BeachUnited States

11 Best Beaches in Virginia


Beaches in Virginia; Welcome to the beautiful beaches of Virginia! In this article, we’ll take you on a delightful journey through the coastal wonders of the state, where sun, sand, and sea come together to create a perfect beach getaway.

Virginia’s beaches offer a diverse range of experiences for every beach lover. From the bustling oceanfront stretches with vibrant boardwalks to the serene and secluded coves, there’s a beach to suit every preference.

The popular Virginia Beach, with its lively atmosphere and a wide sandy shoreline, is a favorite destination for families and water sports enthusiasts. Stroll along the boardwalk, enjoy live entertainment, and savor delicious seafood at beachfront restaurants.

For those seeking a more tranquil escape, head to the pristine beaches of Assateague Island, where wild ponies roam freely amidst dunes and marshlands. It’s a nature lover’s paradise, perfect for birdwatching, beachcombing, and camping under the stars.

Venture to the Eastern Shore’s barrier islands for a secluded beach experience. Here, you can immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of nature, listen to the gentle waves, and relish in the peacefulness of the surroundings.

Virginia’s beaches are not only for sunbathing and swimming; they offer a myriad of water activities such as surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Explore the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and the many tidal inlets, providing endless opportunities for aquatic adventures.

In addition to the stunning coastal scenery, Virginia’s beach towns have a charm of their own. Experience the hospitality of the locals, savor fresh seafood delicacies, and explore quaint shops and art galleries that showcase the region’s rich culture and history.

Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or a bit of both, the beaches of Virginia offer an alluring escape for travelers of all kinds. So, pack your sunscreen, beach gear, and a sense of adventure, and get ready to create unforgettable memories along the beautiful beaches of Virginia!

Virginia Beach

Beaches in Virginia; Virginia Beach is the most famous beach in Virginia, and vacationers love its easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. Its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay adds extra charm, enhancing the food scene and offering activities beyond building sandcastles.

The diversity of water and land experiences at Virginia Beach is one of the reasons it’s popular with both locals and visitors. You can sit beachside and watch a thrilling surfing competition or enjoy live music and a game of sand volleyball.

Virginia Beach - Best Beaches in Virginia

Virginia Beach – Best Beaches in Virginia

For a more active experience, try snorkeling or rent a bike to explore the trails in Back Bay National Refuge. Don’t forget to take a leisurely stroll along the three-mile boardwalk while listening to the soothing sound of waves crashing into the shoreline. Along the main drag, you’ll find numerous shops and restaurants to explore.

Virginia Beach offers a range of accommodation options, including good-value beachfront hotels and even pet-friendly ones. For a more luxurious stay, consider the historic Cavalier Virginia Beach, part of the Marriott five-star Autograph Collection, offering oceanfront views and upscale renovated spaces.

Sandbridge Beach

Beaches in Virginia; If you like the idea of Virginia Beach but prefer a less crowded and more peaceful experience, then Sandbridge Beach might be the perfect option for you. Although it is still considered part of Virginia Beach, Sandbridge Beach offers its own distinct charm with a 4.5-mile stretch of shoreline.

Compared to the bustling atmosphere of Virginia Beach, Sandbridge Beach is a quieter destination, making it an excellent choice for families and beachgoers who prefer a more relaxed environment.

While Sandbridge Beach may not have as many hotels, restaurants, or shops as its more popular counterpart, it still offers all the delights of a classic beach vacation. Visitors can enjoy the sandy dunes, breathtaking sunsets, and the impressive waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sandbridge Beach - Best Beaches in Virginia
Sandbridge BeachBest Beaches in Virginia

For those seeking additional outdoor activities close to Sandbridge Beach, nearby False Cape State Park provides opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and hiking, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area.

Sandbridge Beach is a local favorite among Virginians but tends to be less known among tourists from other regions. Its remote location and expansive sandy beaches contribute to its allure. Situated on the Currituck Banks Peninsula south of Virginia Beach’s main area, the beach offers a unique experience with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the scenic Back Bay Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park on the other.

The 4.5-mile long beach boasts a sense of seclusion, providing a perfect retreat for solo travelers or families seeking a tranquil escape. Certain sections of the beach have lifeguards, with four stands at Market Place Beach and ten at Little Island Beach. Lifeguards are typically on duty from 9:30 am to 6 pm during the summer months, ensuring a safe and enjoyable beach experience for all.

In conclusion, Sandbridge Beach is a hidden gem in Virginia, offering a serene and pristine coastal escape. Whether you’re seeking relaxation by the ocean, captivating sunsets, or outdoor adventures, Sandbridge Beach has something to offer every beach lover. So, plan your visit, bask in the tranquility, and enjoy the beauty of Sandbridge Beach!

Buckroe Beach

Beaches in Virginia; Buckroe Beach, located in Hampton, Coastal Virginia, offers a delightful alternative to Virginia Beach for beachgoers seeking a more tranquil and relaxed atmosphere. Stretching nearly a mile along the Chesapeake Bay, Buckroe Beach provides stunning views of the bay’s waters. Compared to Virginia Beach, Buckroe Beach is less crowded, and its gentle surf makes it a perfect spot for a peaceful beach experience.

During the summer season, visitors can enjoy the safety of lifeguards on duty. Buckroe Beach is a favorite spot for watching mesmerizing sunsets, observing ocean wildlife, and witnessing the ships preparing to arrive at the nearby port. Convenient parking and an on-site retail shop selling sunscreen, water, and snacks make the beach easily accessible and well-equipped for a day of enjoyment.

Buckroe Beach - Beaches in Virginia Beach
Buckroe Beach – Beaches in Virginia Beach

For those seeking water adventures, Hampton Watersports offers Jet Ski tours, kayak rentals, and paddleboard rentals, providing opportunities to explore the waters around Buckroe Beach. With numerous hotels in Hampton, visitors have a range of accommodation options, with some offering the convenience of breakfast included, like the Hampton Inn Hampton-Newport News.

Rich in history, Buckroe Beach dates back to 1619, when English settlers arrived with the Virginia Company of London. The beach served as a fishing camp for several years, even during the Civil War. While the beach and pier suffered damage during Hurricane Isabel in 2003, they were rebuilt and reopened in 2009. Buckroe Beach is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities, and during the summer, the area teems with enthusiastic fishermen.

At Buckroe Beach, visitors can find a large pavilion hosting regular performances, along with food and ice cream vendors nearby. For added convenience, kayaks, umbrellas, and lounge chairs are available for rent, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable beach experience.

In conclusion, Buckroe Beach offers a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, water activities, or a glimpse into the area’s historical past, Buckroe Beach has something for everyone. So, head to this charming Chesapeake Bay beach, immerse yourself in its beauty, and create cherished memories at Buckroe Beach!

Colonial Beach

Beaches in Virginia; Colonial Beach, located in Northern Virginia between the Potomac River and Monroe Bay, is a popular destination for people visiting from Washington D.C. Its proximity to the capital city makes it a convenient choice for a beach getaway. The town itself has a rich historical background, offering visitors a chance to explore and experience its charming heritage. With numerous restaurants and comfortable amenities, Colonial Beach provides a delightful beach vacation with a touch of history.

For water enthusiasts, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the water at Colonial Beach. The Ferry Landing Pier offers kayak rentals, allowing visitors to explore the tranquil waters of the Potomac River and Monroe Bay. Additionally, the presence of several marinas in the area opens up a range of activities, from swimming and water sports to boating and fishing. With various options available, visitors can plan a diverse beach itinerary during their stay.

One of the unique features of Colonial Beach is its pet-friendly policy from October 1 through March 31. As long as pets are kept on a leash, they are welcome to enjoy the beach with their owners. The town of Colonial Beach, surrounded by the Potomac River, retains its small-town charm and historical significance, making it a special place to visit.

Colonial Beach
Colonial Beach – Beaches in Virginia Beach

Colonial Beach is located in Westmoreland County on the Northern Neck Peninsula in Virginia. While it may not be an Atlantic Beach or entirely a Bay Beach, it boasts a one-of-a-kind location bounded by the Potomac River, Monroe Bay, and Monroe Creek. This unique setting makes Colonial Beach a distinctive and fascinating destination for travelers seeking a relaxing waterfront experience.

Surprisingly, Colonial Beach has the second-largest beachfront in all of Virginia, providing visitors with ample space to unwind and enjoy the water. Beyond its picturesque shoreline, Colonial Beach offers an abundance of historical significance. Notably, George Washington’s Birthplace is situated here, and the nearby area is associated with James Monroe’s history as well.

In conclusion, Colonial Beach is a captivating beach town in Virginia, offering a blend of history and waterfront leisure. Whether you wish to explore the historical sites or simply relax on the beach, Colonial Beach provides a memorable and enriching vacation experience. So, head to Colonial Beach and indulge in its unique charm and the wealth of history that surrounds it.

Cape Charles Beach

Beaches in Virginia; Cape Charles Beach is a hidden gem among Virginia’s beaches, making it one of the best-kept secrets for beachgoers. Situated on the Eastern Shore on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, this public beach offers a serene and peaceful retreat for visitors.

One of the highlights of Cape Charles Beach is its calm and shallow waters, making it an ideal spot for families and those who prefer a more gentle swimming experience than the ocean waves. The beach’s easy accessibility to water sports makes it a favorite among enthusiasts. Local outfitters can arrange exciting excursions for water activities, and they also offer kayak rentals for those who wish to explore the bay waters at their own pace.

Located just 10 miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, Cape Charles Beach is easily accessible for visitors. It is also a pet-friendly beach, with different hours of accessibility during various times of the year, so it’s a good idea to check before planning your visit.

Cape Charles Beach
Cape Charles BeachBeaches in Virginia Beach

Nearby, the Kiptopeke State Park offers another option for beachgoers, complete with a public beach and a bathhouse. Cape Charles itself is a charming historic small town with a variety of restaurants and boutique shops to explore. When it comes to accommodations, the town offers mostly small bed-and-breakfasts, each with its own unique charm, such as the Alyssa House Bed and Breakfast in a beautifully renovated century-old home.

On the southern end of the Delmarva Peninsula, Cape Charles is a picturesque destination with its historic architecture, vibrant local businesses, and laid-back ambiance. Golf cart rentals and horse-drawn carriage rides add to the town’s charm, providing a unique and delightful way to explore the area. The beautiful beaches of Cape Charles Town Beach and the less crowded Kiptopeke State Park offer visitors a chance to unwind, swim, and fish while enjoying the tranquility of the Chesapeake Bay.

In conclusion, Cape Charles Beach is a true hidden gem among Virginia’s beaches, offering a peaceful and idyllic getaway for beach lovers. Whether you seek a relaxing day by the bay or an exciting water adventure, Cape Charles has something to offer every traveler. So, venture to this charming destination, explore the historic town, and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Cape Charles Beach.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Beaches in Virginia; Assateague Island National Seashore is a beach renowned not only for its stunning ocean waters but also for its unique natural landscape and the presence of wild ponies. Spanning 37 miles of sandy shoreline, the island stretches from Virginia to Maryland, boasting an ecosystem and scenery that are truly one-of-a-kind.

One of the highlights of Assateague Island is the wild Chincoteague Ponies, which gained fame through the book “Misty of Chincoteague.” These ponies roam freely across the island, adding to the magical charm of the beach. With plenty of space to relax under the sun, visitors can catch up on some well-deserved rest or engage in various activities when they seek a break from the sun and sand.

For nature enthusiasts, Assateague Island offers a treat of rare migratory bird sightings. Binoculars come in handy for birdwatching, allowing visitors to witness these beautiful avian travelers as they fly past the area. Alternatively, one can close their eyes and savor the soothing sounds of the ponies.

Assateague Island  - Family Beaches in Virginia
Assateague Island – Family Beaches in Virginia

For those seeking a bit of adventure, a hike to the top of the 1867 Assateague Lighthouse is a must-do. From the lighthouse’s vantage point, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the ocean and witness some of the most pristine natural landscapes in the region.

Assateague Island holds a special place in the hearts of many, making it a top destination for both locals and tourists. Despite its fame and popularity, the island remains a beautiful beach and wildlife sanctuary, deserving of all the admiration and tourism it receives.

As a 37-mile barrier island, Assateague Island spans both Virginia and Maryland, making it one of the best beaches in both states. Its diverse offerings of breathtaking seascapes, abundant wildlife, and the famous Chincoteague Ponies continue to draw visitors from near and far.

In conclusion, Assateague Island National Seashore is a beach that combines the beauty of the ocean with a unique and captivating natural environment. Whether you’re in search of relaxation, wildlife encounters, or panoramic views, Assateague Island has it all, making it a must-visit destination for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. So, pack your bags, bring your sense of wonder, and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Assateague Island!

Ocean View Beach

Beaches in Virginia; Ocean View Beach in Norfolk is a picturesque coastal area boasting a 7.5-mile stretch of pristine shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay. Comprising a series of interconnected beaches, Ocean View Beach offers ample opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, beachcombing, and building sandcastles.

Convenience is key at Ocean View Beach, as visitors can easily find public beaches with nearby parking, restaurants, beach access, and lodging options. The area also features the Ocean View Park, equipped with a bathhouse and picnic tables, perfect for those planning to spend a full day at the beach.

For fishing enthusiasts, Ocean View Beach offers fishing piers and tackle rentals. Even if fishing isn’t your cup of tea, the piers provide an excellent opportunity for people-watching, showcasing the vibrant atmosphere of Norfolk.

Ocean View Beach has a rich history, with an amusement park built at the end of the 19th century that quickly became a favorite relaxation spot for sailors stationed at the Norfolk Navy Base. While it was previously more popular with out-of-town tourists, the construction of I-264 highway, providing quick access to Virginia Beach, resulted in more locals and Virginians flocking to Ocean View.

In addition to Ocean View Beach, the area also boasts East Beach, a new development established in the 1990s. East Beach gained national recognition when the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association named it one of the nation’s top seven restored beaches, adding to the allure of the Norfolk coastal region.

In conclusion, Ocean View Beach in Norfolk offers a delightful beach experience along the Chesapeake Bay’s scenic coastline. With its historic charm, family-friendly amenities, and nearby attractions, Ocean View Beach provides the perfect setting for a relaxing day by the water. So, whether you’re a local resident or a visitor from afar, Ocean View Beach promises an unforgettable beach escape in the heart of Norfolk’s coastal beauty.

Bethel Beach

Beaches in Virginia; Bethel Beach offers a serene and natural coastal experience that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of Virginia’s shoreline. Located within the Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve, this beach is a true gem surrounded by sandy dunes and a narrow coastline.

What sets Bethel Beach apart is its constantly changing coastline, sculpted by the winds that sweep through the area. The beach is a preservation area, ensuring that the pristine conditions of the shoreline and protected habitats are maintained. However, facilities such as restrooms, trash facilities, or changing areas are not available, encouraging visitors to embrace the untamed beauty of the beach.

Bethel Beach is best enjoyed for a few hours of tranquil contemplation rather than an all-day beach visit. While exploring the shoreline, you may be fortunate enough to spot rare wildlife as the lagoons, bay waters, and small channels are home to an impressive array of 185 species of native and migrating birds.

Open to the public, Bethel Beach offers parking on nearby gravel areas, providing easy access for visitors. At the Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve, you won’t find boardwalks or towering skyscrapers, but rather 105 acres of rich maritime habitats, with 83 acres dedicated to untouched shoreline and expansive salt marshes.

Although swimming is prohibited at Bethel Beach, you’re encouraged to bring water shoes for comfortable exploration of this unique coastal terrain. Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to capture Virginia’s diverse wildlife with their cameras, including rare shorebirds and the elusive northeastern beach tiger beetle that inhabits the soft sand.

Visitors are advised to plan accordingly, as there are no restrooms or trash cans nearby. However, this minimalistic approach allows you to connect more intimately with nature and fully appreciate the unspoiled beauty of Bethel Beach.

In conclusion, Bethel Beach is a haven for nature lovers, offering a tranquil escape into the untouched beauty of Virginia’s shoreline. Its natural surroundings, abundant birdlife, and ever-changing coastline make it a special destination for those seeking a genuine coastal experience. So, pack your camera and water shoes, embrace the lack of modern amenities, and let Bethel Beach’s unspoiled charm captivate you.

Lake Anna

Beaches in Virginia; Lake Anna, located in northern Virginia, is a magnificent reservoir that stretches across 200 miles of shoreline, making it the third-largest lake in the state. With its public beach adorned with beautiful white sand, Lake Anna offers a beach experience reminiscent of the ocean, albeit without the waves. The lake’s clean and clear waters make it an ideal spot for swimming and relaxation along the shoreline.

Beyond its tranquil shores, Lake Anna is a hub for water sports enthusiasts. Wakeboarding, water skiing, and boating are popular activities that draw visitors from near and far. The lake is surrounded by outfitters and marinas where visitors can purchase supplies for the day’s adventures or even book lessons to learn new water sports like wakeboarding.

Lake Anna - Family Beaches in Virginia
Lake AnnaFamily Beaches in Virginia

Lake Anna State Park, formerly known as Gold Hill due to its connection to the Goodwin Gold Mine in Spotsylvania, is a treasure trove for nature lovers. The park offers horseback riding trails, gold panning programs, and a fishing pond specially designed for children and disabled guests. Here, visitors can enjoy the tranquility of Virginia’s second-largest lake, swim in its refreshing waters, and savor waterfront picnics while watching pontoon boats sail by.

For a more immersive experience, staying overnight at one of the park’s spacious campgrounds is highly recommended. As night falls, the skies come alive with stars, creating the perfect atmosphere for stargazing and connecting with nature. Visitors should keep in mind that there are fees for parking, swimming, and camping at the park.

In conclusion, Lake Anna is a true gem in northern Virginia, offering a blend of serene beach experiences and thrilling water sports opportunities. Whether you’re seeking relaxation by the water or embarking on exciting aquatic adventures, Lake Anna has something to offer every nature lover and water enthusiast. So, pack your beach gear, water sports equipment, and camping essentials, and let Lake Anna’s natural beauty and recreational wonders captivate you.

Jamestown Beach

Beaches in Virginia; Jamestown Beach is a hidden gem among Virginia’s beaches, offering a delightful and family-friendly escape near the historic Jamestown Settlement and other attractions in Williamsburg. This well-kept secret is a perfect addition to your itinerary if you’re already visiting Historic Jamestowne or Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

The beachfront park at Jamestown Beach provides visitors with a range of conveniences, making it a comfortable and enjoyable destination for all. You’ll find amenities like concessions, a pier, picnic areas, restrooms, and shaded spots to take a break from the sun. The park’s family-friendly atmosphere includes lagoons, creating a safe and inviting space for children to play and explore.

Jamestown Beach is an excellent option for families or groups seeking a combination of historical exploration and beach relaxation. After visiting the nearby historic sites, you can unwind at the beach and enjoy the coastal scenery. It’s also an ideal place to recharge and have a peaceful break amidst your sightseeing adventures.

As a non-resident, please be aware that there is a small day-fee for access to the park. This fee allows you to enjoy the comforts and beauty of Jamestown Beach and is well worth the experience it offers.

In conclusion, Jamestown Beach is a perfect hidden gem in Virginia, providing a wonderful mix of beach fun and cultural exploration. Whether you’re interested in history or simply seeking a relaxing day at the beach, Jamestown Beach is a must-visit destination. So, add this charming beachfront park to your travel itinerary and experience the best of both worlds in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Willoughby Beach

Beaches in Virginia; Willoughby Beach, located in Norfolk, is a lesser-known beach area that remains a hidden gem for those outside the local community. While it shares some characteristics with the nearby Ocean View, Willoughby Beach offers its own unique charm and opportunities to explore the sandy beaches of Norfolk.

With a vast 7.3 miles of coastline, Willoughby Beach provides visitors with ample space to play, relax, or indulge in some fishing. Its peaceful and less crowded atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for a tranquil beach experience away from the typical tourist crowds.

Willoughby Beach is not only a haven for beachgoers but also holds significant importance as a bird habitat. The area serves as a sanctuary for various bird species, attracting birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. The chance to observe diverse birdlife in their natural habitat adds a unique element to the beach experience at Willoughby.

In conclusion, Willoughby Beach offers a hidden coastal retreat in Norfolk, providing a serene and less crowded alternative to other well-known beaches. Its extensive coastline, opportunities for relaxation and fishing, and importance as a bird habitat make it a special destination for those seeking a more intimate beach experience. Whether you’re a local resident or a traveler looking for a quieter beach escape, Willoughby Beach promises a delightful and peaceful coastal adventure. So, venture to this tranquil Norfolk beach and uncover its hidden beauty amidst the sandy shores and thriving birdlife.

Jacksonville Beaches

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