the views of the Atlantic Ocean and dunes.
Stop at the pier for a quick family photo session, and you’ll capture some of the best views in the area. You’ll find Sandbridge Beach near Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park.
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5) Little Island Park
In Sandbridge, near the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge, Little Island Park offers a day of fun with picnic tables, grills, sports courts, and the option to swim and fish from the 400-foot pier. If you own a kayak or canoe, bring it along, you can launch from the beach.
Unfortunately, sometimes it rains. Check out Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Hampton Roads if you need a day off the beach.
6) Chic’s Beach/Chesapeake Beach
The Chesapeake Bay provides a different point of view from Chic’s Beach. Parents love the smooth water for easy and safe play, and the calm bay water is perfect for swimming and paddleboards. Chic’s Beach is two miles of fun for locals and tourists alike.
7) First Landing State Park
For an adventurous day on the beach, head to Virginia's first planned state park, First Landing in the Seashore State Park Historic District. Add a history lesson to the vacation day with a trip to the Chesapeake Bay Center.
You’ll also find nearly 20 miles of hiking trails that introduce visitors to local plant and seashore life, in addition to impressive cypress trees and lagoons. If swimming is on the agenda, take advantage of the Chesapeake Bay’s beachfront.
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8) Croatan Beach
Surfers unite and head to Croatan Beach! Are you a wanna-be surfer? Take lessons the day you arrive. With lifeguards on duty and secluded locations, surfers won’t have a hard time dodging the crowds. Near Rudee Inlet, Croatan is in a residential area and frequented by locals.
9) False Cape State Park
Does your perfect beach trip include camping? Head to False State Park for a primitive camping experience. During the day, the park has actives that outdoor adventurists crave, from hiking and biking to guided kayak tours; there’s an activity for everyone, even boating trips. You’ll find False Cape State Park between the Atlantic Ocean and Back Bay.
There’s a reason (well, maybe more than one reason!) military families love a duty station near Virginia Beach. Year-round adventures await, and you’ll never have to ask more than once for your family and friends to come and visit!