Virginia’s hot and humid summers make going to the beach an absolute must! It’s a great way to spend time with your family and friends, relax, cool down, and have a good time. Virginia is located along the Atlantic Ocean, which flows into the gorgeous Chesapeake Bay and beyond. Beaches in Virginia are beautiful, scenic, unique, and abundant.
From parasailing and jet-skiing to great seafood and stunning views, being beachfront in Virginia is a local pastime synonymous with pleasure and relaxation. Check out these fifteen remarkable beaches in Virginia perfect for a vacation with the kids, friends, or a romantic road trip with your significant other!
1. Cape Charles Beach (Eastern Shore)
Cape Charles, Virginia, is a charming beach town located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. If you’re looking to escape the crowds at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, take the 60-minute drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and down US-13 to Cape Charles! Rent a golf cart and head into the historic district to grab some beach gear. You can rent fishing gear, kayaks, jet skis, stand up paddleboards, and more.
If you’re interested in spending the weekend in Cape Charles, rent a room at the Cape Charles Hotel or one of the many beach rentals. There are two great distilleries in town as well as incredible sunsets. If you enjoy the small-town feel, you’ll enjoy a day trip to Cape Charles Beach.
2. Assateague Island (Eastern Shore)
If you love the outdoors and are looking for a little more adventure, the Assateague Island National Seashore is a great option! Assateague Island is located on the Eastern Shore and stretches from Virginia to Maryland. To access the beach, you must take the John B. Whealton Memorial Causeway (US 175) to the island which is in the town of Chincoteague. You can camp on the beach, hike or bike trails along the 37-mile beachfront, go horseback riding, kayak, surf, fish, and crab.
A plus? The island is known for beautiful wild horses! The wild horses live in two herds, one on the Maryland side and the other on the Virginia side. Annually on the last Wednesday of July, there is an annual pony penning. On the Virginia side, the ponies are herded from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island to be sold at auction. It’s a one-of-a-kind event, held with festivities, that attracts visitors from all over.
3. Virginia Beach Oceanfront
The Virginia Beach Oceanfront is Virginia’s largest and most popular beach. Families, friends, and couples from around the country often vacation in Virginia Beach during spring and summer break. Did you know that Virginia Beach holds the Guinness World Record for the longest pleasure beach? That’s 35-miles of gorgeous beachfront for you to enjoy!
Head to the south end of the Oceanfront to Rudee Inlet, where you can learn about fishing charters, dolphin cruises, parasailing, jet skis, and more. Take a stroll, bike, or rollerblade down the 3-mile boardwalk. Along the way, don’t forget to stop by one of the bars or restaurants for refreshments with water views.
4. Sandbridge Beach (Virginia Beach)
Sandbridge Beach is about 15-miles south of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and is an excellent spot for those looking to get away from the crowds. It’s also a perfect spot for surfers and sunset watchers! Sandbridge is a quiet waterfront community similar to properties on the Outer Banks. There are no hotels. However, there are beachfront houses and condos that you can rent. It’s also a popular spot for weddings on the beach!
Head to Little Island Park, where you’ll find a playground for the little ones, picnic shelters, grills, a tennis court, a pickleball court, a basketball court, and a beach volleyball court! If you enjoy fishing, head to the Little Island Fishing Pier. There’s also a canoe and kayak launch nearby.
5. Chic’s Beach (Virginia Beach)
Officially known as Chesapeake Beach, this stretch of Virginia Beach is often called Chic’s Beach. It’s a beachfront community located on either side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Because there are far fewer crowds than at the Oceanfront, Chic’s Beach is a popular spot among locals. In addition to sunbathing, swimming, and surfing, there are quite a few waterfront restaurants.
First Landing State Park is just a short drive from Chic’s Beach if you’re also looking to get out into nature. Virginia’s most visited State Park, First Landing offers hiking and biking trails, a kayak and boat launch, camping, and beach access.
6. Croatan Beach (Virginia Beach)
Croatan is a gorgeous waterfront community along the Atlantic, just a short drive from the Oceanfront. The beachfront is a little less than a mile long and is known to be less crowded than the Oceanfront. Croatan is also a popular spot for surfers! There are two designated areas along the beach dedicated to catching a few waves. And, if you’re interested in surf lessons, check out the Seth Broudy School of Surf at the south end! For safety, there are lifeguard services on this beach in the summertime.
7. Ocean View Beaches (Norfolk)
Ocean View Beach Park is Norfolk, Virginia’s largest pleasure beach located along the Chesapeake Bay. The beach park has a large stage where bands play in the summertime and a green space where you can hang out and enjoy the music. The city hosts live music, movie nights, activities for kids, and more.
In East Ocean View, East Beach is a waterfront community filled with beautiful architecture. There is a stage pavilion, a social club, marinas, and shopping. Norfolk, Virginia locals enjoy walking along the shoreline and family beach days on the Chesapeake. There’s also a large community Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from April through November.
8. Buckroe Beach and Park (Hampton)
Buckroe Beach is a smaller beach located in Hampton, Virginia, along the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. The park has a stage pavilion for events, picnic shelters and grills, restrooms, showers, and a playground. There’s also a beautiful fishing pier, and lifeguards are on duty during beach season. The Buckroe Beach boardwalk is a lovely place to stroll with seating to lounge and waterfront swings. And if you’re visiting on Saturday, be sure to stop by the Buckroe Beach Farmer’s Market and support a few local businesses!
9. Outlook Beach (Hampton)
Outlook Beach is part of the Fort Monroe National Monument, where various landmarks and the Casemate Museum can be found. Located along the Chesapeake Bay, Outlook Beach is another beach in Hampton, Virginia. Its unique setting allows for distant views of the world’s largest naval base, Naval Base Norfolk. While enjoying the beach, it’s also not uncommon to see large container ships and tugboats pass by. And if you want to go fishing, there is a small fishing pier near the end of the beach.
10. Grandview Nature Preserve (Hampton)
The Grandview Nature Preserve is an unspoiled hidden gem in Hampton, Virginia. The area features creeks, salt marsh, and the Chesapeake Bay waterfront. It’s a great place to walk along the water and search for beautiful shells and sea glass. Grandview Nature Preserve is also a popular spot for birdwatchers, photographers, and fishing enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a gorgeous outdoor area without the city’s crowds, this is the beach for you. Be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks as there are no amenities in the area.
11. Huntington Beach (Newport News)
Huntington Beach is a small beach in Newport News, Virginia, along the gorgeous James River. At one end of the beach, you can find the Crab Shack Seafood Restaurant, which offers beautiful waterfront dining. And right next door, you can find the James River Fishing Pier—a great spot for the local catch. Beachgoers enjoy boating, jet-skiing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding on the river. Because of its unique location, you’re even bound to catch sight of large ships passing by while you enjoy the water. As well, Huntington Beach is known to have magnificent sunsets.
12. Yorktown Beach (Yorktown)
In Historic Yorktown, Yorktown Beach is a favorite amongst those visiting the historic triangle and Williamsburg, Virginia area. Before hitting the beach, check out Riverwalk Landing, where you can rent kayaks and paddleboards, grab a bite to eat or take a trolley tour of the historic area. You can even take a river cruise at sunset or take the kids on a pirate adventure cruise! Yorktown Beach is the perfect place for families to get outside, relax, and cool down in the summertime.
13. Gloucester Point Beach Park
Another great beach located along the York River, Gloucester Point Beach, is beautiful, scenic, and offers excellent views of the Coleman Bridge. The beach is not usually crowded and there are picnic areas and public restrooms. The fishing pier is open 24/7, and the local catch can be pretty abundant on a good day! The beach also has a boat ramp and is a popular spot for jet skiers and boaters. It is a kid-friendly beach and a great place to relax and take in the views. Please note that the entire beach is not swimmable due to the currents, so stay in the designated swimming areas.
14. Bethel Beach (Mathews County)
Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve has a narrow beach along the Chesapeake Bay in Mathews County, Virginia. It’s considered a hidden gem and is a peaceful place to enjoy. There are many different bird species in the area, including several endangered species. It’s a beautiful place to take a beach walk, sunbathe, enjoy nature, and find a few seashells. Bethel Beach is also known to have magnificent sunrises and sunsets. This natural area is primarily untouched, and there are no facilities in the area. Be sure to bring water and snacks on your beach walk.
15. Colonial Beach
Colonial Beach is located on Virginia’s Northern Neck peninsula and is bordered by the Potomac River. Colonial Beach is the second largest stretch of beach in Virginia and resides in a charming town that shares its name. Amenities include a boardwalk, fishing pier, and playground for the kids. There are charter fishing boats, marinas, and places for you to grab a bite. After enjoying the beach, grab a golf cart and explore the town!
Due to Virginia’s natural waterways, beaches in Virginia are beautiful and plentiful. Enjoying the water is a great way to stay cool during Virginia’s hot and humid summers. Take the family, grab your friends and maybe a few cold beverages, and spend some time outdoors this summer!
This post was originally posted on Hello Sensible.
Alexandrea Sumuel is the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel better.