First Landing State Park's Chesapeake Bay Beach

Virginia Beach has the distinction of being the only city with coastline along both the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. First Landing State Park's beach also happens to be one of the few places in Virginia Beach where there is public access to the bay coastline. The beach here is relatively uncrowded most of the time and the water is much calmer than the Atlantic Ocean surf. If you have small children and want to take them to the beach you may want to consider a visit to First Landing. a view of the Chesapeake Bay Beach One of the few drawbacks is the tendency for there to be more insects here than along the hotel lined Atlantic Ocean beach. This is because of the natural vegetation found at the back edge of the beach, which includes the dunes, shrubs, and maritime forest that are part of the park. You should bring some bug repellant or be prepared to buy some at the park store which is found in the park's Chesapeake Bay Center.

Beach Access

There are four boardwalks that provide convenient walkways to carry you over the dunes and onto the beach. You should not walk across the dunes as you will likely kill some of the plants you step on and, ultimately, undermine the stability of the dunes themselves. One of the boardwalks is accessed from the main entrance parking lot, adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay Center, and the others are found in the campground.

people on the beach at First Landing State ParkThe Beach

There are no lifeguards so you do swim at your own risk. You should also be aware that the beach in First Landing State Park is not regularly cleaned like the Atlantic Ocean beaches that front the hotel lined Virginia Beach area. This means there is some seaweed and detritus along the shoreline. Besides this wrack line material washed up on the beach, the area boasts a relatively broad expanse of clean white sand. The water near the shore is quite shallow much of the time and generally has gentle, small waves. There are a number of remnant pilings, from old docks, that extend out from the shore in a few places. The Chesapeake ships seen from the shore at First Landing State Park's beach Bay Bridge/Tunnel is clearly visible from the shore here. You can also make out the places where the tunnels are, both by watching where the ships coming and going into the bay travel and by seeing places where the bridge has a few gaps. The ships traveling to a fro from the bay travel close enough to shore that they provide an interesting backdrop to your view from the beach. They are also far enough away that they are not even remotely a problem with swimming or enjoying your time on the beach.

a boardwalk and outdoor shower at First Landing State ParkShowers/Restrooms

There is an outdoor shower along each of the boardwalks that lead to the beach. Restrooms are found in close proximity to each beach access walkway - in buildings found on the non-beach end of the boardwalk. This will either be the Chesapeake Bay Center or a campground bathroom. There are not any changing rooms but of course the bathrooms can be used for this purpose.


If you want a better idea of what the beach looks like, you can watch this You Tube video. Perhaps its title would be something like "someone's home movie clip of their children." Regardless, it provides a cloudy evening glimpse of the park's beach.