Virginia’s Hidden Beaches

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Jun 30, 2015 | Updated: May 11, 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.

 

CHESAPEAKE BAY BEACHES

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 CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.

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

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.

 

JAMES RIVER BEACHES

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

 

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER

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).

 

SHERANDO LAKE

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

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 / KERR LAKE

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 STATE PARK BEACHES

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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80 Comments on "Virginia’s Hidden Beaches"

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Michael
Guest

I’m glad they didn’t mention my favorite beach to go to.

Terry
Guest

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.

Sally
Guest

Wow 😳 love this is all in VA!

Robbin
Guest

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!

Teresa
Guest
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,… Read more »
Tammy Holloway
Guest

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!

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Mon
Guest

Laurel,

The best and most pristine beach in Virginia is Chincoteague Island:

http://whatwedidlastweekend.org/ourtripstonature/2016/7/17/chincoteague-beach

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.

Laurel
Guest

Looking for a beach in VA for a family VaCa!

Ronj
Guest

Guard Shore is definitely a local spot that not many people know of can do just about whatever there

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