First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park is one of Virginia’s most-visited state parks. The park was created in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Chesapeake Bay and today offers many things to do, including cycling and hiking along twenty miles of park trails, swimming, boating, and picnicking, all within nearly 3,000 acres.

Amenities include park history and nature programs, a boat launch, and, if you’re up for an extended stay, several First Landing Park cabins. The park’s location directly across from the Hog Bay Islands offers an excellent location from which to explore several of Virginia’s natural attractions. The closest major city, Norfolk, is only a six-mile drive away, creating the perfect setting between nature and civilization.

One of the biggest attractions in First Land State Park Virginia Beach is Chesapeake Bay Beach, one of the most popular of all area beaches, and one of the top reasons for a day trip inside the park. With public access to both the Chesapeake Bay coast and the Atlantic coast, Chesapeake Bay Beach (a white-sand stretch) holds great appeal. Mostly crowd-free with calm surf and a natural shoreline, the beach and water is perfect for all ages. Four boardwalks offer easy access over large sand dunes to the beach and back. Ship-gazing, beach-combing, swimming, and sunbathing can eat up the hours quickly.

Wildlife viewing is another big reason to visit First Landing State Park during Virginia tours. Within the park, there are scores of animals including loggerhead sea turtles, sea birds, deer, and bald eagles. Boating and fishing are major activities too along with crabbing between Linkhorn Bay and Broad Bay within the Narrows. Don’t forget your state saltwater fishing license if fishing. Boat launches are located in the Narrows in the southern section of the park. There is also parking for both trailers and cars, as well as restrooms nearby. Anyone planning on kayaking or canoeing should make prior arrangements at one of the nearby outfitters. Virginia rentals are not available directly in First Landing State Park.

Hiking along the twenty-miles of trails within First Landing State Park Virginia Beach is the best way to get up close and personal with the natural surroundings. A total of nine trails are located in the park. Bald Cypress Trail takes first place as most popular. It crosses ponds, dunes, and thickly treed areas, but is also wheel-chair accessible. Park interpreters guide visitors on several different trail walks all year. Walks can be arranged at the park’s Trail Center where self-guided trail maps are also available. Cycling is permitted on one trail only: Cape Henry Trail. The park’s Bay Store rents bicycles.

First Landing Park cabins are a comfortable way to spend some time within the park allowing enough time to take everything in without a rush. Two-bedroom cabins near Chesapeake Bay are available weekly for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Cabins are either wood-frame with wood flooring or cedar-sided cinder block with concrete flooring and located opposite Shore Drive–the road separating the bay from the beach. Reserve in advance at the First Landing State Park Virginia Beach Parks Office to enjoy cabins with kitchens, outdoor decks, living rooms with rustic furnishings, outside grills and fireplaces. First Landing Park cabins also include linens, silverware and cooking items, screened porches, and are pet-friendly. If au-naturel is your style, camping facilities, complete with electric and water hook-ups, as well as showers and restrooms are available.

Image: Virginia Beach CVB
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