Top 12 Beaches in Virginia Beach

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Emily Johnson

With 35 miles of spectacular Atlantic Ocean coastline, Virginia Beach lays claim to some of the best beaches not just in the region but across the entire eastern seaboard.

Beach NameDescription
Chesapeake Bay BeachLess crowded, lifeguard-patrolled, with accessible amenities.
Chic’s BeachQuiet, with gentle surf and fewer tourists.
Sandbridge BeachRemote, pristine, with nature trails and pet-friendly areas.
Croatan BeachKnown for excellent surfing conditions.
Little Island Park BeachQuiet, with fishing and picnic areas.
First Landing State Park BeachHistoric, with trails and picnic facilities.
Resort BeachBusy with entertainment and events.
Back Bay BeachRemote, accessible by boat, with guided kayak tours.
Ocean Breeze Water Park BeachAmusement rides and beach access.
Bay Island BeachPet-friendly, less crowded, with beautiful views.
DomesSurf spot known for its unique underwater conditions.
False Cape State Park BeachRemote, with camping and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Whether you seek lively resort-style strands with restaurants and amusements or quiet peaceful pockets for solitude with nature, you’ll find an ideal beachscape here.

Relax at Chesapeake Bay Beach

Name and Location: Chesapeake Bay Beach is located in Virginia Beach facing Chesapeake Bay, nearby the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel along Shore Drive.

History and Significance: Chesapeake Bay Beach provides a peaceful, relaxing beach experience away from the resort crowds that Virginia Beach is known for, with calmer waves and beautiful bay views.

What to Expect: Visitors can spread out on the sandy beach, go swimming, build sandcastles, have picnics, watch vessels go by, enjoy gorgeous sunrises over the bay, fish from the shore, and unwind surrounded by nature.

Visitor Information: Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Public parking available along Shore Drive. Restrooms and outdoor showers on site. Beach wheelchairs free to use with deposit.

Paralleling the popular three mile resort area Boardwalk, Chesapeake Bay Beach offers more open space and less crowds. Lifeguards patrol the lengthy sandy shoreline as visitors stake out the perfect spot. Build sandcastles, body surf waves, take leisurely strolls looking for shells or just nap in the sun. Beach wheelchairs, large picnic shelters and accessible boardwalk ramps provide easy access while concession stands supply quick eats and treats.

Chill Out at Chic’s Beach

Name and Location: Chic’s Beach is a Chesapeake Bay beach area located on the bay side of Virginia Beach off Shore Drive near First Landing State Park.

History and Significance: Known as “Chic’s Beach” for the popular, now-closed 1950s-era beachfront restaurant located there, this stretch remains a more relaxed, local vibe alternative to busier Atlantic beaches that Virginia Beach is renowned for.

What to Expect: At Chic’s Beach visitors find space to spread out on the sand or under shade trees overlooking Chesapeake Bay. Water access for swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding. Great place for family picnics or solo relaxation.

Visitor Information: No lifeguards. Pay parking in nearby First Landing State Park lots. Restrooms, outdoor showers briefly nearby seasonally.

Tucked away just north of the bustling Virginia Beach Boardwalk, this lesser-known gem often flies under the radar. Officially part of Chesapeake Bay Beach, the short walk south from vital 62nd street rewards with beautiful views, a relaxed atmosphere and fewer tourists. Visitors comment on the wide fine-grain sand, gentle surf and peacefulness compared to busier beach areas to the south. Arrive early to claim a prime spot. Umbrellas and chair rentals available on-site for shade. Lifeguards on duty Memorial to Labor Day.

Feel Secluded at Sandbridge Beach

Name and Location: Sandbridge Beach is located further south in Virginia Beach’s peaceful residential Sandbridge community off Sandpiper Road, south of Back Bay Wildlife Refuge.

History and Significance: Nestled off the beaten path over the Lesner Bridge, Sandbridge has offered families a quieter, uncrowded beach experience along the Atlantic Coast for decades, with beautiful dunes and seaside landscape.

What to Expect: Visitors find over 5 miles of sandy Atlantic beaches for lounging, swimming, beachcombing and fishing, with a relaxed pace and tucked-away atmosphere compared to the Atlantic resort coast nearby.

Visitor Information: Beach parking access points with charges found along Sandpiper Road. No lifeguards. Restrooms at Little Island Park. Leashed dogs allowed October-April. Low-key restaurants nearby.

Seeking remote pristine shoreline outside the city? Discover five miles of peaceful waves and water play at Sandbridge Beach four miles south along the southern resort strip. This protected barrier island landscape contains untamed dunes, scenic nature trails through the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and theBest fishing pier in Virginia Beach. Retreat to one of over 100 beach cottages or bungalows to enjoy sunset views. Leashed dogs welcome in certain areas year-round make this a popular pet-friendly destination.

Find Surf at Croatan Beach

Name and Location: Croatan Beach is a popular surf beach along Virginia Beach’s Atlantic Ocean resort coastline off Atlantic Avenue and Croatan Road across from the Cavalier Hotel.

History and Significance: Croatan Beach has long appealed to surfers and those seeking great waves given offshore sandbars, with roots as the African-American beach during segregation now a vibrant diverse scene continuing the fun-loving “Beach” culture.

What to Expect: In season visitors flock here to swim, surf stellar waves, play volleyball, soak up sunshine on the bustling beach, enjoy local eateries, gather around firepits, and take in a lively beach town atmosphere.

Visitor Information: Beach parking access points off Atlantic Ave. Lifeguards on duty Memorial Day to Labor Day. Restrooms, showers on boardwalk. Beach wheelchairs available.

Among the finest spots to hang ten in Virginia Beach, Croatan Beach offers premier surf less than two miles from the boardwalk. Lifeguards designate areas specifically for surfers where consistent waves churn up thanks to offshore channel contours along with protection from strong nor’easters provided by Cape Henry. Visitors comment on the soft sand, lack of rocks or shells, umbrella rentals and the funky Belvedere Beach Resort nearby whose rooms open right onto the sand. South Coast surf shop, rentals and lessons available on days with ideal swell.

Escape Crowds at Little Island Park Beach

Name and Location: Little Island Park Beach sits alongside Sandbridge Beach in a residential area of Virginia Beach, off Sandpiper Road near Whitecap Street.

History and Significance: Developed in the early 2000s, Little Island Park improved public beach access while protecting Sandbridge’s iconic beach landscape and dune habitats, adding facilities while limiting crowds.

What to Expect: This spot appeals especially to families seeking Atlantic coast beaches without intense crowds and congestion, though amenities are minimal. Beach and bay waters await!

Visitor Information: Parking permitted March-November for a daily/season fee. No lifeguards. Restrooms available. BYO provisions – no concessions. Leashed dogs allowed October-April.

Tired of the hustle and bustle of Virginia Beach in summertime? Little Island Park rests on the Chesapeake Bay side offering a quieter setting with beautiful views across to Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore. This “park between the parks” lies adjacent to larger First Landing State Park containing nature trails through rare coastal forest. Visitors delight in fishing from the sandy shore, watching osprey dive for prey and sunbathing with few people around. A small pier, picnic tables and parking round out amenities. Leashed pets permitted.

Wander First Landing State Park Beach

Name and Location: First Landing State Park Beach refers to waterfront areas along Chesapeake Bay and Broad Bay within First Landing State Park in coastal Virginia Beach off Shore Drive.

History and Significance: As Virginia’s first state park, First Landing protects rich coastal habitat and offers beach access for swimming, kayaking, canoeing and fishing along scenic, historic stretches dating back to the colonial Jamestown settlers.

What to Expect: Park beach sites lure visitors to play in and explore tranquil bay waters during the day while surrounded by wildlife and nature, escaping more crowded resort scenes. Trails link through the park’s diverse ecosystems as well.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily 8am-dusk, with parking fees applying. Some beach areas offer lifeguards Memorial Day-Labor Day. Restrooms, showers on site.

Along with miles of scenic woodland trails, First Landing State Park protects nearly a mile stretch of sandy Chesapeake Bay beachfront. This site witnessed the first landing of English colonists in 1607 before becoming the popular state park seen today. Visitors comb the untamed shoreline for ancient fossils and shark’s teeth native to the area. Picnic facilities and a small cafe provide sustenance to continue exploring 19 miles of trails showcasing wildlife habitat and native flora unique to this ecosystem.

Play at Resort Beach

Name and Location: Resort Beach refers to the lively main Atlantic Ocean strip running the length of Virginia Beach’s oceanfront resort area along Atlantic Avenue from Rudee Inlet south to 42nd Street.

History and Significance: Developed as a seaside vacation resort starting in the late 1800s, Virginia Beach’s prime resort strip remains the bustling coastal playground that put the city on the map as a tourist destination.

What to Expect: Miles of sandy beaches facing the Atlantic lure happy crowds to swim, body surf, play games, lay out in the sun, enjoy local cuisine, take bike rides on the 3-mile boardwalk, dance at outdoor stages, or simply soak up vibrant energy.

Visitor Information: Lower resort beaches have lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Parking access every few blocks. Restrooms, rentals, dining everywhere.

Smack in the center of Virginia Beach’s bustling oceanfront boardwalk lies the scenic Resort Beach area. During summer, the scene pops with umbrellas, volleyball games, amusement park rides on the pier, restaurants and countless barefoot visitors combing the surf. Locals refer to 24th street as main hub where major events and concerts transpire alongside splashing fountains where children dance and play when tides recede exposing sandy expanses. Catch fantastic firework displays here scheduled on holiday weekends most Thursdays in peak season.

Kayak to Back Bay Beach

Name and Location: Back Bay Beach refers to protected beach habitats facing Back Bay that are accessible only by boat, such as on islands within Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge waters in southeastern Virginia Beach.

History and Significance: Back Bay’s relatively inaccessible beaches help protect sensitive ecosystems and nesting bird and sea turtle habitats, while offering special on-the-water beach experiences for those willing to make the paddling journey.

What to Expect: Expert kayakers can access island beaches Otherwise unseen, taking care to respect habitats. Expect aquatic nature immersion more than sunbathing – these beaches about the journey through a federally protected salt marsh.

Visitor Information: Access from various launched within refuge boundaries by nonmotorized boat only, per regulations. No facilities, lifeguards on remote beaches. Respect wildlife!

Nestled on the ocean side of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, this remote gem accessible only by boat rewards visitors with pristine shores. Run by the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect migratory species, kayak guided tours allow groups to take in the unspoiled barrier island ecosystems. Along the shore, lucky guests may spot nesting peregrine falcons, deer, endangered northeastern beach tiger beetles or loggerhead sea turtles during summer nesting season if restrictions permit landing. Due to sensitive habitat, visitation follows strict guidelines so check current refuge advice before attempting access.

Have Fun at Ocean Breeze Water Park Beach

Name and Location: Ocean Breeze Water Park Beach sits adjacent to Ocean Breeze Waterpark at 849 General Booth Blvd near the Verizon Oceanfront Arena in Virginia Beach.

History and Significance: Open since 1996, Ocean Breeze combines popular water slides and rides with resort area beach access in one family entertainment destination on the Chesapeake Bay.

What to Expect: Along with enjoying the park’s wet and dry rides and activities, visitors can relax or swim at the park’s own beach with a calmer Chesapeake Bay setting away from Atlantic waves when needed.

Visitor Information: Park entry required for beach use. Lifeguards on duty Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Standard water park policies apply.

At this 17 acre family-oriented Virginia Beach attraction, visitors enjoy a satisfying blend of amusement rides plus beach relaxation. Race down waterslides twisting around artificial palm trees, drift along an 850 ft lazy river and splash with the kids in pools filled with bubbly jets. Adults can rent cabanas with cushy loungers while supervising young ones on the large playground. The site also grants access down wooden steps to a quarter mile stretch of the Atlantic Ocean beach running along Resort Beach north to 40th street.

Bring Fido to Bay Island Beach

Name and Location: Bay Island Beach sits on the Chesapeake Bay side of Virginia Beach’s Bay Island community at Bay Island Beach Park off Shore Drive south of First Landing State Park.

History and Significance: Developed specifically for neighborhood use, this beach park provides local families and their well-behaved dogs convenient bay access with amenities but less bustle than the resort scene.

What to Expect: Visitors find a small sandy beach, limited free parking, grassy areas by the quiet water, restrooms/showers, dog waste bags – perfect for people and leashed pets to relax together.

Visitor Information: Open daylight hours year-round but minimal winter facilities. No lifeguards. Rules reinforce responsible pet ownership and family-friendly atmosphere.

Stretching over seven miles parallel to Shore Drive, Bay Island Beach remains the only Virginia Beach strand open to leashed dogs year-round. As part of the Chesapeake Bay beachscape, visitors delight in panoramic water views and Chic’s Beach’s famous sunsets on the western shoreline. This pet-friendly area tends to stay uncrowded since no resort parking lots offer direct access. Enjoy a peaceful stroll with your furry friend or set up near crossover 3 to allow pets a refreshing dip while chasing sticks fetched from small island outcroppings along the sandy tidal shore.

Go Surfing at Domes

Name and Location: Domes surf beach is situated along Virginia Beach’s Atlantic coast resort strip off Atlantic Avenue at Rudee Inlet south of the pier, next to the Domes restaurant.

History and Significance: Domes has attracted surfers here since the 1970s thanks to consistent swell, beach contours, and the eatery dubbed “Home of East Coast Surfing.” It remains an iconic local surfing destination today.

What to Expect: Surfers flock near the restaurant before dawn and throughout the day to catch fantastic waves while locals and visitors watch awe-struck from nearby benches or while enjoying a casual bite.

Visitor Information: Year-round prime surf but best conditions September through April. Beach access from Atlantic Avenue. Metered parking along street. Lifeguards on duty seasonally.

Named for its location among a cluster of cylindrical cement structures near Mount Trashmore park, the Domes attract surfing devotees thanks to waves breaking over an underwater rock ledge. This setup churns fun waist to head high peaks on solid south swells, especially before an approaching storm. Due to the shifty chop, beginners should kick off at spots better suited for learning basics before attempting to ride at the Domes. But experienced locals flock here for one of the few reef breaks north of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

See Wildlife at False Cape State Park Beach

Name and Location: False Cape State Park Beach refers to sections of protected Atlantic shoreline habitats within False Cape State Park boundaries in extreme southeast Virginia Beach along Back Bay.

History and Significance: Only accessible by boat, bike or foot, False Cape’s beaches offer unspoiled barrier island ecosystems where lucky visitors may observe nesting sea turtles, migratory birds, dolphins, and other wildlife.

What to Expect: Hiking through primitive trails accesses narrow, undisturbed beaches facing the Atlantic on the Virginia-North Carolina border, with few other humans but fascinating flora and fauna abounding.

Visitor Information: Remote beach access only via state park permit and strict regulations protecting habitats. No facilities, lifeguards on beaches. Special opportunity to experience nature untamed!

At the far southern tip of Virginia Beach where cityscape transforms into untamed coastal wilderness, False Cape State Park Beach delivers remote camping beside six miles of rugged unspoiled Atlantic shoreline. Reaching this isolated destination requires traversing Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge by foot, boat or weekly tram shuttling overnight campers. Once there, intrepid visitors can comb tidal pools for marine organisms, cast for puppy drum fish or spot passing bottlenose dolphins plus nesting shorebirds through binoculars while completely removed from urban life.

Boasting 35 miles encompassing lively resort beaches and remote undiscovered pockets, Virginia Beach offers Atlantic shorelines suiting every visitor’s ideal beach experience whether seeking activity or peaceful seclusion. With iconic boardwalks, amusement piers and beach cottages standing alongside protected habitats and nature reserves, the “World’s Longest Pleasure Beach” has shaped local lifestyle and tourism for generations.

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