Most people have heard of Virginia Beach, and other Virginia beaches are on the rise for name recognition, too. However, there are “local” beaches that are easily accessible and remain fairly hidden gems. No doubt, a number of our readers will be familiar with some of these and think we’re crazy for calling them “hidden,” but for the majority of Virginians (and of course, visitors), these aren’t top-of-mind locations when one considers going to “the beach.”
Consider these the next time you’re ready to day-trip or head out for a weekend and want a little sand between your toes. See the map below.
Note: Some beaches may require a nominal entrance fee.
Historic Port of Falmouth Park in historic Falmouth has a popular beach area. Parking is available, as are picnic tables and portable toilets. Swimming is at your own risk; be aware of high water and slippery rocks. Also, wear shoes as fishing is popular here as well (no one wants a hook in the toe).
CHESAPEAKE BAY BEACHES
Photo Credit: Adam Lewis, @adamtlewis
Cape Charles Beach is a free public beach on the bay side of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The locals position this beach as a great one for moms, thanks to the lack of serious waves and clean “wading pool” water.
Chesapeake (Chic’s) Beach is “the beach” for Virginia Beach residents. Bayside, the waves are minimal and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel dominates the landscape. Parking is on-street or fee-based at nearby First Landing State Park or Lynnhaven Boat Ramp.Grandview Beach is within Grandview Nature Preserve. On-street parking and beach access are free. Don’t forget that this is a nature preserve; please follow “leave no trace” practices. Pets are prohibited April 15 to September 15. No biking.
The Ocean View Beaches are where some of the Norfolkians go when they want to cool off. Free, public access is easy to find, restrooms are tidy, and food is nearby.
Outlook Beach can be found on the Chesapeake Bay at Fort Monroe, and is perhaps Hampton’s best kept secret. Summer lifeguards are on duty; dogs are prohibited May 15 to September 15.
JAMES RIVER BEACHES
Photo Credit: Cakki Namorat, @happycakki
It’s amazing how few people know about Jamestown Beach. Located next door to Jamestown Settlement, this large beach park offers concessions, shaded picnic areas with charcoal grills, observation pier and more.
Photo Credit: Scott K. Brown
There are two lakes at Sherando, but only one is for swimming. Spread out on the warm sand and take a dip when you get too toasty. You can also camp, picnic, fish, kayak, or hike at this U.S. Forest Service-managed area.
Philpott Lake has 100 miles of shoreline. Surely there’s a beach or two for your enjoyment, right? Of course! These locations charge a day-use fee for non-campers.
- Goose Point – South side of the lake; 63 camp sites.
- Horseshoe Point – North side of the lake; 49 camp sites.
- Salthouse Branch – North side of the lake; 89 camp sites.
BUGGS ISLAND / KERR LAKE
Photo Credit: Nomarama, @_nomarama_
Buggs Island Lake / John H. Kerr Reservoir is Virginia’s largest lake and offers many opportunities for beach-goers.
- Buffalo Park – North side of the lake off Route 58; 21 camp sites.
- Ivy Hill Park – South side of the lake off Route 825; picnic areas, portable toilets and day-use fee.
- Longwood Park – South side of the lake off Route 15; 66 camp sites.
- North Bend Park – North side of the lake off Route 4; 244 camp sites.
- Palmer Point Park – South side of the lake off Route 4; picnic areas, portable toilets and day-use fee.
- Rudds Creek – North side of the lake off Route 58; picnic areas, flushing toilets and day-use fee.
VIRGINIA STATE PARK BEACHES
Photo Credit: Chad Williams, @echadwilliams
Virginia’s state parks are riddled with lakes, including the big ones like Smith Mountain Lake and Lake Anna. Check out these parks with beaches (also pinned in blue on the map below)!
I didn’t know
About all these
Beaches thank you
Why didn’t the second largest beach in Virginia make this article. Colonialbeachva.net is a fabulous beach and many people love it but Virginia continues to ignore it. We ride golf carts here on the streets we have a off-track betting casino we have tiki bars we have fabulous restaurants in culinary train chefs it’s just too fabulous to ignore
Love Colonial Beach!
Always there every summer
I agree and I noticed they left off two others that I love Yorktown and Buckroe.
I’m glad they didn’t mention my favorite beach to go to.
Chesapeake (Chick’s) Beach has never been hidden. It is one of the most popular beaches for parents to bring their kids. From spring through fall, it stays busy. Parking is often a problem.
Wow ? love this is all in VA!
Visit one of the largest lakes in VA with great beaches and activities at Smith Mountain Lake, Moneta, Huddleston, Hardy, VA. It is 550 miles of shoreline! Lots to do, like visit an alpaca farm at Smith Mountain Lake Farm Alpacas, rent boats, lots of sightseeing on the lake! Great stipers fishing!
Mon, Your post and attached link are somewhat misleading. First of all the blog you linked refers to Chincoteague as being in “Northern Virginia”. WRONG!! It’s on Virginia’s eastern shore and is at least 3 hours from any part of the actual region of Northern Virginia. Also, people need to know that if they stay on Chincoteague Island, they will have to drive (or bicycle, if you’re in good shape) out to Assateague Island National Seashore to visit the ocean. Chincoteague Island itself is entirely within the Chincoteague Bay and has no ocean beaches within walking distance. All that said, it IS absolutely beautiful and unspoiled, both the beaches and the village of Chincoteague. Well worth the drive.
Casey, you always do such a great job! Good to hear your voice again with virginia.org.
The sand on the beach at Cape Charles is a fine and soft as the gulf coast these days… Amazing!
The best and most pristine beach in Virginia is Chincoteague Island:
The 14-mile beach offers all the beauty of unspoiled nature. I have visited other beaches in Virginia and this is my favorite by far.