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Spend Mother's Day at Virginia State Parks!

by Heather Gladden

Spend Mother's Day at Virginia State Parks

Mother’s day is coming up fast and I know a lot of people are trying to scrounge up some ideas for what to do with the leading lady in their lives. This holiday has been known to be celebrated in several ways, including, chocolate and flowers, taking your mom out to expensive restaurants, or even the small favor of keeping your hair out of your face for the day.  All of these are great gifts that say, “I love you” to moms everywhere. The best gift to give your mom, however, is one that cannot be bought. Instead, the best gift is to give her and yourself some quality time together where you can create wonderful memories that will never fade.  

Last weekend, my mom and I were just itching to go outside and relax in the gorgeous spring weather. We decided to visit First Landing State Park on a Sunday afternoon for a bit of beach combing and then head to False Cape State Park to partake in a Sunset Kayak Tour.

Whenever we are on the beach at First Landing, we are always greeted with many friendly faces and an assortment of beach critters. We got to see tons of blue crabs and ghost crabs, gulls and pipers, and on occasion, dolphins playing in the distant waves.  It’s incredibly relaxing for us to be able to meander down the shoreline picking up pieces of sea glass and shells while chatting about our days and attempting to identify the weird blobs that had washed up on the shore.  As we walked, we enjoyed the smell of the salty air and we watched pelicans lazily drifting above the sand on a light breeze. 

It was just so calming to take a moment for ourselves and to not worry about other people, or fret over where we are in life, and to finally not obsess over a schedule. Our only worries were to make sure that we didn’t accidentally step on any hidden little sand critter.

blue crab

We really enjoyed the people that we met on the beach. They all were in high spirits as they reveled in the warmth of the sun with their families, friends, and pets (although, some of the dogs were much more interested in lying around under giant parasols).  We both absolutely loved talking to the people and greeting all the dogs being walked along the beach.

After our walk on the beach, we packed up our things and began our drive south to False Cape State Park, where we booked a sunset kayak tour. When we arrived, we were greeted by the park’s tram that would take us into the park. Our guides, park interpreter, Rebecca Martin and Americorp Rep, Ethan Howes, were just so awesome and they really made the trip amazing with their good humor and their excitement for the parks.

During the actual kayak trip, Rebecca led the tour around the edges of the bay, with mom and the rest following behind. I however, struggled to paddle forward in a straight line. We got to see birds in the marshes and bald eagles resting upon tree limbs. The whole time, the group shared stories and talked about the bay. Even though I almost sunk my Kayak from the impossibly large amount of water that I somehow collected at the bottom of my boat, mom and I really enjoyed our quality time together. We had never kayaked in the bay before, so we were definitely thrilled with trying something new!

After the kayaking trip, I had asked mom what she wanted for Mother’s Day and if she wanted the usual. Her response to me was, “flowers and candy are great, but being able to spend special time with my daughter like we did today is much better.” So, we agreed to put some time aside this Mother’s Day to go out and experience another state park. A moment later she spoke up again, “And M&M’s. Those are pretty much required too.”

Parks offer awesome interpretive programs that take place all summer long. These programs range from educational, to crafty, to adventurous! If you check out the event calendar on the Virginia State Park website (, you’re bound to come across a subject that you’ll love. Make sure to check out the “special events” for holiday (like Mother’s Day) events!


Published: 05/10/2012


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