Virginia’s Hidden Beaches

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Jun 30, 2015 | Updated: Jul 27, 2017

Comments: 80 Comments

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.



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.

Cape Charles Beach

Cape Charles Beach

Chesapeake (Chick’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.

Chesapeake Beaches and the 17.6 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Photo by

Chesapeake Beach and the 17.6 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Photo by

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.

Ocean View

Ocean View

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.



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.

Jamestown Beach

Jamestown Beach



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).



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.

Sherando Lake

Sherando Lake



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.



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.

North Bend Park Beach

North Bend Park Beach



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)!






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Leigh says:

People used to ocean beaches may not enjoy lake beaches. The slime under your feet takes some getting used to. I grew up at Virginia Beach and moved to the Buggs Island/Kerr Lake area as an adult. The beaches there look nice, but you still get that ick under your feet.

Kristi says:

That’s what water shoes are for. 😉

Suzy says:

Brownie’s Beach – especially for the Sharks Teeth (although – not sure I want my hidden gem even more known) 🙂

Chelsea Bashaw says:

Brownies Beach is in Maryland isn’t it?

Ocean View pier… Did they rebuild the peir for fishing? when?

Casey Higgins says:

The pier is open for 24-hour fishing, yes. More info:

Ann Flaim says:

How could you miss Colonial Beach. The art and music capitol of the Northern Neck.

Casey Higgins says:

Many people know about Colonial Beach. We were targeting the truly hidden beaches.

Ray Waters says:

I love Ft Monroe and Oceanview pier!

elizabeth says:

Are dogs allowed at each beach unless the post specifically says they’re not?

Casey Higgins says:

You should probably check a little further, Elizabeth. I included what I knew for each, but there could be more rules I’m unaware of.

Brenda Conley says:

I live in Richmond County, VA, and, shamefully, there is NO FREE PUBLIC ACCESS directly to the river. There are only a couple of creek access areas where you can put your boat over – no beach. I live less than 10 minutes from the river and even if I cross the river into Essex County, I know of no free public beach area. Shameful! You have to be rich to enjoy nature here in Dog Patch.

scot johnson says:

Have you been to vir-Mar beach in burgess

Bob says:

So you wanted to ruin them for the people that do already know about them

Casey Higgins says:

Just trying to provide some cool options for others, Bob. 🙂 Not everyone will be looking for these types of beaches, so you’re probably safe.

You forgot Sandbridge !!! Va. Beach Area/

Casey Higgins says:

Sure didn’t forget it, Harold, just didn’t include it here because it’s gaining in popularity.

Lois Giltinan says:

How could you forget the Yorktown beach?

Casey Higgins says:

Lois, I didn’t forget it. Many people know about Yorktown Beach and we wanted to spotlight some that are even more hidden than that.