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17 Best Beaches in Virginia to Visit

17 Best Beaches in Virginia to Visit

Are you planning an ultimate U.S. beach getaway for your next vacation? Virginia is one of the best tourist destinations you should consider, known for its gorgeous beaches.

This southeastern U.S. state is jam-packed with historical landmarks, museums, lakes, and countless activities to do. However, visiting Virginia beaches should be the highlight of your trip, especially during the summer.

Virginia is undoubtedly a hot tourist attraction for beach lovers. Read on for some of the best beaches in Virginia worth visiting on your East Coast beach vacation!

17 Beaches in Virginia You Must Visit

Here’s the list of must-visit beaches in Virginia. Let’s take a quick look:

1. Virginia Beach 

Virginia Beach

Located in the namesake city of Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach is a must-visit.

Virginia Beach is basically a coastal city where the Chesapeake Bay joins the Atlantic Ocean. Though the city is home to several beaches, Virginia Beach is the major highlight. 

Accessible from the boardwalk, Virginia Beach is the most famous beach in the state. Around 35 miles long, this beach holds the Guinness World Record for being the longest stretch of pleasure beach in the world. 

The cleanliness, unique landscape experiences, water diversity, and family-friendly attractions make this beach popular among locals and tourists.

The beach is close to theme parks, restaurants, cafes, and nearly everything you can imagine. You will get to see hoards of people here during summers. 

Top Things to do when exploring Virginia Beach

Accommodations Near Virginia Beach 

2. Colonial Beach

Colonial Beach

Colonial Beach is a small beach town on the Northern Neck Peninsula in Westmoreland County. Bounded by the Monroe Bay, Monroe Creek, and Potomac River, this beach is neither an Atlantic Beach nor a Bay. 

Though Colonia Beach is the second-largest coast in Virginia, this region is often overshadowed by other beautiful beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.

The beach is an excellent spot for outdoor activities, such as watersports, boating, surfing, fishing, and wading. 

If you’re looking for an area with rich history and a unique place to relax beside the water, Colonial Beach is worth visiting.

For phenomenal sunrise and sunset views, go to the beach early in the morning or evening. Also, the beach is ideal for picnic lunches and leisurely reading.

Things to do near Colonial Beach

  • George Washington Birthplace National Monument: A well-maintained national monument in Westmoreland County.
  • Westmoreland State Park Tour: Offers camping, a boat ramp, and a swimming pool.
  • Colonial Beach Brewing: A small batch brewery along the shores of the Potomac River.

Accommodations Near Colonial Beach

See Related: Best Beaches in the US to Visit

3. Cape Charles Beach

Cape Charles Beach
image by Bruce Emmerling  is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Situated on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Cape Charles Beach is one of the best to visit. The soft white sand and clean water make this public beach look inviting. 

Since the beach water is calm, it is an ideal spot for people who don’t want to swim in high ocean waves. The long boardwalk along the beach is fun to walk. 

As Cape Charles Beach is close to downtown, you can walk to a nearby restaurant for a drink, snack, or meal. 

If you’re visiting the beach with kids, don’t forget to bring their beach toys and let them have fun on the soft sandy shores. 

Overall, Cape Charles Beach is a perfect spot to spend quality time on a sunny day. 

Head to this incredible beach on Virginia’s eastern shore if you’re seeking out an exciting vacation.

Things to do near Cape Charles Beach

  • Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel: A scenic place, offering opportunities to cherish the beauty and sounds of Chesapeake Bay.
  • Kiptopeke State Park: Offers several hiking trails and unobstructed views of Chesapeake Bay.
  • Cape Charles Museum & Welcome Center: This museum preserves the history of Cape Charles and nearby regions.

Accommodations near Cape Charles Beach

See Related: Best Travel Sunglasses for Beaches & Vacations

4. Chesapeake Beach

Chesapeake Beach

Also called Chic’s Beach, Chesapeake Beach is one of the well-known beaches in Virginia, perfect for families. It is in the north of Virginia Beach on the Chesapeake Bay.

Facing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, Chic’s Beach is a great place to hang out. The beach is a 2-mile sand stretch, spreading from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to the Lynnhaven Inlet.

You will see people swimming, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, and playing with their kids & dogs on the beach. You can do your favorite activity to have fun in the water with family and friends.

If you just want to relax on sandy shores, Chic’s Beach is a gorgeous place with a chilled-out vibe. Less crowded than other beaches, this beach gives a feeling of a private beach.

Things to do near Chesapeake Beach

  • The Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum: A historic railway station with exhibits on railway history, an amusement park, steamboats, and the historic boardwalk.
  • Chesapeake Beach Water Park: A truly amazing municipal water park.

Accommodations near Chesapeake Beach:

See Related: Best Beach Vacation Spots in the World

5. Sandbridge Beach

Sandbridge Beach

Clean, calm, and beautiful — these are the three words to explain Sandbridge Beach. This quiet seaside enclave is located 30-minutes south of Virginia Beach, featuring super sand, excellent parking, showers, vacation houses, and condos.  

It is a peaceful and relaxing beach where you can unwind while vacationing. Around 4.5 miles long, this beach is a superb place for solo travelers and those traveling with their families and friends.

Since this breathtaking beach is backed by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Currituck Sound to the west, the geography of this place is quite similar to that of the North Carolina Outer Banks.

Additionally, Sandbridge Beach offers ample opportunity to explore the surrounding dunes and marshes. For people who crave more than just great outdoors, the open waters of False Cape State Park and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge make for perfect hiking, fishing, and kayaking.

Things to do near Sandbridge Beach

  • Seaside Market: It’s not just a grocery store but also a terrific takeout eatery.
  • Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Explore beaches, lush farm fields, and woodlands.

Accommodations near Sandbridge Beach

See Related: Best Things to do in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

6. Buckroe Beach

Sunset in Buckroe Beach
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Located in Hampton just north of Fort Monroe, Buckroe Beach is another sought-after Chesapeake Bay beach. It is actually one of the oldest recreational areas in Virginia.

This beautiful ¾-mile beach offers an unobstructed, sweeping view of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is perfect for paddle boating, swimming, and kayaking. You will find several amenities on the beach, such as restrooms, free parking, shuttle service, barbecues & tables, a playground, and others.

Also, you can rent kayaks, paddle boats, lounge chairs, and umbrellas to have the best time. Visit this clean sandy beach, sink your toes into the sparkling water, and enjoy the incredible view of ships coming into port.

Things to do near Buckroe Beach

  • Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe: It’s one of the oldest structures in the region.
  • Old Point Comfort Lighthouse: An iconic, photogenic lighthouse.

Accommodations near Buckroe Beach

See Related: Best Beaches in Minnesota to Visit

7. Bethel Beach

Bethel Beach
image by Piotr Zurek is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bethel Beach is one of the best-kept secrets in Virginia. The beach is located near the Chesapeake Bay in Mathews County in the 105-acre Natural Area Preserve.

This narrow beach features low dunes and salt marshes throughout. A perfect spot for bird and wildlife watching, Bethel Beach is also called a habitat for the beach tiger beetle.

Swimming is not allowed on this beach. However, you can pack water shoes to explore this coastal terrain. Beware of flies, make sure to carry bug spray.

Also, you will find no litter basket and restrooms on this beach, so plan accordingly.

Explore the sandy shores of this beach with your family and friends and have fun.

Things to do near Bethel Beach

  • New Point Comfort Nature Preserve: A great place to clear your head.
  • Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve: Perfect place to witness the beauty of nature and local wildlife.
  • Observation Walkway: Offers a magnificent view of the bay and coastal wildlife.

Accommodations near Bethel Beach

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Fresno, California

8. Assateague Island National Seashore

Horses in Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore is one of the top water sites in Virginia. Straddling the border between Virginia and Maryland, it is truly a beautiful beach that deserves all the tourism. All of it. Go now.

The island is an expansive natural 37-mile sand barrier island well-known for its sandy beaches and wild horses. It also offers camping and several other outdoor recreations.

This white-sand beach is a famous tourist spot for fishing, swimming, canoeing, and off-road vehicle driving. Featuring salt marshes, salt dunes, sand dunes, and a nearby forest area, this beach is home to around 300 bird species, including geese, egrets, osprey, and sandpipers.

If you’re planning a day out here, make sure to pack all the needed items with you. Also, don’t forget to take all your trash away while leaving.

Things to do near Assateague Island National Seashore

  • Assateague State Park: An oceanfront park that offers sandy beaches, camping, and fishing.
  • Assateague Outfitters: Rent paddle boards and kayaks to have a great time in the waters!

Accommodations near Assateague Island National Seashore

9. Jamestown Beach

Jamestown Beach

Situated near the historic Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Jamestown Beach is another family-friendly beach. Boasting a pine tree forest in the background, Jamestown Beach Park is one of the best Virginia beaches.

The beach is an excellent add-on option for those visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg or the Historic Jamestowne museum. There’s a beachfront park with several conveniences, including picnic areas, restrooms, a fishing pier, and shaded areas.

Whether you want to wade in the water, relax on the sand, or play under the sun, you can have a great time on the beach. You can also rent kayaks, grills, and picnic tables to add even more fun to your beach visit.

If you’re thinking of a fun-filled day, consider spending a few hours on the beach to cherish its natural beauty.

Things to do near Jamestown Beach

Accommodations near Jamestown Beach

See Related: Best Sabbatical Destinations: Trip Ideas for a Career Break

10. First Landing State Park Beach

First Landing State Park Beach

Located in Cape Henry at Virginia Beach, Landing State Park is an expansive 2,888 acres park. This is one of the most visited state parks in Virginia Beach, best-known for its history and gorgeous beaches.

If you’re looking for a place to relax, hang out on the beach at First Landing. This beach has shallow, calm waters with little to no waves.

Access to this beach is easy with around four boardwalks. One of them is at the Chesapeake Bay, with a parking area and restrooms.

You can enjoy the breeze, read your favorite book on the sand, and watch ships on the bay. Overall, it is an uncrowded beach ideal for leisurely strolls.

Things to do near First Landing State Park Beach

  • Adventure Watersports: A great spot for family-friendly adventures.
  • Tula Paddle Sports: These guys offer kayak and paddle board rentals for seaside paddling.

Accommodations near First Landing State Park Beach

11. Croatan Beach

Sunset in Croatan Beach
image by Laura Z/TripAdvisor

A residential neighborhood, Croatan Beach is one of the popular beaches in Virginia Beach. The beach is on the Atlantic Ocean north of Camp Pendleton and south of Rudee Inlet.

The beach is a hidden, quiet gem, with marked-off sections for boogie boarders and surfers. It is also known for surfing and water activities. The waves on this beach are a little higher, making it an ideal spot for beach lovers.

Croatan Beach is clean and has outdoor showers, bathrooms, and parking. Lifeguard services are available.

Additionally, this beach is a must-visit for those looking to attend a surf camp or take a surf lesson.

Things to do near Croatan Beach

  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science: A tip-top aquarium and marine science museum.
  • Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art: A contemporary art museum with frequently rotating exhibits.
  • Grommet Island Park: If you haven’t had your beach fill yet, spend time at this beach park.

Accommodations near Croatan Beach

See Related: Best Things to do in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

12. Ocean View Beach

Ocean View Beach
image by KeepLifeSimple/TripAdvisor

Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Ocean View Beach is one of the famous stretches of sand. Over 7 miles of scenic coastline is the draw of this beautiful bayside destination.

With breathtaking views, this is one of the best Virginia beaches to do plenty of things, like relaxing and swimming. The beach also offers a perfect sunset view.

Ocean View Park near the beach has a pavilion that host several events and concerts. You can enjoy bands, music, and dancing.

The beach also has a boardwalk and a big open field, perfect for walking and playing. Other facilities are public restrooms and street parking.

Things to do near Ocean View Beach

Accommodations near Ocean View Beach

13. Yorktown Beach

Yorktown Beach Scenery
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Situated along the York River in historic Yorktown, Yorktown Beach is a 2-acre public beachfront. Featuring clear water and white sand, this is an incredible destination if you want to escape the humid summers of southeastern Virginia.

The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and boating. It also has a grassy picnic area and fishing pier. You can rent bikes, kayaks, and paddleboards to have even more fun.

The beach offers gorgeous panoramic views, and one you can’t miss is the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge. It is a beautiful, large bridge that crosses over the York River.

The beach has restrooms, public parking, and nearby shops & restaurants to ensure guests’ comfort.

Whether you want to relax or get active, Yorktown Beach offers a little bit of everything to keep everyone entertained and occupied.

Things to do near Yorktown Beach

  • American Revolution Museum at Yorktown: A living-history museum featuring immersive indoor exhibition galleries and films. Join a Full Day Historic Guided Tour to Jamestown and Yorktown too.
  • Patriot Tours & Provisions: Learn about the basic history of the Colonial and Civil War periods.
  • Victory Walking Tours: Uncover the early history of Yorktown on this guided tour.

Accommodations Near Yorktown Beach

See Related: Best Places to Travel in Your 20s

14. Outlook Beach

Outlook Beach
image by jehenson81/TripAdvisor

A beautiful stretch of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay, Outlook Beach is the only public beach near Fort Monroe. Always clean and well-maintained, this is a hidden gem in Hampton.

The beach has an expansive coastline with golden sand and clear water. Since it is not that crowded, the beach makes an ideal family-friendly spot.

Outlook Beach offers several amenities, including free parking, restrooms, and showers. Open from sunrise to sunset, this beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and admiring the region’s natural beauty.

Visit the beach with your family or friends and be ready to soak in the views.

Things to do near Outlook Beach

  • Casemate Museum of Fort Monroe: Chronicles more than 400 years of history of Fort Monroe and Point Comfort.
  • Virginia Air & Space Science Center: Explore over 100 exhibits, including Apollo 12.

Accommodations near Outlook Beach

15. Grandview Beach

Grandview Beach
image by rileigh15/TripAdvisor

If you’re looking for a pristine beach atmosphere, Grandview Beach is a must-visit. Lies within the Grandview Nature Preserve, it is one of the undisturbed beaches in Virginia.

You need to hike around half-mile to get to this peaceful landscape. After landing at the beach, you will find a vast range of seashells on the coast. Collecting them with your little ones can be a great fun activity.

If you love beach walking without annoying crowds, Grandview Beach is the place. Walk on the beach and enjoy the ocean view in peace.

Additionally, as there are no facilities, you should pack everything you may need at this secluded end.

Things to do near Grandview Beach

  • Grandview Nature Preserve: A great place to walk around and spend some quality time with family.
  • Observe Migratory Birds: Spot numerous migratory bird species amid the area’s glorious surroundings.

Accommodations near Grandview Beach

See Related: Best Places to Live in Virginia

16. Westmoreland State Park Beach

Westmoreland State Park Beach Scenery
image by vastateparksstaff is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Lies within Westmoreland County, Westmoreland State Park features a gorgeous beach with all cliffs. Located in the Northern Neck of Virginia, it is a suitable option for those looking for a one-of-a-kind experience.

If you’re an adventure-enthusiast, consider following around a mile-long Big Meadow Trail to Fossil Beach. The beach offers lots of activities for every taste.

Visitors can rent a kayak for magnificent panoramic views of shallow waters and the Horsehead Cliffs. They can also sift through sand to find prehistoric shark teeth.

Additionally, this spectacular park offers ample camping and cabin rentals. If you’re planning an overnight stay at the beachside hideaway, remember to book one of the park’s campsites or cabins beforehand.

Things to do near Westmoreland State Park Beach

  • James Monroe Birthplace & Museum: A must-visit historic archaeological site, and the birthplace of 5th US President, James Monroe – the last president who was one of the Founding Fathers.
  • Beach Bites Tours: Walk, talk, and taste delightful food and drinks along the beachfront.

Accommodations near Westmoreland State Park Beach

17. Grommet Island Park

Grommet Island Park Scenery
image by Tammy C/TripAdvisor

Featuring a playground, a sensory board, and raised sand tables, Grommet Island Park is a fully accessible beach park. It is a small park on the south end of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

The park is well-shaded with lots of benches. The playground boasts several sculptures, including dolphins, a wave, and a surfboard.

This beach park has a designated surfing section, a swimmer section, public restrooms, and free beach wheelchairs. Also, it is close to public showers and restrooms.

Whether you want to admire the sculptures, participate in beach activities, or just stroll the beach, Grommet Island Park is the best place to have fun and make memories.

Overall, the beach is an ideal destination for all those planning a worry-free vacation.

Things to do near Grommet Island Park

Accommodations near Grommet Island Park

See Related: Best Tropical Vacation Spots in the World

Best Virginia Beaches — Plan a Perfect Getaway

Though there are several beaches in Virginia, these are some of the best ones you should visit if you’re visiting the state.

All these beaches provide excellent opportunities for locals and tourists to hang out or cherish the beauty of nature. Hopefully, you will find your perfect getaway on this list of best Virginia beaches!

FAQs

1. Is Virginia safe for visitors?

Yes. While Virginia has witnessed a slight increase in the crime rate over the past few years, it is still a safe place for tourists. However, you must take care and be attentive while exploring the state, no matter day or night.

2. What is Virginia known for?

Though Virginia is full of attractions, the state is famous for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Appalachian Trail, Presidential homes, Wild Ponies, Arlington National Cemetery, and Dirty Dancing. It is also known for Shenandoah National Park.

And, of course, the southeastern US state houses several lakes and beaches within its borders.

3. What is the safest beach in Virginia?

Well, there are many beaches in Virginia. However, Virginia Beach is undoubtedly the safest, most popular, and celebrated beach in the state. With golden sands, sparkling waters, and fun activities, this beach is one of the best spots to safely chill out with your gang.

Apart from building sand castles, Virginia Beach offers oodles of additional charm and fun when it comes to food, drinks, and nightlife.

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