With many state parks nearby, outdoor enthusiasts can spend their free time exploring on foot, bike, kayak, boat, and more, from the city’s vast, sandy beaches to the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Discover the unspoiled natural beauty of Virginia shores from the top five options nearby.
You will not want to miss these exceptional parks, which provide miles of informative hiking and bike routes, both modern and primitive camping facilities, and undeveloped shorelines on the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Virginia Beach’s parklands are great for both inhabitants and tourists, with approximately 4,000 acres of city and state parks and a 9,000-acre national refuge.
Map of State Parks Near Virginia Beach VA
Here is a map of the Virginia state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Virginia Beach
There is no shortage of exciting things to do at Virginia Beach’s parks, which range from exquisite municipal parks to pristine natural environments.
From surprising swamps and tons of history, do not overlook Dismal Swamp State Park at the bottom. While it’s not best for swimming, you will find unique features unlike anything else nearby. For time by the ocean, consider our first option with impressive sights of sky meeting sand.
1. First Landing State Park
Location: 2500 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
As the most visited park in the area, First Landing State Park, offers a stunning coastal environment, rich history, and unique sights like the Rainbow Swamp.
Start out hiking the 19 miles of trails through a protected salt marsh environment, freshwater ponds, beaches, dunes, woods, tidal marsh, and cypress swamps.
Next, check out the most popular, Bald Cypress Trail, with some uncommon and stunning features by a guided kayak ecological tour.
The park features almost 200 campsites plus cottages, yurts, water and power hookup campsites, picnic areas, boat ramps, and a camp shop. This 2,888-acre park has several activities, including swimming, hiking, bicycling, boating, fishing, and picnicking.
Bring your pet for an extra fee and stock up on items you need at the Bay Store on the property. Also, you can wash your laundry on-site too if you plan to stay for several days.
2. Kiptopeke State Park
Location: 3540 Kiptopeke Dr, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Kiptopeke State Park features RV and tent camping, yurts, bunkhouses, two- and three-bedroom cottages, and six-bedroom lodges.
The park’s boat ramp, illuminated fishing pier, picnic spots, 5.1 miles of hiking and biking trails, playground, beach bathhouse, and swimming beach are also popular. However, the real fun comes from the interpretive programs on bay ecology, birdwatching, and natural history offered seasonally.
The park contains almost 5 miles of hiking and biking paths where you can look for foxes, deer, birds, and more. Visitors should explore Kiptopeke’s dune structure from the upland Baywoods Trail and southern beach through large boardwalks.
Spend the rest of the time swimming on the half-mile beach or out in the water on your boat of choice. Even better, the beaches are free even for fishing as long as you have a saltwater fishing license.
3. False Cape State Park
Location: 4001 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
You should know that no vehicle camping is allowed in False Cape State Park before making your travel plans. Reaching your campground will require a four- to six-mile trek or bike ride.
It’s worth the trek, though, for the uninhabited nature and fascinating history. Visitors will find beautiful scenery, abundant animals, miles of hiking paths, and peaceful fishing places.
The park contains remnants of shipwrecks off the coast which you might spot while swimming, fishing, or boating. Wash Woods was one of the earliest settlements established in the area after shipwreck survivors established themselves there.
When done exploring the water, hikers and cyclists will enjoy 15.3 miles of long trails. In addition, enjoy educational events on astronomy, ornithology, ecology, and many more sponsored by Virginia Marine Science Museum.
4. Chippokes State Park
Location: 695 Chippokes Park Rd, Surry, VA 23883
Choose Chippokes State Park for all your camping needs, with options for tents, cabins, and yurts are all options.
The park’s trail system spans 12 miles, perfect for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. The majority of the paths are grassy and wind through or near farm fields.
College Run Trail is by far the most frequented path featuring 1.2 miles along the James River.
Visitors can explore the park by water too, with options to boat and fish, but you cannot swim except at the pool in the summer. Also, you will need to bring your own non-motorized boat.
When you get a Virginia fishing license, you can fish in fresh water. From the James River coast, as well as the creek’s banks and the bridge across it, anglers may access the water.
Check out the Farm and Forestry Museum while there, or get out on the trails with your horse.
5. Dismal Swamp State Park
Location: 2294 Hwy 17, South Mills, NC 27976
The Great Dismal Swamp the biggest swamp in the eastern United States, which lies right on the state’s northeast border with Virginia.
Find a wealth of cultural history in this region, including connections to George Washington, the Underground Railroad, and the Prohibition era. It’s one of Virginia’s greatest undiscovered attractions.
Discover a wide variety of flora and animals in the wildlife refuge, which spans 112,000 acres and includes wetland woods, canals, and a big circular lake in the center named Lake Drummond.
This park is a hiker’s paradise, with 21.5 miles of trails awaiting your exploration. These paths through the marsh were once used for logging but have been improved such that they are now suitable for human use.
Also, the Supple-jack Trail and the Swamp Boardwalk provide tons of scenery, including a wide variety of plants and animals and long-abandoned distilleries. While there, spend your time hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, and picnicking.
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